Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Tuesday, February 28, 2017: The weather yo-yo continues in a big way. It’s all good by me ... What flavor ice cream?!

Cellphone companies have invented an airplane window opening for shooting cell photos ... Planned obsolescence apparently wasn't fast enough ... 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Just when you thought it was safe to get back on the john ... 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017: The weather yo-yo continues in a big way. It’s all good by me, considering it really won’t get over cold or over snowy, though some flakes might fly.

Below are a few important news reads, especially the decline in bloodworms and a Magnuson Bill update. I also offer some of my ice cream insights.


So you think you're a videographer ...  https://www.facebook.com/WSL/videos/10153457795842058/

ICE CREAM GONE BONKERS; The other day I decided to take my taste buds to a new place. I bought a pint of “Chamomile Tea•rrific! Ice Cream. What a trip. Dang stuff tasted like an everyday cup of heavily-creamed, sugar-saturated, double-chamomile tea -- frozen solid, for whatever reason. What’s more, I downed a pint and went groggy from the proven relaxation powers of chamomile. I kid you not. You can get some over at Shop-rite. Just don’t eat it and then try to operate heavy machinery.

That odd-ball dessert had me wondering what might be next in the ice cream experimentation realm. In less than an hour of research, I got my first taste of ice cream experimentation gone icily off-kilter. It came via a news story coming out of the recent 24th annual Alaska Symphony of Seafood competition, Juneau event.

At the awards ceremony, it was time for the big winner. The Symphony of Seafood champion is … La-La Land. No, wait. My bad. The actual winner is Candied Salmon Ice Cream by Coppa.

Coppa is a Juneau retailer who devised an ice cream “dotted with bits of candied smoked salmon.”

Not only did this fishy frozen confectionary win its allocated “Food Service” category but it also aced the prestigious People’s Choice Award, i.e. best in show.

After winning, the salmon ice cream sped upstream, spawned and died.

Not really. The cold stuff is now on fire, popularity-wise.

But this is far from a first appearance of salmon as an ice cream flavor. Enter   Smoked Salmon Ice Cream made by Max & Mina's Homemade Ice Cream and Ices in Flushing, Queens. Max and Mina took a lox approach by including cream cheese flavoring. We’re talking ice cream, right?

Below: Smoked salmon ice cream ... including with cream cheese. 

Max & Mina's creation made a strong showing in a top-ten list at The Stylist, www.stylist.co.uk, which sought to find “10 of the kookiest ice cream creations.”

The Stylist list includes Octopus Ice Cream, known as Taco Aisu in Asia. It has actual bits of octopi and can be topped with squid ink.

Another top finisher was Baby Gaga (ice cream) made from human breast milk, vanilla and lemon zest. It’s a London-based confectionary invented by Matt O'Connor … who has his reasons. His shop is coolly named The Icecreamists

I’ll skip the details on the very-real Japanese Horsemeat Ice Cream

But Number One on the on The Stylist’s ice-cream-gone-bananas list was Crocodile Egg Ice Cream, developed by Bianca Dizon, owner of Sweet Spot Artisan Ice Cream, located in Davo City, Philippines.

It is as it sounds, this ice cream is made from hopefully well-compensated crocodiles at a nearby croc park. Hey, it’s that … or luggage. Bring on the ladies.  

Bianca claims her crocodile ice cream is "more nutritious than its classic counterparts since it contains less cholesterol." I’m just guessing, but there has to be easier ways to reduce the cholesterol in ice cream.

By the by, Bianca’s croc egg concoction has exploded. No sooner had she begun dishing it out than the demand ran wild. She’s now asking the croc park if there’s any way, maybe chemically speaking, they might spur on the reptilian egg-laying process.  

So, what does Crocodile Egg Ice Cream taste like? You guessed it: Just like Chicken Ice Cream, as introduced last year at Karaage Festival in Fukuoka, Japan. 


A lumberjack comes across one of those vacuums with a retractable cord ... 


