Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Baby: "I've been through this before. It does no good to struggling."
Monday, August 15, 2016: I’m stumped as to why the ocean just won’t clean up along the beachline. There are still lengthy stretches of surf discolored to the tune of near zero viz.
I thought the shifting winds would allow the very clean blue/green water -- only a few hundred yards off the beach at one point yesterday – to power its way in, followed by the 75-degree water being registered not that far out.
Buoy water temps:
Sandy Hook 83 degrees
NY harbor 82 degrees
Barnegat 76 degrees
But, as of midday today, the water is dank, close to being dirty. Very tough to surfcast. Of course, the direct onshore winds, here at noon, although light, should help the water clean-up cause.
Oh, well, nature knows what it’s doing. In fact, there are surely smaller forage fish that love the turbidity, in a survival sense … and maybe a future fishing sense for us. If the baitfish perpetuate in the dinginess, that could offer an insane clear-water autumn attraction for gamefish. Hey, anglers have to be optimists at heart.
I’m already getting questions about Holgate reopening – mainly by beach hikers. No doubt it will reopen on schedule, Sept 1 or so. As to how far down mobile anglers can go is always a crap shoot based on any lingering nesting birds. Actually, that’s not true. By then, any lingering newbie birds are fledglings or, more accurately, flying young.
I devised that “flying young” nonscientific term since it greatly impacts mobile fishing. Flying-capable fledged bird must be adept enough to lift off in the face of arriving vehicles.
The hatchlings of tiny birds, like the now pretty much departed piping plover, can’t negotiate tire ruts, prior to taking flight. However, the larger birds, like terns, that might still be down Holgate’s far south end can overcome tire tracks but need to learn rapid liftoffs. Of course, highly flight-oriented birds, like terns and skimmer, must master flight very quickly out of the nest.
Again, that doesn’t offer much exactness on the Holgate reopening. However, there is a ton of sand at the entrance so getting off and on the far south end should be a breeze, like we haven’t seen in many decades. If anyone has a read on erosion zone further down the beach – like boaters passing by in the ocean – pleased drop me a line. A few photos would be better still. I have equipment to enlarge any landscape shots of the shoreline. Obviously, overhead shots – not by drones, which are illegal – would be the cat’s meow … whatever the hell that means. My grandmother never explained.
Continuing to get reports of small weakies. I don’t know if they still call them spikes. It’s not like they’re packed in anywhere, mainly showing one-here/one-there. However, there seems to have been some mini-blitzes of them taken along the beach, further north.
Below: Goat: "OK, note to self: Resist the urge to ram the s*** out of camels."
NON-PISSY ME: I am not a pissy person. By that I mean I’m never out there hungrily looking around for any little summer LBI thing to go batty over – like some people I know all too well. For me, it’s live and let live to the hilt -- until it comes to certain summer dumbnesses I can’t overlook.
There’s no overlooking the now pervasive busy road (Boulevard) parking behavior whereby beachers go braindead by emptying/filling their parked vehicle facing the potentially deadly traffic side of thing. You’re driving along in the required right lane and here’s a vehicle up ahead with driver’s side doors, front and back, wide open – often with backs and asses sticking out roadward, as folks unload inches from traffic passing at 30 to 35 mph.
Folks, that unloading and piling back in should all be done on the passenger side, i.e. the sidewalk side. It’s not rocket science. In fact, it borders on dumbassedness when folks are hand-walking kids, sometimes two at a time, to place them in the back seat – from the road side! “Well, that’s just how we do it at home!”
Which brings us back to here and now – and why it’s worth my getting pissy … in the name of safety. Fact: Never have we had so much traffic parked along the Boulevard, Central Avenue and even Barnegat Avenue. Roadside embarking and disembarking from vehicles is now through the roof – and will be so well into the future.
While I agree that drivers must routinely face the music of traffic whistling by, inches away, why not maximize the street-side safety factor by doing all other loadings and unloadings on the safe side of things? Just askin’.
Best part is the final walk-away look from the cat. ...
Below: This does not help my fear of flying.
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Kayak paddling variation ...
N: Toast, Multiple locations
C: Frank’s Deli, Asbury Park
S: Barry’s Do Me A Flavor, Beach Haven
N: Toast, Multiple locations
C: Turning Point, Multiple locations
S: Uncle Will’s Pancake House, Beach Haven
★ The Corner, Montclair
★ George’s Place, Cape May
★ Lovin’ Oven, Frenchtown
★ Mariner’s Cove, Brielle
★ Plum on Park, Montclair
★ Zoe’s, Atlantic Highlands
N: Fin Raw Bar & Kitchen, Montclair, Summit
C: Blue Point Grill, Princeton
S: Mud City Crab House, Manahawkin
★ The Bonney Read, Asbury Park
★ H2Ocean, Cedar Knolls
★ Hooked-Up Seafood, Wildwood
★ Quahog’s, Stone Harbor
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Michael Ramsingh - August 10, 2016
The FDA continued to refuse significantly more seafood from the US market in July mostly driven by higher rejections of lobster, snapper, mahi and tuna shipments for filth.
