Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Tuesday, November 27, 2018: The ocean remains stirred, as in coffee-and-cream brown. ... New Escalade for Christmas?

Tuesday, November 27, 2018: The ocean remains stirred, as in coffee-and-cream brown. It’s also cooled down through the 50s, rather rapidly. The schoolie bass are liking the chilled surf but the big girls are inclined to remain out a-ways, where the thermocline offers milder waters. Winds have been far from boater friendly, though a couple vessels could be seen, most likely bassing since a longer trip out to Togland would be prohibitively bumpy.

Looking at the National Weather Service’s website, the tiny symbol/imogie they use for wind is in place for the next couple days. Then, that milder air moves in, likely bearing SE winds, possibly gusty, late-day. Watch those SE winds spark a schoolie bite. 

As to those schoolies, I’ll be in pursuit of same starting tomorrow. They are in inlets areas and, likely, in the bay, possibly as far in-bay as Manahawkin Bay (Christmas-lit Ship Bottom fishing/crabbing pier?). With the ocean slowly calming and cleaning, small bass just have to be in the surf – though they haven’t shown in any great concentration yet, per some regular late-day pluggers. If you’re wealthy, bloodworms should soon rock the rockfish.

I’ve been asked by local businesses to emphasize the effectiveness of gift cards. At the same time, I advise that as nice as rods and reels might seem as gifts, most anglers have favorites regarding brands. With rods, it gets even more complicated when it comes to length, thickness and speed (bend). It’s almost better to sacrifice the “Surprise!” factor and ask outright what the angler in your life seeks to round out his/her gear.

Harkening way back, I use this time of year to recall what I initially thought was a clever prank call from a gal who said she wanted to buy her hubby a brand-new SUV, “A real good one,” for Christmas. Once I registered that she was solid-gold serious, I half-jokingly whittled it down to a Lincoln Navigator, some sort of Mercedes and, the final choice, a Cadillac Escalade. Oh, this was all too real. The highly beloved hubby even called me after the holidays to thank me for helping get him an Escalade.

I swear that only a year or so after that incident, I began seeing the first of these now nonstop Lexus, Silverado, Cadillac, Mercedes Christmas commercials. I’ll bet dealers nationwide got wind of this LBI gal’s gift and, in unison, offered an excited “Hmmmm.” Hell, this year there’s one commercial with a guy buying himself and his wife Christmas upper-end Chevy 4WD vehicles. The cost?! My nicely-appointed dream Silverado, i.e. my ain’t-happenin’ 4WD Chevy truck, comes in at just under $70,000. 

2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab 3LZ High Country Edition Loaded!!! $66,425.00

ROTTEN RECYCLING: I got word of a nasty-ass fish-based incident up at the Ocean County Recycling Center. Some angling numbnuts decided his striped bass frame/wrack should be thrown in with the glass and plastics. See photo below. What a lousy stunt -- and a fully lousy filet job! Can you imagine if it had gotten into the sorting mechanism?! Admittedly, it might have simply been a stupid-as-s*** act. For that latter possibility, I’ll herein warn, in general, that any organic material, as in fish racks and innards, are not recyclables. Damn, it seems dumb as dirt even needing to pass that on. But there you got it.


Jim Hutchinson Sr.

As winter weather fast approaches, the end of the 2018 striped bass action for the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association nears. However, there are still fish available, and with positive reports to the north, the action should continue for another couple of weeks. 

Captain Gary Dugan of the boat “Irish Jig” recently took second place in the MICA striped bass tournament based out of Mystic Island. He said he is catching stripers off Beach Haven and is eying up a prize in the Italian American Club fishing tournament this coming weekend. The tournament is also based in Mystic Island and will run from November 30 to December 2. 

Captain Ray Lopez had a striped bass charter Black Friday on the “Miss Liane.” Michael Jackson and his group were very happy they chose fishing over shopping. Despite 13-degree weather and salt spray freezing on the deck by the minute, the hardy group from Philadelphia had steady action on various sized bass. The next day the Ian Miller group from Cherry Hill, arrived early to get in on the early morning striper bite. From capturing beautiful sunrise photos to reeling in a monster striper, they had a spectacular time on the water. 