This cannot be good ... be it an environmental or man-made problem: 

Maine Biologists Puzzled Over Sharp Decline in Bait Worm Populations

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Maine Public] by A.J. Higgins - February 27, 2017
It’s a dirty job, but digging for blood and sand worms along the Maine coast can pay well, particularly in areas of the state where it can be hard to make a living. Maine’s annual harvest of these popular bait worms, however, continues to decline, posing a quandary for marine biologists who cite climate change and predation as possible factors.
Wormers, as they’re called, would like to work with marine biologists to ensure a healthy and robust industry.
As he walks across the mud flats off Beals Island, worm digger Donnie Bayrd feels the suction of silt pull at his boots. He twists each foot slightly from side to side to prevent the mud from closing in around his boot — an occupational hazard that has brought down more than one wormer into the muddy flats.
Bayrd says it’s worth the trouble to brave the fragrant and unforgiving mud flats of Washington County in search of these creatures, which can also bite. Sport fishermen, he says, pay to have the worms flown around the world and have been known to try and make them last.
“They cut these up in pieces and fish with them. The bigger the worm, the better they like it because they can get a half-dozen pieces out of them,” he says.

Landings for sand and bloodworms peaked in the early ’70s, when combined harvests were closing in on 2 million pounds and valued at over $1 million. In 2014, the combined value had grown to over $7.5 million, but the harvest had diminished to under 700,000 pounds. Marine biologists are challenged by the drop in worm landings.
“Since 2002, there’s been a 50 percent decline in sand worms, a 42 percent decline in bloodworms,” says Brian Beal, professor of marine ecology at the University of Maine at Machias whose research focuses on shellfish and clams in particular.
Beal says it’s possible the invasive green crab, which has a voracious an appetite for clams, could be at least partially responsible for the decline in the sea worms harvest.
“We know that things like green crabs do prey on clams and they also prey on worms,” he says. “Studies that were done in the 1950s and ’60s, and some of the work that we’ve done in Freeport looking at the gut contents of green crabs, show us pieces of worms in their guts, so we know that they’re are eating these worms, as well as clams.”

Washington County worm diggers have their own theories.
“You have biologists that come around, and I’m not taking away from people who go to school, but very few of them say, ‘Well, what do you guys think?’” says Fred Johnson of Steuben, president of the Down East chapter of the Independent Maine Marine Worm Harvesters Association.
“They don’t see the changes in that inner benthic zone that we’ve seen over the years,” Bayrd says.
In Milbridge, Bayrd runs the Striper Bait Co. and employs dozens of diggers. He’s a big believer in modern science, but says he’d like to see some of the $43 the state collects from nearly 850 wormers statewide dedicated to research that could be conducted alongside those who hit the flats daily.
Bayrd says scientists have yet to observe the changes in the industry that he has witnessed for more than 50 years.
“Everything changes, the worms move out of the rivers in a wet year or rainy year and the line of worms will be further down the river towards the salty water, and in a very dry years they’ll come into the inner rivers. So it’s very dynamic. It’s subject to change. That’s the only constant in the universe and it is with worms as well,” he says.
Bayrd says the lower numbers of worms taken each year has a lot more to do with the fact that fewer and fewer Mainers are inclined to engage in a back-breaking occupation, and he believes that the worm populations tend to rise and fall in cycles, a position not shared by scientists such as Beal.
“If clams and worms were cyclical, then you ought to be able to predict with fairly good certainty what the population is going to be in a few years, and no one can do that,” he says.
Earlier this year, the worming industry was alarmed by a bill proposed by Rep. Robert Alley, a Beals Democrat, who had hoped to learn more about worming by closing the industry down between Dec. 1 and March 31. Alley’s bill will come up Monday before the Legislature’s Marine Resources Committee, but wormers who sell to European buyers during those months raised a ruckus.
Alley says he will amend his well-intentioned study bill to leave the state open to worming year-round.
Another important read: 

