Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Tuesday, March 02, 2021: While March 20 is the astronomical start of spring, the Weather Service sees March 1 as its starting point

Below: This exceptional air shot from the 1930s (maybe earlier) offers another great look at Beach Haven Inlet at Holgate. It's about to begin a migration southward. It's easy to see how even larger vessels navigated the new inlet. Mid-photo, check out the semi-professional ballfield where the current public field is now located. 

Looking for a summer job down the Shore? 

Tuesday, March 02, 2021: While March 20 is the astronomical start of spring, the Weather Service sees March 1 as its starting point for the meteorological spring season, meaning we’re already springing it in a weatherly manner. It will even feel that way by next week as a bubble of mild air moves northward from the gulf and into the Midwest, working its way eastward. While forecasts have highs near 60, I’ll go with near 70 on the mainland, where I’ll be metal detecting in celebration. This in no ways suggests March can’t turn and bite faster that an allegedly friendly house cat. Always keep an eye on Puss’s tail. When it commences to swishing, it’s not long before fangs and claws will be flying.

Why does my cat bite me when I pet her? - Modkat

Speaking of storms, please check my weekly column for an encapsulated rundown of memorable storms, juxtaposed. Not that I’m looking for a new epic tempest. I don’t care if I never see another Island bomber. Hell, I’m still struggling to maintain my home insurance from a red-lining company that has me jumping through insane hoops before it will renew me. Most recently, they demanded I paint the back portion of my house … ASAP! It’s frickin’ freezing to hell and back, but they want a coat of paint applied, double ASAP. I did (just) get a painting time extension though still not comprehending what a section of peeling paint has to do with home insurance, which by the way I have never once called upon in over 50 years, including Sandy’s soaking!

"Jay Mann's house is next." 

GW Bridge Painter: Dangerous Jobs - YouTube

But I digress … from what I have no idea.

KINDA COYOTE: I wrote nothing on coyotes in this week’s SandPaper weekly (out tomorrow). It’s not that I didn’t have updates and input, especially from folks who took in the virtual seminar on coyotes sponsored by LBIF. I’ll pass on a link to any video replay of that seminar.

As usual, there remains a schism twixt conservationists acting as coyote huggers and folks wanting all canids gone – and kept gone.

Here’s a clue, gang, coyotes have discovered LBI and have alerted, albeit inadvertently, mainland ‘yotes. Through scents and such, they have conveyed how nice it is here, especially around humanly uninhabited oceanfront homes where the heat is left on all winter … and shower stalls abound. I bring up that shower stall thing since someone said they found “large coyote poop” near their outside shower. I didn’t want to tell them the photo they emailed showed it was almost positively everyday dog poop – no hair or bones at all. The corn was also a dead giveaway. OK, maybe I made up that corn thing. The thing is they’re already miffed over folks walking their dogs in the vicinity of their home. I went as far as NOT telling them to realign their security cameras to take in the shower stall. Blessed are us peacemakers.  

IT’S NOT HOCUS POCUS: Since I have your ear, which means you’re already as bored as a nicotine-stained wall hanging, I’ll invite you to a batch of snarkiness I’m aiming at some science folks who rightfully predict that killing LBI coyotes will lead to surviving females bearing larger litters. Understand, that is quite true.

What evokes my snarks is the widespread supposition that there is this mystical force that alerts a species that its population is being attacked, thusly evoking larger broods. A recent article reads, “It remains a mystery how species know when their numbers are dwindling” -- hinting that there is some cosmic census data that is conveyed between wild creatures, alerting them to the need to pop out more offspring.

Well, you can kiss that mystery good-bye. The answer is far from cosmic or mysterious. In fact, it’s both as old as time and as modern as today’s population of hunters. Where survival of the fittest once ruled the roost, it’s now survival of the luckiest, i.e. it’s good not to be shot dead. In fact, it’s fat to live on.   

Keep in mind that nature never induces increased offspring, meaning more mouths to feed, during truly tough times. It would prove fatal to all offspring. The only time nature stimulates female hormones to bear more offspring is when everything is sweet and fruitful in the world, when forage is there for the easy taking, when additional offspring can be fed. Which returns to the notion that it’s good to be a survivor.

