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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Monday, February 20, 2017: I’ve been swamped with calls from folks asking about the beaches ... My favorite quarry

White ninja dog, calling on his advanced training when faced with a larger opponent, utilizes the secret spinning-lotus escape move ... 

Monday, February 20, 2017: I’ve been swamped with calls from folks asking about the beaches, likely due to the huge number of folks down for the ideal long weekend.

Firstly, I’ll reemphasize that the beaches of Harvey Cedars, Surf City and Brant beach will be fully replenished this fall. I’ll possibly know this week more exact dates. It appears the fall pump will again be on the federal dime.

Short of the ongoing mechanical (plowing) fixes being done along much of LBI’s beachfront, there won’t be any big-time dredge pumping this spring. Yes, some folks are asking if an emergency re-pump might take place, ASAP. Again, I can’t imagine that, based on the necessary equipment already being dedicated to other projects. Also, a summer nourishment would piss off way too many folks.  

By the by, it’s the NJDEP that is monitoring the LBI beachline. I’ve been told, now and again, that the DEP is the “lead agency,” in as much as it’s the state’s call as to how and when the Army Corps is called into service.

BRIDGE CAUTION: I know I’m stating the obvious but the Causeway drive-across has been as hairy as it gets, going from two lanes to one, twice. Jackasses still prevail; gas-pedal passers, clueless to the trickiness of the lane changes right up ahead. And how is it that the smallest vehicles take up the most space when on the narrow two-lane portions?

I will note that most drivers have been driving nicely on the last trestle bridges onto LBI, where lanes are reduced to one lane in each direction. It surely helped that word got out about the SBPD occasionally stationing a speed-watching vehicle facing the traffic entering the borough. There’s no escape if you’re flying Islandward. Word got out real fast – and arriving traffic slowed just as quickly.

As to the Big Bridge, it’s a narrow two-lane go eastbound and a compressed one-lane ride, westbound.

Next, things get trickier on the west end of the Causeway. A slew of lane shifts and changes are in order.

QUARRIES ROCK:

Lousy video, as I was getting wind blown ... while teetering on a loose sand mound ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Zi8RPh-YFk&feature=youtu.be#t=...

I went deep Pines to get one of my regular sunny-time looks at a favorite quarry, near Woodmansie -- not far from Old Halfway, aka Hidden Lakes.

Now, many a Pinelands worshipper would explode in a shower of green over the apparent wilderness sacrilege implicit within “liking” a quarry, especially this one, one of the largest sand/gravel mines in the state. And, by all appearances, it is a gaping, water-filled, man-made crater in the ground, seemingly large enough to drain all nearby nature right down the tubes.

But, I justly harbor a historic Pinelands perspective when it comes to these seeable-from-space earth gouges, many located deep in the core of the Pine Barrens.

First and foremost, such mining is an accepted historic usage. You heard right. When it comes to mining sand and such, it’s a history-honored right in these parts. If in doubt, read the rules, regulations and conventions governing the Pinelands. Quarrying has been done since white man first slid on-scene, with many a long-gone quarry barely showing the distant days of often significant sand removal.

I know full-well that you don’t give a rat’s patoot about any stinkin’ historic precedent, arguing that those gaping quarry holes just ain’t right ... in a wilderness way.

I hear ya. And I’ll half-assedly agree. But as soon as you start modifying the Pinelands mandates, you can open a can of killer worms. Override one major directive, others might fall faster than you can say Jetport.

Some of you of a longer-toothed ilk recall the riotous days when a tristate mega-airport was planned, right down to the blueprints. It was foreseen as an “international hub” airport right smack dab in the Pine Barrens.

That said, I’m in outback lockstep with the state’s rigorous rules demanding a reclamation of quarry lands once the digging is done. The quarried area must be brought back to naturalness, perfectly so. If you’re going to ruin a Pinelands place, you must be meticulous in making it pretty as a picture when done with the ruination process.