Alaska Sen. Don Young Bill Could Weaken Key Stock Rebuilding Provisions in Magnuson

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Hakai Magazine] by Ben Goldfarb - February 27, 2017
The United States is one month into its 115th Congress and it has already earned a reputation for dismantling environmental laws. Rules governing methane flaring and stream protection have already bitten the dust; a bill to eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency is floating around the House of Representatives; and the Senate is holding hearings to overhaul the Endangered Species Act. And while Congress has so far kept its focus terrestrial, it may soon set its sights on the nation’s main marine fisheries law: the Magnuson-Stevens Act, often referred to as the “fish bill.”
A new bill, introduced by Representative Don Young, a Republican from Alaska, doesn’t gut Magnuson-Stevens, but it does slacken the law’s firmest requirements.
The original fish bill swam into existence in 1976, a time when the United States’ coastlines were practically as lawless as the high seas. Trawlers from Russia and Japan commonly drew within five kilometers of shore, plundering fish and outcompeting American small-boat fishermen. The first version of the act, which pushed foreign vessels 200 miles (321 kilometers) offshore, was an across-the-aisle affair, coauthored by Senator Warren Magnuson, a Democrat from Washington State, and Senator Ted Stevens, an Alaska Republican.
Over the years, the law grew increasingly conservation minded, even as it remained bipartisan. The 1996 reauthorization required all overfished stocks to be placed on rebuilding timelines, and a 2006 update—passed by a Republican president and Congress—mandated hard caps on total allowable catch.
Those tough stipulations have helped the United States rebuild 39 once-overfished stocks since 2000. Lingcod, a snaky Pacific coast bottom-dweller with flaky white meat, makes for a good case study. By 1999, decades of trawling, longlining, and trap fishing had depleted lingcod to less than 10 percent of historical levels. In response, the federal government instituted a 10-year rebuilding plan, cutting catches, protecting juveniles, and securing habitat. Lingcod populations surged, surpassing targets in 2005—four years ahead of schedule.
“We’ve made some really significant improvements that are helping us move toward a more sustainable management system,” says Ted Morton, director of US oceans for the Pew Charitable Trusts.
But those gains could soon be undone.
The Magnuson-Stevens Act’s strength stems from its ability to impose rebuilding timelines and catch limits on both commercial fishing and saltwater angling. By contrast, the new bill, H.R. 200, would allow regional fishery management councils to relax timelines in cases when quickly rehabilitating stocks would inflict “significant economic harm” on fishermen.
The bill also permits managers to slow down recovery when “environmental conditions” or even vaguely defined “unusual events”—say, an El Niño or an oil spill—interfere with bringing fish back. By stretching out rebuilding timelines, the new provisions could allow fishermen to catch more Gulf of Maine cod and Gulf of Mexico red snapper, overfished stocks that are currently subject to tight limits.
Some fishermen are eager to see the fish bill loosened. John DePersenaire, a fisheries policy and science researcher for the Recreational Fishing Alliance, says the law has been particularly “unfair” to anglers. As an example, DePersenaire points to pending federal cuts to the allowable catch of summer flounder, which he says are based on flawed science and will devastate fishermen in New Jersey and New York.
“To manage us in such a rigid way doesn’t make too much sense,” DePersenaire argues. “This is a case where we’d want some flexibility with imposing these cuts.”
But the proposed changes concern some biologists, who fear “flexibility” is a euphemism for “deregulation.” Clauses that allow managers to postpone recovery for nebulous reasons, says Trevor Branch, at the University of Washington’s School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, represent “get out of jail free cards” that allow the continued depletion of troubled stocks.
“US fisheries management has generally been based on the core principle that we shouldn’t be overfishing anything, and if we are, we should rebuild it,” Branch says. “I think that’s being weakened quite a bit here.”
Although increased flexibility is the bill’s headliner, it is packed with other tweaks—some of which Branch applauds. One clause would require putting the creation of new east coast catch share programs (controversial management schemes that essentially privatize fisheries) to a vote among commercial fishermen and, in some cases, crew members. Allowing fishermen to approve catch shares through direct democracy, says Branch, “makes total sense.”
The bill also loosens restrictions around harvesting short-lived forage fish; requires scientists to more frequently assess stocks; and gives the Magnuson-Stevens Act priority when it clashes with other federal laws, such as the National Marine Sanctuaries Act. The latter stipulation worries Morton, who fears it could jeopardize the protection of sensitive ocean habitats.
H.R. 200 isn’t Young’s first crack at revamping the fish bill. The new version closely resembles H.R. 1335, a Young-sponsored bill that sailed through the House in 2015. But while Young’s last reauthorization attempt stalled out—in part because then president Barack Obama threatened to veto it—Republican control of the White House could give H.R. 200 a better chance than its predecessor.
With Young’s bill likely to pass the House again, the fish bill’s future could hinge on the Senate. Shannon Carroll, fisheries policy director at the Alaska Marine Conservation Council and a former commercial salmon fisherman, suggests keeping an eye on another Alaskan: Senator Dan Sullivan. The Republican was recently named chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, a pulpit he could use to introduce his own revisions to Magnuson-Stevens as early as March. Whether that’s a close companion to Young’s version, or an entirely different set of provisions, remains to be seen.
“We’re hoping that’s going to be something a little more progressive and representative of the history of [the Magnuson-Stevens Act], where each reauthorization has been an opportunity to solicit bipartisan support and raise the bar,” Carroll says.
And what will happen when a new fish bill reaches the Oval Office? Although President Donald Trump has so far proved a reliable proponent of slashing environmental protections, he’s been conspicuously silent on ocean issues. Says Carroll: “Trump adds a layer of underlying uncertainty to everything