Since reproduction during drought and famine is barebones, how is it that the likes of coyotes, when diminished in numbers by hunting and trapping, start producing larger litters? 

Those creatures that survive the killer pressures applied by humans instantly find themselves lucky ducks, the masters of all they survey. Not only do they now have the lion’s share of forage, but they can also move into the finest territories, uncontested -- seeing that most in-species competition has magically gone missing – bang, bang, poof. It’s the subsequent high availability of foodstuffs that trigger coyote females to go big, reproductively. What’s more, the young get to cash in via an extremely high survival rate.  

This whole spiel offers an insight into why the thinning of tenacious species can truly lead to a higher output of offspring.

As to those local ‘yotes that survive the culling by sidestepping snares, they will prolifically reproduce, nothing mystical involved. This is not to say they can’t momentarily be extirpated from LBI. “Momentarily” being the key word.

Basic Coyote Hunting Tips | Field & Stream

While I don’t subscribe to many out-there ways to naturally limit/control coyote populations, it’s never as simple as running out and killin’ as many of the critters as you can – until who knows when.

As to my own more applicable out-there notions, I can assure that coyotes are far more susceptible to human-implemented birth control methods than deer have been. There are a mere handful of coyotes. Placing birth control drugs in foodstuff placed along commonly used trails, where they’re now snare strangled to death, is downright doable. There might also be a way to humanely trap coyotes for neutering or spaying, vis-à-vis feral cats, though that would take a state-level change in wildlife regulations, which currently prohibit a coyote to be caught then released.

Methinks this subject is far from exterminated.

HUNTING TIP: You deer hunters use weapons that shoot projectiles at 1,500 feet per second. I’m not impressed since I once hit a deer while I was traveling at a trifling 55 mph … with my lights on … and my horn blowing. If you aren’t having luck shooting a deer, simply put a couple tiny headlights and a bitty horn on your shotgun slug, then slow it down to 55 miles per hour … the deer will actually jump in front of it. Your welcome.

GRAVELING GANDER: I’ve recent taken a few trips down Graveling Point way, for photography and also Indian artifacts, seeing the area of Osborne Island was obviously thoroughly appreciated by the Lenape. I know a young man who has one of the finest collection of points (arrowheads) in the state, all collected from the point over to the Osborne bridge. His take might explain why a pro like me has barely found a dozen points thereabouts, three from the cut just west of the far point.

Graveling could go a bit gonzo with casters this spring. Not that it isn’t often a shoulder-to-shoulder angler circus, but there’s something in the air, made thicker by this cold snap, that draws sportsmen from far and wide. A real problem is parking at the end of Radio Road. I’m not sure how strict the Little Egg Harbor PD is about parking all along the roadsides west of the official parking lot, which is already being filled by local comers and goers.

I was asked bassing along Pebble Beach, the section of bayside right as you come onto the sand. While I’d love to think disabled folks might find a fish or two thereabouts, I know of very few bass caught there, though I did see a huge exception when something close to a 34-inch fish was caught down toward the creek mouth. A fish that big is a spring rarity on Graveling.

Remember that Graveling Point is owned by the Forsythe Refuge. Treat it with due respect and carry out any trash, especially plastics bags that held hooks and plastics. 

For those who know the Mullica, the upriver landings should soon offer plugging and jigging. While it has been years since I worked those often tough to reach landings – sometimes populated by less than friendly folks, -- I need some casting action as much as the next stir-crazy soul. I’ve had some fine schoolie days thereabouts. Besides, I haven't been in a good fistfight in a while. So much for the blessed peacemaker side of me. 


Underwater Drones Prove Valuable in Japan

Copyright © 2021 The Yomiuri Shimbun / The Japan News
By Takayasu Kitagawa and Nanase Kayano
March 1, 2021

Much like their aerial counterparts, the technological development of underwater drones has expanded their usefulness in a wide range of activities. These submersibles are proving valuable in the fisheries industry, ocean research and marine rescue, especially as their diving and camera capabilities are improved.

The government has started to help promote the use of this technology, claiming that it will lead to regional revitalization and the development of new industries in Japan.

