Monday, January 11, 2010:
Just a quick stop-by to alert that the ice is apparently good at Collins Cove, though I take no responsibility in giving a go-ahead to walking out there. If man were meant to walk on ice he’d have been given ice skates for feet. That said, I’m also not sure if the white perch are showing, though I have a few third-hand accounts that the perching is like it was in the old days, i.e. super.
Someone emailed me that Scott isn’t carrying fresh shrimp this year. Fresh grass shrimp is all that really works when ice fishing. Not sure why, but even fresh just-dead grass shrimp just won’t cut it. Some folks do decently with minnie minnow.
I’m always a glutton for frozen punishment when ice fishing: I only jig. I’ll sometimes go for a frozen hour before I finally get a hit. However, when the angling is good, jigging can entice the largest of perch – and sub-schoolie bass at (occasionally) a near nonstop rate. Back in the late-80s, I once took upwards of 30 stripers within 90 minutes. I began with special Rapala jigs, like Jigging Shads, but lost those and switched to Hopkins – and got the biggest bass of the day. That was back before the fyke fishermen began setting up around there.
As folks should know, you can’t keep stripers taken from the Collins Cove in winter. That regulation is based on an antiquated law to prevent old-fashioned “jacking” of bass but one some groups, like JCAA, feel should stay in place even though illegal foul hooking of bass ended decades ago. I’m sorry, but if you’re able to yank a 28-inch bass out from under the ice thereabouts, you should be able to keep it.
The SRHS Fishing Rams will be having their Fishing Flea Market soon. There are tables available. It would be fun to see more “garage emptying” folks bringing in their angling items -- or even ‘pickers” who have found fishing stuff during their cruising and want to off their finds.
SEAFOOD.COM NEWS by John Sackton - Jan 11, 2010 - The Preserve Fishing Coalition, a coalition of recreational and commercial fishng groups on the East Coast, is asking for support in both Congress, and in a proposed march on Washington, to protest the implementation of Magnuson and demand changes in rebuilding timetables.
Congressional sponsors Sen. Schumer (D-NY), and Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) are the principal Senate and House sponsors of legislation to change Magnuson, and have more than twenty co-sponsors.
The Preserve fishing coalition is made up of both Northeastern industry groups, such as the ad hoc coalition that organized a fisheries protest in Gloucester last fall, and recreational groups including party boat operators and tackle manufacturere in New York and New Jersey.
The groups are asking all in the seafood industry who agree with them to sign on to a letter posted at this website.
The letter says 'Over the last two decades, multi-billion dollar philanthropic foundations with strong corporate connections have influenced the inclusion of arbitrarily restrictive language in our nations primary fisheries law, the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The implementation of this language has caused the loss of thousands of domestic fishing businesses and tens of thousands of jobs.
The resulting arbitrary rebuilding timelines and targets have inflicted untold and unnecessary economic loss and hardship on the fishing families that are still holding on. Working through ENGOs and employing their own cadre of advocacy-scientists, these foundations have also underwritten a handful of recreational and commercial fishing organizations to further their apparent goals of marginalizing or destroying the surviving domestic commercial and recreational fishing fleet, commercial and recreational boat manufacturers, tackle retailers and all other sectors of the fishing-dependent marine industry in the United States.
Additionally they have used their seemingly endless financial resources to gain control of print and broadcast media to the extent that the fishermen are now believed to be incapable of objectively participating in the fisheries management process unless they have the approval of those foundations or their paid minions. This is a 180 degree departure from the intent of the Magnuson Act as originally passed, which specifically included fishermen in the management process to balance the lack of precision in fisheries science with their on-the-water experience. That imprecision is still and will always be with us and independent fishermens participation in the management process should be as well.
In response, recreational and commercial fishermen will gather together on the steps of the Capitol on February 24, 2010 from noon until 3 p. m. in an organized demonstration against the unintended negative impacts of the Magnuson Stevens Conservation and Management Act (MSA), the federal fisheries law which was revised in January of 2007. Rally organizers are hoping to see a large show of force in defense of coastal communities. 'The closures keep coming and its good to see the collective fishing communities and industries, both recreational and commercial, calling for scientific based Magnuson reform', said Jim Donofrio, Executive Director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA). 'We are all in this together. ' Donofrio cited recent closures of amberjack, black sea bass and red snapper fisheries as examples of what he calls a broken federal fisheries law.
Other flashpoints have been the closure of the summer flounder fishery in New Jersey and New York, the reduction in the scallop fishery in New England, and the drastic reductions in groundfish stock quotas for species such as yellowtail flounder, pollock and cod that will impact New England's new sector management system.
January 11, 2010 - MALINDI, Kenya, People here have one thing to thank Somali pirates for: Better fishing.
In past years, illegal commercial trawlers parked off Somalia's coast and scooped up the ocean's contents. Now, fishermen on the northern coast of neighboring Kenya say, the trawlers are not coming because of pirates.
