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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Saturday, February 08, 2020: That was a rather impressive run of windage ... Loads of newsy reads. Stop in.

Callinectes Douglassi, Giant Stained Glass Crab Sculpture at Baltimore Washington International Airport

photo by Elvert Xavier Barnes

“Callinectes Douglassi” is a giant stained glass sculpture of a Chesapeake blue crab at Baltimore Washington International Airport. The 10-foot-wide, 500 pound crab was created back in 1984 by artist Jackie Leatherbury Douglass in collaboration with her husband, John Douglass. For more on the sculpture, see this article by The Baltimore Sun and this photo gallery by Elvert Xavier Barnes.

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Today, Spray Beach ... 

Saturday, February 08, 2020: That was a rather impressive run of windage. I have to think yesterday's gusts toyed with 60 mph. In fact, I can’t remember when winds last rocked that hard. My truck was so buffeted going over the big bridge I was fighting to keep it properly lane-aimed.

When I hit the outback to collect some items to make natural pigments for artwork, I truly had to keep an eye peeled and an ear tuned to taller trees. They were offering the sound of heavy straining, the types of eerie moaning that issue forth right before an explosive blow-down. I finally opted to depart a section of sky-high trees for an area of dwarfish ones. I hear some trees came down on car within the county.

Combining almost 24 hours of howling offshores with today’s full moon, the bay had been blown out as far as it has been in many a moon. Back in the day, that was thought of as an oyster-picking blowout. Still is if you know where to look, with oysters making a modest had-fought comeback.

The oh-so-low tides shout out about clamming places that seldom show above water. Going to some new ground (mud), I nabbed my allowable daily 150 in nothing flat, allowing me some metal detecting time on the mainland. It’s nice to have the days squeezing out extra sunlight.

CLAM CHATTER: My take of clams will be put to some creative chowdery usages. I have a slew of new seasoning angles to try, not to mention plenty of veggie additions to thicken the pot.

I use mainly mediums clams for chowder. I also incorporate a load of small necks in the mix. I use those steamers whole, added in with the heavy presence of chopped cherry stones and those mediums. I’ve long left chowder clams to reproduce.

I’d like to say I’m a pure chowderist who manually opens clams, via shucking, to maximize their tenderness – then placing them in a chowder at the last instant, right before serving. Despite instructional efforts by the saltiest of the old baymen I clammed with professionally, I never got the knack of knife-opening clams.

I steam quite well, by carefully watching the pot to quickly remove openers, throwing them in cold water to stop the cooking -- before the chewiness all too quickly sets in.

Since I steam with just a small bit of water – I’m now into coconut water – the clam broth/liquor/extract, post steam, is top notch, once I double filter it, usually using tea strainers.

One thing I’m a stickler for is the de-gritting of clams. I purge them, usually overnight, in a five-gallon bucket of ocean water -- collected as I leave the beach after clamming. I like to get the day’s clams in the bucketed water for the drive home since the road bumps jiggle clean any outside grit off the clams. Hours of purging allows the ridding of sand grains trapped between the edge/lip of bivalve’s shell halves. Those pieces get squeeze tightly in place when a clam is first dug. In purge water, clams relax enough for the pinched sand to fall away.

By the by, there is no grit inside the clam, as some folks assume. A clam can’t stand so much as a grain within its organs. It either expels it, post haste, or, in the rarest-of-rare cases, make a pearl to smooth it over if unable to expel it.  

Image result for clam pearls

For any winter clammers who stop in here, I need to mention that clams cannot bury very well this time of year. Chucking undersized or oversized (chowders) into nearby water will simply offer them up for gulls, especially in the case of larger clams, which clams bust through the famed drop-from-height technique. The only way dug unwanted clams will live is if they are reburied. They do just fine then, righting themselves as warmth returns.  

Not sure if I mentioned in here that my last batch of clams went into fritters. Delectable. Here’s a basic recipe. I’ll suggest adding a goodly shake or three of Bay Seasoning.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 can (6-1/2 ounces) minced clams
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • Oil for deep-fat frying
  • Tartar sauce and/or lemon wedges, optional
Directions
  • In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper; set aside. Drain clams, reserving 2 tablespoons juice; set clams aside. In a small bowl, beat the egg, milk and reserved clam juice; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Add the clams and onion.
  • In an electric skillet or deep-fat fryer, heat oil to 375°. Drop batter by tablespoonfuls into oil. Fry for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown, turning occasionally. Drain on paper towels. Serve fritters with tartar sauce and/or lemon wedges if desired.

