Time to start thinking about Christmas gifts for the angle and outdoorsperson. I'm making a twice-checkable list of what might be perfect presents.
Correction: This is apparently NOT an official USCG Aids to Navigation vessel, though it might be a subcontractor. Looking into it.
This applies to all waters, fresh or marine.
Randy Gaines ... outdoors and on the water! While scooping regurgitated shad from my live-well this morn I discovered this pull tab. Some slob pitched it over and some poor walleye ingested it. Come on folks we are better than this
Thursday, December 05, 2019: If only the LBI Surf Fishing Classic could have a fireworks-like finale. Nope. Best hope for the event is a last-minute winner or two, prior to Sunday’s conclusion.
I will wait until the smoke clears to once again ponder the event’s future. I’m not even remotely thinking in doomsday terms, simply pondering what might be needed – other than a minor necessity like fish – to keep this long-lived tradition alive through the 20s – as in the 2020s.
It with sincere sincerity – as opposed to posed sincerity – that I thank the anglers who joined this year’s Classic, many knowing they wouldn’t be able to fish it heavily. Again, keeping it alive through participation is a tribute to many of our dads -- and even granddads -- who launched it well over 50 year ago.
WHAT'S COMING: Coming up are some wicked west winds -- and the first batch of oddly mild temps I’ve seen on the horizon for much of December. Sure, there will be some sub-freezing night, though nothing overly icy, upper 20s at worst.
The offshores will greatly favor surf casting over boat bassing, though the biomass of schoolies right off the beach has been impressive. Those schools can move off quite quickly, as spawning instincts kick in. Possibly helping to hold them in place will be the arriving air temps nearing 60 by the weekend – my fall “weekends” beginning on Fridays.
HIGH / LOW
WNW 19 mph
SW 16 mph
NNW 10 mph
SSE 9 mph
S 18 mph
SW 16 mph
POISON PICKIN' TIMES: We hold the atmosphere as sacred -- and right we should. Despite that, we’ve likely done it wrong by throwing our highly human Industrial Revolution gases in its face.
As we try to make amends for our gaseous abuses we’re spewing forth, there is heated debate over what’s truly behind global warming. A growing legion of mighty dang bright scientists are now looking at the possibility the atmosphere is doing exactly what the planet – not the people – expects of it. I’m referencing the notion that the very apparent atmospheric warm-up is just one of those natural things that come along every few eons or so, as the Earth runs hot and cold at will.
Attributing climate change to just one of those things certainly throws a wrench in the gears of what has become a worldwide public-driven dynamo to fight greenhouse gases and such. It even subtly downplays everything from internal combustion engines to smoke stakes as ruiners of the atmosphere.
The kickback from an even larger contingency of equally world-class scientists holds firmly to their belief that places the maniacal polluting by mankind as the sky-highest impactor behind the current heat-up.
As those great bodies of thinkers academically duke it out, we of a coastal ilk can coyly offer a hearty “Whatever, dudes.” In many ways, the reason the seas are rising makes no never-mind. Natural or unnatural, it’s a pick-your-poison thing for those of us living on the edge, as in the ocean’s edge.
That sardonic angle offered, by blaming mankind for atmospheric and meteorological conniption fit offers something of an out, namely, ending the sky abuse we’ve been carrying out for easily 150 years. Clean up our atmospheric act. Such a cleansing will help humanity even if global warming is a fully natural thing. The ugly polluting ways of mankind are well worth stopping -- better make that well worth greatly reducing.
By going into a self-cleansing mode, we allow the two needlessly divergent opinion groups to maybe meet somewhere mid-mindset, allowing for the possibility/likelihood that two different impacts could be in sky-play. They could then tag-team in a fight-back way, agreeing that something significant must be done.
Returning to my pragmatic approach for coastalites, our job is to fight the good fight to make the skies brighter while also practicing fierce resilience in maintaining our coastline lifestyle.
I’ll catch heat from folks, like that highly expressive little Swedish girl, when I assure you with absolute confidence that the planet is not dying, though I see why crusaders for a cleaner healthier Earth need to go that drama route to garner world class attention, reaction and do-something support.