Improving safety

Yasutaka Suisan, a fisheries company in Ainan, Ehime Prefecture, operates submersible drones in its aquaculture ponds floating in the sea. The drones are able to report the underwater situation back to a computer screen, such as swimming behavior of red sea bream and net conditions, and can dive to a depth of nearly 100 meters to check the pond's clamps on the seabed.

The company had been relying on weekly inspections from outside divers. However, because the fishery has 114 of these floating ponds, which are 20 meters deep, checking every centimeter was extremely difficult. And after bad weather, the risk of accidents was high.

Since the company gradually introduced four underwater drones starting four years ago, the work has become more efficient. The new technology has an advantage of being able to quickly notice any changes in the fish, according to the company.

"Aquaculture used to be hard work and relied heavily on experience," company president Takami Yasuoka said. "With the latest technology transforming our industry into a safe one, we can expect the participation of people who have never been involved in this kind of work before."

Underwater drones have been introduced in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, and Susaki, Kochi Prefecture, for the inspection of fixed nets and other purposes. An experiment has begun in Etajima, Hiroshima Prefecture, to test the use of underwater drones for monitoring the growth environment of cultivated oysters.

Underwater drones have been getting better in recent years, and their prices have been coming down. A small drone -- weighing 2 to 3 kilograms and the size of a laptop computer -- that can dive to a depth of 100 meters is now available for 150,000 yen to 200,000 yen.

According to estimates by the research firm Impress, the size of the domestic market for industrial underwater drones is currently estimated at about 2 billion yen, and expected to nearly double in three years.

"Like aerial drones, they have great potential in a variety of fields," said an official at the Japan Underwater Drone Association.

The Enoshima Aquarium in Kanagawa Prefecture began using drones to survey the biology of Sagami Bay in October 2019. Last summer, the facility collected a rare harp comb jelly from the seabed at a depth of 130 meters, the first time in 79 years in the area. An official in charge of the project said that more valuable discoveries and collections can be expected in the future.

The Niihama City Fire Department in Ehime Prefecture introduced underwater drones in 2019 in response to a series of accidents in which cars fell into the sea. In addition to assessing the situation in the event of an accident, drones will also be used to provide guidance to diving crews.

In November, an experiment was conducted at the Odo Dam in Niyodogawa, Kochi Prefecture, using underwater drones to measure the condition of the dam and repair points. The experiment was conducted by the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry's Shikoku Regional Development Bureau. The drone was able to identify areas in need of repair with only a small margin of error, and the bureau will make efforts to put the drone technology to practical use.

Regional revitalization

In coastal areas and remote islands, the aging of the population and the deterioration of port facilities are serious problems, as there is a shortage of people who can take on dangerous diving work.

In November, the government set up a council to study the use of underwater drones and other equipment with the participation of industry, government, and academia.

In addition to making up for the shortage of manpower in industry and inspection work, the following areas of potential use were mentioned: producing underwater virtual reality videos to attract diving tourists; surveying underwater ruins, resources and organisms; educating marine engineers; and confirming tsunami damage.

The Ocean Policy Division of the land ministry said that the use of drones will lead to the revitalization of coastal areas.

While the aviation law and other regulations prohibit flying drones without permission in dense residential areas, there are few regulations on the use of drones at sea. The challenge is to create rules to prevent accidents.

Scientists See More Evidence of Slowing Atlantic Ocean Circulation, an 'Achilles' Heel' of Climate

Copyright © 2021 Washington Post
By Chris Mooney
February 26, 2021

A growing body of evidence suggests that a massive change is underway in the sensitive circulation system of the Atlantic Ocean, a group of scientists said Thursday.

The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), a system of currents that includes the Florida Current and the Gulf Stream, is now "in its weakest state in over a millennium," these experts say. This has implications for everything from the climate of Europe to the rates of sea-level rise along the U.S. East Coast.

Although evidence of the system's weakening has been published before, the new research cites 11 sources of "proxy" evidence of the circulation's strength, including clues hidden in seafloor mud as well as patterns of ocean temperatures. The enormous flow has been directly measured only since 2004, too short a period to definitively establish a trend, which makes these indirect measures critical for understanding its behavior.

