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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Make Striped Bass a Gamefish!

Striped Bass Gamefish from Taylor Vavra on Vimeo.

Join Stripers Forever

Mustad Hook to be Swallowed

O. Mustad & Sons, the famous family owned Norwegian hook and tackle company is reported to be soon taken over by another Norwegian company, the privately owned  independent investment company NLI Development.  Rumors have been flying around for awhile that Mustad was being sold and speculation pointed to Pure Fishing and Rapala as the likely buyers but this news squashes that theory. 

The Mustad Hook Company traces its roots back over 175 years when they got their start making nails on a small farm in Norway and in 1871 added fish hooks to their product line. Today their slogan boasts they are the "best selling hooks on the planet".

In 1996 Mustad purchased the famous and respected UK hook company, Partridge of Redditch.  Now Mustad finds itself about to be swallowed by the Norwegian investment giant, NLI Development.

Once again, the big fish eats the little fish.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Once Extinct, Twice Discovered

Seemingly everyday there is an animal species that drops off the face of the earth with a new label: Extinct.  So I always find it pretty cool when some of these long lost species re-emerge from the cosmic soup to be discovered again. 

About a year ago I remember reading about a landlocked salmon that was thought extinct for seventy years only to be found colonizing a lake in its native Japan. Today I came across a frog, a toad, and a sponge that have reappeared after being declared no longer around decades ago.

The sponge was found alive and well near Singapore by a research team after thought vanished from the seas over a hundred years ago.  Called Neptune cups, the sponge is known to grow to large proportions, so large they were once used as children's bath tubs.  The newly discovered specimen is a little one, reported to about the size of a goblet.

The Ha-Hula lake in Israel was the site of a re-found frog, the Hula painted frog.  A female frog was the only one found so it's fate is still questionable.

The Bornean rainbow toad, aka the Sambas Stream toad got some scientists excited when it was found anew on Borneo this past July.  Never even photographed before, the rediscovery allowed for pictures of this brightly colored toad to be finally documented.

You can find pictures of these animals at Mongabay.com

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Orvis Makes Consumer Reports 2011 “Nice” List For Second Holiday Season

Annual Consumer Reports Naughty & Nice List Rates Top Ten Retailers in Each Category in Regard to Shopping Policies

SUNDERLAND, VT (Holiday 2011) -- With Black Friday and Cyber Monday just days away, Consumer Reports has announced their 2011 Naughty & Nice Holiday List. First introduced in 2010 as part of a public-education campaign, the Naughty & Nice Holiday List looks at shopping policies and the companies behind them, citing the top ten “Nice” and top ten “Naughty” retailers.

The Orvis Company has once again earned a berth in the top ten “Nice” ranking based on the company’s top-notch customer service, which includes live chat on its website to better serve customers by initiating a personal online dialog when they linger on a product. “At Orvis, our customers always come first,” explains Perk Perkins, CEO of The Orvis Company. “We are honored to be recognized by Consumer Reports for our efforts, particularly for the Live Chat service on our website, just one of many innovations designed to serve our customers better.”

The Naughty & Nice Holiday List is based on input from Consumer Reports reporters and editors who cover shopping, travel, hospitality and telecommunications. Consumer Reports notes that the Naughty & Nice Holiday List is based on specific policies and is not reflective of a company as a whole. This year’s List includes high profile companies from a variety of fields including: air travel, electronics, apparel retailing, credit-card lending and concert ticketing.

The full report can be viewed at www.consumerreports.org. For more information on Orvis visit orvis.com

About The Orvis Company

Founded in 1856, Orvis helped pioneer the mail order industry in the United States. The company now operates more than 80 retail stores in the U.S. and the U.K. including its Flagship store in Manchester, VT and maintains a network of over 400 dealers worldwide. The oldest continuously-operated catalog company in the country, Orvis is the premier outfitter of the distinctive country lifestyle and sporting traditions. Learn more at www.orvis.com.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Business as Usual for Striped Bass Management

On November 8th a proposal to reduce the striped bass harvest was defeated by a vote of 9 to 6 by the Striped Bass Management Board. Stripers Forever reported that The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) disregarded a great amount of public testimony as well as government statistics that show the fishery is rapidly deteriorating, due at least in part from the poor recruitment of young fish and the over harvesting of large ones.

The states with commercial fisheries led the effort to continue harvesting at current high levels. States voting to deny any striped bass harvest reduction were: MA, NY, NJ, MD, VA, and NC. while ME, NH, RI, CT, PA, and DE voted to hold public hearings to consider a harvest reduction.