This bring me back to my guilty pleasure of admiring the mega-quarry near Woodmansie. No, I’m not an avowed advocate for quarrymen, though they changed the world back in the Sixties. You gotta be a Beatles aficionado to fully register that reference.

A former part of the Woodmansie quarry has already been reclaimed and is now one of the coolest blue-water lakes in the state, with thick pine growth right up to its banks.

The still active mining part offers an awesome sand cliff vista – plus a bizarre look of pseudo-tropical waters; color-wise it’s as turquoise as deeply Caribbean places.

That said, no one is allowed in there, like on weekends. Perish the thought of sitting high atop the sheer cliffs, mild sun on face, gazing lazily into those jewely waters, watching bank swallows zipping about … and, toward dark, binoc-ing deer and sundry wildlife moving toward the water’s edge for a cool, clean drink. Never ever do that.

I’d be remiss not to mention a fishing angle regarding reclaimed quarry lakes. Once wildlife returns, former quarry holes begin hosting pickerel, which can grow to trophy size. Be it thunderstorm updrafts, tornadoes, or magic, aquatic life somehow quickly finds it way to any piece of wonderful water. 

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Doh! 

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Video: Here's an odd juxtaposition of cold and new.  Sphagnum and other Pine Barrens mosses used to be used for insulation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbDAsC7ny9Y&feature=youtu.be

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This was a hot burner ... Likely not a controlled burn from what I read.  


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This will likely impact recreational angles ...  

For Fisheries Regulations, a Trump Edict Signals Uncertainty

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Portland Press Herald] by Colin Woodard - February 20, 2017

New England fishermen and conservationists fear one of President Trump’s executive orders will have disruptive effects on fisheries management, although it will not affect routine seasonal fisheries regulation, as some had initially feared.

The ambiguously worded Jan. 30 order requires that two regulations be effectively eliminated for each new one promulgated by most federal agencies. The order prompted a fiery letter three days later from two prominent Democratic congressmen pointing out it could have “devastating impacts on commercial and recreational fisheries and the businesses and communities they support.”

In the letter, U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona, the top Democrat on the House Committee on Natural Resources, and Jared Huffman of California, the ranking member of the subcommittee on oceans, likened the order to “managing our federal regulatory system as if it were a children’s game.”

“Effectively what it means is that nobody can do anything because agencies will have to stop doing major regulatory actions because you can’t comply with this order, which may be the point,” says a former top federal fisheries management official, Andrew Rosenberg, who is now director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Several fishing organizations raised concerns about the order, including the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association, the Massachusetts Striped Bass Association and the Association of Northwest Steelheaders, with the focus on concerns that routine regulatory actions such as opening and closing seasons and amending quotas and rules on a particular species would fall afoul of the order.

“Our big concern is making sure we have certainty around our opening and closing of fishing seasons, especially with the scallop season coming up in less than a month and the groundfishery after that,” says Ben Martens, executive director of the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, which represents traditional Maine fishermen, most of them engaged in fishing scallops or so-called groundfish – cod, haddock, flounder, hake, pollock and other bottom-dwelling species. “It can become a little scary when fishermen don’t know what their next business year is going to look like.”

The uncertainty has been compounded because the federal fisheries management agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service – also known as NOAA Fisheries – has been unable to provide official clarification. In a short written statement from its regional office in Gloucester, Massachusetts, the organization said only that it “is working with the Department of Commerce, Office of Management and Budget, and the new administration to determine how the executive orders could possibly affect regulatory actions.”

Conflictiong opinions about the order's impact

However, on Feb. 2 the acting head of OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs issued an advisory memo that clarified that the president’s order applied only to “significant regulatory actions” as defined under a 1993 executive order issued by President Bill Clinton. The memo is posted at the White House’s website, suggesting it has presidential approval.

The good news for fishermen: The vast majority of federal fisheries regulations do not meet this standard, meaning routine closures and assessments should proceed as they always have.

