31 December 2008

National Marine Fisheries Service Issues Saltwater License Rule

The Federal Register of 30 DEC 2008 contains a final rule issued by the National MarineFisheries Service (NMFS)and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that will require approximately 2.5 million New England anglers to pay $15-25 each year to fish in saltwater, effective 01 JAN 2010:

"NMFS issues this final rule to adopt regulations to implement the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). The regulations establish a national registry of recreational anglers fishing in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), for anadromous species in tidal waters or for Continental Shelf fishery resources beyond the EEZ. Persons will not be required to register with NMFS if they are licensed by a state that provides data determined to be sufficient for the agency's needs. The requirement is intended to improve existing angling effort surveys in order to improve their efficiency, to reduce possible sources of bias and to improve confidence in survey results by anglers and fishery managers."

www.Boston.com: "The rule will mean most fishermen--whether fishing from a dock, beach, or a boat--will have to have a permit. State waters within 3 miles of shore aren't normally covered by federal rules. But the new regulation would apply to fishermen who might catch any species that travels between fresh and saltwater, such as striped bass, one of the most popular New England sportfish."

Read the entire final rule: NMFS/NOAA Final Rule

Milford, CT: Walnut Beach Funding Released

"The $1 million in state bond funds approved more than a year ago for Walnut Beach improvements has been released and is available to be spent, city officials said Monday….

"At least 100 feet of new beach access at the foot of Stowe Avenue will be created over the winter with $20,000 from the state bond funds and an earlier $14,000 grant from the Department of Environmental Protection's Long Island Sound grant program….

"Although some erosion-control measures will be included, the new Stowe Avenue Beach will not need sand restoration, he said.

"A separate project to build a boardwalk connecting Walnut Beach and Silver Sands State Park is also scheduled to be completed over the winter…."

Article No Longer Available from Connecticut Post

30 December 2008

$16 Billion Tunnel Would Connect Long Island to Rye, NY

Speaking before the Association for a Better Long Island, [NY Governor David] Paterson said that…It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when….”

“…finding financing for the ambitious project shouldn’t be a problem because of the steady stream of revenue expected once the toll tunnel opens for business.” [Skip: Until the oil runs out.]

Photo Source and Read the Whole Article

29 December 2008

What's the Truth about the Status of the Striped Bass?

Stock Is Fully Recovered: [Vineyard Gazette Online] “Today the striped bass is one of the great conservation stories in the last quarter of a century. Indeed, the recovery of the striper may be one of the only hopeful developments in the Atlantic fishing industry which has been in a depressing state of collapse for the last decade, decimated by years of overfishing and political gridlock among fisheries regulators.

“Twelve years ago federal marine fisheries officials declared the striped bass officially restored, calling for a widespread relaxation of the stringent conservation measures that had been in place for a decade.”

Stock Is in Big Trouble:
"But there is a troubling trend afoot, which can be seen in both the scientific data from our Department of Natural Resources and observations of many fishermen along the coast who for decades have followed striped bass trends.

"First the anecdotal: Friends who fish up and down the striper coast, particularly in New England waters, have in recent years noted the absence of the big breeders. Also, for several years there has been disturbing “dock talk” detailing the deeds of miscreant sport anglers who fish outside the legal boundaries, catch more than the legal number of fish and even “double dip” – catch their legal limit, sprint to the dock where they dump the striper in a cooler in the truck and head back out.

"This is more than idle talk—I’ve seen it happen on a few occasions, and have heard it from reliable sources." [Article no longer available from HometownAnnapolis.com.]

28 December 2008

Global Warming's Impact on Fishing

“The build-up of heat in our atmosphere releases itself in the form of more intensified storms, which are usually followed by rising barometric pressure and miserably high winds. It’s a one-two punch that has kept many outdoorsmen from launching boats, hunting, camping or even hiking since early fall….”

"Tackle and gun shops were already hurting as a result of the trickle-down effect from super-high fuel prices last summer combined with more stringent regulations on marine species such as scup, blackfish and fluke. Every lost weekend is one those hard-working local shop owners can never recover. So give them your business during this holiday season and throughout the year.”

