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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Monday, March 13, 2017: Special ... Let’s talk sleet ...

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night ... nor these stinkin' glass doors. 

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Monday, March 13, 2017: Let’s talk sleet. Based on weather maps, we shore-ites might be seeing a rare phenomenon … one that many folks won’t appreciate seeing.

Obviously, we have a brisk nor’easter arriving. It is a garden-variety coastal storm, with all its amenities … wind, precipitation, beach erosion, social media prattle. Been there/seen that.

While I have gone with it being an LBI rain all along, a nagging insert now in many forecasts has me wondering – and, admittedly, curiously/excitedly waiting. Out of the blue, enter the “sleet” component.

Sleet is snow that melts and then, before hitting earth, refreezes into a unique icy form, often clear – though, so-called snow pellets, can also be a milky form of refrozen snowflakes.

But let’s go back to those clear, frozen pieces of precipitation because that could be where the coolness comes in, at least for observers like me. Sleet along the coast usually shows in tiny spurts, seldom enough to even cover the ground. What is being forecast by some – and I sure understand their thinking -- is a full-blown sleet storm, with as much as two to three inches of the stuff. Again, seeing sleet by the inches is very rare. Even if it hits hereabouts, it might manifest in only a localized manner. I’ve never seen – nor run around within – a multi-hour sleet downpour. Reality: Odds of a sleet storm aren’t great; rain a much greater possibility.

As you might guess, I’m kinda wishing on this low sleet storm possibility -- you know, just for laughs. Few will be laughing along with me. Piled up sleet is as slippery as striped bass eels, based on what I’ve seen during those short-lived, low-coverage sleet sessions. Inches of it? Driving, walking, running about? Do not try this at home.

Back to the storm. I still see blizzard warnings are being issued for the shore. Low likelihood. How about a sleet blizzard? There I go getting all excited again.

For those wanting things more sedate, precip-wise, you have a very good chance of seeing pure rain on LBI. The ocean is about 44 degrees. Any snow running into that balmy-by-comparison wind will de-crystalize, ASAP. Now, should those NE winds come more form the cold north, the falling snow will hit the warmer layer (lingering from the NE winds), melt, and then hit colder surface air; the recipe for sleet. If it doesn’t refreeze … a cold rains a gonna fall.

As to flooding, that threat stays put at the lower end of moderate. In a typical precautionary manner, park your vehicles away from typical flood-prone zones – and off Mud Island.

It seems likely that only one high tide will close the Boulevard, midafternoon tomorrow.

The best way I now know to stay informed on real-time road conditions is through social media -- though there is a lowly represented zone from Kubels 2 to around Acme that begs for more eyes a-watch.

Pinch points, like south Ship Bottom, will determine if Boulevard traffic must be fully stopped … for a short bayside, high tide stint. In some cases, PDs will allow truck and higher vehicles to pass. 

New England Fishermen Launch Mass Omega Fish Oil Produced Using Locally Landed Winter Skate

EAFOODNEWS.COM [Wickedlocal.com] By Doreen Leggett - March 13, 2017

Two engineers showed up at the Chatham Fish Pier a few winters ago and struck up a conversation with some fishermen who were unloading their catch.

Steve Daly and Bill Hannabach asked for some of the fish because they were doing research for a new business venture. The fishermen obliged and the men took home totes with a variety of species. 
"You have two rubes from out of town. They could have easily said get out of here," said Daly with a grin. "They didn't know what we were doing. We could have been making fertilizer, we could have been making pottery."

This week Daly and Hannabach were once again at a Cape Cod dock, this time at Saquatucket Harbor in Harwich, with some of the same fishermen they had met when they first began experimenting with everything from monkfish to dogfish. But now they had with them the results of their foray into the fishing industry, their first product, MassOMEGA: New England's Wild Fish Oil, set to be launched today and almost totally made from winter skate brought in by local fishermen.

"We have taken some of Nick's skates, basically pulled the oil out and purified it," said Daly, standing beside Nick Muto and his 40-foot boat the Dawn T.

Muto had just come in with his crew after close to 30 hours at sea with a hold full of skate.

"It is truly an amazing fish oil. It's better than cod liver oil. Skates have such a high level of omega-3s. Tuna is a close second, but after that it drops off significantly," Daly said.

Muto, as many fishermen do, keeps the wings of the skate to sell, but usually throws the bodies, or racks, overboard. But after fellow fisherman Doug Feeney introduced him to Daly and Hannabach, Muto carved up the skate bodies and gave the businessmen a big bag of livers. 
The fishermen knew that capitalizing on an under-utilized fish in a sustainable way was important to the small boat fishery as well as the economic health of the wider community. They also knew that fishermen were busy fishing and running a business and lacked outside investment to launch new products.