With the coast wide recreational catch off by 75% the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service should have exercised caution and erred on the side of conservation. The feds claim overfishing is not occurring, but with a 75% decrease in the recreational catch they should have realized something is wrong. This high risk style of management threatens the health of the striped bass and other fisheries.

DEP Encourages Pollution Just Be Buried Deeper!

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) came out with a press release announcing the process to use acid mine runoff from coal mines in hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, including Marcellus Shale wells.

DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said, “Acid mine drainage impairs more than 5,000 miles of streams in our state, making it ideal for operators to take the drainage out of our waterways and put it to use for hydraulic fracturing,”

Each day, more than 300 million gallons of acid mine drainage discharges into state waterways from sites in the anthracite and bituminous coal regions. Instead of cleaning up that mess, the DEP is recommending the problem be buried deeper. Hydraulic fracturing of Marcellus Shale wells takes place 5,000 to 8,000 feet below groundwater tables. Their logic rests on the assumption that the polluted water is not too likely to find its way into groundwater.

It's somewhat funny to hear an agency with the title Department of Environmental Protection come out with ideas like this.  Using the same logic the commonwealth of Pennsylvania should consider opening the gas wells to other toxic waste disposals too.  After all it's so deep in the ground there's no way it can hurt anything, right?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Striped Bass Assessment: Not Overfished and Overfishing Not Occurring

Striped bass are one of the most sought after fish by recreational anglers along the Atlantic coast.  Recreational landings were estimated to be as high as 30.5 million pounds in 2006 to as low as less than 750,000 pounds in 1989. With recruitment levels that averaged 9.5 million fish from 1982 through 2010 show the popularity of this fish in the harvest of a sizable number of the available population each year.  The commercial harvest, though lower than the recreational catch adds another 139,000 pounds to 7.06 million pounds to the take, depending on the year.  We're still riding high on on the The 2003 year class of 20.8 million fish, the largest since 1982.

Though striped bass are assessed as a single stock there are three distinct stocks of fish that make up the population: Hudson River, Delaware River, and Chesapeake Bay.  The overall stock abundance has decreased each year since 2004, especially in areas dependent on the Chesapeake Bay stocks.  This clearly illustrates the need to manage each of the three primary populations separately or at the least and perhaps simplest, manage the fishery  like the entire population was in the condition of the worse of the three.

Copies of the stock assessment update are available on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission website at www.asmfc.org.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

A new day for menhaden management

Written by Ted Venker on 09 November 2011

Commission vote reduces menhaden harvest for first time ever

BOSTON, MA - For the first time in history, there will be reductions in the harvest of Atlantic menhaden after a vote today by the Menhaden Management Board of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). Menhaden, which serve as the primary forage base for most predatory fish, have declined to the lowest level ever recorded, sparking alarm in the recreational angling community which has long expressed concern over the impact of industrial menhaden harvest on sportfish stocks.

“This is a long-anticipated decision and it is a great relief for anglers to know that managers have finally begun the process of rebuilding this critical species,” said Charles A. Witek III, chairman of the Atlantic Fisheries Committee for Coastal Conservation Association. “The turning point was finally having science in hand that showed what many of us have been saying for a long time. We still have work to do to ensure that menhaden are properly managed to fulfill its role as a forage base, but we are finally out of the starting blocks.”

Anglers and conservationists have chafed for years under management standards that indicated the spawning stock of menhaden was perfectly healthy and the fishing mortality rate was fine or only “slightly” over the overfishing threshold. As menhaden began to disappear from parts of the coast, it became clear that something was wrong with the way menhaden were being evaluated. Ultimately, outside scientists recommended changing reference points to better reflect the status of the stock and in a landmark decision, the Board agreed. With today’s vote, the reference points change from the current 8 percent Maximum Spawning Potential (MSP), which means 8 percent of an unfished stock, to 15 percent MSP as the overfishing threshold. They then adopted a target, the point for which management measures are intended, of 30 percent MSP, which will require a 37 percent reduction in harvest when implemented.

“The most critical thing that happened today is that the debate over whether or not to manage menhaden at all, is over,” said Richen Brame, CCA Atlantic Fisheries director. “Clearly these fish do indeed need to be managed, and managed conservatively. The debate now becomes about how conservatively should they be managed, and that is a much better scenario for menhaden, for sportfish and for anglers. It took a very long time and a lot of work by many, many groups, but the ASMFC did the right thing today.”

