Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Wednesday, April 04, 2018: Raw. That’s the word of the day, make that the word of the frickin’ week/month ... And I go off a bit

Hmmm. This is not such a bad prank for our nape of the coast. Indelible ink? 

Geek vandalism - That will teach him!

Glad to see they still have lady crabs somewhere in the world.

"I think I have a bug wing stuck in my throat. Look and see." 


Wednesday, April 04, 2018: Raw. That’s the word of the day, make that the word of the frickin’ week/month. This after much of March was rawer than Tokyo sashimi. Tomorrow’s forecast: Raw. This coming weekend? Now that’s gonna be some kind of raw. And what’s this about frozen precip?

Image result for sad person in snow

Chatting with weather folks, they’re now strongly advising gardeners against transferring indoor-started spouts outdoor, especially in mainland areas.

Those lows can’t be good news for farmers, including the nearby Sassafras Farms. Odd thing: 32-degree snow on the ground could serve as sprout protection -- from far colder air.

It’s at times like this that I harken back to old clammers’ tales, one of which says that long and cold winters/springs mean atrociously torrid summers to follow. I’ve looked at the data over the decades and I’m less than amazed to see that tale holds true at the exact rate as a little thing called the law of averages. Still, I can’t be the only one who senses a scalding summer approaching, beginning as early as late next month.  

RAW THINGKING: T’was a time that sweltering summers only meant just that … sweaty, hazy, hot, humid times. No longer are things that simple … and innocent. An intensely beating down sun will now act to further heat our already too-mild ocean -- an ocean that will be more than willing to loose some of its excess warmth by feeding it to any cyclones entering our piece of the western Atlantic. By the by, cyclones is the more technical term meteorologists would like us to use instead of hurricanes. I foresee it sitting in an abandoned failed-usages warehouse with the metric system and pet rocks.  

Anyway, the intensity-reducing effect once offered when systems “hit colder water” hereabouts is fading into oblivion. I don’t know why “oblivion” just jumped to mind.

I know this talk is a tad doomsdayish … but duly so. It’s all part and parcel to my ongoing efforts to seek ways --- and support – for cooling down the ocean surfaces – and warming up the outlook for a bright future. Dealing with today’s immediate environmental woes is the best way to fight for the future of our coastline existence. It’s fighting the good fight, or, in another vein, refusing to go down without a fight. Such a battle takes balls of steel. Better make that balls of brass, since they don’t corrode as quickly in a salty environment. Death to abandonist thinking and rhetoric. Remember, those not in it to save the coast are against saving it.

Per CBS:  HURRICANE? CYCLONE? TYPHOON?: They're all the same, officially tropical cyclones. But they just use distinctive terms for a storm in different parts of the world. Hurricane is used in the Atlantic, Caribbean Sea, central and northeast Pacific. They are typhoons in the northwest Pacific. In the Bay of Bengal and the Arabia Sea, they are called cyclones. Tropical cyclone is used in the southwest India Ocean; in the southwestern Pacific and southeastern India Ocean they are severe tropical cyclones.

Below: The eyes of hurricane season will soon be upon us: 

HOLGATE HAPPENINGS: I have gotten word from two different sources that right before the pedestrian-phase closing of Holgate, a dark SUV with Pennsy tags -- seemingly a dad with kids -- was driving the closed-to-buggies beach at a far-above legal speed. Does anyone have any info? The parking lot chain had been closed, I assume -- unless the refuge folks were down there somewhere, leaving the chain down. Folks who were hiking the last open day there -- the ones who told me about the SUV -- were quite miffed at the vehicle. 

RUNDOWN: I can only bring up fishing in passing. Even my angling-tenacious buddies who resort to pickerel fishing this time of year – knowing chainsides go ballistic in the spring – say the pickerel spark is just not there for springtime. Sure, minnow-swimmers are catching these piranhas of the pines, but, sorry, that’s no way for adults to fish for these feisty fighters. Using bait is for kids … and those seeking food fish.

Above via:


Image result for yellow bullhead fish

I’m a pescatarian but won’t eat most freshwater fish due to deleterious chemical within virtually all freshwater species, excepting (to some degree) catfish and crayfish.

What’s that, you say, we don’t have crayfish in NJ. Oh, contraire. Pick most any lake, creek or even pond and go out at night with a bright spotlight. You wanna see some serious crayfish … there ya go. You’ll also be rudely awakened to the huge number of water snakes in those same waters.