Article at: Norwich Bulletin

NOAA's information on Global Warming

27 December 2008

It May Not Be Fishing Season…but It’s Repair Season

Once the holiday madness is over, it’s time to do the major clean-up of the fishing gear for next season. I say “major” because the gear always…always get the “minor” clean-up after every…every trip. Minor clean-up includes a gentle, fresh-water rinse of rods, reels, lures, pliers, and anything else that’s been in…or near…or sprayed by salt water; gentle, because the equipment manufacturers tell us that a strong spray can drive salt into reels where, out of sight, it will work its damaging ways.

Major clean-up begins with taking each reel off each rod.

Rods: Start with a fresh-water rinse using warm water; dry it thoroughly and then spray all but the cork with silicone spray. Inspect for bent guides and other obvious defects…especially check the tip-top guide for cracks and nicks. Wipe down the rod and store safely. I have rod racks on a barn wall that hold the rods vertically where they can’t be stepped on or develop a warp from leaning in a corner.

The fly rods are a different story, however. These expensive rascals—after inspection to ensure they are thoroughly dried—go back in their cloth sleeves and into the hard cases they were in when I laid out those many dollars for them. Fly rods, snuggled in their cases, then get stored flat on a high shelf where they're completely out of harm's way.

Reels: I keep a record for each reel as to what line is on it and what date the line was installed. If it’s time to replace, the old stuff comes off. Remove the spool and do the fresh-water rinse using warm water; a thorough drying, and then spray with the silicone spray. Don’t spray reels with WD-40; this product is a cleaner, not a protectant; it will remove grease and oils from the reels. I check the reel’s operation looking for any obvious problems with bearings and spool lips, and then do some light oiling. An excellent guide to routine spinning reel maintenance can be found at Shimano.

After thorough drying, each reel goes in the drawer in the workbench where it will remain dry and dust-free until spring.

Fly reels, as with fly rods, are different critters. Each line should be removed from the reel and, if it’s not going to be replaced, rinsed in warm fresh-water [no detergent as that can damage the line’s finish]. Then each line is looped into loose coils and tagged with info on size and type [such as WF-10-F]. Leaving the line unused on the reel for winter's duration will result in the line taking on the shape of the reel, making it too kinky to cast easily. Forgetting to tag each line will leave you scratching your head next spring to remember which line goes on which rod.

Gear: One day when the wife is out of the house, all the fishing clothing gets sneaked into the house for a trip through the washer and dryer [be sure to check the inside of each appliance afterwards to ensure no incriminating evidence has been left behind…flies, hooks, bottle caps, sand…that sort of thing].

Gadgets: Pliers, Bogas, knives, nets…there’s no end of the stuff. It all gets the warm-water rinse and thorough drying…followed by the silicone spray and wipe-down. Then it’s into the same drawer with the reels.

That’s about it. This simple process has kept my equipment in excellent condition for decades. In fact, this year I sold on the Internet several reels that I’ve had since the 1950s. They all were working beautifully.

26 December 2008

The Life of An Oysterman

"On a raw November morning, when the tide is low and the wind blows steadily from the northwest, oysterman Alan Sterling clambers aboard a makeshift raft and paddles to his fishing boat a few hundred yards out.

"The 26-foot vessel isn't much, a ramshackle wooden hut plopped atop sheets of plywood hammered onto a plastic foam base."

Read complete article and photo source: Hartford Courant

25 December 2008

NOAA to Create Saltwater Angler Registry

Prepare to Watch More of Your Dollars Fly Out the Window

NOAA’s Fisheries Service released a final rule to create a national saltwater angler registry of all marine recreational fishermen.

Said Jim Balsiger, NOAA acting assistant administrator for NOAA’s Fisheries Service. "The registry will help us gather comprehensive data to ensure sustainable fisheries built on the best available science."

If anglers are not licensed or registered by a state that has been exempted and want to fish in federal waters, they will be required to register with NOAA. They must also register if they fish in tidal waters for migratory fish such as striped bass and salmon that spawn in rivers and spend their adult lives in estuaries and oceans. However, those who fish recreationally for these migratory species inland of tidal waters need not register, according to the final rule.