In July the FDA refused 197 line items of seafood from entering the US market. The figure was up 33 percent from last July, an increase of 49 line items compared to the 2015 monthly figure.
On average, the FDA is refusing 182 seafood line items per month, an increase of about 40 line items compared to last year. The monthly average is up 29 percent from 2015.
Seafood refusals for the year now stand at 1,276 line items, a 29 percent increase from 2015 figures at this time.
Lobster, snapper, mahi and tuna shipments are the key drivers in higher FDA rejections in 2016. Refusals from those four species account for 53 percent of this year’s total refusals. Those same species only accounted for 19 percent of all refusals in 2015.
Filth has been the top reason for seafood refusals this year responsible for 68 percent of total rejections.
Last year illegal antibiotics residues in shrimp were a significant reason for rejections in 2015. This was mostly because of a transshipping with Malaysian product. Otherwise, there was more balance in refusal reasons in 2015.
These figures continue to confirm reports from earlier in the year that the FDA could reject more seafood in 2016 based on a higher volume of inspections. Refusals through the first seven months of the year show this is the case with rejections for multiple species up across the board.
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Radio New Zealand] - August 15, 2016
The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council has agreed to ask the United States government to address a range of concerns about a proposal to expand Hawaii's protected waters.
The government plans to expand the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in Hawaii five-fold, which would prohibit fishing in two-thirds of the US Exclusive Economic Zone.
The council, which manages the United States' fisheries in the Pacific, says it wants a public, transparent, deliberative and science-based process to address its concerns.
The proposals have concerned US fishing fleets and territories, which fear the expansion will threaten access to fishing grounds for what they consider one of the world's most regulated fleets.
Council members also said they hope the government addresses the resources needed to effectively administer and manage an expanded monument.
They said when it was last expanded in 2014, the White House did not give any extra support to the Homeland Security Department and Coast Guard to monitor it.
A special advisor to American Samoa's governor, Henry Sesepasara, said he hopes the federal agency involved with the expansion will work with the council.
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Fish Factor] by Laine Welch - August 15, 2016
Alaska is one of a handful of U.S. states to launch a website aimed at keeping track of ocean acidification.
The Alaska Ocean Acidification Network, a collaboration of state and federal scientists, agencies, tribes, conservation, fishing and aquaculture groups, went live last month. Its goal is to provide a forum for researchers to share findings and connect with concerned coastal residents.
Ocean acidification happens when carbon dioxide, generated primarily from the burning of fossil fuels, is absorbed by the ocean. The off-kilter chemistry causes seawater to become corrosive, making it tough for marine creatures to grow scales and shells.
Alaska is particularly susceptible to acidification because its waters are colder and hold more carbon dioxide.
"We are so reliant on the ocean for our lives and livelihood. The seafood industry is valued at about $5.8 billion every year, and it's the largest private sector employer in the state," said Darcy Dugan, project coordinator for the Alaska Ocean Observing System.
"The more educated Alaskans are, the more creative they can be in thinking about adaptation strategies and the more confident they can feel about working together to have a sustainable future," she added.
Since 2011 the ocean-observing system and its partners have sampled pH levels at moorings in the Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska and at the Alutiiq Pride Hatchery in Seward. Researchers also take 1,200 shipboard water samples each year. Starting this fall, the network has partnered with the state ferry system to put measuring instruments onboard at least one vessel.
The average pH in the world's oceans today is 8.1, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The lower the pH, the higher the acidity. Solutions with a pH less than 7 are acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic.
No direct effects of acidification are showing up yet in Alaska sea creatures, but computer models predict the ocean will become acidic sooner than previously thought.
"They are anticipating that the Beaufort Sea will be first to leave its natural range of pH variability around 2025, followed by the Chukchi in 2027 and the Bering in 2044," Dugan said.
"Based on global estimates of ocean acidification, the Bering Sea may reach a pH level of 7.5 to 7.8 in the next 75 to 100 years, if not earlier," estimated Bob Foy, director of NOAA's research lab at Kodiak.
"Once, it reaches those levels, there will be significant decreases in survival and … fishery yields and profits within 20 years," Foy added.