With 90 percent of our nation living near the coast, that leaves an insane amount of mileage unlived upon. The immensity of the US can by seen by taking the new remarkably discounted train trip from one coast to another. When it comes to even an insane water-drive retreat, the available retreat acreage is off the charts. I’m serious as sea rise. We have almost unimaginable terrain on which to withdraw upon in huge-picture long run.
Keeping a distant flooded-out future in mind, the hear-and-now quickly arises. It comes down to holding out where we damn well feel like holding out – and for as long as we can. For me, it’s all about a civic duty to LBI life.
When must our holdout give out? It is being proven almost daily that an exact timeframe for when the ocean will cover places like LBI is utterly obscure, even when accepting the notion that the sea will positively absolutely rise to all new heights, eventually. Nailing it down to the month, year or decade is for soothsayers and drama queen researchers, many out more for media glory than academic merit.
Less jaded experts are now homing in on how new, hugely significant aspects of rising oceans are themselves arising. Just this year, a team of researchers published a report on how rising seas press down on the bottom, lessening the discernable rise of water on land masses. There might not be a simple tit-for-tat ocean sea level rise based on, say, glacial melt.
More telling, even a total Arctic ice cap melt won’t cause the seas to rise one iota. While that sounds somewhat soothing, the now-occurring meltdown of ice residing on land masses, like Greenland glaciers and Antarctica’s ice cover, can still do a sea level rise number easily capable of inundating coastlines.
Synopsis: Any inch-pe- year ocean rise predictions, while fully understandable, remain open to interpretation by nature itself. There are more natural variables with sea rise than science can shake a measuring stick at. Those variables, as esoteric as they might seem, are what we should bank on when grabbing precious time living our lifestyles next to the sea.
For me, I’ll give up my island when they wrest it from my cold, dead hand – to borrow an IRA bumper sticker notion. For the less fatalistic majority, having the Causeway Big Bridge and water towers become the last visages of LBI will surely have ushered in a sensible retreat -- a retreat to the next best shoreline, wherever it might be.
It’s not overly prophetic to predict a future boat fishing destination called the Beach Haven West reef -- for excited anglers departing from the Route 72/539 boat basin. The coastal GPS coordinates will change but the fun factor won’t. The shore will surely survive.
If this sounds a lot like a living-with-sea-rise lecture, it positively is – with an emphasis on the positive, accentuating same. As to the critical side of living on the ocean’s edge, how is it that much different from than it has been going back thousands of years? Face it, nature has occasionally been brutal for coastlites. With nary a hint of global warming, oceans past have taken horrific tolls. In fact, we’ve never been better equipped to speedily head for the hills when nature takes on a bad mood.
Can you believe this!?@sealeveler caught this redfish with a pair of sunglasses protruding from its stomach during a trip. It’s surprising how the fish survivedthis way and was still able to swim away like a champ. @sealeveler
Help New Jersey Pass the Strongest Plastic Pollution State Bill in the Nation
New Jersey has the opportunity to make history. Bills S.2776 and A. 4330 would ban single-use plastic bags while putting a fee on paper and reusable bags as well as ban plastic straws and harmful polystyrene foam. If this passes, New Jersey would be the first state to ban plastic bags, foam, and straws together! Take a few minutes and send a message to Governor Murphy and your NJ legislators that you support this significant step towards reducing plastic pollution on New Jersey beaches and out in the ocean!
Polystyrene foam (aka styrofoam), plastic straws, and plastic bags are some of the most commonly found items littered in our communities and on our beaches. They are a blight on our cities, and injure animals when ingested. Similar legislation in other states and cities has led to reductions in single-use plastic waste and pollution.
This is a huge opportunity for New Jersey to show its leadership in the fight against plastic pollution!
Fill in your information on this page, and edit the message on the following page so that it is unique--tell our elected officials that you support banning plastic bags, straws, and foam in New Jersey!
Norwegian scientists working on technology to stop hurricanes in Delray
Hurricane season comes to an end. (NOAA)
DELRAY BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) —The energy is there, the solution is there, it's just the will," said Olav Bjørnsund Hollingsæter, of
OceanThermis focused on research and development to stop deadly storms like hurricanes and typhoons.