However, NOAA Fisheries has several regulations currently under consideration that OMB does consider “significant regulatory actions” and therefore are expected to run afoul of Trump’s order, according to OMB’s official “reginfo” database. These include a proposed update to ensure consistent application of rules at federal marine sanctuaries and an effort to combat the spread of illegally caught or fraudulently identified seafood in U.S. markets.

In recent years, numerous fisheries regulations were also treated as “significant” actions by the OMB, including the 2013 overhaul of the framework for managing 16 commercial groundfish off New England and the mid-Atlantic states; a 2013 rule to better protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale from ship strikes; and a 2016 regulation that protected critical spawning habitat for Atlantic sturgeon in the Gulf of Maine and New York Bight.

Drew Minkiewicz, a Washington, D.C., lawyer representing larger Eastern Seaboard scallop fishermen, says fishermen need not be concerned about most regulations. “This executive order has zero impact on 99.9 percent of the fishing regulations going out, so people who are wondering if the fishing season will be delayed don’t need to,” he says. “It’s much ado about nothing.”

What has other experts concerned is that when a really big regulatory change is needed for a fishery, Trump’s executive order will render action effectively impossible.

“If cod, knock on wood, recovers in the Gulf of Maine and you want to expand fishing and put out a lot of cod regulations, the impact could well fall under this order and you would have to find two regulations for every cod regulation to remove,” says Peter Shelley, Maine-based vice president of the Conservation Law Foundation, which for decades has challenged regulators in court to protect the long-term health of fish stocks. “It would be completely unworkable in the fishing sector, because the order was written without the real world in mind.”

From regulatory perspective, 'makes no sense'

Rosenberg, NOAA’s deputy director for fisheries in the late 1990s, notes that big amendments to groundfish and scallop plans in New England were considered “significant regulatory actions” under the Clinton-era rule, and so would others going forward. For these sorts of large and important revisions to management – whether opening up a fishery or closing one down in an emergency – compliance with Trump’s new order would be impossible. “The whole thing makes no sense at all from a regulatory perspective,” he says.

“Let’s say you want to implement a regulation to protect a fish. Now you’d have to remove protections on two others, which makes no sense,” he says. “How would you decide which two? And how would you go through the full rulemaking to withdraw those rules, with public hearings and a reasoning that would stand up to a court challenge?” Add to that the need to develop new regulations with the fishing industry representatives who sit on regional fisheries management councils and the fact that the executive order compels agencies to develop new “cost estimates” of their existing and repealed rules, and you have a set of insurmountable requirements, he says.

The result, Rosenberg says, is that NOAA Fisheries and other regulatory agencies won’t be able to act at all, because they can’t comply with the new order. “Some people may say, ‘Good, we’ll have less regulation,’ but no. What it means is that you can’t respond to the public and make adjustments.”

It also means other agencies won’t be able to take action on issues that fishing communities care about, from pipelines and gravel mining to waste disposal and coastal development. “These all affect the fishing environment, but it will be impossible to move forward,” he adds. “The agencies will be hamstrung.”

Martens of the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association says the uncertainty is bad news for fishermen.

“In the fishing business we need business plans and security and certainty, and right now I don’t know that anybody in NOAA has any good idea of what this means for the industry and the making of regulations,” he says. “Adding more uncertainty to the mix only complicates the problem.”

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This also hits close to home in an bycatch manner ... 

North Carolina Shrimp Trawlers Plan to Fight Stiffer Regulations

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Jacksonville Daily News] by Jannette Pippin - February 20, 2017
 
There was one common point as local residents on opposing sides of a shrimp trawling issue reacted to news that additional restrictions for North Carolina shrimpers will likely be on the way.
 
“It’s going to be a long road,” said Allen Jernigan of Sneads Ferry, a full-time waterman who runs fishing charters and also does some commercial fishing.
 