The new research applies a statistical analysis to show that those measures are in sync and that nine out of 11 show a clear trend.

Prior research had suggested that the AMOC was at its weakest point in a millennium or more, and suggested a roughly 15 percent weakening since about 1950. But when it comes to the latest evidence, "I think it just makes this conclusion considerably stronger," said Stefan Rahmstorf, an author of the research and an oceanographer with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany.

The study was published in Nature Geoscience by scientists from the Potsdam Institute, Ireland's Maynooth University and University College London.

The AMOC is driven by two vital components of ocean water: temperature and salt. In the North Atlantic, warm, salty water flows northward off the U.S. coastline, carrying heat from the tropics. But as it reaches the middle latitudes, it cools, and around Greenland, the cooling and the saltiness create enough density that the water begins to sink deep beneath the surface.

The water then swings back southward and travels all the way to the Southern Hemisphere, submerged, where it makes its way to the Antarctic as part of a global system of ocean currents. The entire system is known as the ocean's thermohaline circulation ("thermo" meaning heat and "haline," salt), and it plays many critical roles in the climate. It is also referred to as the global ocean conveyor belt, because it redistributes heat worldwide.

In the North Atlantic, most important is the transport of heat northward, which has a moderating effect on Europe's climate in particular. But the circulation can be weakened by making northern water more fresh and less salty, and therefore less dense. That's what climate change — through a combination of more rain and snow, more melting of Arctic sea ice, and huge freshwater pulses from Greenland — is thought to be doing.

The AMOC has captured the popular imagination because of its depiction in the lurid sci-fi film "The Day After Tomorrow," in which various disastrous events occur after a sudden halting of the current. Nothing nearly so dire is underway, and scientists say that although a shutdown is possible in the future as climate change continues, steady weakening is the more likely course in the near future.

The late climate scientist Wallace S. Broecker wrote in 1997 that the AMOC is the "Achilles' heel" of the climate system, citing evidence that it has switched on and off repeatedly over the course of Earth's history, with the power to flip warming periods to intense cold in the Northern Hemisphere.

Scientists do not expect anything so severe in our future, especially because greenhouse gases will continue to cause offsetting warming. However, they note that even the modest slowing of 15 percent has been accompanied by odd temperature patterns in the ocean and the significant upending of certain key fisheries, such as lobster and cod off the coast of New England.

In particular, a recurrent "cold blob" has been observed in the ocean to the south of Greenland — a large region that is bucking the overall global warming trend and instead showing a marked cooling pattern. Scientists think this is evidence that less warm water is reaching this region than previously, and that it may also be a result of runoff from the melting ice sheet.

At the same time, warm water has lingered instead off the coast of the northeastern United States, where the Gulf of Maine is showing some of the fastest-warming ocean water anywhere in the world.

Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State who co-wrote a major 2015 study with Rahmstorf showing a slowing AMOC, said the cold blob has been "remarkable" in its staying power.

Mann said that the cold blob's presence since 2015 has helped convince him that the ocean current's slowdown is a robust finding. "The remarkable persistence of the cold blob since the publication of our article has convinced me, 'Yeah, it's real.' "

At the same time, though, the latest study does rely on "proxy evidence," rather than direct measurements of the circulation.

To give an example, one of the proxy-based studies, published last year, uses sediment collected from the seafloor to the south of Iceland, and the microscopic organisms it contains, to detect a shifting of water types over time. It therefore infers more warm water arriving in recent decades as opposed to colder conditions over hundreds of previous years.

The current study's conclusions are, by necessity, only as good as the proxies are. And the complexity of different currents in the Atlantic, as well as different definitions of the AMOC, can call into question what the proxies are actually measuring, said Marilena Oltmanns, an oceanographer at the National Oceanography Center in Britain.

Still, Oltmanns noted, "I think it is commendable that the authors used so many different proxies. So, even if only one of these proxies is linked to the AMOC, it should be sufficient to justify their conclusion."

Rahmstorf understands the concern but thinks the big picture nevertheless presents a major shift.

"The proxies from different regions are measuring different aspects of a complex 3-D AMOC circulation," he said. "To me, the key is that all these pieces of the AMOC puzzle fit together so nicely in the proxy data."

