What a save!!!! Are you serious !!??? That's a 10 ...
"Uh, is it OK if my dog takes the follow-the-pen test for me, ossifer?
Saturday, February 11, 2017: Blowout tide alert. I realize most vessels have been pulled for the winter but a goodly number, especially commercial vessels, are still in the water. Also, many bayside homes have to keep a close eye on docks and such when things get as low as they’ll be getting by Tuesday.
Blowout tides can also have some odd impacts ... oldgobbler.com
For me, a tide like this signals oyster pickin’ time. Very quietly, indigenous diploid oysters, which had been ravaged by over harvesting followed by disease, have made a very decent comeback. A few can be harvested without even remotely harming the beds, which I tend to call banks, another acceptable term. Around here, the more common picking areas are along the banks of sedges and estuaries.
Yes, if you have a recreational license, it is legal to keep oysters -- though picking the allowed recreational limit of 150 per day would quickly put a huge hurt on recovering oyster banks. Of course, knowing the whereabouts of those banks is generally a well-kept secret among a mere few folks. What’s more, it takes a seriously low tide to expose them.
I’m going to add this read on the NJDEP rule regarding all shellfish.
“A shellfish license (formerly called clamming) is required for harvesting all species of benthic mollusks (except conchs, addressed in the commercial marine fisheries regulations), including, but not limited to, hard and soft clams, surf clams, oysters, bay scallops and mussels. Resident recreational shellfish: $10. Harvest limit: 150 shellfish (in aggregate) per day. Sale of catch prohibited.”
I always like to note, without prejudice, you do need a license to keep washed up surf clams. Of course, the days of astounding surf clams washups began disappearing over a dozen years ago. These vitally important clams were on the way out long before Sandy and the beach replenishment. It is a total baffler as to what has happened to the nearshore surf clams. No, it is positively not due to over harvesting by the clamming industry, which is strictly regulated and continues to do fairly well – and clam further out at sea than our near-beach zone.
For many years, former headboat captain Bill Hammerstrom related the disappearance to freshwater intrusion from sewer outflow pipes right along the beachline.
Below is from a very interesting oyster article in www.foodrepublic.com (great site, also) written by Linnea Covington, see: www.foodrepublic.com/2014/11/26/10-things-you-probably-didnt-know-a.... The article lists some cool factoids about oysters. Here's a couple that fit in locally.
Oysters taste better in the winter:
Ever wonder why there’s the adage about not eating oysters in months that don’t have an r letter (think May, June, July and August)? The main reason is because it’s harder to keep them cold and fresh in the heat, especially before refrigeration. But the other reason is because in the summer months the bivalves are spawning, which gives them a weak and watery flavor. During the winter months, when the water is nice and cold, these molluscs really thrive. “They just taste a lot better when the water is colder,” says Stephanie Villani, who sells seafood in the NYC farmers’ market through her Long Island-based company Blue Moon Fish. “We don’t even bother to bring oysters in in the summer.”
NYC used to be the place to eat oysters:
When the Dutch first arrived in Manhattan during the 17th century, the island was covered in oyster beds, and oysters were a treat they, as well as the native population of Lenape Indians, thoroughly enjoyed. As more settlers came in and New York grew as a city, so did the consumption of this popular mollusc. By the 19th century, the oyster beds found in New York Harbor were the largest source of these creatures worldwide. In the city itself you could get raw oysters from street vendors or go to what was called an oyster saloon and find oysters cooked in all sorts of ways including scalloped, fried, dipped in butter, pan roasted and made into a stew. Unfortunately, this obsession with the mollusc caused mass destruction to the oyster beds, and they were all but wiped out. Today, there has been a strong push to revitalize the native oysters, though the days of having the streets of Manhattan glistening with shells is long gone.
Below: From https://billionoysterproject.org
SNOW-DAY IN-LINE DISCONTENT: It sure seems our little corner of the nation is on the emotional edge. I could base that solely on the prevailing social media nastiness. However, for me, it became more tangible last week, when I used the uncalled-for “snow day” to get in a load of shopping. In just a few line-standings, I witnessed three nearby shopper flare-ups.