Hurricanes start when lots of hot and cold air mix above warm ocean water.
OceanTherm scientists think hurricanes could be stopped by changing the ocean's surface temperature using pipes.
"We want to lift up the cold water and mix it with the warm water on the surface, thereby reducing the energy source for the hurricanes," Hollingsæter said.
The technology already exists and is in use in Norway.
"We use the same technology as we use in norway to keep the fjords free from ice," Hollingsæter said.
The company just needs funding to take the technology to the next level.
That's why they're in South Florida, they're meeting with groups like FPL's parent company.
"We're seeking now about $1.5 million for next year to do necessary testing," Hollingsæter said.
OceanTherm aims to run a pilot program right in Florida and in the Gulf of Mexico in 2021. They estimate they could be taking out storms as soon as 2023.
The group is heading to Texas next to talk to the Port of Galveston about being partners.
As part of a long-term effort to protect dwindling Atlantic herring stocks, federal regulators recently approved an amendment to prohibit the use of midwater trawling vessels within 12 nautical miles off the coastline from Maine to Rhode Island, and 20 miles off eastern Cape Cod and the Islands.
The amendment was developed by the New England Fishery Management Council and approved by the National Marine Fisheries Service on Nov. 19. It is the product of a grassroots effort from local fishermen, boards of selectmen, state legislators and environmental groups who have been pushing for stronger management of the midwater trawl herring fishery for more than 20 years.
“The first and most obvious thing is what we won’t see: the lights of midwater trawlers, factory boats working in pairs, wiping out schools of forage fish like herring close to shore,” said John Pappalardo in a prepared statement. Mr. Pappalardo is the chief executive officer of the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance, an organization that pushed hard for increased regulations.
“We aren’t going to see our near-shore [herring] immediately return to the fertility we knew in the 1990s, when huge shoals of herring coursed through, filling the water column from bottom to top. The fish have taken too hard a hit to come back that fast. . . it’ll be two to three years before we really know if our effort is paying off,” the statement continued.
In addition to moving midwater trawlers farther offshore, the New England Fishery Management Council passed a new regulation to guide the formula for setting annual quotas on Atlantic herring.
River herring could also benefit from the new regulations as they are often bycatch of the midwater trawlers. —Mark Alan Lovewell
“When resource is at a low point, like it is now, the fishing pressure will be decreased. And when the stock is healthy and at a high point, the quota will still be capped to a sustainable rate,” said Janice Plante, public affairs officer for the council.
Atlantic herring are forage fish eaten by tuna, cod, haddock, certain species of whales and many commercially harvested fish. According to Ms. Plante, declining herring stocks have had a ripple effect through the entire commercial fishing industry.
Pushing the midwater trawling fleet to a minimum of 12 miles offshore will give the herring a “buffer zone” to migrate without being pressured by commercial vessels but also allowing them to be eaten by other fish, aiding the health of the overall ecosystem, Ms. Plante said.
“Both the rules better account for herring as a forage species in the ecosystem,” she said.
Buddy Vanderhoop, a Vineyard charter captain who has pushed for regulations on the fishery for over a decade, said he was a proponent of the new regulations but felt that they didn’t go far enough.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” he said. “It’s a great thing they finally got the message to push these midwater trawlers further out. They catch millions of pounds per day and do nothing but make fishing tougher all around.”
Mr. Vanderhoop once managed the river herring run in Aquinnah before a moratorium was placed on the river herring fishery 15 years ago. River herring are an inshore relative of the Atlantic herring. Mr. Vanderhoop said the new regulations will help reduce the number of river herring scooped up along their migratory routes, often within three miles of the shoreline, as bycatch to the midwater Atlantic herring trawlers.
But with purse seine herring fishing still permitted close to shore, a five per cent bycatch limit on river herring still accepted and over 42 midwater trawlers still towing, albeit further offshore, Mr. Vanderhoop said there is a lot of room for increased regulation in the future if herring, both Atlantic and river, are to make a full return.