The captains of the BHCFA recently held their annual membership meeting, and one of the first orders of business was recognizing outgoing president Captain Jimmy Zavacky. He was presented with a plaque citing him for his contributions to the association his commitment to local fishing. 

Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at www.BHCFA.com.

Two weighted in for the Classic yesterday.
Pat Gallen 7.82 lb at BH on bunker.
Mike Fahd 9.78 lb at LL on bunker. 
Surf still lots of short bass and dogfish on baits. Avas with teaser are producing also. Throw out a bait stick and work a Ava or a plug with a teaser. Boats are doing good trolling bunker spoons and mojos. The mojos seems to be working best.

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Matt Burton


Mike WindknotSurfcasters Plug Bag.



Polar Bear BEAST FLEYE! I wondered where it was and I’m glad I found it. Only one I ever made with extra long Polar Bear.
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Products from Threatened Species of Sharks and Rays Sold in Singapore: Study

Copyright © 2018 MediaCorp Press Ltd
November 27, 2018

Shops in Singapore have been found to sell meat, fins and other products derived from endangered and vulnerable species of sharks and rays.

The finding, made by researchers who did DNA sequencing and matched the results against databases, has prompted a call for active monitoring of the retail trade and better labelling of products here.

Monitoring the trade would require the authorities to check if retailers have obtained the appropriate permits under an international agreement that ensures trade does not threaten wildlife species with extinction.

Meanwhile, better product labels will help consumers to be aware of the sources of goods they are buying, said Assistant Professor Huang Danwei of the National University of Singapore's (NUS) department of biological sciences.

"Consumption of these goods is a personal choice, but we believe that with education and by providing the public with accurate information about the status of wild species being consumed, more people will demand that the goods be derived from sustainable sources," said Asst Prof Huang, one of the authors of the study, which was published last month.

Shark and ray populations are declining and the study stated that an estimated 100 million sharks are caught each year.

Between December last year and February this year, the researchers collected 207 tissue samples of shark and ray products. They were purchased from 20 retail sources including grocery stores, wholesale markets, wet markets and Traditional Chinese Medicine shops.

The samples consisted of dried shark fin, shark meat, shark cartilage and ray gill plate, said Dr Neo Mei Lin, a research fellow at the NUS' Tropical Marine Science Institute and another study author.

Gill plates enable rays to filter plankton from the water, but they are prized in the traditional medicine trade as health tonics or cures for various illnesses.

The researchers positively identified 173 of the samples (84 per cent).

- They belonged to 28 shark and ray species.

- Twelve of the species were listed as endangered or vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

- Eight species were listed under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites).

Appendix II-listed species can be traded commercially with Cites permits, said the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority (AVA).

Export permits for Cites Appendix II species may be issued only if the specimen was legally obtained and there is evidence that the export will not be detrimental to the survival of the species in the wild, said Dr Madhu Rao of the Wildlife Conservation Society, one of the study authors. In Singapore, an import permit is required by law, she said.

The researchers found 16 products that were mis-labelled and Dr Rao noted that there are no current requirements to accurately label products to indicate which species they used.

"The shark and ray trade is notorious for mislabelling food stuff and dried samples are particularly problematic as most distinguishing features of species are lost," she said.

Yet, the accurate identification of caught species is needed to set appropriate catch quotas and management strategies, as well as correct designations under IUCN and Cites, other studies have noted.

Consumers may be eating threatened species 

The study does not suggest there is illegal trade taking place – rather, that people may be consuming threatened or vulnerable species, said Ms Naomi Clark-Shen, one of the authors.

Because the dates that the products were traded are not determined, the Cites-protected species could have entered Singapore before there were regulations on their trade, she said.

Nonetheless, the "frequent occurrence" of several species that are endangered, vulnerable or Cites trade-regulated "should be of concern to local management and enforcement authorities", said Dr Rao.

The AVA said it monitors imports and exports, retail outlets and online sources.

It manages trade of Cites-listed sharks and rays through several channels including a surveillance programme on shark fin shipments, as well as sampling and DNA analysis to ensure species declarations are accurate, a spokesperson said.

"We investigate credible feedback, collaborate with other enforcement agencies, and will not hesitate to take action against offenders (such as through the confiscation of products, composition fines, and prosecution)," she said.