While I wanted nothing to do with the drama, doesn’t one of the worst cases edge up behind me – and even tried to sucker me in. I’ll explain.
I was tucked into a rather long grocery “Express” line, which, admittedly, wasn’t living up to its name. I won’t mention the grocery, except to say it’s often crowded -- and was more so this day, likely due to the outside minor snowiness, which always sparks folks to survivalistically rush out to bolster their existing stocks of foodstuff.
Me and my plastic basketful of storm-thwarting sweets and confectioneries were a goodly number of shoppers away from check-out. Directly in front of me was a large-backed fellow, leaning wearily on his shopping cart. It was sorta obvious his cart had pushed well past the permissible number of goods allowed in this “express” line.
Hell, I couldn’t care less. Nor was I particularly put off when the man’s tiny-by-comparison wife rushed over with two armfuls of items to add to the cart … before bolting off, apparently for another squirrely gathering run. However, a senior couple behind wasn’t nearly as forgiving. Already anxiously tailgating, to where their cart repeatedly butt-bumped me, the two started to simultaneously sound off, issuing hisses and mumbles of disapproval over the apparent contravening of express-line etiquette taking place just up ahead.
Oh, it got worse when the little goods-gathering gal returned with half a dozen new shopping cart items. I heard the anger boiling up behind me; husband and wife harmonizing in huffs of disgust. It built to the point that the wife began issuing entire sentences, delivering the likes of “Oh, that’s ridiculous.”
It was during this escalation of pissiness that I was unaccountably drafted into things. Doesn’t the wife sidled up to me and all too loudly ask, “Can you believe what they’re doing?” Internally, I’m all, “Why in bloody hell are you asking me, lady!?”
The problem was her question was not rhetorical. She wanted me to verbally confirm what she assumed was some sort of consensus in-line indignation over the item-count ignorer. What’s worse, I sensed that if I didn’t respond with an obligatory, “I know. Can you believe it?” I might be seen as an accessory to blatant express-line abuse. Hell, for all I knew, the riled couple had gained the backing of the rest of the line. I was afraid to look back.
Making matters way worse, the angered elder, by entering my space, was knowingly leaking words to within earshot of the targeted shopper non grata.
I should mention that I knew, just from a back view, that the fellow being singled out was a highly burly, bruise-knuckled, steel-toe booted, Carhartt-wearing, haircut-needing, blue-collar type -- and more than likely highly pissed that he had just lost an entire day’s work for a did-nothing snowstorm.
Then, doesn’t his speedy little sidekick return with a load of stuff that even I couldn’t believe one could gather in under, what, 90 seconds?
I knew what was coming next. I could only offer an “Oh, crap,” toward the floor
With this latest unethical drop-off of goods into an already ethically overloaded cart, I could feel the behind-me folks vibrating with fury. That’s when years of perfecting the timely use of acute discretion kicked in. As if a micro-burst had just gone off above my head, I out-louded a seemingly sincere, “Oh, damn, I forgot the rutabagas!”
With that I busted out of the line -- hoping the spot gained by my vegetable-based departure might quell the in-line intensity. It would also allow the behind-me whiners to move forward ... and get a closer look at the ominous back-size of their target.
Gospel truth: After feigning my rutabaga hunt, I moved many check-out lines from the frickin “Express” zone. I was now highly willing to take my humble gathering of food items and stand in one of the loaded-down cart lines, where there is never a counting of items. Then, as I’m passing a closed checkout lane, doesn’t a light go on above the register and a just-arrived cashier gal shouts out “next.” That would be me! Wow, it was like a tiny form of “Blessed are the peacemakers.” OK, so maybe I was only a peacemaker by default but I still felt I had done my job, especially when I walked out of the store without hearing, “Clean-up on the express line … ASAP!”
Mass Stranding: Hundreds of Pilot Whales Beach Themselves Again
Hundreds of pilot whales stranded on Farewell Spit on the South Island of New Zealand today (Feb. 10, 2017).