Related image

Weird dietary fact: A Harvard University study finds nine percent of PCBs in the American diet come from consumption of all fish. Twenty percent come from vegetables.

Image result for vegetables with PCBs

The Pause that refreshes ... or not so much. Hell, I'm not gonna tell him! 

Drinking fail


Todd Avery is with Todd Avery.

Sealers' Group Calls for Increased Seal Hunt - and Even a Possible Cull

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [The Canadian Press] - April 4, 2018

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Hungry East Coast seal populations have surged in recent decades, spurring calls for an increased seal hunt - and even a possible cull - to protect fragile caplin and northern cod stocks.

"If you don't protect the ecosystem in controlling some of the top predators in the food chain, then something's going to go out of whack," said Eldred Woodford, president of the Canadian Sealers Association.

The Northwest Atlantic harp seal population is estimated at about 7.4 million animals - almost six times what it was in the 1970s, according to the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Grey seal numbers in the Gulf of St. Lawrence have grown from about 5,000 animals in 1960 to an estimated 98,000 in 2014, according to the department.

The number of commercial sealing licences, meanwhile, has plunged in Newfoundland to 4,558 last year from 11,146 in 2009, say preliminary federal statistics.

It's time the federal government considered a cull on seals, Woodford said in an interview.

"Certainly we're going to have to start entertaining it and looking at it."

Woodford said he never wanted to promote the practice of killing harp or grey seals outright for the sake of limiting their respective effects on caplin and northern cod stocks.

"I felt it would be a shame to destroy a natural, renewable resource for the sole fact of controlling the population. We should be controlling it with a commercial activity where the people could utilize the animals and gain some benefit from the resource."

Only about 70,000 harp seals were landed from the 2017 quota of 400,000, Woodford said, a trend of low harvests over the last several years. The price has hovered around $35 for the highest quality pelts, far below heady values of three times that much seen before international markets dried up over the last 15 years.

Animal rights groups drew celebrity support from the likes of Paul McCartney and Jude Law in sustained campaigns against commercial sealing. They say it's an unnecessary cruelty propped up with government support that should be redirected.

Proponents says it's a humane, sustainable and regulated hunt that's unfairly targeted compared to the pork, poultry and other domestic meat sectors.

Countries which ban imported seal products now include the U.S., Mexico, Europe, Russia and Taiwan.

Federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc is expected to make an announcement soon on the northern cod fishery. Stocks collapsed off Newfoundland and Labrador before a sweeping commercial moratorium threw thousands of people out of work in 1992. They had been slowly recovering but the latest updates suggest a 30-per-cent drop over last year.

Fisheries scientists point to natural mortality fluctuations.

Fishermen have long complained that grey seals rely on cod for a good portion of their diets, while harp seals eat vast amounts of caplin - the small fish that help sustain cod and several other species.

LeBlanc said last week in the House of Commons that seals are a "significant challenge" with no easy solutions.

Officials in his department, however, said in an emailed response that no drastic population measures are imminent.

"The department is not considering a seal cull at this time."

Nor is it planning to lift a freeze on new commercial sealing licences in Atlantic Canada imposed 15 years ago when prices were high and there were many new entrants.

"The freeze on new commercial sealing licencing will remain in effect for the 2018 season," it said.

Fisheries officials plan to discuss next moves on that issue with harvesters throughout the region this fall when the Atlantic Seals Advisory Committee meets.

Woodford said the number of active sealers has dropped in part because many with licences aged out of the industry.

"We've got to reopen it and allow the younger blood back into the game."


Still Hope For North Atlantic Right Whales 'If We Stop Killing Them' Say Scientists

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Associated Press] - April 4, 2018

Regina Asmutis-Silvia, a biologist who has dedicated her career to saving right whales, is cleaning out a file cabinet from the early 1990s, and the documents inside tell a familiar story - the whales are dying from collisions with ships and entanglements in commercial fishing gear, and the species might not survive.

Fast forward through a quarter-century of crawl-paced progress, and it's all happening again.

"It's a little scary to think if we hadn't been working on this all these years, would they have been relegated to history instead of Cape Cod Bay?" said Asmutis-Silvia, of Plymouth, Massachusetts-based Whale and Dolphin Conservation. "We're standing on the cliff and going, 'It matters, they're still here, they're still something to fight for'."