The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission voted 5-3, with one member abstaining, on Thursday to approve a petition for rule-making from the N.C. Wildlife Federation, setting in motion a lengthy process of reviewing the rules proposed in the petition before a final decision is made.
 
Jernigan said the petition isn’t perfect, but he does not believe it is going to close down inshore trawling and there will still be shrimping in the state. The biggest impact will be on trawling in the ocean and Pamlico Sound.
 
While he acknowledges there will be some impacts he also supports the need to protect the resource and the juvenile species such as croaker and spot, which the proposal is designed to do.
 
The proposal, among other things, would limit shrimping to three days on the Intracoastal Waterway and other estuaries and four days on the ocean up to 3 miles out.
 
“I hate to see anybody lose work time, but the resource belongs to everybody in the state and not just one industry,” Jernigan said.
 
For commercial fishermen and those who work in the seafood industry, the long road ahead is one they are prepared to follow.
 
“They are going to have a fight on their handssaid Tim Millis of B.F. Millis Seafood in Sneads Ferry. “People are not going to stand back. (The petition) is going too far.”
 
Millis said fishermen already do a lot to reduce the bycatch of juvenile fish that is part of the concern. Additional restrictions as proposed would have broad impact, he said, not only by drastically impacting shrimp fishermen but also the seafood houses and the consumers who want fresh local seafood.
 
Millis sees more limits likely ahead for fishermen but hopes it won’t have such a large impact on the shrimpers.
 
“I think they’ll do something. I don’t know if they’ll compromise but they have gone too far,” Millis said.
 
The petition, filed by the Wildlife Federation with support from the Southern Environmental Law Center, asks the commission to designate all coastal fishing waters not otherwise designated as nursery areas to be named special secondary nursery areas, including the ocean out to three miles. It also calls for establishing clear criteria for the opening of shrimp season and defining the type of gear and how and when gear may be used in special secondary nursery areas during shrimp season.
 
June to November is prime time for shrimping in Pamlico Sound. If approved, the petition would limit opening of the season until after Aug. 16 and also limit the number of fishing days when waters are open.
 
Nancy Edens of Sneads Ferry, a North Carolina representative with the Southern Shrimp Alliance, attended the MFC meeting Thursday and was disappointed by the vote of the commission.
 
“I thought maybe they’d come through for the fishermen, but I’m not totally surprised,” said Edens, citing the makeup the commission.
 
Edens said the commission went against the recommendation of all its advisory board, which voted against approving the petition.
 
“You have advisory boards for a reason,” Edens said. “If you don’t need their advice, why are people going to sit on a board for a year and go to meetings.”
 
Edens said it is her understanding that the process could take a year-plus, but they don’t plan to stand back and not be heard.
 
“Stay informed and involved,” Edens said. “Let your voice be heard.”

 

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Fluorescence Method Detects Mercury Contamination in Fish

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Phys.org] - February 20, 2017

Researchers from the University of Burgos (Spain) have developed a fluorescent polymer that lights up in contact with mercury that may be present in fish. High levels of the metal were detected in samples of swordfish and tuna. According to the conclusions of another Spanish study, mercury exposure is linked to reduced fetal and placental growth in pregnant women.

The presence of the toxic metal mercury in the environment comes from natural sources, however, in the last decades industrial waste has caused an increase in concentrations of the metal in some areas of the sea. In the food chain, mercury can be diluted either in organic form as methylmercury (MeHg+) or as an inorganic salt, the cation Hg2+.

Now, researchers from the University of Burgos have created a fluorescent polymer, JG25, which can detect the presence of these two forms of mercury in fish samples. The development is published in the journal Chemical Communications.

"The polymer remains in contact with samples extracted directly from the fish for around 20 minutes. Then, while is being irradiated with ultraviolet light, it emits a bluish light, which varies in intensity proportionally to the quantity of methylmercury and inorganic mercury present in the fish," explains Tomás Torroba, lead author of the paper.

