Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Bigger blues are coming to win us …
Seems the slammers are a-surge. It’s still far from frenzied blitz-esque hooking – though that could happen very soon.
Notice the marked hike in average fish fatness. This is a sign the main migratory bluefish biomass is arriving and that the fish therein are slamming down some fatty grub, likely rainfish and sand eels. Where the way-late bunkies (peanuts) are at is a major mystery.
Anyone with bluefish stomach content reports, please forward them to me. I know it’s not always easy getting matter from their bellies. Per usual, bluefish bellies often seem to be dead empty when they’re cleaned. That is seldom if ever what it appears. Blues have one of the fastest regurgitation mechanisms in the business. That skill is part and parcel to their insanely high metabolism, their overall muscularity and also a penchant to bolt down food – before the other guys get it.
A bluefish’s knee-jerk bolting down of anything seemingly edible requires frequent rejections – and ejections -- of stuff that, on further internal inspection, wasn’t meant for consumption. The fish’s high-speed personality and bodily allows to truly jettison suspect foodstuff.
Bluefish regurges are why other fish are both freaked by the arrival of bluefish gangs but also at-the-ready to scarf up the frequent fall-out when blues purge their bellies, be it through a natural need or egged on by suddenly being hooked. By the by, bluefish will regurgitate perfectly good food during migrations. This seemingly unnaturally wasteful upchucking is sometimes required to lighten the load, as it were, to keep up with the pack.
I was chunk fishing in Holgate years back and landed nearly a dozen nicer bass in short order. I released all of them but not before I performed a manual belly-emptying maneuver. I was taught the technique in college. When done properly it doesn’t harm the fish whatsoever. I was astounded at the many sharply incised pieces of bunker inside the stripers. These weren’t humanly carved. I was just about the only angler in sight and I routinely cut my bunker baits into perfect, easily ID’ed donuts. The assorted chunks were positively bluefish fallout. Not only did it show how much food falls from bluefish but also reconfirmed a fairly close fall relationship between marauding blues and bottom-dwelling bass. I also recall how amazed I was that I wasn’t also catching bluefish. No sooner was that notion in my head than the blues bull-rushed the bite so soundly it soon put an end to that outstanding (post-Classic) stripering session.
[Seafoodnews.com] - November 16, 2011 - Copyright 2011 Seafoodnews.com
The Pew Environment Group registered its support for an international treaty to combat illegal fishing that is going to the U.S. Senate for ratification.
Jeff Wise, director of the Pew Environment Group's Global Campaign to End Illegal Fishing, issued this statement today in response to the Obama Administration's formal transmittal for ratification by the U.S. Senate of the Port States Measures Agreement, a major international treaty to combat pirate fishing.
"A result of the work of the Obama and Bush administrations, this treaty provides a rare opportunity to crack down on illegal fishing and advance the priorities of a wide variety of interests—from conservation to commercial fishing.
"The United States was a leader during the treaty's negotiation and is already one of the world's top enforcers when it comes to combating illegal fishing. The agreement requires other nations to match our efforts by monitoring and stopping the flow of illegal fish through their ports and into commercial markets.
"With 80 percent of global fisheries fully or over-exploited, pirate fishing is devastating healthy ocean ecosystems and hurting responsible fishermen in America and around the world. Representing as much as one-fifth of the globally reported fish catch, illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing steals $23 billion a year from the pockets of hardworking fishermen and their families.
"In light of the fact that Republican and Democratic presidents have worked hard to end illegal fishing, we urge senators on both sides of the aisle to build on that progress by ratifying this treaty."
[Star News] by Kate Elizabeth Queram - November 17, 2011
When Denny McCuiston had his first close encounter with the super-sized Asian tiger shrimp -- a hefty, spindly, foot-long, tentacled, black-and-orange-striped prawn -- he had a slightly atypical reaction.
'I think they're beautiful,' said McCuiston, a shrimper based in Wrightsville Beach who so far this year has caught two dozen of the giant prawn. 'Their colors are so vibrant. They're really pretty shrimp.'
The jumbo shellfish, however, are also potentially dangerous.
A non-native species, Asian tiger shrimp have been present in North Carolina waters since at least 2008, but the number of the enormous prawns lurking locally is at an all-time high.
According to data from the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, fishermen have reported catching more than 200 so far this year -- up from 10 last year and 30 in 2009.
The increase is a concern for state officials, who say the jumbo prawns could endanger native shrimp species by spreading sickness and depleting food and habitat resources.
'They could compete with our native species for food and space,' said Rich Carpenter, manager of the state agency's Wilmington district. 'The other concern is that they could carry some diseases that our native species are not conditioned to deal with.'
Fisheries officials aren't sure how the shrimp first ended up in state waters or why their numbers seem to be increasing. The shellfish are native to the West Pacific and are widely farmed in Asia, and while a batch did escape from a South Carolina aquaculture facility in 1988, reasons for the recent influx remain unclear.
'We don't know whether they're breeding or they're escaping from aquaculture facilities in the Caribbean and then moving up the Gulf Stream,' Carpenter said. 'They could be discharged with ship ballast. That happens occasionally.'
So far, fishermen have reported snagging the shrimp everywhere from the northern Cape Fear River and Pamlico Sound to Carolina Beach. Scientists with Fisheries and the U.S. Geological Survey will do genetic studies on the prawns to determine where they originated and if they're reproducing.
But fishermen haven't reported catching any small tiger shrimp, which makes it unlikely that they're breeding, Carpenter said.
'Every one that I've seen has been large,' he said. 'We don't know for sure, but the fact that we're not seeing any smaller ones is encouraging.'
Area watermen agreed, saying they were largely unconcerned about the super-sized shrimp imposing on native species.
'I don't see any indication of where there's a new crop,' McCuiston said. 'What is there is there. I don't think they're multiplying, and when they finally get caught, they'll probably be gone.'
In the meantime, shrimpers said they're not bothered by the enormous shellfish. McCuiston said he plans to have his biggest prawn freeze-dried.
But other fishermen were less sentimental about their catches.
'I'm going to cook my first one tonight. The boys who eat them say it's something between a shrimp and a lobster,' said Danny Galloway, a Varnamtown-based shrimper who's caught from 30 to 40 tiger shrimp so far this year.
'I'm just going to try to eat them so I can see what they taste like.'