Federal saltwater angler registrations will include an angler’s name, date of birth, address, telephone number, and the regions where they intend to fish. This information will be used by NOAA to conduct surveys on fishing effort and amounts of fish caught. Once anglers have registered, they may fish anywhere in U.S. federal waters, or in tidal waters for anadromous species, regardless of the region or regions they specified in their registration. The registration will be valid for one year from its date of issue. Anglers must comply with applicable state licensing requirements when fishing in state waters.

Saltwater anglers will be able to register online or by calling a toll-free telephone number, and will receive a registration certificate. Anglers will need to carry this certificate (or their state license from an exempt state) and produce it to an authorized enforcement officer if requested. No fee will be charged in 2010. An estimated fee of $15 to $25 per angler will be charged starting in 2011.

Anglers who fish only on licensed party, charter, or guide boats would not be required to register with NOAA since these vessels are surveyed separately from angler surveys. Those who hold angler permits to fish for highly migratory species, such as tunas or swordfish, and those fishing under commercial fishing licenses will also be exempt. Anglers registered or permitted to fish in a formal state or federal subsistence fishery will also be exempt, as will anglers under 16.

To read the final registry rule and other information about the Marine Recreational Information Program, go to: Marine Recreational Information Program

24 December 2008

Tsunami Hits New York City

"An odd layer of material found in bodies of water from Long Island Sound to the Hudson River indicates that what is now New York City suffered a tsunami about 2,300 years ago. If that weren’t disturbing enough, evidence in the sediments hint that the massive wave was the result of an extraterrestrial object striking somewhere offshore."
Note: This report is from 2008; for the latest information, please go to:
Read the complete article: ScienceNews.org

Source for Photo

23 December 2008

Connecticut Anglers: Beware of NY Waters

Connecticut anglers who troll across the Connecticut/Westchester line or into Long Island waters may have a lot to worry about in 2009. It’s a mistake easily made, if you don’t watch your GPS…there’s no line in the water marking the boundary.

NY Gov. Paterson's proposed budget includes a $40 non-resident saltwater fishing license; not having one might cost Connecticut anglers a bunch of money. And, if they have legal Connecticut fish in their possession that do not meet the NY size, season, or bag limits, NY’s fines are steep—anglers have paid as much as $300 to $500 for certain violations—and there are few warnings, only tickets. The NY budget deficit needed that out-of-state money.

Paterson has proposed 137 tax hikes, including a five percent luxury tax on boats costing more than $200,000. James A. Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance, said the tax will hurt the already staggering boat building and sales industry.

"Gov. Paterson isn't stopping there," Donofrio said. "He's establishing a trout and salmon stamp on top of the freshwater fishing license. This will be $10 to start with, but bureaucrats looking for money on their runaway spending spree will soon increase that. Maybe they'll get creative with a fluke stamp, a blackfish stamp or a winter flounder stamp."

Paterson also has proposed an increase in state park fees for camping, cabin rentals and marina usage. Some of these fees had already been increased as late as 2007.

NY’s budget will balloon to $121.1 billion, and spending will increase by $1.4 billion. The tax package hike is the largest in the state's history. But, the governor admits that his plan will not cure the budget deficit… in fact, the deficit will grow to $5.8 billion by 2011-12 fiscal year. [Sounds like "tax and spend," doesn't it?]

When a Connecticut resident drifts into NY waters without a NY license in 2012 they may confiscate his boat in payment of the fine.

This blog is based on the article, Beware of Costly New York Waters which appeared in APP.com on 21 December 2008.

p.s.: In case you're wondering, the Middleground lighthouse on Stratford Shoal, in the middle of Long Island Sound, is considered to be part of Fairfield County, Connecticut.

22 December 2008

The Holy Aquaculture Grail: Farmed Atlantic Cod

“A millionaire dot-com executive turned fishing entrepreneur is pursuing the holy grail of industrial aquaculture -- the Atlantic cod.

“…Harald Dahl, founder of Norway's Codfarmers ASA, wants to infuse ancient Viking fishing grounds with high-tech equipment and modern management techniques, returning the Atlantic cod to the commercial prominence it once held.

“… Mr Dahl's dream comes as aquaculture, more craft than science until recently, appears ready to come into its own. "This year, for the first time, humans will eat more farmed fish than wild fish, according to a report….”