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Scallop Die-off Tied to Newly Detected Parasite

Copyright © 2020 Newsday
By Mark Harrington
February 6, 2020

The catastrophic die-off of Peconic Bay scallops in eastern Long Island waters may be tied to a previously undetected parasite that can infect the kidneys of adult and juvenile scallops, state regulators reported Friday.

The specific parasitic organism, known as coccidian parasite, was discovered in kidney tissue of all 32 scallops collected and sampled from Shelter Island's Hay Beach last November, the state Department of Environmental Conservation said. Some scallops had "extensive damage" to renal tubes, enough to kill the most heavily infected, the DEC said.

The agency, working with Stony Brook University's Marine Animal Disease Laboratory, said the parasite "represents a significant threat" to the scallops, but cautioned that "further research is needed" to study how widely the parasite may have been dispersed, its life cycle and rate of infection before it can be said with certainty that it was the direct cause of the die-off.

"This is a new factor that scientists think may have a prevalent effect," a DEC spokeswoman said.

Biologists last year theorized a combination of factors may have spurred the catastrophic collapse of Peconic Bay scallops, which saw mortality rates of from 90% to 100% in many eastern waterways.

They said unusually warm waters and resulting low oxygen levels may have hit at the height off the scallops' summer spawning season in July, putting heightened stress on the shellfish. There were also reports that large schools of cow-nosed rays spotted in eastern waters may have been feasting on scallops in numbers not previously seen.

Regulators on Friday were quick to point out that the coccidian parasite is not a public health concern and poses no danger to humans. But its potential impact to the bay-scallop fishery, if proved, was widespread. In the prior two years, baymen landed some 108,000 pounds of bay scallops during the early November to March 31 season, with an estimated value of some $1.6 million. This winter, many licensed scallopers put away their gear after just a week of fishing.

For many fishermen in eastern bays, scallops are an important component of their winter income.

Impacts were reported at local restaurants and wineries, fish shops and even roadside scallop stands that dot the East End, primarily on the North Fork, when scallop season opens.  

DEC commissioner Basil Seggos, in a statement, said the agency and Stony Brook scientists would continue to investigate "environmental factors that promote disease development of the parasite and monitor its geographical extent in bay scallops in Peconic Bay in order to protect and restore this ecologically and economically important resource."

Despite the unexpected parasite finding, the DEC is still classifying the cause of the die-off as "unknown," though it now believes the parasite is "one of the causative factors."

The coccidian parasite is one of a strain known as apicomplexan, which are found "in virtually all types of animals," a DEC spokeswoman said. They can complete their life cycle in a single host, but some require multiple species, or hosts, to complete their life cycle. It's unclear whether the parasite found in Peconic Bay scallops requires one or more host species, DEC said.

It is also unclear how it turned up in the bay scallops to begin with. The DEC, Cornell Cooperative Extension and Stony Brook scientists will continue research to determine the origin of the parasite and whether its presence was triggered by environmental factors such as warmer bay waters, the DEC said.

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Coronavirus Origin in Question as Cases in China Continue to Grow

Did the mysterious pneumonia outbreak really start at South China Seafood City in Wuhan? That's the question as cases of the novel coronavirus in China continue to grow.

The first case of pneumonia was reported in Wuhan, the capital of Central China's Hubei province, in mid-December. Early reports linked the pneumonia cases to South China Seafood City, also known as Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, due to a number of the initial patients being vendors and dealers who worked at the seafood market. The market was closed on January 1 for environmental sanitation and further hygiene investigations.

Last week reports surfaced that Chinese scientists used samples of the virus isolated from patients to determine the genetic code of the virus. Those scientists were able to determine that the outbreak was a new coronavirus in the same family as SARS or MERS. Because SARS and MERS are classified as "zoonotic viral diseases," and the fact that initial patients had ties to the seafood market, scientists began looking for a link to animals. The Journal of Medical Virology published a report on January 22 saying that after a comprehensive sequence analysis their findings suggest that a "snake is the most probable wildlife animal reservoir for the 2019-nCoV." According to other media outlets, South China Seafood City also sold processed meats and live consumable animals — including snakes.