A portable polymer probe, which can be used in situ, was used to apply the technique to 2-gram samples from a range of fish species. The qualitative relationship between the mercury levels in fish and the increased fluorescence was verified using chemical analysis (called ICP-Mass).

The research showed that the larger is the fish the higher are the levels of mercury: between 1.0 and 2.0 parts per million for swordfish, tuna and dogfish, around 0.5 ppm in conger eels and 0.2 ppm in panga. No mercury was found in farmed salmon. These are large fish and at the top of the food chain, but the metal is not present in captivity due to the lack of an industrial or natural source.

The toxicity of fish depends on the amount mercury found in the fish presented in the diet. According to the recommendations of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the tolerable weekly intake of methylmercury should be no more than one serving containing amounts over 1.6 µg/kg (micrograms per kilogram of fish) or 4 µg/kg for inorganic mercury (this amount is close to the one detected in the study).

However, the current trend for this limit is to be lowered. For example, the United States food safety agency, the FDA, goes beyond this and recommends consuming no more than one portion per week of fish containing concentrations over 1 µg/kg, a tendency other countries are likely to follow.

"Contamination of above 0.5 ppm in a food is already thought to be a considerable level," Torroba explains. "Several of the fresh tuna and swordfish samples we analysed exceed and even double this amount. This is why experts recommend that pregnant women reduce their weekly intake of certain types of fish, such as swordfish, due to possible risks to the fetus."

Mercury in pregnant women

In this context, a study led by researchers from the Foundation for the Promotion of Health and Biomedical Research of the Community of Valencia (FISABIO, for its Spanish abbreviation) and the Spanish Consortium for Research on Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP, for its Spanish abbreviation) has shown that there is an association between prenatal mercury exposure and reduced placenta size and foetal growth.

The study, carried out within the Environment and Childhood (INMA, for its Spanish initials) mother-child cohort project, aimed to evaluate this link using data on 1,869 newborns from different regions of Spain (Valencia, Sabadell, Asturias and Guipúzcoa).

One of the largest studies carried out to date in order to determine mercury levels in umbilical cord blood samples and its association with different reproductive effects: measurements of foetal development (weight, height and head circumference at birth), placental weight, duration of pregnancy and risk of premature birth.

The findings, published in the journal Environmental Research, show a relatively high average mercury concentration in umbilical cord blood (8.2 micrograms per litre), with a 24 percent of samples exceeding the WHO's provisional tolerable weekly intake equivalent.

"A double in the cord blood mercury concentrations (e.g. a change in the concentration from 8 to 16 micrograms per litre) is associated to a 7.7 gram reduction in the weight of the placenta and also shows a pattern of negative association with the newborn's head circumference," explain Mario Murcia and Ferran Ballester, co-authors of the study. "However no relation was found with other parameters, such as duration of pregnancy."

The results of the INMA project suggest that prenatal mercury exposure may, therefore, be affecting the development of the placenta and foetal growth. Although the magnitude of these potential effects is small, reduced placental weight has been linked to the risk of high blood pressure in adulthood. Head circumference, in turn, has been associated with subsequent cognitive development.

Despite preventive and surveillance measures are been considered for foods, due to the positive effects on health that are also linked to consuming fish, the researchers urge for public health efforts in order to reduce human mercury emissions.

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Effective Management Can Navigate Climate Impacts on the Fisheries

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] - February 20, 2017

BOSTON – Fisheries around the world are likely to come under increasing pressure from climate change. But effective, cooperative management approaches can blunt the projected impacts on both fish stocks and on the billions of people who depend on them – and in some cases even improve the health of key fisheries.

“The future is potentially prosperous, but only if we take action now to adapt to the kinds of changes that we now anticipate,” said Christopher Costello, professor of environmental resource economics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, at a press briefing at the 2017 American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting.

Costello and two other researchers presented their analyses of different aspects of the threats and opportunities for fisheries management in the age of climate change.

Costello has developed a global-scale model of projected changes in the world’s major fish stocks due to the effects of climate change. The projected changes boil down to two main effects: changes in productivity and changes in range, or species’ distribution in the world’s oceans.