Congress, fund our nation’s coastal infrastructure ...American Shore & Beach Preservation Association 

What can Congress do to protect our country’s invaluable coastal resources? First and foremost, fund coastal infrastructure.

The American Shore & Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) is recommending at least $5 billion over ten years to rebuild and restore our nation’s beach, dunes, wetlands and other coastal flood risk reduction infrastructure. This should include building already authorized, but unfunded, coastal projects around the country. These projects all have a positive benefit-cost ratio (meaning they have been determined to have a positive return on investment), but they have to compete for annual appropriations and federal new-start limitations.

This $5 billion investment should also send funding directly to states that have coastal projects they would like to see implemented but don’t have the funding to start. While federal involvement from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is critical to every water project, allowing states the opportunity to lead on some projects has shown in some places to be more cost-effective and to get projects built quicker.

We’re seeing this in Louisiana on a number of their coastal restoration projects where they are using money from the RESTORE Act, Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA) and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) funding following the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

Innovative financing that allows for public-private partnerships may prove helpful on some smaller-scale projects. For example, we have begun to see environmental mitigation banking generate funds for important coastal projects. Finance schemes that allow companies or communities to reduce their flood insurance by building dunes have created helpful incentives for coastal infrastructure.

However, large-scale projects that will drive job creation and protect communities need federal investment. Industry will not build a beach simply for tax credits, they need to be paid – and, since the public and our national economy benefit from sound and substantial coastal infrastructure, the federal government must provide that funding. Financing options and incentivizing private investment is helpful for smaller localized projects, but to really create jobs and make a sound investment the federal government needs to fund coastal projects.

Furthermore, federal investment in water and coastal infrastructure will ensure projects are coordinated regionally and provide benefits across coastal communities. ASBPA does not want to see “random acts of restoration” which often prove ineffective and economically inefficient. The regional approach to coastal management – in funding as well as in planning – ensures projects are effective and the benefits are distributed evenly around the coast.