'There is a lot of fish now, there is plenty of fish. There is more fish than people can actually use because the international fishermen have been scared away by the pirates,' said Athman Seif, the director of the Malindi Marine Association.
On one early morning, as the sun bathed their wooden dhow in a pale yellow, four fishermen jumped out of their rickety 15-foot boat, grabbed a hand-woven straw basket and waded ashore. The basket held the bounty: 175 pounds (80 kilograms) of sailfish, barracuda and red snapper, the haul from a 12-hour night on the ocean. Each fisherman stood to make $12, enough in this town to be considered a decent night's work.
Fishermen and sportsmen say they've been catching more fish than ever. Howard Lawrence-Brown, who owns Kenya Deep Sea Fishing, said fishing stocks over the last year have been up 'enormously - across all species.'
'We had the best marlin season ever last year,' said Lawrence-Brown, who owns Kenya Deep Sea Fishing. 'The only explanation is that somebody is not targeting them somewhere. ... There's definitely no question about it, the lack of commercial fishing has made a difference.'
Fishermen in the region have seen their incomes and quality of life rise. New boats and better equipment can be seen on the water.
In Malindi, a second-tier tourist town whose tastiest seafood restaurant is called 'The Old Man and the Sea,' after the Ernest Hemingway novel, the income of many families is determined by the number of fish caught during a half-day's turn at sea.
On a recent weekday, fisherman Abdi Ali said he has more money of late to send his kids to high school, which costs money in Kenya. As Ali spoke, a man nearby held up a 2.5-foot (.75-meter), 9-pound (4-kilo) red snapper to motorists on Malindi's main oceanfront drive in hopes of enticing a sale.
'This year the amount of fish we have caught has been very good. We get about 150 kilograms to 200 and even 300 kilograms, depending on how much we fish,' said Ali. Three hundred kilograms is about 660 pounds.
'There were fish that had disappeared and have come back like the barracuda, oranda, red snapper and other types,' he said. 'We are very happy now that there are so many fish.'
Fishermen in Somalia, too, say they've seen increased catches. Traders at a Mogadishu fish market are happy because more fish means lower prices, which means more Somalis can afford to buy.
'I remember some days I used to go to the sea early to catch fish and would return with no fish, but nowadays there are plenty. You can catch it everywhere,' said fisherman Bakar Osman, 50. 'I do not know the reason but I think the foreign fishing vessels, which used to loot our fish, were scared away by pirates.'
Somali pirates have increased attacks the last two years because of the millions of dollars in ransom they can earn. They currently hold close to a dozen vessels and more than 200 crew hostage. Fishermen here acknowledge the horror of the attacks - they occasionally are harassed by pirates themselves.
Before the pirates came out in big numbers, fishing longliners roamed the coasts, Lawrence Brown said, laying out miles (kilometers) of line.
'They kill everything from the bottom of the ocean to the boat. They run at 22 knots. They can lay their lines for 24 hours, pick them up and get out of there,' he said. 'The damage on the sports fishing side is immeasurable.'
A report on pirates this year by the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore said the value of illegal catches from Somalia's maritime jurisdiction is estimated at between $90 million and $300 million a year, and that foreign fishing vessels hail from all around the world.
The report's author, Clive Schofield, a research fellow with the Australian Centre for Ocean Resources and Security at the University of Wollongong, called it ironic that nations contributing warships to anti-piracy efforts are in some cases directly linked to the foreign fishing vessels 'stealing Somalia's offshore resources.'
'This situation has led some pirates to justify their actions on basis of illegal foreign fishing activities - styling themselves 'coastguards' and characterizing ransom demands as 'fines,'' the report said. 'Without condoning acts of violence at sea, it is clear that the Somalis who hijack shipping off their coast are in fact not the only 'pirates' operating in these waters,' it said.
Piracy has not had a huge effect on Kenya's overall fishing industry, which is not very well developed on the coast, according to the permanent secretary for Kenya's Ministry of Fisheries Development, Micheni Japhet Ntiba. Kenya has brought in between 5,000 and 7,000 metric tons of fish off its Indian Ocean coast each of the last several years, he said, less than a tenth of Kenya's yearly catch from Lake Victoria, on Kenya's western edge.
Piracy 'is a negative thing for Kenya fisherman. It's a negative thing for the Kenyan economy. It's a negative thing for the western Indian Ocean economy,' Ntiba said. 'What I think is important for us is to invest in security so the government and the private sector can invest in the deep sea ocean resources.'
Still, Kenya's sports fisherman say the pirates appear to have had a hugely positive effect on their industry. Angus Paul, whose family owns the Kingfisher sports fishing company, said that over the past season clients on his catch-and-release sports fishing outings averaged 12 or 13 sail fish a day. That compares with two or three in previous years.
Somali pirates, Paul said, are a group of terrorists, 'but as long as they can keep the big commercial boats out, not fishing the waters, then it benefits a lot of other smaller people.'