The authority did not elaborate on the frequency of sampling and DNA analysis, or provide figures on wrongly declared species.

But it said the last case of mis-labelling was detected after sampling and DNA analysis in 2015, and the last detected case of illegal import was in 2003.

What should labels include?

In a report last year on the shark and ray trade in Singapore by the World Wide Fund for Nature and wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic, the Republic was named the world's second-largest importer and re-exporter of shark fin in terms of value, and the 14th-largest importer of shark meat by volume.

The study also suggested a considerable domestic market for ray products here.

According to the AVA, Singapore imported 3,600 tonnes of shark products last year – lower than the 4,100 tonnes imported in 2016 and the 4,200 tonnes in 2015. They included live, chilled, frozen, canned and prepared products.

The imported quantity of ray products has also decreased in the last three years, from 1,600 tonnes in 2015 to 1,300 tonnes in 2017, AVA figures showed.

Dr Neo said product labels should include information such as the commercial and scientific name of the species, whether they were farmed or caught at sea, where they were caught, the type of fishing gear used and whether the product has been defrosted. There should also be a "best before" date, she said.

More dining establishments have taken shark's fin off their menus in recent years, and consumers such as Ms Wong P L told TODAY that information on labels would influence her buying decision.

"Maybe the younger consumers would read the labels, although I think more buyers (of such products) are older folk who may not," said the 33-year-old, who works in air freight procurement.

"Although labels are useful, checks should be done at an earlier stage and endangered species shouldn't be imported in the first place," added Ms Wong, who is holding her wedding dinner in April next year and recently decided not to serve shark's fin soup to guests.

Some shark and ray species found on sale:

- Spinetail devil ray (Mobula japanica): It was the most common ray identified in the study. A near-threatened species, it is listed under Cites Appendix II. Populations are thought to be fragmented. They have low reproductive output, a long gestation period and slow growth, said Dr Rao. This means once their populations are depleted, even if population recovery is possible, it will be extremely slow.

- Scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini): An endangered species that is listed under Cites Appendix II. It is a coastal and semi-oceanic hammerhead shark that is targeted in fisheries but also ends up as bycatch, according to the IUCN.

- Several species of guitar fish: They include the Giant guitarfish (Rhynchobatus djiddensis), the Spotted guitarfish (Rhinobatos punctifer) and the Bowmouth guitarfish (Rhina ancylostoma). Guitar fish are a family of rays, said Dr Neo. They are especially vulnerable to overfishing because of their low fecundity and very low growth rates, said Dr Rao.

McGill Researchers Use Lobster Shells to Make Biodegradeable Plastic

Copyright © 2018 CBC/Radio-Canada
By Steve Rukavina
November 27, 2018

Researchers at McGill say they've discovered a simple way to make biodegradable plastic from the hard shells of lobsters, shrimps, crabs and insects such as crickets and beetles.

Audrey Moores, an associate professor of applied chemistry, came up with the process along with graduate student Thomas Di Nardo.

"It remains biodegradeable, so if it goes in the environment it's not going to pollute," Moores told CBC Montreal. "But by processing it well we can make it into a durable plastic."

She said the plastic could be used for biomedical materials such as stitches or implants, where both durability and biodegradability are important.

But she added there may be many other potential applications, including plastic for 3D printing, cutlery, food packaging, perhaps even plastic bags.

'We just created a new material'

The material in the hard shells of bugs and shellfish is called chitin. Moores said chitin is already commonly used to create a polymer called chitosan.

Chitosan is currently used to make tiny polymers for biomedical use, but it's difficult to make on a large scale.

Moores said solving that problem was her team's breakthrough.

"Polymers are like a necklace with a lot of beads. When people modify chitin to [make] chitosan, they force the necklace to break into smaller pieces. We managed to do the chemical transformation, but maintain the necklace at it's really long length," Moores said.

"This is opening an avenue of possibilities. We just created a new material essentially," she added.

That new material could be used to make plastics currently made from petroleum products.

"We have a much safer process, causing far less pollution and far less waste," she said.

Company offers free bug shells

Moores said so far her team has been working with shellfish and some beetles in the lab. 

But she heard recently from a company in Sherbrooke that makes protein powder from insects.

