Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Wednesday, December 23, 2015: If you couldn’t get today; Avoid buggy landslides; beach access issue

Kindly Christmas things to do with cats ...

Doesn't this delusional homeowner realize the sea is rising and should leave here immediately? ...  DIBS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015: If you couldn’t get today off as part of your vacation, no need to sweat it. If you did get the day off, you’re in the same dripping boat as me, as in “Now what?”

I just came off the beach and it’s drizzly and somewhat windy, 15 mph straight off ocean. It sure doesn’t have fishing written all over it.

The day does have “last-minute” written all over it. I guess I’ll take advantage of that by running out and buying myself some last minute gifts.

I was surprised to see a nice drop off in winds speed for the weekend. It won’t be clam but low enough to help the angling cause. 

7 Day Forecast for Marine Location Near Ship Bottom , NJ

The schoolie bass are still out there. A few are still cruising in the chilly bay. A skinny 29-incher was among them; caught and released due to how skinny it was. In the ocean, bass are going for clams or bloodworms, though bunker will likely get the job done. Finding a cooperative time and place with all the arriving weather will be a task, though I know of a slew of off-Island anglers coming down here for the holiday … hell or high water.

THE GROWTH AT THE RIP: Here's a better read/look at the buildup of sand at the far south end of Holgate. The first photo is 1995 and the second is this year. There has been an even greater sand accretion since the second shot was taken. 

In case there's an doubts the Island is breaking in Holgate. Recent aerial. 

HIGH TIDES FOR BUGGIES: Speaking of high water, we’re in a very radical astronomical tidal period, as you’ll see on your tide chart -- if they’re wave-graphed for max-high and min-low tides. We’ll be six foot at high without the current wind impacts. Keep that in mind if you’re driving the beaches.

As you’ve surely seen, newly replenished beaches can develop insane cut-aways -- those berm escarpments where wave action cuts cliffs, sometimes sheer eight-foot drops. Not only are they potentially deadly to accidentally drive over, headfirst but I once saw a buggy slide unnervingly sideways when it got too close to the edge, causing it to collapse, pulling the buggy water-ward in a landslide fashion.  The scariest part: The larger truck had been driving a solid, seemingly secure, ten feet west of the cut-away. The cliff was simply so steep that when it collapsed it essentially sucked in sand from that far away.

Below: Example ... not here.

Through some nice driving on the buggy owner’s part, turning his tires in the direction of the slide, the truck didn’t roll whatsoever – as might be expected; it just kinda went sideways with the flow, staying fairly upright. But, man, was it ever bogged down. It looked hopeless; sand halfway up to the driver’s side door.

Fortunately, it happened at low tide, though the tide was turning -- and there were still very large waves. There was no time to waste, especially since I had to drive down near the water to attach a tow-line to the driver’s side underside of the trapped truck. The first pull was meant to pull the buggy further down (sideways, toward the water). It worked. Then it took a normal straight ahead yank to free the land-slide truck.   

(Some don't escape in time.)

Anyway, there are still some beaches that are very skinny during higher tides, so drive with care. 


Below: Regarding the following news story, I don't see this temporary Trenton to-do impacting LBI in any way whatsoever -- at least in the immediate future. However, should it lead to an overall curtailing of beach access, the trickle-down effects could conceivably impact places like North Beach and Loveladies.

To be sure, the state's very strict constitutional stance regarding free public access to state-owned beaches and waters will kick in if push comes to legal shove, i.e. if builders or landowners push their luck by trying to restrict the public from getting to beach areas. Such aggressive actions would loose NJ's Public Trust Doctrine.

Anyone who enjoys the coastline should acquaint themselves with this doctrine. A highly-graspable, handbook read can be found at:http://www.state.nj.us/dep/cmp/access/public_access_handbook.pdf.&n... now, know this (from the handbook):   "... It is the responsibility of the state, through

the Public Trust Doctrine, to hold these lands and waters in trust for the
public. Affording them special protection enables the state to provide adequate
access to and use of them despite development and the tendency to limit access
that occurs on adjacent sites. Environmentally, tidal waterways and their shores
contain some of the most sensitive ecosystems in the state. With diversity
including the open ocean, beaches and dunes, coastal wetlands and critical
estuarine habitats, the coastal zone is not only enjoyed by humans, but also
necessary for an abundance of marine life and for its many beneficial functions.
Importantly, increased access to tidal waterways and their shores allows more
people to appreciate the coast as a natural resource. This appreciation instills a
sense of stewardship leading to greater environmental appreciation and

Court strikes down New Jersey beach access rules


A state court knocked down a rule Tuesday by the Christie administration that some environmentalists believed would weaken the public’s access beaches and riverfronts in the state’s urban north.

