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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Thursday, September 02, 2010: Waves: Swell has dropped a bit, down to occasional 2- to 3-foot east groundswell. Holgate is open but has a beach gash only about 1,500 feet in. That tight spot doesn’t…

Thursday, September 02, 2010: Waves: Swell has dropped a bit, down to occasional 2- to 3-foot east groundswell.

Holgate is open but has a beach gash only about 1,500 feet in. That tight spot doesn’t allow passage at high tide. It’s bad enough that the tide nearly has to drop a solid1.5 to 2 hours before there’s a chance of sneaking by. Obviously, the one-day (or less) effect of a skirting Hurricane Earl will eat away at Holgate. However, in this case the cutting might actually help the cause by evening out the alignment of the beach, removing culverts, cuts and such. By Saturday Earl will be a thing of the past and coolest air since who-knows-when will be in place. That cool down will last quite a few days before we inch back up toward 90 again next week, though no long-term torrid air is in sight – yet. There are still indicators an Indian summer of historic proportions could make a visit as late as October and November.

I had numerous calls of baitfish creating quite a serf ace stir in the ocean. I was work-bound, getting out the holiday issue copy of The Sandpaper so I couldn’t get down to check out what was tailing up. Oddly, everyone in the know said it wasn’t bunker. That only leaves mullet or certain types of herring. Whatever the forage fish might be, they seem to have sparked a modest showing of bluefish.

Fluking remains a tad iffier than we’ve seen but there are still some serious schools out there, which is the only way to put it even though these are not tightly schooling fish. A couple boats hit some kick-ass areas of flatties with decent keeper rates. Good hooking was had from bay to inlets to ocean, just not all those locales at once, as it had been. Fred G. of Lancaster caught his first 5-pound-plus fluke using a GULP and minnie combo. Those bluefish became problematic during some drifts. No locale given.

Back to Earl. It’ll give us some winds but not much more than we see a dozen times each winter. What’s more, he’ll be hauling ass to the north, as a powerful cold front and related trough powers in out of the west. I see virtually no rain for us, even though that would be one up side to the skirting storm. All the rain is in quadrants which will remain out at sea. By Saturday just the swells will remain but they’ll be large and potentially lethal for bathers and careless boaters toying with shoal areas.

Despite the heat, I did some late-day tracking yesterday, already gutting ready to feed some info to deer hunters. The deer count for our Pinelands area seem average to down a bit with the glaring exception of built-up areas of Route 9 and over along 72 toward Pinewoods and such. Those “yard” zones are once again packed in with resident deer populations. The Quail Fields a re showing a real good crop of deer, though running small (young). I saw virtually no coyote track. And I would have surely seen them since the ground is dry as a bone and holding tracks over a week old. Unusually large number of smaller mammals leaving nocturnal tracks, especially possum and skunks. Coon count remains down for tenth year in a row.

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[Baltimore Sun] - September 1, 2010 - Today brings a bit of short-term good news for horseshoe crabs - and a worrisome long-term prognosis.

Volunteers canvassing Maryland's coastal bays this summer counted a record 23,438 of the helmet-shaped crustaceans crawling ashore to spawn on five different beaches. That's the highest tally in nine years of checking by the state Department of Natural Resources and the Maryland Coastal Bays Program.

Horseshoe crabs creep ashore in late spring and early summer to lay eggs and fertlize them in a slow-moving orgy, with one or more males clinging to each larger female. The most action was seen on Skimmer Island, an eroding patch of sand just north of the U.S. 50 bridge in Sinepuxent Bay.

Surveyors report that the ratio of males to each female has gradually been climbing in the past eight years - a good trend for maintaining a diverse gene pool for the longlasting creatures. With more crabs laying more eggs, shorebirds and herons also had more to eat. The surveyors also saw an uptick in royal terns and black skimmers on aptly named Skimmer Island.

Now for the not-so-promising news: new research relayed by the U.S. Geological Survey suggests that the crabs have been in a long decline because the earth's climate has been changing - and that future rises in sea level and water temperatures could dim their prospects even more.

While the recent drop in horseshoe crabs has been blamed on overharvesting them for eel bait, a study published in Molecular Ecology suggests that changes in climate since the last Ice Age have had a hand in altering the number of successfully reproducing crabs seen along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

What's more, the impacts of climate change to come - rising sea level and water temperature fluctuations - could limit crab distribution and interbreeding. With fewer crabs to mingle, there are fewer genes to mix and blend. And without a rich variety of genes at work, a species may have a harder time adapting to changing surroundings, the scientists said.

And that could be bad news for struggling shorebirds like the red knot, which feast on the crabs' eggs to refuel for their epic 9,000-mile migrations. Likewise bad for the endangered Atlantic loggerhead sea turtle, which feeds on the crabs themselves.

'For this reason, the low effective population sizes indicated in the new study give one pause,' said Tim King, a US. Geological Survey scientist and lead author of the study.

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Center for Consumer Freedom finds gross inaccuracies in ''toxic fish'' list

August 1, 2010 - The Center for Consumer Freedom finds the latest 'fish list' full of inaccurate allegations.

Last week, Food and Water Watch (FWW) released a so-called dirty dozen list of what it claims are the 12 most “toxic” fish.

Commenting on the list, the National Fisheries Institute observed that FWW can't even get the most basic facts correct:

'[A] minimum of research would expose Food & Water Watch's suggestion that “many” foreign shrimp farms “densely pack their ponds to produce as much as 89,000 pounds of shrimp per acre” as patently ridiculous. In the same paragraph it is suggested that “properly run shrimp farms yield up to 445 pounds per acre.” Both are fairly close to absurd.

'An acre should be capable of producing somewhere in the neighborhood of 18 to 22 thousand pounds. 89,000 lbs is a gross exaggeration, while 445 lbs would suggest the farm has serious production problems and mortality issues that should set off alarm bells.

The Center for Consumer Freedom said FWW also cites the presence of mercury as a reason that fish like bluefin tuna and Chilean seabass are “toxic.”

'Since vanishingly small levels of mercury are present in pretty much every fish (and always have been), the presumption seems to be that eating just about any fish presents a health risk.'

'The FDA has an 'Action Level' for mercury in fish, and notes that it was “established to limit consumers' methyl mercury exposure to levels 10 times lower than the lowest levels associated with adverse effects. Translation: Take FWW's worry-wart routine with a ten-fold grain of salt. The EPA (which published a 2004 advisory about the amount of fish pregnant women and children should eat) also uses a heavily padded safety margin in its 'Reference Dose.'''

The Center for Consumer Freedom adds, 'Just remember that there's not a single case in the medical literature of someone getting mercury poisoning from commercially bought seafood in the United States.'

'That's a big reason that schools of top scientists are reminding the public that the well-known benefits of eating fish outweigh the oft-touted but hypothetical risks of mercury. Many are even asking the federal government to immediately update its 2004 advisory so that it reflects the most current research.'

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