"Some of the insects have a shell that the company has to dispose of, but we could use it to make our polymers," Moores said.

Her team has already patented the process and would like to commercialize it. The next research step, she said, is to try to make the plastic a bit more malleable by mixing it with non-toxic additives.

A Better Way to Catch Swordfish? New Gear Replaces Gill Nets that Trap Unwanted Species

Copyright © 2018 San Diego Union-Tribune
By Deborah Brennan 
November 27, 2018

Facing a 94-pound swordfish, chef Rob Ruiz explored the question of sustainability in the kitchen, and in the ocean.

At his Carlsbad Village restaurant Land & Water Company, Ruiz used a pair of Japanese knives to carve the freshly caught fish. Carefully removing sections, Ruiz explained their different flavors and values. Meat near the bone has the highest nutritional value, he said, while marrow makes delicious fish stock.

The cheeks of the swordfish, he said, have a sweet, tender flavor "like a scallop blown up to the size of a pancake." And a portion of the neck called the "comma," he said, contains the most succulent meat on the fish.

Ruiz, who has been honored for his marine conservation efforts as well as his cuisine, said his preparation methods reflect "our ethos of always honoring the creature, not wasting any of it and always trying to do the right thing."

The swordfish was caught the same day through an emerging technique known as deep-set buoy fishing. Just as the chef's knives are designed specifically for seafood, the new gear promises to allow fishermen to target swordfish without entangling other sensitive species.

In September, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that will phase out swordfish catch through drift gill net fishing - in which large mesh nets are dragged through the water column - and encourage the use of the cleaner fishing gear to reduce unwanted catch of marine wildlife, known as bycatch. In June, the Pacific Fisheries Management Council, the regulatory body for West Coast fisheries, will vote on a plan for permitting the deep-set buoy gear.

Ruiz's demonstration and a subsequent sampling of the seafood it produced were part of a recent event marking that process, and celebrating the role San Diego plays in pioneering seafood solutions for consumers, fishermen and ocean ecosystems.

"The fisherman is an endangered species in San Diego, too," Ruiz said. "We have the opportunity for San Diego to become the most sustainable port in the country."

Deep-set buoy gear is the result of a years-long effort to find alternatives to drift gill nets. The vast sheets of netting are the method of choice for most swordfish fishermen but have the unwanted consequence of entangling endangered leatherback sea turtles, whales, sea lions, sharks and other species.

To prevent that, federal regulators close a large swath of the Pacific from Central California to Oregon for three months a year, and introduced gear regulations to protect the animals. That precaution has substantially reduced accidental catch of turtles and other protected species.

But the closures and other restrictions have made it hard for boats to turn a profit. The swordfish fleet, with nearly 200 vessels off the West Coast in the 1980s and 1990s, has dwindled to about 20 boats, said Tara Brock, a policy analyst with The Pew Charitable Trusts. Most are based in San Diego and operate in the Southern California Bight, south of Point Conception, the only part of the coast not restricted by the closures.

As fishermen struggled with restrictions on swordfish, scientists sought alternatives. What if there were a way to catch swordfish when they were apart from protected marine life? Heidi Dewar, a fisheries research biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, started tagging swordfish to track their movements..

Drift gill nets operate at night, but Dewar and colleagues found that swordfish descend to deeper waters during the day, hunting in colder layers where air-breathing animals don't travel. If researchers could develop fishing gear to target them in those depths, they could avoid harming other marine life.

Chugey Sepulveda, director, and senior scientists with the Pfleger Institute of Environmental Research in Oceanside, known as PIER, took up that task. With a doctorate from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and a passion for fishing, he was eager to find other methods for swordfish fishermen.

"Swordfish: my favorite fish in the ocean," he said at the event. "My favorite fish on a plate."

Sepulveda worked with other researchers and colleagues to drop long lines into the deeper waters where swordfish swim. When a fish hits, a buoy alerts fishermen that they have a strike. They can reel it in immediately and bring in fresher catch with far less bycatch. About 80 percent of the catch from the method is swordfish, and another 18 percent is other market fish, such as opah. Less than 2 percent is bycatch.