Eating Seafood Reduces Risk of Premature Birth, Thanks to Omega 3s

Source: Alaska Fish Radio
By Laine Welch
March 1, 2021

This is Alaska Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Eating fish can literally save lives. I’ll tell you more after this – 

Halibut and black cod buyers and sellers: simplify your sales online from one location at the Seafood Auction. Visit www.seafoodauction.net

Did you know that eating wild and sustainable Alaska seafood can boost your immune system? Learn more about Alaska seafood’s many proven nutritional benefits at www.wildalaskaseafood.com

Premature birth is the leading cause of death for children under 5 years old worldwide, accounting for nearly one million deaths annually. Eating seafood or marine oils can significantly reduce that number.

The life saving ingredient? Omega 3 fatty acids.

That’s the main finding of a Cochrane Review of 70 studies worldwide that included nearly 20,000 pregnant women. It showed that omega’s from marine sources reduces early premature birth by a whopping 42 percent.

“The effect really has to be strong to see it in a Cochrane Review and I am very impressed that it has come out as significant as it has.”

Dr. Tom Brenna is a professor of pediatrics, chemistry and nutrition at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas.

Research on marine omega 3’s and pregnancy has been going on since at least 1992, he says. Brenna calls the formal medical collaboration and conclusions in the Cochran Review a ‘blunt instrument’ -

“The number of studies and the number of women studied is large enough so that it is very difficult to imagine that in future studies, no matter how they come out, are going to affect these results in the future. So we really are looking at something that may well be if not the final word, certainly good for a generation.”

The results also included a 10 percent reduction in low birth weight in babies under 5.5 pounds.

Premature babies are at higher risk of a range of long-term conditions including developmental delay, learning difficulties and visual impairment. Brenna says marine-based omega 3’s also improves those problems.   

 “Many of us believe that omega 3s, particularly the ones rich in DHA are important for continuing development of the neural system and of the eye.  The brain and the retina in the eye are really omega 3 organs. You can say as calcium is to the bones, omega 3 is to the brain.”

Additional studies also show that omega 3’s improve a mother’s mood in the long term.

Brenna says a challenge now is to translate the research findings on preventing premature births and other positives into health policy and wider educational outreach.

“So I think that we have a major effect here that ought to be heralded from the rooftops far and wide.”

Find links to the Cochrane Report at www.alaskafishradio.com and on Facebook and Twitter

Hooked On Fishing-Not On Drugs
Youth Fishing Challenge
Saturday, June 5, 2021

All Division of Fish and Wildlife programs strictly adhere to current New Jersey Covid-19 safety protocols including social distancing guidelines and travel restrictions. Program availability or allowable attendance at programs may change if these guidelines or restrictions change. Information will be updated and participants will be notified immediately if necessary.

Youth with bassThe Hooked on Fishing-Not on Drugs Program's Youth Fishing Challenge is a free statewide event to promote fishing among youths and their families. In 2021 it will be held on the first of the state's two Free Fishing Days, Saturday, June 5, when no license is required to fish regardless of age.

Registered youth participants may be eligible to receive prizes for the fish they catch during the event. Youth must be present at the end of the event to be awarded prizes.

Questions regarding participation or hosting an event can be directed to hofnod@dep.nj.gov.

Organizations interested in hosting an event, and individuals interested in volunteering at an event, should complete and submit an application form:

Organization/Volunteer Application Form (pdf, 1.0mb - Complete online, save (if your system allows) and submit via e-mail, or print and mail.)


This event is sponsored by NJDEP Division of Fish & Wildlife's Hooked on Fishing-Not on Drugs Program.

The following rules apply to all events:

1. Registration is required and FREE - see information below for the location you'd like to attend.
    Note: Each hosting organization/location may have its own rules or "need to know" information.

2. The event is open to all ages - no license or trout stamp is required on New Jersey's Free Fishing Days. The entire family is encouraged to join the fun!

3. Participating youths aged 20 and under are eligible to receive event giveaways and prizes.
    Note: Youths will receive a scorecard the day of the event and must turn in their completed scorecards to receive free giveaways and prizes.



Locations for the 2021 challenge will be listed when available.

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