Finally, Congress has an important role to play in oversight of our federal agencies with water and coastal infrastructure in their jurisdictions. One of the most important things ASBPA advocates for is Regional Sediment Management (RSM) and Beneficial Use of Dredged Material (BUDM). The placement of dredged sand and other sediment on beaches, dunes, and coastal wetlands can serve multiple benefits, including flood and storm risk reduction, ecological restoration, and adaptation to sea level rise. As sediment sources become increasingly scarce, the USACE and other agencies must manage sediment as the valuable and limited resource it is.

Congress recently authorized a “South Atlantic Coastal Study,” which directs the Corps to conduct a study of coastal areas located within the geographic boundaries of the South Atlantic Division to identify the risks and vulnerabilities of those areas to increased hurricane and storm damage as a result of sea level rise. This study will also include a focus on sediment resources and coastal erosion issues.

Like the North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study authorized after Hurricane Sandy, this study will ensure coastal projects are coordinated regionally and are achieving multiple benefits, and help the Corps and other agencies find new and better ways to guide the management and preservation of America’s coasts.

Water and coastal infrastructure, such as beaches, dunes, wetlands and the like, may not fit the traditional vision of traditional infrastructure such as steel and concrete stretching as high or as far as they eye can see. But they are just as critical to our nation’s economy and well-being, and they provide just as many, if not more, jobs and other economic benefits.

Natural water and coastal infrastructure provide jobs via construction and restoration; via recreation (including hunting and fishing) and tourism; via support for the coastal community’s local economy; and via protection of property and local business from flood and storm damage. Investing in coastal infrastructure is also a wise investment, since if we don’t invest now we’ll pay more in recovery from damages later.

ASBPA urges Congress to invest $5 billion over 10 years in coastal infrastructure. A sound and long-term investment in coastal infrastructure will help put Americans back to work, create a strong economic return on investment and save money in the long run.

Founded in 1926, the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that advocates for healthy coastlines by promoting the integration of science, policies and actions that maintain, protect and enhance the coasts of America. From its formation, ASBPA has worked with Congress to pass significant legislation to define and refine a strong and necessary role for the federal government in the management and preservation or our nation’s shorelines.

Police Once Again on the Hunt for Lobster Thieves

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [The Canadian Press] - February 28, 2017

Port Mouton, N.S. - Lobster thieves are back at work in Nova Scotia — two fishing boats were hit a week apart.
RCMP Const. Rob James says the first cache of crustaceans was taken from a boat tied up alongside the wharf in Port Mouton on Feb. 12.
Another 135 kilograms was taken in a similar fashion at the same wharf on Feb. 18, bringing the total amount of stolen lobster up to 270 kilograms, worth about $6,000.
James says it's not clear if there's a connection between the two thefts, and it's not unusual to see people try to make off with the pricey delicacies.
In an incident last January, police say 48 crates of live lobster were stolen from an outdoor pound at a business on Cape Sable Island.
The theft followed a similar incident in late 2015, when 14 crates of lobster were stolen from a secure compound on Morris Island near Yarmouth, N.S.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Mike Laptew
They're Back!!!
Herring have been spotted in RI and MA rivers and creeks. Three weeks to spring, but it could come much earlier this year. But, being New England we could have a blizzard in May. Enjoy EVERY day.


Gary Giberson

Finish feather painting on shore bird decoys for LINES ON THE PINES.. Show id March 12th at Renult Winery on Brenman ave, Egg Harbor... Also I will be signing my finally publish ed short stories along with Kathy Anne English who illustrated one with me.. Excitement abounds, if you never been to LOTP you are in for a real treat..... I will keep an eye out for YOU !!! gg....