However, the origin of the coronavirus is in doubt as more scientific reports say that the virus, which has taken the lives of at least 132 people in China at the time of this writing, did not solely start at the seafood market. British medical journal The Lancet published a report that the first person to become ill with the virus was actually identified on December 1 and had no ties to South China Seafood City.

The Washington Times reports that there are "suspicions about a link to a biological warfare leak" because the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory handles deadly viruses. A former Israeli military intelligence analyst on the Chinese biological arms program told the outlet that it's "possible the disease escaped from one of two Chinese research facilities that are linked to China's covert biological weapons program."

Other reports on the start of the virus are not ruling out animal-to-person transmissions, but speculate that some of the earlier patients may have actually been infected in October or November, or possibly even earlier.  

Investigations into the outbreak are still underway, but with the number of cases growing, the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has started evacuating U.S. citizens living in Wuhan. A reported 201 U.S. citizens, including U.S. consulate staff and families were evacuated, but not before undergoing health screenings by Chinese health officials and U.S. health officials prior to departure from Wuhan. The flight evacuating citizens refueled at Ted Stevens International Airport North Terminal in Anchorage on Tuesday evening. That section of the terminal was closed off to the public. All passengers were screened again by the CDC and continued on to California, where the flight landed at March Air Reserve Base, approximately 60 miles east of Los Angeles. The passengers were being rescreened by the CDC in California and "temporarily housed for a period of time."

According to the State Department, they are currently working with Chinese officials to evacuate other Americans. As of this publication there are 6,055 reported cases in China. There are five confirmed cases in the U.S.

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The World's Oceans are Speeding up — Another Mega-scale Consequence of Climate Change

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Post
By Chris Mooney
February 6, 2020

Three-quarters of the world's ocean waters have sped up their pace in recent decades, scientists reported Wednesday, a massive development that was not expected to occur until climate warming became much more advanced.

The change is being driven by faster winds, which are adding more energy to the surface of the ocean. That, in turn, produces faster currents and an acceleration of ocean circulation.

It's the latest dramatic finding about the stark transformation of the global ocean — joining revelations about massive coral die-offs, upheaval to fisheries, ocean-driven melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, increasingly intense ocean heat waves and accelerating sea level rise.

"The Earth is our patient, and you look for symptoms of how it is reacting to anthropogenic greenhouse gas forcing," said Michael McPhaden, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researcher and one author of the new study in Science Advances. "This is another symptom."

The new research found that 76 percent of the global ocean is speeding up, when the top 2,000 meters of the ocean are taken into account. The increase in speed is most intense in tropical oceans and especially the vast Pacific.

Scientists aren't certain of all the consequences of this speedup yet. But they may include impacts in key regions along the eastern coasts of continents, where several currents have intensified. The result in some cases has been damaging ocean hotspots that have upended marine life.

The study was led by Shijian Hu, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who worked with McPhaden and other experts in China, Australia and the United States. The researchers used a global network of devices called Argo floats, as well as other data sets, to reach their conclusions.

They found a global increase in wind speed over the ocean of about 2 percent per decade since the 1990s, which translates into about a 5 percent increase per decade in the speed of ocean currents.

Since these currents do not move very fast to begin with, the change would not be noticeable from, say, the bow of a ship. One current, the Pacific's South Equatorial Current, typically moves at about a mile per hour, so the speed increase over one decade would only be to around 1.05 miles per hour, McPhaden said.

Still, taken across the entire planet, this represents an enormous change and a tremendous input of wind energy. And it was not expected to happen yet.

The study notes that in extreme climate warming scenarios, a speedup of global winds also occurs — but the change was expected to peak at the end of this century, after vastly more warming than has happened so far. This suggests the Earth might actually be more sensitive to climate change than our simulations can currently show, McPhaden said.

The researchers admit they cannot prove that the change they've detected is driven solely by greenhouse gases. The oceans, particularly the Pacific, have natural cycles that drive them as well. However, they argue that the changes that have occurred are "far larger than that associated with natural variability."