NOAA Fisheries Announces 2020-2021 Summer Flounder Specifications and Interim 2020 Scup, Black Sea Bass, and Bluefish Specifications
We are implementing the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s recommended 2020-2021 summer flounder specifications and initial 2020 specifications for the scup, black sea bass, and bluefish fisheries. The initial 2020 specifications for scup, black sea bass, and bluefish will be re-evaluated in early in the fishing year to address the results of an operational assessment for all three species.
Summary of Initial 2020 Scup, Black Sea Bass, and Bluefish Specifications and 2020-2021 Summer Flounder Specifications, in millions of pounds.
Bluefin tuna swimming up. Image by Guido Montaldo/Getty Images
Bluefin tuna is often used as a poster species for the impacts of overfishing. But we have good news for seafood lovers eyeing bluefin sashimi at their local sushi restaurant: U.S.-caught Atlantic bluefin tuna is a sustainable food choice.
A Valuable Resource
Bluefin tuna are some of the most valuable fish in the Atlantic. In 2017 alone, U.S. commercial fishermen generated an estimated $9.6 million in revenue from harvesting bluefin. That year, fishermen earned an estimated $6.45 for every pound of bluefin they harvested–more than any other Atlantic tuna.
That value may sound low to those who’ve read about bluefin selling for millions or watched popular fishing shows touting higher prices for this species. As with any product, the value of bluefin will fluctuate with demand, quantity, and quality. Commercial marketing and traditions like celebrating the first bluefin purchased each year can also drive up prices in limited situations. But the million-dollar price tags occasionally reported are far from the norm. In fact, the median value a bluefin tuna in 2018 was just over $2,000.
Atlantic bluefin tuna are also a coveted recreational species that support millions of dollars in economic value each year. A2015 study conducted by the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciencesanalyzed recreational anglers’ willingness to pay for bluefin tuna trips. The results showed that the private boat bluefin tuna fishery had an estimated value of $14 million that year.
We want to ensure the demand for Atlantic bluefin tuna doesn’t lead to overfishing. That’s why we oversee, incollaboration with the international community, one of the most comprehensive and responsive fishery management systems in the world. For example, our rules restrict commercial fishermen targeting bluefin to hand gears like rod and reel and harpoon. We also enforce retention limits specific to gears, locations, and fish sizes and close commercial fisheries seasonally throughout the year if needed.
“Our management approach balances the health of fish populations with the need to provide as many commercial and recreational fishing opportunities as possible,” said Randy Blankinship, wholeads the group responsible for managing bluefin tuna in the Atlantic. “Seasonal closures and retention limits are important tools to maintain that balance. They can allow us to extend fishing opportunities throughout the year without causing overfishing.”
In addition to these tried-and-true fishery management techniques, we also enforce innovativebycatch reductionand trade programs. These safeguard the western Atlantic bluefin stock while providing commercial and recreational fishing opportunities.
TheIndividual Bluefin Tuna Quota Programcreates an economic incentive for fishermen to use their expertise to avoid interactions with bluefin. It applies to fishermen targeting swordfish and other tunas withpelagic longline gear.Every bluefin landed or discarded dead is deducted from a vessel’s account balance. This balance has to stay above a minimum amount in order to pursue the desired species. If a vessel falls below its quota, it won’t be allowed to set off on a longline fishing trip unless the owners lease some quota from others in the fleet.
Since it was implemented in 2015, the program has reduced the average annual bluefin bycatch by 65 percent—or more than 330,000 pounds—compared to the three years before. That success comes from making commercial fishermen accountable for reducing bluefin bycatch. It’s also why we are nowexploring lifting now redundant limitson where vessels can fish.
We’re also considering changing when Gulf of Mexico fishermen are required to use weak hooks. These are designed to reduce bluefin bycatch but have been shown to actually increase unintentional white marlin catches. Our proposed changes would balance these impacts by requiring weak hooks only when bluefin tuna are more likely to be in the Gulf.
Every Atlantic bluefin tuna caught through the program or in any other domestic fishery is fitted with a uniquely numbered tag specific to the dealer who bought it. Exported tuna are also assigned an identification number by theElectronic Bluefin Tuna Catch Documentation System. All bluefin tuna brought into the United States from any other country are entered into the system as well. These tools allow us to trace Atlantic bluefin tuna—regardless of where it was caught—from vessel to market.