Despite eight decades of conservation efforts, North Atlantic right whales are facing a new crisis. The threat of extinction within a generation looms, and the movement to preserve the whales is trying to come up with new solutions.

The whales are one of the rarest marine mammals in the world, numbering about 450. The 100,000-pound animals have been even closer to the brink of extinction before, and the effort to save them galvanized one of the most visible wildlife conservation movements in U.S. history.

But the population's falling again because of poor reproduction coupled with high mortality from ship strikes and entanglement. Scientists, environmentalists, whale watch captains and animal lovers of all stripes are rallying to renew interest in saving right whales, but many admit to feeling close to defeated.

Charles "Stormy" Mayo, director of the right whale ecology program at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, and other scientists have said the species could be extinct as soon as 2041. Mayo, a ninth generation resident of Cape Cod whose ancestors harpooned whales in the 18th and 19th centuries, now leads expeditions to find the animals and try to learn how to save them.

"There's a fair amount of sadness, dealing with these creatures. They are on the brink of extinction now, and their future is truly in doubt," he said. "I don't think any of us are discouraged, but many of us are fearful. I certainly am."

The decline of right whales dates back to the whaling era of centuries ago, when they were targeted as the "right" whale to hunt because they were slow and floated when killed. They were harvested for their oil and meat, and might have dwindled to double digits until international protections took hold in 1935.

Preserving the whales became an international cause, championed by environmentalists, scientists and the U.S. government, and their population grew to about 275 in 1990 and 500 around 2010. But then things changed.

Scientists are still trying to figure out why the whales have lost about 10 percent of their population in just eight years, but one hypothesis places blame on the warming of the Atlantic Ocean. The whales migrate from Georgia and Florida to New England and Canada every year, seeking food. They are aided by a complex system of protected areas, shipping regulations and commercial fishing restrictions that try to ensure safe passage as they gorge on copepods, crustaceans the size of a flea.

But as waters have warmed, the tiny organisms they need to survive appear to be moving, and the whales are following, sometimes putting themselves in harm's way, said Mark Baumgartner, a scientist with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. They also just aren't eating enough, he said.

"The whales are moving around a lot more and they are not finding food," he told fishermen at the Maine Fishermen's Forum in early March.

Last year, there were 17 confirmed right whale deaths - a dozen in Canada, the rest in the United States. Scientists haven't observed a single new right whale calf this year, another dire development.

Advocates for right whales have turned to touting innovations, engaging with commercial fishing groups and calling for expediting new protections in the U.S. and Canada. But it's a hard fight greeted by government bureaucracy and skeptical industries concerned about their own survival.

Baumgartner spent some of his presentation at the Maine Fishermen's Forum talking about a new technology that uses a modem to locate and retrieve lobster fishing line from the ocean floor. The innovation could reduce the number of fixed fishing lines that can cause right whales to become entangled and slowly suffocate.

There were grumbles from fishermen who doubted the viability of the new gear. One called out: "You ever been on a lobster boat?"

Conservation groups filed a federal lawsuit this year accusing the National Marine Fisheries Service of not doing enough to protect right whales from fishing gear.

Still, advocates see some reasons to be optimistic. Canada recently announced moves to protect the whales by changing the dates of the snow crab season and establishing a permanent speed limit in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

And this winter, scientists observed a behavior called a "surface active group" for the first time in a year. The whales gather at the surface for males to compete to mate with a female, which scientists hope augurs for a baby whale in the future.

"They can recover. They're not a hopeless species," said Asmutis-Silvia. "We just have to stop killing them."

Seafood Greenhouse Gas Emissions have Spiked Due to Demand for Lobsters and Shrimp


SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Independent Online] by Josh Gabbatiss - April 4, 2018

Greenhouse gas emissions from wild-caught seafood have risen dramatically due to increased demand for luxury items such as lobsters and shrimp, according to a new study.

Changing consumer preference for shellfish over more traditional net-caught fish in the years since 1990 has seen a huge spike in pollution, due to the way shellfish iscaught.

Most seafood has a carbon footprint similar to that of chicken, but certain shellfish is as damaging to the environment as high-polluting meats such as lamb and beef.

In real terms, fishing industry emissions rocketed by nearly 30 per cent between 1990 and 2011, but the gross amount of overall seafood caught did not increase. Scientists believe increased demand for expensive seafood could be behind this trend.