Click here to read rest of article

Photo Source [Atlantic Cod]

21 December 2008

Cos Cob Dumps More than One Million Gallons of Untreated Waste into Long Island Sound

“A sewer main rupture in Cos Cob* that forced the town to pump untreated waste into Long Island Sound for four days was finally repaired Tuesday… it likely exceeded 1 million gallons.

"The long-term environmental impact is negligible," said Daniel Warzoha, the town's emergency management director …colder water temperatures in Long Island Sound are not conducive to the survival of E. coli bacteria found in untreated sewage."

[Skip: Oh that's OK then...in that case, why not dump a whole bunch more in!]

Read the Article: Greenwich Time

Source for Photo

*A municipality in southwestern Connecticut

20 December 2008

Connecticut Coastal Access

"With over 350 years of post-European settlement along Connecticut’s coast, nearly all of the state’s coastal lands have been subject to human use or occupation. Developed land now covers 51% of the area within Connecticut’s coastal boundary compared to 23% developed land cover statewide.

"Much of the remaining undeveloped land within Connecticut’s coastal area has also been influenced by past human activity (agriculture, forestry, recreation, etc.) that may have compromised its conservation value through, for example, introduced and invasive plant species that displace native vegetation and degrade wildlife habitat value. It is estimated that approximately 30% of Connecticut’s tidal wetlands have been filled and up to 90% may have been ditched or otherwise altered through human activity."

Link #1: Connecticut DEP Online Interactive Guide

Link #2: Connecticut Coastal Access Online

19 December 2008

Part of Hammonasset Beach Being Eroded into the Sound

“The western section of beach at Hammonasset Beach State Park is disappearing from erosion that also threatens two bathhouses and a boardwalk.

“Connecticut's most popular State Park is falling victim to the sea [sic] with each passing storm. The wild weather, we've had lately, has led to major erosion.”

Read more about this at: WTNH.com

18 December 2008

Plans Afoot to Harness the Sound for Wave-Energy Electricity

“Three plans to produce large amounts of electric power by harnessing the tides and waves around Long Island were recently submitted to the federal government for approval.

“Two companies have applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission with the aim of placing marine generators off Shelter Island, in the ocean in an area from Jones Beach to Montauk, and in a third region south of Block Island.”

Read the whole article at: EastHamptonStar.com

Photo: Wave-energy comes in all forms

17 December 2008

We Do Some Things Better than the French

"Pierre Affre visited from Paris last month, filming a report for French television on the health of the striped bass population in the United States contrasted with the steep decline in population of the European sea bass. (The European bass is identical to the striped bass, except it has no stripes.)"

Whole article at: New York Times

Photo Source [European Sea Bass]

16 December 2008

Housatonic Gets Another Present from Massachusetts: Coal Tar

“Federal environmental officials provided more details Wednesday night about exactly where and how much coal tar was removed from the Housatonic River in Pittsfield, contamination caused by the predecessor of Berkshire Gas Co.”

Read the whole article at: Berkshire Eagle

Photo Source [Housatonic River near Pittsfield, MA] and Related Article

15 December 2008

California Stripers Born Deformed

"An alarming report released by UC Davis Professor David Ostrach documents the maternal transfer of pollutants to striper larva in Central Valley rivers and the California Delta, resulting in stunted and deformed fry.

"Photo: The top fish is a normal striped bass larva from a hatchery mother. The bottom fish is an abnormal striped bass larva from a river mother. The green arrows indicate areas of abnormal fluid accumulation, yellow areas indicate blistering and dead tissue, and red arrow indicates skeletal abnormality/curvature of the spinal cord. (David Ostrach/UC Davis)"

Read the complete article at: Central Valley

14 December 2008

Fishing Advice…from Someone Who Appears to Know Nothing about Fishing

“Using a fishing rod of 6 to 8 feet is convenient for catching average size of fishes. Most commonly used types of fishing rods are spinning rods, freashwater [sic] rods, saltwater rods etc….