And this is not happening in isolation — multiple large changes have been detected in the world's oceans of late.

"It's analogous to the changes in sea level in terms of the accelerated rise over the last 25 years," McPhaden said. "And these may be connected, and likely are."

Having detected a massive global change, the researchers say they have not yet teased out the local consequences. But they are bound to be substantial.

"Perhaps the most important consequence is the increased redistribution of heat around the planet that stronger circulation would bring," said Alex Sen Gupta, an ocean and climate expert at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, who commented on the study but was not involved in the research. "This would affect temperature distributions and could affect weather patterns — but more work would be needed to make these links."

Another ocean and climate expert, Edward Vizy of the University of Texas at Austin, said he suspected the scientists were onto something with their findings but also that the change may not be as large as they are reporting.

"I'm sure our ocean observations have improved in the early 2000s, so I wonder how much of the change in the ocean reanalyses is a reflection of the inclusion of this information," he said.

So far, when it comes to the effect of climate change on ocean currents, the largest amount of attention has been paid to the North Atlantic region. Here, a major current system — the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or AMOC — is moving not faster, but slower.

This circulation, however, is not driven simply by winds — it is also propelled by the density of cold seawater, which determines how much water can sink and flow back southward in the deep ocean. So, the results are not necessarily contradictory.

In related research, McPhaden and his colleagues have found that around the globe, a key set of ocean currents, which are located on the western side of ocean basins, have been shifting their movements and in some cases, intensifying. As they've done so, these currents have often left behind zones of extreme warming as they transport warm waters to new places.

These changes, too, are being driven by shifting ocean winds, so they could be connected.

Off the eastern coast of Australia and Tasmania, for example, a current called the East Australian Current has intensified and pushed farther southward, bringing warmer waters to the Tasmanian coast and devastating the native kelp forest ecosystem that had once thrived there. The new study shows a marked current intensification in this region.

"There is a compelling logic that says that these are related," McPhaden said.

The current study does not focus on local impacts, however, but rather, on the global picture.

"It's just sort of taking the pulse of the planet," McPhaden said. "It's a surprise that this kind of result comes out so robustly."

Vegan Tuna Manufacturer 'Considering Legal Action' Against Boston Seafood Show Organizers

January 29, 2020

Atlantic Natural Foods, the manufacturer of vegan tuna brand TUNO, announced on Wednesday that they are "exploring legal action" against Diversified Communications, the organizer of Seafood Expo North America.

Seafood Expo North America, also known as the Boston Seafood Show, is being held from March 15-17. The show is hailed as the largest seafood trade event in North America and last year drew over 1,300 exhibitors from 49 countries. In 2019 more than 22,000 seafood industry professionals from around the world convened in Boston for the annual show. Exhibitors and attendees are gearing up for the upcoming 2020 show – but not Atlantic Natural Foods.

Back in December Liz Plizga, group VP for Diversified, confirmed to Undercurrent News that plant-based seafood companies would be unable to exhibit their products at Seafood Expo North America.

"One of the unique aspects of Seafood Expo North America for our attending buyers is that we are specifically seafood-focused compared to other general food events," said Plizga. "As we are monitoring this alternative protein option, for 2020, it has been determined that protein products be limited to seafood proteins, where a majority of the product's ingredients need to be seafood or aquatic in nature. Similarly, buyers will not find chicken, pork, or beef products exhibited at the event."

Douglas Hines, founder of Atlantic Natural Foods, issued the following response:

"Despite having seaweed and algae in our product, we were denied admittance to the show. We're not tolerating this non-acceptance and will continue our unwavering mission to help the world feed nine-billion people by the year 2050 through our line of plant-based products while saving the oceans."

Jen Lamy, a Sustainable Seafood Initiative Manager with the Good Food Institute, also issued a statement on Diversified's decision, telling Plant Based News that, "the move to disallow the participation of a plant-based seafood company limits the growth of a sustainable, healthy, and just method of producing the same seafood products that consumers want."