'Invasion Preparedness': Alien Species Can Have Catastrophic Economic Consequences

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Postmedia Breaking News] by Joanne E Laucius - February 28, 2017
The invasion of alien species should be treated as a natural disaster, says a Canadian researcher who will be among the headliners at a national conference on preventing the spread of invasive species.
Like natural disasters, species that enter a biological niche where they have never before existed can be difficult to control and predict and can have catastrophic consequences, says Anthony Ricciardi, a professor of environmental science at McGill University.
On the east coast of Canada, Japanese seaweed is wiping out native kelp. Dutch elm disease, known since 1945 in Canada, is spreading into Western Canada. And piranhas, native to South America, have been found in the Great Lakes. While they are not able to overwinter so far, climate change could change that.
“Every time we think we have seen the worst, there’s something else,” says Ricciardi. “You could see it as biological pollution. It should be treated with the same concern as oil spills.”
The National Invasive Species Forum, which runs in Ottawa from Tuesday though Thursday, has attracted about 100 people, from scientists to government officials and representatives from the pet industry, says Gail Wallin, co-chair of the Canadian Council on Invasive Species.
Ricciardi argues that biological invasions are a matter of “biosecurity.” Invasions cost the fishery, forestry and agricultural industries billions of dollars every year. They can even result in the extinction of native plants and animals.
The cost to the economy of alien species exceeds that economic impact of natural disasters, says Ricciardi. “I think of it as a national security issue. But we don’t treat it that way.”  
In 2004, the strategy for Canada said a preliminary review of the costs of invasive species pegged them conservatively at $13.3 million to $34.5 billion annually for only 16 species.
Meanwhile, there is an unprecedented pace of introduction of alien species because of global travel. The movement of plants and animals is a natural process, but it has been hijacked by humans, says Ricciardi.
“On any given day, ships are transporting several thousand species. Travelers carry plant spores and seeds on their shoes and don’t even know it. Some species are sold as pets.”  
Ricciardi said he would like to see a shift from the focus on the “monster stories” of individual species. One of the greatest dangers is that some alien species create synergies with other aliens, with disastrous consequences. As more invaders are accumulating in ecosystems, it can be expected that they will be more disruptive, he says.  
For example, the synergy of zebra mussels and quagga mussels in the Great Lakes along with another invader, a small bottom-dwelling fish called the round goby, as well as bacteria, have been linked to the deaths of fish-eating birds such as loons and mergansers. Invaders that have appeared to be innocuous for many years may suddenly become dangerous as the result of changing factors such as climate change, he says. 
Ricciardi urges a precautionary approach, as Australia and New Zealand have done, and rapid federal response management. The principles that apply to disaster preparedness should also apply to invasion preparedness, he says.  
“Invaders are like hidden taxes. They are invisible, but the cost doesn’t go away. The cost of prevention is minuscule compared to chronic costs.”
One of the things to be discussed at the conference is a federal database and a list of species to be shared among the provinces.
But ordinary people are part of the solution, says Wallin. Many invasive species are moved by people, from gardeners who buy ornamental plants to children who release their goldfish into waterways.
“When you give people the right tools, they will make the right decisions.”
Most unwanted
Here are a list of some of the top “species of interest” that have invaded Canada according to Gail Wallin and Barry Gibbs, co-chairs of the Canadian Council on Invasive species.
Giant hogweed: This was introduced as an ornamental garden plant but it has escaped and taken over roadsides in many parts of Canada. It may cause skin burns if touched.
The emerald ash borer.
Knotweed: Widespread across Canada, its roots have caused damage to foundations, roads and bridges.
Knapweed: This purple-flowered weed was imported into North America more than a century ago and has since established itself in fields, forests and prairies, out-competing native species and reducing the amount of forage available for wildlife and livestock.
Zebra mussels: Widespread in waterways in Eastern Canada as far west as Manitoba, these bivalves change the freshwater ecology, stripping nutrients from the ecosystem and clogging up water intakes.
Emerald ash borer: This Asian native has killed millions of ash trees in Ontario. While they travel slowly on their own, they are dispersed by people moving firewood, logs and lumber.
Asian longhorn beetle: This forest pest introduced in the 1990s has no natural North American enemies. It kills all broadleaf trees but prefers native maples.
Feral pigs: Also known as wild boars, these Eurasian natives have escaped from farms where they were raised as meat animals. Known to be aggressive, they also destroy cropland and natural habitat because they tear up the ground while looking for food. They are also prolific in the wild. It is believed there are more than a million feral pigs in Saskatchewan. They have also be sighted in Ontario, including rural areas east of Ottawa.
Flowering rush: This pond plant, which produces a pink flower, was introduced as an aquatic ornamental. When it establishes itself on natural shorelines, this plan forms dense stands at interfere with recreation, crowd out native plants and harm fish and wildlife.
Saltcedar: This native of Asia has been sold as an ornamental small tree or shrub for many decades. It produces a leaf litter that increases the salinity of the soil, discouraging native plant species.
European fire ant: Found across Canada, this species lives colonies and is known for its painful bite. Colonies are hard to destroy once established.
Asian carp: There are several species of Asian carp that have been found in North America, including the St. Lawrence River. They multiply quickly and displace native fish species, presenting a danger to sport and commercial fisheries.
Northern snakehead: Also known as the “frankenfish” this toothy predator native to Asia has been found in several U.S. states. It was likely dumped into ponds, lakes and rivers from fish markets or pet shops. It been called the “walking fish” for its ability to travel on land for short distances by wiggling forward. It can survive out of water for up to four days