Through the new legislation, fishermen can receive a payout for turning in their drift gill nets and, in turn, invest in deep-set buoy gear. Under the proposed rules that the fisheries council will consider next year, 50 fishermen could receive deep-set buoy permits, with 25 more added each year as the council evaluates the results, Brock said.

Some fishermen aren't convinced that the drift gill net ban is the best idea. Lance Rinehart is now a deep set buoy fisherman but said others who have built careers on gill nets should be able to retire with them.

"Those people who fished really hard with drift gill nets, they should be allowed to keep their gill nets," he said. "It's a closed fishery. It's already regulated. They should just let it be."

Sepulveda can relate to those concerns but said he's confident that fishermen will be successful with deep-set buoy gear.

"We are talking about providing our fishermen with a better option," Sepulveda said. "It's the evolution of the gear."

17 North Atlantic Right Whales Sighted South of Nantucket

November 27, 2018

NOAA has put a new voluntary vessel speed restriction zone (Dynamic Management Area -DMA)  in place 21 nautical miles south of Nantucket, Massachusetts, after 17 North Atlantic right whales were sighted in the area on Monday.

The government agency initially established a speed restriction zone last week after four North Atlantic right whales were spotted in the area on November 18. Now, with more of the endangered whales spotted, a new DMA has been put into place through December 11.

The coordinates south of Nantucket have changed slightly from the other week:

41 22 N

40 28 N

070 39 W

069 29 W

As previously reported boaters are cautioned to give the North Atlantic right whales “plenty of room” as they migrate south. Boaters are also asked to also remove unused gear to help avoid entanglements, and to use vertical lines with required markings, weak links, and breaking strengths.  

It is believed that there are only 411 North Atlantic right whales left in the world after a devastating number of mortalities in 2017. NOAA has documented three North Atlantic right whale deaths in the U.S. so far this year.

Photo Credit: NOAA


Fishermen Train for a Rescue in an Industry Full of Danger


Copyright © 2018 CBC/Radio-Canada
By Brett Ruskin 
November 27, 2018

Safety a concern as lobster season in southwest Nova Scotia approaches

The thick red neoprene of my survival suit pressed my nose flat against my face, as I flopped into the makeshift rescue rig.

A winch above strained to pull me from the dark water.

The rope snapped. I plunged back down, spat out salty water and bobbed to the surface.

"And that's why we do the drills," said Matthew Duffy, a safety advisor with the Fisheries Safety Association of Nova Scotia.

Duffy stood on the boat above me in Port Mouton, N.S., next to a sheepish captain who later vowed to buy a new rope. On an adjacent wharf, dozens of fishermen watched our mock rescue.

The Fisheries Safety Association of Nova Scotia has met with fishermen across the province this summer. The organization visits ports to demonstrate rescue techniques, encourage proper equipment care and promote safe practices at sea.

The work comes as last month the Transportation Safety Board of Canada sounded the alarm over what it called the fishing industry's "disturbing safety record."

At least seventeen people have died so far this year in the commercial fishery, the worst year since 2004, and the chair of the safety board has said the "industry's safety culture still has a long way to go."

Safety has also been a growing concern in the southwest Nova Scotia lobster industry, the most lucrative lobster fishery in Canada. The season was due to begin Monday, but was delayed due to high winds.

Simple equipment changes can save lives, said Duffy.

"The most common thing we see is the life ring without the rope tied to it," he said. "Or the rope's tied so tightly that they spend a lot of time untying it."

That means the life ring won't get to the victim in time, or it will be thrown with no way to retrieve it.

He also said he's seen rescue ladders that don't reach all the way to the water line when installed on the side of the boat.

But there is some good news. Duffy said he's seeing more fishermen wearing their personal flotation devices (PFDs).

"You're seeing people with the PFDs and they're pretty dirty and full of fish guts, so it shows that they are wearing them."

If a crew member goes overboard and falls unconscious or is injured, the winch rescue may not be an option.

In that case, Duffy and the crew of Gordon Burgess's boat lowered a net into the water. The net had horizontal ribs to help it keep its shape.

The victim swims or is pulled into the net. Then, by hauling up one side, the victim is rolled up along the side of the boat.

Duffy said each fishing boat is required to have a list of gear to rescue people who fall overboard.

Photo Credit: Urner Barry

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