His analysis suggests that more than half of the world’s fisheries are likely to shrink in productivity. And as certain key species shift their distribution, there will be new winners and losers.

“As a general statement, we find that the higher latitudes tend to be the ones that gain from climate change, where fish stocks are likely to become more productive and more prevalent,” Costello said. “And the areas near the equator and tropics are likely to lose.”

That change in productivity and distribution threatens to hit low-income countries in low latitudes the hardest, said Michael Harte, professor of marine geography at Oregon State University.

“We know that inventive rights-based management and tenured-base practices can help get management right in the age of climate change,” said Harte. “If we succeed in doing this well, the world’s fisheries can do better than they are today. If we fail to get it right, the losers will be the people who can least afford it. They depend on fisheries for their food and incomes and they don’t have many alternatives. If the fish go, they’re in trouble.”

But with more effective management approaches, Costello agreed, “we can actually be better off on all three margins: more fish in the water, greater food provision and higher profits.”

Jake Kritzer, director of diagnostics and design at the Environmental Defense Fund, discussed his work looking in detail at a region that is being particularly hard hit by climate change: the waters of New England, where a long-term decline in the productivity of Atlantic cod is expected.

Kritzer examined a fundamental component of fisheries management: how catch limits are set. If the catch limit numbers are set too high, the ecosystem suffers. If the limits are too low, fishermen can lose their livelihoods. “Can we go about setting catch limits for fisheries that are more inherently resilient?” he asked.

His study found that sliding the “exploitation rate” up and down as fish numbers changed – instead of harvesting at a fixed rate regardless of the size of the population – optimized use of the fishery.

“Making that simple change,” he said, “tracking [fish] population size more closely, yielded much better outcomes for nature and for people. It could build more resilience into fisheries management.”

Other best practices, in some cases, are ancient.

“Looking at fisheries that are successful and models to be replicated that could counter balance these climate effects, many are based on providing secure fishing rights to fishermen,” Kritzer said. “Some people see this as a new, radically different way of managing fisheries. In fact, it’s rooted in approaches that many indigenous communities have had in place for millennia. Some of the best-managed fisheries in the developed world got to that level of success simply by reinvigorating or codifying these traditional tenure systems.”

Michael Harte’s research suggests that, as climate impacts intensify, a cooperative, trans-boundary approach to fisheries management will also be critical to protecting both fish species and the livelihoods of fishing communities around the world.

“A zero-sum approach doesn’t work in these fisheries,” he said, “and climate change just exacerbates that situation, because the stocks are moving. You can’t put barbed wire in the ocean. The challenge is that, when the fish move, the people can’t. If you’re in Indonesia, say, and productivity declines and the fish move, a fishing community can’t just move somewhere else.”

His work on a more “human-centric” approach to fisheries management highlights the benefits of cooperation. “We’re trying to show, if you don’t cooperate, this is what you’re losing. And then, what are the best practices that lead to good cooperation?”

As an example of a successful management framework, Harte cited the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, a coalition of Pacific island states that collectively manages their tuna fisheries. “The stock is shared and moves between all their waters. Instead of acting individually and allowing foreign vessels to come into each country’s waters and take their catches and be uncoordinated, they’re now working together as a coalition. And they’re generating hundreds of millions of dollars a year in benefits back to their local economies.”

The stakes of climate-adaptive fisheries management are high: about three billion people depend on fish for a significant portion of the protein in their diet.

“Globally some 800 million people suffer from food deficiency,” Harte noted. “By 2050 we have to increase food production by close to 100 percent to feed 9 billion people on this planet. These small-scale fisheries supply food and incomes livelihoods for close to a billion people.”

“If we don’t get it right,” Harte said, “we’re going to potentially see a resumption of fish [trade] wars, a return to overfished and collapsed fish stocks, and a squandering of a critical food and economic resource.”

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