“Fishing reel helps to reel back and hold the fishing line by dragging it. There are different types of fishing reels like the spinning reels, bait - casting reels and spin casting reels. The spinning reel is the most popular. There are some other type of reels like ultra light spinning reel, light spinning reel, heavy spinning reel.

“We will learn more about the best fishing equipments in the forthcoming article.”

[Ed.: We can’t wait!]

Read the entire piece of misinformation

Angler in the photo has apparently been trained by the author of this article

13 December 2008

Researchers: Long Island Sound Algae as Biodiesel Source?

“Algae might be near the bottom on the totem pole of life, but they could someday help power your car, and researchers from the University of New Haven will use a state grant to find out if any species found in Long Island Sound could become a viable source of biodiesel fuel.

"There are several [species] that hold promise….

“Research into the uses of algae is blooming around the world, but this is the first time that anyone has studied whether what grows in Long Island Sound can be used…."

Read the whole article: Hartford Courant

Photo Source [Biodiesel Algae]

12 December 2008

Brit Fly-Fishes NY Harbour

"The adverse winds continued, somewhat abated, and we cast our flies leeward, stripping line as fast as we could. It was then, finally, that the rolling seas got to me. Feeling suddenly ill, I had a look on my face as if I’d swallowed something unpleasant. McCarthy, not unkindly, suggested I take a seat, lest I foul his decks. I obliged, and after a few minutes I recovered myself and resumed fishing.

"An hour later we trolled the calmer waters of Gerritsen Creek. Sandwiched between Flatbush Avenue and Knapp Street, the creek is a ship graveyard, holding the rotting hulks of 200-year-old fishing boats on its banks. At high tide, the place doubles as a hideout for striper. But our luck was out. We caught nothing here."

Read the full story at: FT.com

Photo Source: Click Here

11 December 2008

Cooling Towers Needed at Millstone

"Critics at a public hearing...urged the state to require the owner of Millstone Power Station in Waterford to build cooling towers that use less water and kill fewer fish as a condition of the granting of a permit."

Read the whole article at: TheDay.com

Photo Source

10 December 2008

Got A Half-Mil for a Cool Christmas Present?

“Just in time for Christmas shopping the 104th New York National Boat Show cruises into the Javits Center this Saturday, Dec. 13.

“This year's show features more than 1,000 of the newest and best in luxury motor yachts, cruising yachts, sport fishers, bass boats, performance boats, pontoon boats, personal water craft, inflatables, fishing gear, engines, and marine accessories at the best deals of the year."

Photo: Why not buy a UselessCraft?

“As always there are plenty of features and shopping opportunities for every member of the family to enjoy.”

Read more about the Show at: The Advocate

09 December 2008

Fishing Editors Sign-Off for the Season

It's a sure sign of the end of the fishing year when the fellows who write about what's going on out on the waters stop sharpening their quill pens and put the stopper back in the ink bottle.

Yet, Charles Walsh of the Connecticut Post is still penning his column which appears at the end of the Sports Section each Sunday. If he stops, the only reason I'll have left to purchase that paper is to read the obits.

Who was it who said...he gets up each morning and reads the obituaries, and if his name isn't listed, he gets on with the day; Twain? Mark Twain is famous for the line, "The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated," when his obit appeared before he had died. And Clarence Darrow's, "I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure," also strikes a note, but I don't know who said that first line.

Well, we got a bit off course there. Here are three sign-offs:

Tim Coleman, New London, CT: "And, with that folks, we wrap up another season, closing down this report for the winter. God bless, good luck or may the force be with you. Have a nice holiday season and we'll see all in the spring."
The Day

Ken Almeida Plymouth, MA: "As you’ve probably guessed by now, this will be my last article for 2008."
Wicked Local Plymouth

Marc Folco New Bedford, MA: "This is the last Catchin' Anything? weekly fishing report for the year. Thanks to all the tackle shops, charter/party boat captains, skippers and anglers who contribute throughout the season. This report will resume the first week of May."

So, we can only hope that next spring our names will not have appeared in the obits. Once again the columns will be printed. Once again the fish will be there for the catching.

08 December 2008

I-95 Bridge to Get Rehab before Rebuild

"The Moses Wheeler Bridge — the I-95 span over the Housatonic River between Stratford and Milford — is about to get another major rehab job, even though that bridge will soon be replaced by a new span."

