Thursday, May 21, 2009:
It has begun. Bassing 2009 has flared from 40 to 60 feet of water off IBSP southward to the surfline of South End LBI.
The boat fishermen are still mainly a-troll, using stretches and umbrellas (with plastic shad bodies.) Bunker spoons are also attracting to the hilt. Going south off Barnegat Inelt the bass are in much closer, maybe 25 feet of water. The troll works there also.
Note: Some very harried bunker pods are forming off Barnegat Inlet. Boats chasing the pods are hitting major bass.. However, it looks like it’ll still be some time before massive numbers of pod spice the ocean’s surface. When they do show, we are going to be into huge fish, for sure. Already, a 45-5 was weighed in at BL B&T
Per that shop “We’ve been weighing in fish all day long. I think its time.”
The surfcasting is very brisk. I have entries into Simply Bassin tourney extending from North Beach to Beach Haven. Dante S. took a 25-14 on a plug (www.fishlbi.com). Loads of non-tourney bass are in the mix.
Oceanside B&T reports “stripers all over.”
If you can get some bassing time in, be it boat, bank beach or bridge, do it. It’s not just gorgeous out there but hot, fishing-wise.
As if you didn’t know already, Fish and Wildlife enforcement will be watching fluke’s opening weekend very closely. I’m always hesitant to tell anglers to keep an eye out for nearby size-limit violators. Firstly, I hate the in-water paranoia it fosters. Secondly, it’s not as easy as you might think to look at another boat and make a dead-on determination of the size of a fluke just pulled aboard. What’s more, the fun and relaxation of being out there angling gets drained in nothing flat when you’re spending most of your time hawking others. This is not to say that flagrant and indisputable violators shouldn’t be nabbed. I just think such violators have to all but jump out and grab you attention before action should be taken in the form of notifying the authorities. Note: Bag limit violations are really tough to monitor if numerous people are on a boat).
Important news story:
A new United Nations report, with key contributions from NOAA, found that 61 of the world's 64 large marine ecosystems -- large coastal ocean waters adjacent to continents -- show a significant increase in sea surface temperatures in the last 25 years, contributing to decreasing fisheries catches in some areas and increasing catches in others.
Harvests in several northern Atlantic LMEs, including the Norwegian Sea, the Faroe Plateau and the Iceland Shelf, are increasing due to the increase in zooplankton, a vital fish food, brought about by the warming waters.
However, catches are declining in several European LMEs, including the North Sea, the Celtic Biscay Shelf and the Iberian Coastal LMEs, according to the United Nations Environment Programme report, The UNEP Large Marine Ecosystem Report: a Perspective on Changing Conditions in LMEs of the World's Regional Seas.
'The large majority of these ecosystems are shared by two or more countries, underscoring the need for regional cooperation to advance sustainable management,' said Dr. Kenneth Sherman, director of the NOAA Large Marine Ecosystem program. 'The added stress of increasing sea surface temperatures makes it that much more important that nations cooperate to sustainably manage large marine ecosystems, the areas where most marine fisheries are produced and caught.'
According to the report, 70 percent of global fish stocks within LMEs are overexploited, reducing the availability of fish for food, which is especially critical in LMEs off the coasts of Africa, Asia and Latin America, where fish is a major protein source.
This contrasts starkly with the trend in the U.S. where only approximately 23 percent of domestically managed stocks are overfished, according to the most recent status of domestic stocks report. The U.S. federal law requiring the elimination of overfishing on all domestic stocks by 2010 is helping the U.S. rebuild depleted stocks to sustainable levels.
The U.N. report also said that an unprecedented volume of nitrogen effluent running into coastal waters is causing a greater frequency and extent of harmful algal blooms, oxygen depletion events and dead zones. During the algal blooms, small plankton consume excessive amounts of available dissolved oxygen, sink to the bottom and deprive fish and shellfish of the oxygen they need to survive.
'The effort to reverse the degraded status of LMEs will take time, well-focused and creative policies, and funding,' said Achim Steiner, U.N. under-secretary general and executive director of UNEP, the agency that released the report.
The report documents the most rapid sea surface temperature increase in the northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean (Baltic Sea, North Sea and Black Sea LMEs), in the northwest Pacific off east Asia (East China Sea, and Sea of Japan/East Sea LMEs), and in the northwest Atlantic (Newfoundland Labrador Shelf LME).
The notable exceptions to the warming are in the California Current LME and Humboldt Current LME (off the coasts of Chile and Peru). Both are in large and persistent upwelling areas of nutrient-rich cool water in the eastern Pacific Ocean. The Arctic Ocean LME was not included in this analysis because it is almost always covered by ice.
May 20, 2009 - NOAA's Fisheries Service reported to Congress yesterday that four stocks - Atlantic bluefish, Gulf of Mexico king mackerel and two stocks of monkfish in the Atlantic - have been rebuilt to allow for continued sustainable fishing.
This is the largest number of stocks to be declared rebuilt in a single year since the fisheries service declared the first stock successfully rebuilt in 2001.
“Rebuilding these four stocks so they can support the highest sustainable harvest for future generations of Americans is a significant milestone,” said Jim Balsiger, acting NOAA assistant administrator for NOAA's Fisheries Service. “And while we can claim success with these stocks and 10 others we've rebuilt since 2001, this year's report also shows the major challenges we face to end overfishing on other domestic fish stocks in 2010, as we are ordered to do by law.”
Three stocks - thorny skate, Atlantic blacknose shark and Atlantic shortfin mako shark - were added this year to the list of those that are being fished unsustainably. A fourth stock, Gulf of Mexico pink shrimp, was also listed as subject to overfishing but the stock assessment is being reviewed.
“NOAA is working with the eight regional fishery management councils around the nation to end overfishing through annual catch limits and accountability measures,” said Balsiger. “NOAA strongly supports establishing catch share programs that allocate the annual catch to participants in the fishery to give fishermen an economic incentive to conserve fish stocks for the long term.”
Yesterday's report to Congress, 2008 Status of U.S. Fisheries, is the latest annual update on stocks that are subject to overfishing or stock populations that are overfished - too low to ensure a maximum sustainable yield. Ending overfishing allows the fish population to increase over time if conditions are favorable and the stock responds as predicted.
In the report, NOAA scientists reviewed 199 stocks and stock complexes to determine if they were overfished - a population too low to ensure a maximum sustainable harvest - and found that 153 (77 percent) are not overfished, and 46 (23 percent) are overfished.
NOAA scientists also reviewed 251 stocks or stock complexes to see if they were currently subject to overfishing - currently being fished at a level that would threatened the stocks - and found only 41 (16 percent) are.
Under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, NOAA and the regional fishery management councils are required to end overfishing, and prevent future overfishing, through annual catch limits and accountability measures.
Federal fishery management plans must establish annual catch limits and accountability measures by 2010 for stocks subject to overfishing, and by 2011 for all other stocks.
The new report to Congress, 2008 Status of U.S. Fisheries, which gives listings of stocks that are overfished or undergoing overfishing by region, is available online.