Ocean acidification in Alaska will be featured at the Aleutian Life Forum Tuesday in Unalaska and at a (free) "State of the Science" workshop Nov. 30-Dec. 1 in Anchorage.
[Check out Aleutian Life Forum]
A brand to covet: Alaska
For the first time, the "Alaska" seafood brand has topped all others on menus across the nation.
"We do research every couple of years to look at brands that are featured on restaurant menus," said Claudia Hogue, food service director for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.
The research was done by Chicago-based Datassentials, which has the nation's largest database of U.S. menus.
"Alaska seafood ranks highest among … proteins for the first time," she said. "Research shows that consumers are trying to eat healthier by the choices they're making at the restaurant."
"Alaska seafood" appears on 3.4 percent of all menus, compared to "certified Angus," with 3.1 percent, and "Norwegian" at 1.9 percent.
The Alaska brand also outranked many other well-known food category brands, including Hershey's, Kahlua, Tabasco and Grand Marnier.
Can shrimp shells help wine drinkers?
Shrimp shells may offer a solution to harmful sulfites found in wine. Currently, wine producers add sulfites such as sulfur dioxide to keep wine fresh during storage. But sulfur dioxide damages the atmosphere, and can cause allergic reactions in some people.
Green Chemistry reports researchers at the University of Aveiro in Portugal have discovered thin films made from the polymer chitin in shrimp shells removes traces of iron and copper in wine barrels. This would prevent bacterial growth or oxidation reactions, both of which can harm the wine's flavor.
In taste-tests the new material performed as well as or better than sulfite preservatives. The researchers said "the process of making the shrimp based additive is easy to scale up for wholesale production and it could be adapted for other drinks in future."
Bureo, a Los Angeles startup that makes skateboards from marine debris, has broadened its fight against pollution by launching the world's only collection of sunglasses made from recycled fishing nets.
The Ocean Collection is designed by Chilean eyewear company Karun from nets collected by Net Positiva, a recycling program developed and operated by Bureo, which means "waves." Last year, the program collected more than 110,000 pounds of fishing nets from 16 communities in the country.
"Discarded fishing gear," Bureo points out in its video, "accounts for an estimated 10 percent of the ocean's plastic pollution."
The program has earned recognition from the U.S. State Department and won an innovation award and grant funding from the Chilean Government.
The Bureo fishnet sunglasses cost $139.
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Portland Press Herald] by Penelope Overton - August 15, 2016
A marine biologist, an art conservator and a group of fishermen from Georgetown are trying to use traditional Venetian fishing methods to turn the invasive green crab into a gourmet dish known in Italy as moleche.
Moleche is the name of the young, soft-shelled Venetian crabs that are caught, sorted and held in floating cages and harvested daily, right after they shed their hard outer shell. They are dipped in milk or egg, floured and fried, served up six or eight at a time for about two dozen euro in upscale eateries across the Veneto region of Italy.
Their nearly identical American cousins are reviled in Maine for decimating clam flats and threatening the state’s $23 million industry, as well as preying on other mollusks such as mussels and scallops. They can be caught with nets or traps, including the shrimp traps that now lie fallow here in Maine.
The real art of the moleche (moe-le-che) fishery, however, is about spotting the subtle signs of a molt about to happen in time to catch them before they hide or are eaten by a predator, including their fellow crabs.
Scientists at the University of Maine at Machias had studied the moleche possibility of the green crabs once before,
and concluded the crabs did not give any external clues to their molts and thus could not be harvested commercially. But as the invasion marched on, and efforts to eradicate the crab failed, scientists on Prince Edward Island decided to give it a second look. So did marine biologist Marissa McMahan, a Northeastern University Ph.D. candidate from a Georgetown lobstering family who lives in Phippsburg.
McMahan applied for and got a $3,000 Maine Sea Grant to study the moleche potential. She and Jonathan Taggart, the art conservator who brought the moleche tradition to McMahan’s attention, and a small group of Georgetown lobstermen began to trap the green crabs in Robinhood Cove and Five Islands Harbor to collect data on population, size, gender and molting. They were hoping to learn if these two closely related crabs – same genus, different species – had enough in common that the Venetian fishery could be duplicated here in Maine.
“There is no one thing that will solve the green crab problem,” said McMahan. “But a soft-shell market could, when taken together with other methods, help slow down the population growth of the invasive species, and maybe, over time, give us a new market for Maine fishermen to do to diversify the industry. As a state, we can’t just rely on lobster, because a one-fishery market, or economy, is dangerous, especially with the warming ocean temperatures. We may not have a huge impact, not right away at least, but if this works, it would be a step in the right direction.”