"There is an opportunity here," said Feeney, who captains the F/V Noah, named after his 4-year-old son who wants to be a fishing boat captain himself some day.

Feeney, who has been fishing since he was 15, loves his job, but it has changed in recent years and fishermen today fish a lot more species than just the traditional cod, whose numbers have dramatically declined.

Marketing different species and using science and technology to make use of different parts of a species is essential to the sustainability of the industry, he said.

Daly and Hannabach see the untapped potential as Chatham is the "epicenter" for skate landings in the state and if MassOMEGA could capture even a fraction of the $3 billion market for fish oil - one in eight Americans take a pill - that would pay dividends, not just for them but for the fleet.

"Our goal quite frankly is to buy every liver they bring to shore," said Daly. "It's nice to be able to be able to do something that will have local impact, local bounce."

Daly and Hannabach will readily admit their path wasn't easy and they weren't sure when they started they would ultimately be successful. In fact, they aren't completely sure now. But they are sure enough to have filed a patent and they have invested all their own funds in the company, which they named after themselves, D&H Labs.

"We are trying to [maximize] value in the fish that are harvested here on the Cape," Hannabach said.

Prior partnership

The two partners have worked together before. Daly, 51, headed up a semi-conductor business outside of Boston, Hannabach was his vice president of global operations. There came a time, Daly said, when he wanted a change, but when the two left the computer industry, they didn't want to just start any business.

The ocean, fishing and love for the Cape were in Daly's blood. Although he lives in North Andover, Daly has been visiting the Cape since he was 7 and now owns a home in Orleans. His father, Ed Daly, a longtime home owner in town, was named Orleans Citizen of the year in 2016. Although Hannabach is from New Hampshire he is a recreational fisherman who loves the water.

"We believe the New England fisheries have huge potential for innovation," said Daly. "Because of our backgrounds in technology we have the mindset that if you don't constantly innovate then you will be crushed by your competitors."

So they started experimenting with different fish. Feeney had given them dogfish, and there were myriad other species coming over the rails in Chatham and Harwich, too.

One summer's day in 2015 they set up a lab of sorts in Daly's backyard in East Orleans and with the help of his then 19-year-old- son, Justin, began their work.

"We bought small quantities of fish and started literally taking them apart," Daly said.

In that backyard they quickly found out street clothes were no match for the denizens of the deep.

"We do wear the Grundens now," Hannabach said laughing.

But they also discovered that winter skate is extremely high in various fatty acids.

"It's called an essential oil, but your body doesn't make it," said Daly. "You have to eat it."

Harnessing an untapped market

Charlie Dodge, one of the several fishermen who have helped the entrepreneurs out, has taken fish oil for years. At the dock on Tuesday, he looked at the bottle emblazoned with a lighthouse and smiled.

"Very cool," he said.

Dodge says he buys his fish oil in bulk from BJ's and it doesn't come from the United States. About 80 percent of the fish those in the U.S. consume aren't from this country.

"We don't know where it is coming from. Don't know how it is caught," he said. "So anything we use from here is a good thing."

Muto, 37, said it would be ideal if people could put a face with products people on the Cape use and to know "exactly where it came from ..."

"It's priceless," finished Feeney, who takes fish oil himself.

Making people more aware of skate could change the larger market. People can buy skate at local restaurants, but it isn't wildly popular.

"This could change the price structure of skate," Dodge said.

Once Daly and Hannabach discovered the skate's high omega-3 content their job was just beginning.

Hannabach said a big part of their thinking was how could the product be purified as the oil wasn't human-grade. So they developed a proprietary process that started in Daly's garage. They bought lab equipment and eventually hired a whole slew of people, including food scientists in Norway, to help them get it right.

"The amount of analysis that goes into this is mind-boggling," Daly said. "We are also perfectionists."

They are proud to note that the International Fish Oil Standard Program gave New England's Wild Fish Oil a perfect rating (five out of five stars), which Hannabach noted is as good or better than fish oil produced by many multi-national companies.

The two wanted to have a "clean label" Hannabach explained. So there are no chemicals in the purified oil, just green tea, rosemary and Vitamin E.

The two say they couldn't have done it without the support from Chatham fishermen; they have also bought skate livers from members of the New Bedford fleet. They have been processing the livers up in a small community in northern Maine and, depending on this initial run, hope to ramp up production considerably.

"We think we have a product that is quite competitive in the market," said Daly.

They expect it to become profitable right after the launch and then they intend to work with fishermen to pay even more for skate livers.

They also plan on creating other products that change the face of the fishery and also market them on a large scale.

"We don't want to be making brownies in the kitchen," Daly said. "We are trying to drive the market in a different direction."

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