We see the impacts of our sustainable management in population assessments. A 2017 report from theInternational Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas(ICCAT) indicated that the western Atlantic bluefin tuna stock is not experiencing overfishing. The stock’s overfished status is unknown due to scientific uncertainties. However, scientists estimate that the total weight of the western Atlantic bluefin tuna stock has been increasing since approximately 2004.
“When seafood consumers purchase Atlantic bluefin tuna caught in the United States, they’re supporting robust environmental standards that bolster both bluefin populations and our economy,” said Blankinship
Kings of the Pines: Pinelands Commission undertaking study of secretive eastern kingsnakes
The snake is one of the 22 species of serpents known to call New Jersey home but is arguably its most arcane. Scientists know relatively little about the slithery creature, save that it is powerful non-venomous constrictor that actually eats other snakes, including larger, venomous ones like the timber rattler.
PEMBERTON TOWNSHIP — The New Jersey Pinelands Commission is embarking on a study of one of the region’s most unusual and cryptic critters: the eastern kingsnake.
The snake is one of the 22 species of serpents known to call New Jersey home but is arguably its most arcane. Scientists know relatively little about the slithery creature, save that it is powerful non-venomous constrictor that actually eats other snakes, including larger, venomous ones like the timber rattler.
But knowledge about where kingsnakes prefer to live, how far they range and how often they shed, den and nest is in short supply, in part, because the snakes are so difficult to find.
“It’s a very secretive snake,” said Robert Zappalorti, of Herpetological Associates, a Pemberton Township-based consulting firm that specializes in the study of endangered and threatened reptiles and amphibians.
“Occasionally people find it randomly, but there’s not a lot known about its range,” Zappalorti said.
It’s why the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded the Pinelands Commission a $324,949 grant to conduct a four-year study of the snake species and its movements.
It is the first such study of the snake undertaken by the commission, which is responsible for overseeing and regulating land use and development in the million-acre Pinelands region, an ecological treasure trove of unique plants and animals.
“Very little is known about the eastern kingsnake population in the Pinelands, although there have been reports that the species is declining in other areas of the Atlantic Coastal Plain,” said Nancy Wittenberg, the commission’s executive director. “This study will provide a baseline to allow us to evaluate the overall health of the population in the Pinelands.”
The study is being undertaken as a collaboration between the commission, Herpetological Associates and The College of New Jersey. A total of 17 of the snakes have already been captured and implanted with small, glass-coated microchips to allow scientists to permanently identify them with a scanner. Thirteen of the serpents have also been implanted with small radio transmitters so their movements can be tracked.
Following the snake’s movements is a key objective for the study as the snakes have been sighted in both wetlands and upland areas of the Pines, Zappalorti said.
“We need to understand why they’re using uplands and wetlands,” he said. “There’s just not a lot known about its homeland ecology.”
Scientists also hope to learn more about the snake’s shedding patterns and prey.
While the kingsnake is one of the rare snake species that will dine on other snakes, including larger ones, it is also known to hunt and eat lizards, bird and turtle eggs and small mammals. But details about how often they eat and the impact they have on other threatened species is largely unknown.
The information scientists gain could help the commission better protect both kingsnakes — which is listed as a species of special concern in New Jersey — and other threatened species in the Pinelands.
“There’s a lot we don’t know about the species and how it impacts other species like the timber rattler and corn snake,” Zappalorti said. “It’s one of the few snakes that eats other snakes we have.”
The timber rattler is a threatened species, while the corn snake is endangered.
He said the scientists participating in the study ultimately hope to track between 30 to 40 of the snakes. But they’ll have to wait until spring before they can locate and implant additional ones because the snakes hibernate through the winter.
In addition to the new kingsnake study, the commission is also teaming with the college and Herpetological Associates on an ongoing study of corn snakes in the Pinelands. That study began in 2017 and includes radio tracking the snakes and “headstarting,” which involves raising vulnerable young animals in captivity until they grow large enough to be released into the wild.
Commission spokesman Paul Leakan said both studies are examples of the important scientific research performed by the agency.
“It’s a significant undertaking and an important one,” Leakan said about the snake studies. “Our science office is out there all the time.”