Originally from Europe, the green crab, or Carcinus maenas, reached America in the mid-1800s after riding across the Atlantic in the ballast water on ships. They have been in Maine for more than a century. They live in the shallows and the soft-bottom and rocky sections of the intertidal zone.
As the water temperature rises, the crabs are proliferating, and have been eating their way through East Coast mussels, clams and eelgrass beds, and undermining salt marshes with their labyrinthian tunnels. Over the last decade, efforts to eradicate the invader, from creating bait markets to volunteer and town-funded harvests, have failed.
Despite the crabs’ abundance, the Georgetown group quickly learned, like others before them, how difficult it is to identify a pre-molt green crab. Unlike the Chesapeake blue crab, whose swimming fins will turn pink, then red, as a molt approaches, the green crab’s molting signals aren’t easy to detect.
That is when Taggart, the Georgetown conservator who had learned about the moleche tradition on a recent trip to document the wooden boat tradition in Venice, agreed to go back to Venice to ask the molecante – the Italian word for soft-shell green crab fishermen – for help learning how to sort and cultivate these crabs.
Taggart invited Paolo Tagliapietra, the 36-year-old molecante whom he had met on his trip, to come to Maine to share this centuries-old fishing tradition. One of the youngest crab fishermen in Venice, Tagliapietra is worried the moleche tradition may be fading. The dish remains highly prized, but fewer and fewer young people are joining the ranks of the molecante. And he knows better than most just how much skill, and experience, is needed to identify a pre-molt green crab.
So Tagliapietra bought his own plane ticket to come to Maine to teach what was essentially a two-week crash course on moleche fishing to the Georgetown group as a way to preserve and maybe even expand the molecante tradition and help diversify the Maine fishery.
Tagliapietra said he came here to help his new friend, Taggart, better the lives of local fishermen. Others have asked him to teach them how to fish for the green crab, and he has refused. But as a fisherman, he wouldn’t turn away a request to help other fishermen overcome a problem.
And he believes that the moleche tradition, which he learned from his grandfather and father, both of whom spent their whole lives perfecting their skills, could work in Maine.
“I really think that there is the possibility to have soft-shell crabs like in Italy,” Tagliapietra said. “Probably a simple cut and paste of our technique isn’t enough. There are for sure some things to adapt and learn, but the base is the same. (It) is not a start from zero, at all.”
LEARNING THE TELLS
The Venetian green crab molting season occurs twice a year, in the spring and fall. Small numbers molt at other times of the year, and those crabs fetch higher prices for the fishermen because of their limited quantity, but it’s in March, April, October and November that moleche fetch about $20 a pound in the Venetian fish markets.
It is too early to tell if the Maine crabs will follow the same molting season, or if the different length of day and water temperature will alter the shedding calendar slightly for the green crabs that live in Maine.
Tagliapietra taught the group how to spot a pre-molt crab. It isn’t molting season now, but every one of the handful of green crabs that Tagliapietra found that he labeled as an out-of-season pre-molt ended up, in a matter of days, emerging from its exoskeleton, clad in a fragile, gelatinous new shell.
It suggests that Maine fishermen, already trained to note small changes in a fishery, could learn to identify pre-molting green crabs, or what Venetians call grancia buono, and catch them before they go into hiding, where their shells will thin, turn gray and be replaced in a day or two.
“We have much to learn, and much work to do, but as Paolo says, there is potential!” Taggart said.
Young crabs molt more frequently, and are usually greener in color than older crabs, which take on more gray, brown or red hues. According to Tagliapietra, the first signs of molting can occur up to three weeks ahead of time, with a fine white line developing on the edge of the plates found on the underbelly of the crab, followed by a darker shadow. The carapace, or the back of the shell, will begin to gray. The shell will soften, especially where the tail meets the carapace. Then the underside of the body will become opaque. When the crab grows lethargic, molting is imminent.
“The signs can be extremely hard to see in bright sunlight, so they are looked for in the shade,” Taggart said. “It helps to wear some good magnifying glasses!”
Tagliapietra urged the group to consider building another green crab market called masanete. These are the pregnant females carrying eggs that can be harvested in the fall, and are far easier to identify, and are usually boiled and seasoned with olive oil, parsley and sometimes garlic and often served over pasta. Harvesting these pregnant females, which can carry up to 185,000 eggs at a time, would cull future generations of this invasive species while providing a diversified source of income for Maine fishermen.
The Georgetown research group is easing up on its sorting work now, and just collects the basic population information from its traps, but will restart the molting work in late September, before the fall shed is likely to begin.