The State Superior Court’s Appellate Division found that the state Department of Environmental Protection exceeded its powers when it introduced the rule in 2012, which was designed to govern how much access the public should have to the waterfront at new commercial or residential projects or when renovations are made to existing development.

The rule would have applied to more than 200 municipalities, including 24 in Bergen County and 11 in Hudson County, as well as Clifton and Passaic in Passaic County. People typically associate issues of public access with oceanfront beach communities, but the state’s public trust doctrine - which undergirds such access rights - also applies to the shores along any tidal wetlands, including the Hudson, Hackensack and Passaic rivers.

The public trust doctrine is the legal principle that the state holds ownership and sovereignty over tidal lands for the people of the state. The public’s rights in tidal lands include not only navigation and fishing, but such recreational uses as swimming.

In the rule that was overturned, the DEP had delegated more authority to local municipalities on how to provide access to the waterfront. In the past, when a developer sought a permit to construct or renovate a property from the DEP, it triggered a review by the agency to ensure the developer provided public access or paid into a fund that would provide access at another nearby location. Such funds in recent years helped pay for land to develop new public parks along the waterfront in Bayonne, Newark and elsewhere.

Some environmentalists worried the rule would help developers restrict access to their properties.

“With this rule the DEP was putting corporate and private property interests above the public interest,” said Debbie Mans, director of the NY/NJ Baykeeper, one of the two environmental groups that filed the suit against the DEP.

“We don’t have a great history in this state where towns are doing the right thing in providing public access,” Mans said. She noted as an example that some shore towns have tried to limit parking near the beachfront.

“The new rule threw the northern part of the state under the bus in terms of public access,” said Bill Sheehan, head of the Hackensack Riverkeeper, the other group that had filed suit. “I think this decision is a real rebuke to the Christie administration that it overstepped its bounds.”

DEP Commissioner Bob Martin issued a statement expressing disappointment with the decision. “We are exploring all legal and other options to ensure continued public access along our coastal and tidal waterways,” he said. “Our rules, implementing the public trust doctrine, provide a fair approach to public access. They help to ensure that every municipality provides sufficient public access to our waters and that developers pay their fair share when constructing along tidal waters.

He said that about 40 municipalities have either accepted grants from DEP or are currently developing public access plans. “This ruling puts that progress and potentially future public access in jeopardy,” Martin said.

With the rule being invalidated by the court, there are currently no public access rules in effect, and the DEP now has no legal authority to compel public access as part of a development project along state waterways.

Given that, not all environmental groups praised the ruling.

Tim Dillingham, executive director of the American Littoral Society, said the ruling creates confusion. “The American Littoral Society is deeply concerned about the possible impacts of this decision,” he said. “New Jersey must be able to defend the rights of the public under the public trust doctrine to access the beaches, shorelines and waters of the state. Who will now act as the trustee to protect these interests if not the state Department of Environmental Protection? The decision would appear to create a void, and in the absence of any state leadership, could promote a return to town-by-town, and development project-by-development project litigation over public’s ability or inability to access the waterfront.”


Is this good science -- or purchased science??? I'm just asking.

NPR Claims Fish Stocks are Declining Worldwide

Clare Leschin-Hoar of NPR writes this month about the recent Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paper (PNAS) which detail fish recruitment challenges related to climate change effects. Gregory L. Britten and his researchers claim to have established a link between declines in the amount of phytoplankton and declines in various types of juvenile fish. The worst of these declines are said to be happening in North Atlantic groundfish populations.

The paper analyzed a variety of regions globally and found some irregularities – in the Gulf of Alaska for example there were no such declines in juvenile fish populations. However in Australia and South America the declines in phytoplankton and juvenile fish were present similarly to those seen in the North Atlantic.