According to the press release from Atlantic Natural Foods, they requested admittance back in October to exhibit Loma Linda's TUNO brand at the 2020 show. When they were denied admittance, they requested Diversified to reconsider based on the grounds that "TUNO is not only made of ocean-based ingredients but also is currently developing seafood applications." Atlantic Natural Foods were denied admittance again and proceeded to request formal clarification, and for Diversified to review the show's policy regarding restricting exhibitors to "seafood producers."  Atlantic Natural Foods claims that they have yet to receive a response from Diversified and "believe the actions are directly solely towards ANF and its owners, which are long-term veterans of the seafood industry."

"Leaders in the seafood industry are again attempting to ignore innovation and groups out of their control," Hines noted in the press release. "Instead of embracing change and delivering on new consumer expectations, they continue on a path to repeat past practices."

Hines is the CEO and managing director of AFT holdings, the owner of All About Healthy Foods Holdings and its subsidiary Atlantic Natural Foods. Prior to acquiring Atlantic Natural Foods back in 2010, Hines was a COO and board director at Bumble Bee Foods. He also previously held executive positions at Chicken of the Sea and Mitsui. Seafood Source, a publication of Diversified Communications, published a lengthy interview with Hines and his move from tuna to TUNO last April. 

No formal legal action has been made by Atlantic Natural Foods. Instead, the company is publicly requesting that Diversified Communications "formalize a policy that is fair and equitable for all – not one that is arbitrary or capricious."

While plant-based seafood companies are not exhibiting at Seafood Expo North America this year, Ocean Hugger Foods, which created a plant-based alternative to raw tuna out of tomatoes, did have a booth at the 2018 show.

Amanda Buckle

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Duluth Trading Co. Debuts Fishing Clothing Line for Harsh Weather Conditions

Clothing company Duluth Trading Co. unveiled its first collection created to withstand the harsh weather commercial fishermen face out at sea.

The new line, “inspired by the grit of the Alaskan frontier,” dubbed Alaska Hardgear consist of six products that fishermen can trust on deck. Duluth highlighted its solution-oriented and job-tested product when announcing the new line of clothes.

"For a fisherman, Alaska is the holy grail. It's the same for commercial fishing and sport fishing alike. We looked at the performance needs of both those groups and used it as our filter of functionality for the Alaskan Hardgear Fishing line," said Ricker Schlecht, Senior Vice President of Product Development and Creative, Duluth Trading.

Duluth described the line as performance workwear and angling gear built for machine shacks, mountain streams, heaving seas and conditions all things but hospitable. The products are made with materials that are resistant to hooks and other sharp objects, gust and waterproof protection and along with flexible fabric.

The following Alaskan Hardgear products will be available in all Duluth Trading Co. stores nationwide beginning on February 5.

Alaskan Hardgear Resurrection Bay Jacket and Pullover - $119.50

“This jacket will outperform the typical polyurethane rain jacket,” Duluth said in a press release. This jacket is fully seam-sealed and waterproof. The jacket also provides freedom of movement for working on deck. The coat also comes with a three-piece hood with an adjustable tab and bill to keep water and wind out of your face.

Alaskan Hardgear Resurrection Bay Bibs - $129.50

“Built with the same polyurethane as the jacket, these bibs are fully seam-sealed and waterproof with the added feature of inherent stretch unlike others on the market.”

Alaskan Hardgear Stormwall Wading Jacket - $199.50

Made with three-layer fabric, waterproof and helps keep the elements at bey with scrape-stopping ripstop outer layer combined with a seam-sealed membrane to vent sweat. This item offers comfort without clamminess.

Alaskan Hardgear King Crab Fleece Hoodie and Vest - $119.50 (Hoodie) / $99.50 (Vest)

Jacket built for wear and tear with resistance to snags from hooks and brush. Duluth explained the hoodie and vest as a layering piece for a day on the water. Hypalon tab keeps tools close at hand, and the back D-ring provides a quick stow of your net.

"This gear is going to perform for every angler who seeks out or is caught up in extreme conditions, whether that's a commercial fishing vessel or fly-in expedition. There is nothing like Alaska to put gear to the test."

Image may contain: 2 people
Flor Garduño Photography
1001 Photographs You Must See Before You Die by Quintessence Editions Ltd. Paul Lowe as General Editor and a Foreword by Fred Ritchin. The Quarto Group, thank you!
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