“We’re more affluent, people are willing to pay more for these sorts of animals and their abundance remains pretty good,” said Professor PeterTyedmers, a food systems researcher at Dalhousie University and one of the co-authors of the study, told The Independent.

Food production as a whole is responsible for at least a quarter of greenhouse gases produced by humans, but ocean fisheries are often overlooked.

“Seafood in general is often not incorporated in the assessment of food security and food sustainability in the same way as other foods,” Dr Friederike Ziegler, a fisheries expert at RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, told The Independent.

However, emissions from fishing are still considerable due to the fuel used to power fishing vessels.

Based on fuel consumption data from fisheries around the world between 1990 and 2011, Professor Tyedmersand his colleaguesworked out emissions on a country-by-country basis.

Their results were published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

The researchers found nations that focused disproportionately on crustaceans – the group of animals that includes lobsters, crabs and shrimps – had the most carbon intensive fleets.

Australia, for example, harvested far less seafood than many other countries but contributed disproportionately high amounts of greenhouse gases.

Crustacean fisheries accounted for only 6 per cent of all the food caught, but were responsible for over a fifth of all emissions.

Fisheries that targeted smaller open sea fish, on the other hand, contributed only 2 per cent of the sector’s emissions despite accounting for a fifth of all reported landings.

Previous research has suggested that fisheries targeting crustaceans consume substantial quantities of fuel while catching relatively low quantities of animals.

“The fact that crustaceans are high in energy use is not a surprise,” said Dr Ziegler, who was not involved in this study.

Seafood firms ‘letting whales, dolphins and seals die from ghost gear’

“What this paper adds is the development over time – the actual composition of landings and the preferences have changed, and in some parts of the world for example in fishing grounds on the Swedish west coast you have a shift from ground fish to crustaceans.”

Besides demand for these crustaceans, a global decline in fish stocks has led to increased focus on relatively healthy stocks of crustaceans.

Fisheries have a smaller carbon footprint than agriculture, but as their emissions increase experts have called for more a holistic approach that takes their contribution into account.

“Fisheries should no longer be managed in a silo as they have been,” Helen McLachlan, fisheries governance programme manager at WWF UK, told The Independent.

“We need to look at them within broader marine management and the impact of fishing on the wider environment – be that target species, non-target species, habitats, and indeed emissions by fleets.”

DrTyedmerssaid: “Let’s not turn ourbacks on fisheriesas an excellent source of animal protein that relatively speaking for the vast majority of tonnage has lower greenhouse gas impact.

“But let’s recognise that improvements are possible in many of those settings.”

MsMcLachlanpointed to the Norway lobsters used to make scampi – an important fishery in Scotland – as an example of how these fisheries can be made more climate-friendly.

“The fuel needed to catch a kilo of Norway lobster can be reduced from 9litres to 2.2 litres if you switch from conventional trawl fisheries to trap fisheries,” she said.

In the past, Dr Ziegler said bodies that encourage sustainable fisheries such as the UK’s Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) have cited a lack of data when considering theimpact of fishing on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

An MSC spokesperson said: “While greenhouse gas emissions were considered during the development of the MSC Fisheries Standard, and in subsequent reviews, they have not yet been included.

“This is largely because of previous research, similar to the findings in this paper, that concluded that emissions from wild seafood production are relatively low compared to other animal proteins such as beef.

“Furthermore, we believe that the largest contribution that the MSC can make to mitigating the impacts of climate change currently is not through monitoring emissions but by ensuring that fisheries and marine ecosystems are fished in such a way that they remain resilient to climate change.”

DrTyedmersemphasised the urgent need to focus on greenhouse gas emissions coming from fishing, despite its relatively small overall contribution.

“This is a critically important issue at a time when everyone is saying we need to decarbonise,” he said.

“It’s a small corner of global emissions, but it’s a corner where we are not seeing that pattern so we need to attend to it.”


Chefs and Restaurants Turn to Underutilized and Emerging Species

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [QSR] By Mary Avant - April 3, 2018

Three billion. That’s how many people across the globe rely on seafood as their primary source of protein, according to the World Wildlife Fund. However, with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimating that roughly 85 percent of fish species are either overfished or fully depleted, consumers and the companies that feed them are left treading water in an attempt to support the growing demand for items across the seafood spectrum.