Leschin-Hoar relates Britten’s findings to those of Rebecca Asch who published another PNAS paper this year which found a number of fish have changed spawning seasons due to altered food availability. “It’s no longer just pull back on fishing and watch the stock rebound. It’s also a question of monitoring and understanding the ability of stocks to rebound, and that’s what we demonstrated in this study. The rebound potential is affected as well,” says Britten.

Comment by Ray Hilborn, University of Washington, @hilbornr

Fish Stocks Are Declining Worldwide, And Climate Change Is On The Hook

This is the title of a recent NPR posting — again perpetuating a myth that most fish stocks are declining.

Let’s look at the basic question: are fish stocks declining? We know a lot about the status of fish stocks in some parts of the world, and very little about the trends in others. We have good data for most developed countries and the major high seas tuna fisheries. These data are assembled and compiled in the RAM Legacy Stock Assessment database, available to the public at ramlegacy.org. This database contains trends in abundance for fish stocks comprising about 40% of the global fish catch and includes the majority of stocks from Europe, North America, Japan, Russia, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Major fisheries of the world that are not in the data base are primarily in S. and SE Asia.

The figure below shows the trend in abundance of fish stocks in these different regions and the solid green line in each case represents the abundance that would produce maximum sustainable yield, the traditional target for fisheries management. In general countries and international agencies try to maintain the stock biomass around the green line, where long term sustainable yield is maximized. The declines of concern are those declines that continue below the green line, when you want to be rebuilding stocks, not seeing them decline. Finally a further caution, what are plotted here are averages, and in almost all regions some stocks are in poor condition (that is below the green line) and some are well above.


Clearly not all fish stocks are declining; in recent years they are increasing in the Atlantic Ocean Tuna, European fisheries, both EU and non-EU (Iceland and Norway), US East Coast, Southeast and Gulf, and US West coast.

Fish stocks in recent years are stable in Australia, Canadian East Coast, South Africa, Russia and Japan and Alaska.

We do see long term declines in Canada’s West Coast, the Indian Ocean Tuna, New Zealand, Pacific Ocean Tuna and South America. A characteristic of each of these regions is that they are late developing fisheries, the Pacific and Indian Oceans didn’t see wide scale industrial fishing until much later than the Atlantic Ocean and the decline seen is part of the process of developing new fisheries fishing down to the traditional target of MSY and is planned. The unknown at the moment is whether the Pacific and Indian Ocean Tuna fisheries will be managed to stabilize around the target level, or they will continue to decline as seen in South America.

For the places we don’t have good data (Africa and Asia), what we do know suggests those areas are seeing significant declines in abundance.

So clearly not all fish stocks are in decline—the pattern depends on the region. We can see from this graph that with good fisheries management stocks can recover. The NPR story got the big picture wrong, it isn’t climate change that is on the hook, it is the presence of effective fisheries management that determines the trend in abundance of fish stocks.

The scientific paper on which the NPR story was produced was much more subtle and did not say that fish stocks were decline – that was invented by the authors of the NPR story. The paper estimated that the recruitment potential of the fisheries was declining, specifically that the number of 1 year old fish per adult fish showed a decline in many regions of the world. Interestingly, the paper identified the N. Atlantic as the region of most concern, but when we look at abundance data, the N. Atlantic is the place we see the most stock rebuilding.

The number of 1 year old produced is known as recruitment, and the original paper used the data in the RAM Legacy Stock Assessment database to estimate these trends. The statistics used in the original paper are complex, but we can look quite simply at the trends in recruitment – not the recruitment per spawning adult as done in the paper.


more stocks

This graph shows the recruitment trend for all stocks in the RAM Legacy Stock Assessment database, with blue the trend if all stocks given the same weight, and red with large stocks giving much more weight. The size of the dots or squares shows the relative number of stocks for which we have data in each year. We do see a clear trend in recruitment decline, with perhaps 10 or 15% decline over the 40 years of available data.

Is this decline in recruitment due to climate change? That is one possibility, but it is also possibly due to stocks being fished to lower abundance over that time as seen in the first graph. However, regardless of the reason, this decline is small and fish stocks can easily rebuild if good fisheries management is put in place.

Ray Hilborn is a Professor in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington. Find him on twitter here: @hilbornr
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