During the public comment period leading up to this vote, the ASMFC received almost 92,000 comments, the overwhelming majority of which were in favor of reductions in menhaden harvest by the greatest amount available. With today’s decision, the focus will now turn to the next management action that will determine exactly how to implement those reductions.

CCA is the largest marine resource conservation group of its kind in the nation. With almost 100,000 members in 17 state chapters, CCA has been active in state, national and international fisheries management issues since 1977. For more information visit the CCA Newsroom at www.JoinCCA.org.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

International Fly Fishing Hall of Fame 2011 Inductees

On October 8, 2011 the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum inducted  Doug Swisher and Carl Richards, Cathy & Barry Beck, Roderick Haig-Brown and John Alden Knight into the International Fly Fishing Hall of Fame.

Theses noted anglers were honored with this prestigious recognition for their significant contributions to fly fishing and to the history of the sport.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

America’s Great Outdoors Report

Today the US Department of the Interior released a final 50-State America’s Great Outdoors Report.  This report outlines over 100 of the country’s most promising projects designed to protect special places and increase access to outdoors.

You can read the entire press release on the Department of Interior's website: AMERICA’S GREAT OUTDOORS

The full report includes:

24 projects to restore and provide recreational access to rivers and other waterways

23 projects to construct new trails or improve recreational sites

20 projects that will create and enhance urban parks

13 projects that will restore and conserve America’s most significant landscapes

There are also 11 initiatives requested by states to establish new national wildlife refuges, national park units and other federal designations; five projects that will assist states and communities to protect key open space; and five initiatives to educate young people and connect them to nature.

New Report Shows US Fish and Wildlife Service Fisheries Program Helps Support 68,000 Jobs in U.S. Economy

Fisheries’ recreation and conservation activities are huge economic drivers for nation

WASHINGTON -- The fisheries program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in association with state agencies and other conservation organizations, contributes $3.6 billion to the nation’s economy and supports 68,000 jobs across the country, according to a new report issued by the agency.

“The report confirms once again that fishing, hunting and other outdoor recreational activities are an economic engine for our country,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “When we invest in restoring fish and wildlife habitat and creating opportunities for people to enjoy outdoor recreation, we are investing in economic growth and jobs for the American people.”

Overall, hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation contribute an estimated $730 billion to the U.S. economy each year, Salazar noted. One in twenty U.S. jobs are in the recreation economy – more than there are doctors, lawyers, or teachers.

The report, Conserving America’s Fisheries, An Assessment of Economic Contributions from Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Conservation, shows that each dollar invested in the Service’s Fisheries Program, combined with its partners, generates about $28 in economic contributions and value.

The economic contributions generated are evidenced at sporting goods stores, marinas, guides and outfitter services, boat dealerships, bait shops, gas stations, cafes, hotels, and many other enterprises.

“Since 1871, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Fisheries Program has been a leader in managing species, conserving habitat and sustaining the biological health of America’s aquatic resources,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “These resources are inextricably tied to the health and wealth of our nation. These benefits are ecological, scientific, aesthetic, recreational, commercial, subsistence, social, cultural – and economic in nature.”

The report – the first time that Service economists have analyzed the economic contributions of the nation’s fisheries programs – finds that a total of 68,000 American jobs are associated, directly or indirectly, with the fisheries conservation programs and projects.

The report also shows the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Fish Hatchery System alone generates $900 million in industrial output and $550 million in retail sales. National Fish Hatchery programs generate 8,000 jobs and $256 million in salaries and wages.

Meanwhile, the National Fish Passage Program works with partners to reopen an average of 890 miles of river habitat annually, which has a economic value of $483 million and supports 11,000 jobs. That is more than $542,000 in economic benefit per stream mile restored.

The Service’s Fisheries Program plays a vital role in conserving America’s fisheries, along with key partners from states, tribes, federal agencies, other Service programs, and private interests.

The fisheries program consists of almost 800 employees nationwide, located in 65 Fish and Wildlife Conservation Offices, 70 National Fish Hatcheries, 9 Fish Health Centers, 7 Fish Technology Centers and a Historic National Fish Hatchery and Archives.

The program supports the only federal fish hatchery system, with extensive experience culturing more than 100 different aquatic species.

These employees and facilities provide a network that is unique in its broad on-the-ground geographic coverage, its array of technical and managerial capabilities, and its ability to work across political boundaries and embrace a national perspective.

For a copy of the report, or to see the summary of the report titled Net Worth: the Economic Value of Fisheries Conservation, please visit http://www.fws.gov/FHC.