If you've ever lived in Jersey...you'll appreciate this!!! If you live somewhere else, you might find it interesting: New Jersey is a peninsula. Highlands, New Jersey has the highest elevation along the entire eastern seaboard, from Maine to Florida. New Jersey is the only state where all of its counties are classified as metropolitan areas. New Jersey has more racehorses than Kentucky. New Jersey has more Cubans in Union City (1 sq mi.) than Havana, Cuba. New Jersey has the densest system of highways and railroads in the US. New Jersey has the highest cost of living. New Jersey has the highest cost of auto insurance. New Jersey has the highest property taxes in the nation. New Jersey has the most diners in the world and is sometimes referred to as the "Diner Capital of the World." New Jersey is home to the original Mystery Pork Parts Club (no, not Spam): Taylor Ham or Pork Roll. New Jersey is home to the less mysterious, but the best Italian hot dogs and Italian sausage w/peppers and onions. North Jersey has the most shopping malls in one area in the world, with seven major shopping malls in a 25 square-mile radius. New Jersey is home to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The Passaic River was the site of the first submarine ride, by inventor John P. Holland. New Jersey has 50+ resort cities & towns; some of the nation's most famous: Asbury Park, Wildwood, Atlantic City, Seaside Heights, Long Branch, Cape May. New Jersey has the most stringent testing along our coastline for water quality control than any other seaboard state in the entire country. New Jersey is a leading technology & industrial state and is the largest chemical producing state in the nation, when you include pharmaceuticals. Jersey tomatoes are known the world over as being the best you can buy. New Jersey is the world leader in blueberry and cranberry production (and here you thought Massachusetts?) Here's to New Jersey - the toast of the country! In 1642, the first brewery in America opened in Hoboken. New Jersey rocks! The famous Les Paul invented the first solid body electric guitar in Mahwah, in 1940. New Jersey is a major seaport state with the largest seaport in the US, located in Elizabeth. Nearly 80 percent of what our nation imports comes through Elizabeth Seaport first. New Jersey is home to one of the nation's busiest airports (in Newark), Liberty International. George Washington slept here. Several important Revolutionary War battles were fought on New Jersey soil, led by General George Washington. The light bulb, phonograph (record player), and motion picture projector, were invented by Thomas Edison in his Menlo Park, NJ, laboratory. We also boast the first town ever lit by incandescent bulbs. The first seaplane was built in Keyport, NJ. The first airmail was started from Keyport, NJ, to Chicago. The first phonograph records were made in Camden, NJ. The game Monopoly, played all over the world, named the streets on its playing board after the actual streets in Atlantic City. And, Atlantic City has the longest boardwalk in the world, Not to mention salt water taffy, New Jersey has the largest petroleum containment area outside of the Middle East countries. The first Indian reservation was in New Jersey, in the Watchung Mountains. New Jersey has the tallest water tower in the world. (Union, NJ) New Jersey had the first medical center, in Jersey City. The Pulaski Skyway, from Jersey City to Newark, was the first skyway highway. NJ built the first tunnel under a river, the Hudson (Holland Tunnel). The first baseball game was played in Hoboken, NJ, which is also the birthplace of Frank Sinatra. The first intercollegiate football game was played in New Brunswick in 1889 (Rutgers College played Princeton). The first drive-in movie theater was opened in Camden, NJ, (but they're all gone now!). New Jersey is home to both of "NEW YORK's" pro football teams! The first radio station and broadcast was in Paterson, NJ. The first FM radio broadcast was made from Alpine, NJ, by Maj. Thomas Armstrong. All New Jersey natives: Sal Martorano, Jack Nicholson, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Jason Alexander, Queen Latifah, Susan Sarandon, Connie Francis, Shaq, Judy Blume, Aaron Burr, Joan Robertson, Ken Kross, Dionne Warwick, Sarah Vaughn, Budd Abbott, Lou Costello, Alan Ginsberg, Michelle Kelly. Norman Mailer, Marilynn McCoo, Flip Wilson, Alexander