Image source: www.stvinc.com

"The Connecticut Department of Transportation has announced the start of a contract to perform structural repairs to the bridge. The new project is a continuation of preventative maintenance work which has been ongoing and 'will preserve the structural integrity of the bridge and approaches until the replacement bridge can be constructed,' the DOT said."

Read further at: Connecticut Post

07 December 2008

There’s Dirty Derby and Nasty Naugatuck, and then...there’s Shelton

"In June, 2008, Shelton was fined $142,000 and agreed to eliminate raw sewage overflows into the Housatonic River by 2010. In 2007, the most recent year for which data is available, 27 percent of beach closings were due to sewage overflow. And we are not the worst state in this regard — nor are we the worst country."

Read the story at: FairfieldWeekly.com

Long Island Man Drowns in Fishing Accident

"When the anchor line of Marty McMillan's fishing boat snagged a rope holding a lobster pot in place Sunday morning in Block Island Sound, he decided not to cut the trap free and deprive a commercial fisherman of his property, his son said.

"The decision proved fatal."

Full story at: Newsday.com

05 December 2008

Westchester faces $235M Work On Sewage Plants to Limit Sound Pollution

"Westchester residents who live along Long Island Sound could pay as much as $350 more on average a year in sewer fees under a plan to drastically reduce nitrogen levels in the water.

"Nitrogen, a nutrient that gardeners love, stimulates algae growth that eventually settles on the bottom of Long Island Sound, dies and decays, and sucks precious oxygen from the water, leaving aquatic life to suffer."

Read the complete article at: LoHud.com

04 December 2008

Supreme Court Deals Fatal Blow to Sound Pipeline

"A gas pipeline proposed for Long Island Sound suffered a potentially fatal blow yesterday after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a Connecticut ruling that rejected the project on environmental grounds.

"The pipeline, known as Islander East, would have supplied gas from Canada and under the Sound to Shoreham. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal was the project's most vocal opponent.

"He argued it would decimate wildlife in the Thimble Islands off Connecticut, while New York officials, including Suffolk Executive Steve Levy, favored it as a 'critical piece of the region's energy infrastructure.'"

Complete story at: Newsday.com

03 December 2008

Connecticut's Atlantic Salmon Hatchery

"The Kensington hatchery is among seven in New England that raise salmon in programs coordinated by the federal Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Commission. All told, the states in the program stock 9 million salmon fry each year in New England rivers and streams."

Photo: Atlantic Salmon Smolts

"In Connecticut, the goal is to establish an annual spawning run of at least 4,000 Atlantic salmon, the minimum number fishery folks say is required for high-quality sports fishing. But the numbers of fish returning to the Connecticut River from feeding grounds off Greenland remain small."

Read the article at: Hartford Courant

02 December 2008

North Carolina Still Allows Seining for Stripers

"Effective at 6 a.m. Dec. 8, the DMF will open the striped bass beach seine fishery in the Atlantic Ocean waters of North Carolina….

“The minimum size limit for striped bass will be 28 inches total length. An Atlantic Ocean beach seine operation may sell or possess no more than 250 striped bass per calendar day, regardless of the number of individuals in the operations. Striped bass taken in a beach seine operation in excess of 250 fish may be transferred to other Standard Commercial Fishing License (SCFL) holders who are not members of the operation. Any SCFL holder may have up to 50 fish per calendar day transferred to them….

“A beach seine is defined as a swipe net constructed of multi-filament, multifiber webbing fished from the ocean beach that is deployed from a vessel launched from the ocean beach where the fishing operation takes place. One end of the beach seine shall be attached to shore at all times during the operation.”

Carolina Coast Online

01 December 2008

Chesapeake Scarring Disease Can Kill Striped Bass

“A chronic bacterial disease that infects more than half of all the striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay is also lethal to the prized game fish, researchers concluded.

“Scientists at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science said they are the first to conclusively link mycobacteriosis to the death of rockfish, the more common name for bay stripers." [Photo: Striped Bass Larva]

“Although the disease was first detected among bay rockfish in 1977, its virulence was not immediately apparent because the fish weren’t dying in large numbers.”