That’s why programs like Seafood Watch, which educates diners, chefs, and restaurants on sustainable sources of seafood, have been popping up. Created 20 years ago by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Seafood Watch partners with more than 300 chefs and foodservice companies to provide recommendations for sustainable seafood species.

Nevertheless, the majority of Americans continue to seek only a handful of fish species on restaurant menus. “There’s going to be a white fish, there’s going to be a salmon, there might be a tuna dish, maybe some shrimp,” says Ryan Bigelow, program engagement manager for Seafood Watch. “There’s a few species that come up over and over again because we frankly don’t have the palate or the culinary interest to try new things when it comes to seafood.”

To make up for this reticence to eat something new, brands and chefs are taking it into their own hands to introduce guests to lesser-known species, which can protect the health of seafood stocks. The first place they’re starting: flaky white fish.

Though well-known and used in a number of dishes—from fish and chips to fish tacos—many species of pollock and cod fall into Seafood Watch’s “Avoid” category. But because cod’s mild-tasting profile is so consumer-friendly, many brands find it crucial to replace the species with something similar, yet more sustainable. Bigelow suggests starting with a group of fish known as groundfish, which live on or near the bottom of the body of water in which they reside. One popular species brands are turning to is rockfish, particularly those sourced from Alaska or the West Coast. Best served baked, sautéed, or broiled, rockfish has a medium-firm texture and a sweet, mild flavor.

Seafood Watch partner Brown Bag Seafood has been known to use rockfish as part of its rotation of Daily Catches in its Chicago locations. Owner Donna Lee has also experimented with such white fish as barramundi (a lean sea bass that has the most omega-3 of any white fish), hake (a firm, sweet fish with a more subtle flavor than cod), and Lake Superior whitefish, among others.

At The Poke Lab in Monterey, California, owner Joey Nguyen has also worked with local black cod, a sustainable species sometimes known as sablefish that’s high in omega-3s and can be grilled, roasted, fried, or eaten raw.

On a slightly more adventurous note, Bigelow says lionfish is another white variety that has become trendy—and especially sustainable—as of late. That’s because lionfish are an invasive species with no natural predators (thanks to their poisonous spikes). For the past two to three decades, this species has been ravaging local fish populations in coral reefs in Florida and other coastal areas. Though their spiky appearance can scare some customers away, lionfish are a tasty, slightly buttery alternative when grilled or used in ceviche.

However, most restaurants—even fast casuals—can’t get away with serving only white fish species. For a number of reasons, many brands also require darker-meat fish, which often come in the form of salmon and tuna. Fortunately, there are plenty of lesser-known varieties on the market that are sustainable replacements or additions to these popular species.

Depending on the season, this could include steelhead trout from the Pacific Northwest. The abundant species contains meat that’s salmon-like in appearance, with a mild, clean flavor that absorbs other flavors well, says Katherine Miller, senior director of policy and advocacy for The James Beard Foundation, a partner of the Smart Catch sustainable seafood program.

Albacore and skipjack tuna are also sustainable substitutes for the more popular bluefin or yellowfin tuna, most of which are highly endangered and critically overfished. Pacific albacore, in particular, is ideal to source in late winter and into spring, when it’s freshly harvested and plentiful, says Vinny Milburn of Greenpoint Fish & Lobster, which supplies sustainable seafood to brands like Samesa and Wisefish Poke. Though smaller and paler in color, Milburn says, albacore’s density creates a richer flavor than traditional bluefin or yellowfin tuna.

As brands get into even darker—what some would call “fishier”—species, options like mackerel can be a smart addition to the menu, particularly when line-caught from the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. Miller suggests using it in sushi for customers who crave a meatier, oilier fish.

To encourage customers to try new species, The Poke Lab creates enticing specials with experimental fish, while also offering the option for guests to try before they buy. “We don’t expect you to buy this huge dish or entrée,” Nguyen says. “It’s like, ‘Here, try a little bit of this fish and if you like it, get an order of it.’”

The Poke Lab’s past fish experiments have included everything from sepia—a squid-like cuttlefish that it used sashimi-style—to Patagonian toothfish (sometimes known as Chilean sea bass), which it mixed with local flounder and formed into patties for fish sliders.

“For most chefs, it’s always easier to prepare seafood that is well known and has been proven over and over again to make customers happy,” Nguyen says. “But it’s this type of experimentation that promotes their use and, in turn, gets them more exposure in the mainstream market.”

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