Credit: Deb Price
Update: Feb. 11, 9:15 a.m. ET: This morning (Feb. 11), about 100 pilot whales were on the beach, and DOC staff didn't know where the whales that had been re-floated yesterday ended up. They made another re-floating attempt at 11:30 a.m. local time, managing to re-float the remaining whales. Volunteers, including those from the marine mammal charity organization Project Jonah, went into the water to prevent the whales from landing on the beach again: "There are 100 volunteers making a human chain in neck deep water endeavouring to prevent the whales restranding, with around another 200 volunteers on the beach," the DOC said in a statement. By 2:20 p.m., 80 of the re-floated whales had joined the pod of 200 or so individuals that had been re-floated yesterday. Boats are out monitoring their movements. The other 20 whales restranded and aren't in good condition; these whales will be euthanized, according to the DOC.
"It was a tough call to make and the decision not to attempt to refloat them and to euthanise the remaining whales was taken after talking to New Zealand Project Jonah’s Daren Grover," the DOC said. "Unsuccessful attempts at refloating the whales would likely lead to more injury and stress to them and prolong the whales' suffering. DOC has taken the decision to humanely euthanise the whales out of concern for their welfare."
Late this afternoon (Feb. 11), local time, the 200 re-floated pilot whales restranded near the original site, and the DOC is calling for more volunteers to help with more re-floating attempts.
Original story (posted Feb. 10)
More than 400 pilot whales stranded on a beach in New Zealand overnight, with 250 to 300 of the cetaceans already dead this morning in what is considered the third-largest whale beaching in the country since record-keeping began in the 1800s.
A New Zealand Department of Conservation worker saw the whales in the water Thursday night (Feb. 9) local time, finding the whales sprawled across the beach this morning along Farewell Spit, a narrow strip of land on the South Island.
More than 500 volunteers have come out to help with the rescue effort, with images showing people pouring water on the whales and covering them with what look like ripped T-shirts. [See Photos of Whales and Sharks from Above]
DOC staff and volunteers tried to refloat more than 100 of the live whales when the tide came in at 10:30 a.m. local time today (Feb. 10); about 50 whales swam into the bay successfully, while 80 to 90 of them re-stranded on the beach, according to a statement by the DOC.
Another refloating attempt is scheduled for Saturday (Feb. 11) at noon, during high tide, according to the DOC. The staff don't interact with the whales when it's dark for safety reasons: Pilot whales can get agitated when they're stressed and a flick of a fin or tail can injure or even kill a human, the DOC said. "They also carry diseases, so people need to avoid contact with blowhole exhalent or body fluids," the DOC said.
As for why whales land themselves on the beach and in large groups is a mystery, with a number of theories put forth by marine mammal experts, from malfunctions to their onboard "GPS," to a genetic pull toward the land, to a follow-the-pod-leader behavior.
Pilot whales, which are social animals, are well-known for stranding in groups of just a few to several hundred individuals, according to the American Cetacean Society. This would support the idea that when one pod member gets sick and ends up on dry land, the others swim to its aid, according to the DOC.
A member of the dolphin family, pilot whales use echolocation to get around, and if that ability is disrupted it could also lead to a stranding. "The most likely hypothesis is that pilot whales' echolocation is not well-suited to shallow, gently sloping waters, because they generally prefer high relief (steep) areas such as the edge of the continental shelf," according to a DOC fact sheet. "This would also explain why most mass strandings happen in summer, when the whales follow popular food sources inshore."
And Farewell Spit is located on the north end of Golden Bay, a known hotspot for pilot whale strandings.
The largest mass stranding of pilot whales in New Zealand occurred at another hotspot — Chatham Islands, where 1,000 whales stranded in 1918, and then in 1985, some 450 individuals landed on the beach.
NASA scientists have launched a study of a more far-out idea: that solar storms mess with the internal compasses of whales and dolphins, leading to stranding events.
Experts at Massey University are expected to undertake animal autopsies, or necropsies, of some of the pilot whales today, according to the DOC.
Due to the stranding, the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand is restricting airspace over the Farewell Spit Nature Reserve, barring any planes, drones or helicopters from flying under 2,000 feet (600 meters) there.
Original article on Live Science.