Hamilton, Whitney Houston, Eddie Money, Linda McElroy, Eileen Donnelly, Grover Cleveland, Woodrow Wilson, Walt Whitman, Jerry Lewis, Tom Cruise, Joyce Kilmer, Len Twist, Bruce Willis, Caesar Romero, Lauryn Hill, Ice-T, Nick Adams, Nathan Lane, Sandra Dee, Danny DeVito, Richard Conti, Joe Pesci, Joe Piscopo, Robert Blake, John Forsythe, Meryl Streep, Loretta Swit, Norman Lloyd, Paul Simon, Jerry Herman, Gorden McCrae, Kevin Spacey, John Travolta, Phyllis Newman, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Eva Marie Saint, Elisabeth Shue, Zebulon Pike, James Fennimore Cooper, Admiral Wm. Halsey,Jr., Dave Thomas (Wendy's), William Carlos Williams, Ray Liotta, Robert Wuhl, Bob Reyers, Paul Robeson, Ernie Kovacs, Joseph Macchia, "Uncle Floyd," Kelly Ripa, Francis Albert Sinatra, Rick Toscano You know you're from Jersey when . . . You don't think of fruit when people mention "The Oranges." You know that it's called Great Adventure, not Six Flags. A good, quick breakfast is a hard roll with butter. You've known the way to Seaside Heights since you were seven. You've eaten at a diner, when you were stoned, or drunk, at 3 A.M. You know that the state isn't one big oil refinery. At least three people in your family still love Bruce Springsteen, and you know the town Jon Bon Jovi is from. You know what a "jug handle" is. You know that Wawa is a convenience store. You know that the state isn't all farmland. You know that there are no "beaches" in New Jersey--there's the shore--and you don't go "to the shore," you go "down the shore." And when you are there, you're not "at the shore;" you are "down the shore." You know how to properly negotiate a circle. You knew that the last sentence had to do with driving. You know that this is the only "New" state that doesn't require "New" to identify it (try . . Mexico . . . York .! . . Hampshire-- doesn't work, does it?). You know that a "White Castle" is the name of BOTH a fast food chain AND a fast food sandwich. You consider putting mayo on a corned beef sandwich a sacrilege You don't think, “You’re from Jersey? What exit?," is very funny. You know that people from the 201 area code are "a little different." Yes, they are! You know that no respectable New Jerseyan goes to Princeton--that's for out-of-staters. The Jets-Giants game has started fights at your school or local bar. You live within 20 minutes of at least three different malls. You refer to all highways and interstates by their numbers. Every year you have at least one kid in your class named Tony. You know the location of every clip shown in the Sopranos opening credits. You've gotten on the wrong highway trying to get out of the mall. You know that people from North Jersey go to Seaside Heights, and people from Central Jersey go to Belmar, and people from South Jersey go to Wildwood. It can be no other way. You weren't raised in New Jersey--you were raised in North Jersey, Central Jersey or South Jersey. You don't consider Newark or Camden to actually be part of the state. You remember the stores Korvette's, Two Guys, Rickel's, Channel, Bamberger's and Orbach's. You also remember Palisades Amusement Park. You've had a boardwalk cheese steak and vinegar fries. You start planning for Memorial Day weekend in February. And finally… You've NEVER, NEVER pumped your own gas. No matter where in this country, or indeed, in the world my travels may take me, New Jersey will always be home
The European Union Just Voted To Ban Single-Use Plastics By 2021
Plenty of plastic isn't recyclable, and much of it ends up in the seas and oceans where, eventually,...
As reported by BBC News, the European Parliament has voted to ban single-use plastics across the board in an attempt to stop the unending stream of plastic pollution making its way into the oceans.
Such plastic products are, as the name suggests, used just once and then thrown away. They include things like straws, plates, cups and cotton buds, and can take several centuries to degrade in the oceans where they are increasingly observed to be consumed by marine life. According to the European Commission, such plastics make up 70 percent of all marine litter.
A ban was proposed in May after the public outcry and awareness over the issue reached a new zenith. A vote at the European Parliament was held earlier this week, with a huge majority of MEPs – 571 yays to 53 nays, with 34 abstentions – agreeing to enforce the ban by 2021.