NJ Lawmkers LoBiondo, Pallone Announce Legislation to Prevent Cut to Summer Flounder Quotas

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Shore News Today] February 27, 2017 
LONG BRANCH – Reps. Frank LoBiondo and Frank Pallone on Thursday, Feb. 23 announced plans to introduce new legislation to prevent the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 2017 and 2018 summer flounder quotas for recreational and commercial fishing from going into effect.
In a press release, Pallone and LoBiondo said the rules would do damage to the economies of coastal communities and the state.
Under the NOAA quotas, the allowed summer flounder catch for recreational and commercial fishing were both reduced by approximately 30 percent in 2017 and 16 percent in 2018.
The Pallone-LoBiondo legislation would maintain the 2016 quota levels and require that NOAA conduct a new assessment before issuing new quotas.
Last month, Pallone and LoBiondo and a bipartisan group from the New Jersey congressional delegation sent a letter to then-U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker asking her to prevent rule making that would reduce the summer flounder quotas for recreational and commercial fishing from going into effect. The letter asked the secretary to direct NOAA Fisheries to reexamine its methodologies and conduct a new benchmark summer flounder assessment before making any decision to reduce summer flounder quotas.
“We are united with the state in fighting these draconian cuts to New Jersey fishermen which allow neighboring states to freely pillage our waters at more favorable limits,” said LoBiondo, a District 2 Republican. “The use of questionable methodologies and outdated science by NOAA bureaucrats will cut our fishing industry off at the knees. This bipartisan legislation is the next effort in our fight against these severely flawed quotas.”
“These cuts are a body blow to the recreational fishing industry in New Jersey and that is why Congress needs to take action,” said Pallone, Democrat representing New Jersey's 6th Congressional District. “The recreational fishing industry contributes over $1 billion to our state’s economy and directly supports 20,000 jobs. The cuts for New Jersey are greater than what NOAA had required for the region, and too many anglers and their families are going to suffer because of them.”
Recently, Pallone appeared before the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council to reiterate his opposition to NOAA’s quota reductions because of the harm they would cause New Jersey coastal communities.
According to the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, 2016 summer flounder regulations for recreational anglers require an 18-inch minimum size and five-fish possession limit. The rule for the Delaware Bay is a 17-inch minimum size limit and four-fish possession limit. The season is open from May 21 through Sept. 25.
Under the new rules the maximum fish count or bag limit decreases to three fish and the minimum size goes up to 19 inches on the New Jersey coast and 18 inches in Delaware Bay.
Commercial quotas are measured in pounds per trip and vary depending on the time of year.
Following the decision on the new rules, LoBiondo met with New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin in Washington to coordinate next steps in fighting it.


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