Today In: InnovationThe ban is, at a glance, comprehensive. Aside from the 2021 complete ban on plenty of singleuse products, the use of plastics for which no alternatives currently exist – mostly food packaging – will have to be cut down by 25 percent by 2025. Beverage bottles will also required to be collected and recycled at a rate of 90 percent by 2025. Cigarette butts, remarkably resilient components of plastic pollution, will have to be reduced by 50 percent by 2025, and 80 percent by 2030.
Thankfully, despite the persistent Brexit nightmare looming on the horizon, it’s possible – although not certain – that this rule will go into effect and apply to the UK too before the end of the transition period and the country’s grim divorce from the EU is complete.
“We have adopted the most ambitious legislation against single-use plastics,” Frédérique Ries, the MEP who proposed the bill, said in astatement. “It is essential in order to protect the marine environment and reduce the costs of environmental damage attributed to plastic pollution in Europe, estimated at 22 billion euros by 2030.”
This type of pollution is unquestionably a scourge. In fact, plastics of all kinds are becoming as ubiquitous in the oceans as they are in our daily lives. Garbage patches reaching ludicrous areas can be found pretty much anywhere, from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans right up to the especially fragile Arctic.
As researchers scramble to work out precisely what negative effects it may afflict on those that inadvertently eat them – especially marine mammals, many of which can suffer from just consuming one small fragment of plastic – news reports keep cropping up that remind us that we are increasingly reaping what we sow. Just in the last week or so, it was confirmed that plenty of table salt contains microplastics, as does human poop.
Things clearly can’t stay the same, and an increasingly multidisciplinary approach to dealing with the problem is at least appearing to gain steam. There are, in crude terms, three major prongs to this: engineering, political action, and public awareness.
This latest move seems to be a rare political action that might end up making a difference. Although plenty of national governments appear to want to do something, what usually happens is dissenting, powerful voices manage to weaken proposals that otherwise might provide an effective, united front.
Back in December 2017, for example, a UN resolution was tabled that aimed to prevent any plastic from entering the waterways of the world. Originally legally enforceable, protestations from the US rendered it non-mandatory and far less sweeping in its scope. At the G7 summit in Quebec this summer, a similar agreement was put forward. Although it focused on the wider issue of ocean health, it also made a point about the importance of scaling back the use of plastics that inevitably end up in the sea. The US and Japan, sadly, failed to sign on to that section of the blueprint.
The politics as to why various nations prefer not to pull their weight are complex, and worthy of writers with more specialized expertise than myself. The perception of who is to blame, and who should handle the problem, certainly plays a role, though.
China, until recently a bit of a dumping ground for much of the world’s potentially recyclable rubbish, no longer accepts the world’s non-industrial waste. Plastics that were once repurposed are now being sent to landfills. Somewhat happily accepting so much waste for a fairly long period of time, the Chinese government has now decided that it shouldn’t keep taking on yang laji – “foreign trash.”
Lest we forget, the plastic manufacturing industry is a colossus that has a huge influence over countries’ various decisions over plastic. Certainly, public awareness of the problem is a good thing – even if things like bans on plastic straws are probably misleading the public as to the true scale (and causes) of the crisis – but individual action will only go so far. Unless there’s an industry-wide change, vast quantities plastic will still make it into the oceans.
That’s where engineering comes into the story. There are research groups all over the world currently working on ways to rid ourselves of single-use plastics once and for all, with some projects showing more promise than others. There are some that suspect that making plastic 100 percent recyclable is the way forwards, and proof-of-concept, low-energy intensive plastics that can achieve this have been invented. Others suspect that biodegradable plastics, those that break down quickly after use and can’t pollute, may be our best bet.
It must be stressed that such projects are still very much early days endeavors, so right now, it seems clear that stopping plastic getting into the oceans in the first place is of the utmost importance. Based on the track record of such actions, it's understandable to have a bit of healthy skepticism about the EU's approval of a sweeping ban. After all, it's not clear how enforcable it will be at present - and the proof, as they say, is in the pudding.
Still, it’s something worth lauding. Without enforceable, coordinated, international action on the issue, plastic pollution will wreak increasing havok across the planet, damaging environments and ecologies for generatios to come.