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Sunday, December 28, 2014

It's 2009 All Over Again, at least when it comes to hurricanes

It's 2009 all over again, at least when it comes to the names of Atlantic hurricanes given by the international committee of the World Meteorological Organization. Every six years the same list of names gets rotated giving 2015 the same batch of names as 2009. This holds true except when there's a storm that's so damaging and devastating that it's name gets retired. Then a different name is slipped in its place and the list continues to get recycloned. Pretty boring to me. I'd think they'd at least mix up the names each year. Anyway, they don't, so here's the list of names for 2015.


If it's a real active storm year and this whole list gets run through, the storms start taking on the names of the letters of the Greek alphabet: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta, Eta, Theta, and a bunch more that if we get that far there would be a lot more to worry about than the name of a storm.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Relax and Lose Fewer Fish

If you want to increase your odds of landing a good fish, stop thinking you might lose it. Relax, it’s only a fish.

The hard part is done, fooling the fish. Sure, everyone wants to get the fish to hand, and maybe get a quick photo and hopefully a quick release. To do that requires the right mindset. Forget about “playing” the fish. We played with the fish when we were presenting our fly, now you want to land it.

The fish gave us our fun. Now we owe our fish the respect of safe handling so he can be set free with minimal harm, if any. Though we might have felt some stress in the frustration of getting a fish to take our fly, and the nervousness that could come with landing a nice fish, we need to reduce the stress on the fish. Of paramount importance is keeping hands free of the gills and keeping the fish in the water. 

For starters, use the right rod, not too light for the strength or size of what you’re fishing for. Also use the heaviest tippet you can get away with. With these in place you need to use them to their potential. Use the mid section of the rod. The mid section will let you put more pressure on the fish. Sometimes I see anglers using just the tip of the rod. That softer, flexible section gives fish the advantage. The tip alone doesn't have enough resistance to quickly land a good fish.

A safe enough to do at home experiment is to string up your rod, tie a 5x or 6x tippet to a six or eight ounce weight then with your rod, lift the weight. The result will surprise you. Use heavier weights and see what happens. Have you ever noticed how hard it is to break off a fly caught in something like a branch by just using your rod. It’s easier to break the line by pulling on it, or giving a sudden jerk to the line. It’s the same with a fish on the line. Keep the pressure steady by slowly lifting the rod and reeling down toward the fish, always ready to let go of the reel handle when there’s a sudden surge. This will tire the fish quickly. Don’t use the reel to winch the fish in. You'll end up using too much of the rod tip and not land him quick enough.

Use a rubber or rubber-coated landing net.  They're easier on the fish’s scales and skin coating. Avoid knotted nets. The knots in those inexpensive or older style nets can damage a fish's eyes. They also damage the protective slime coating on the fish's skin.. A good net is good for the fish. It allows you to land the fish without having to tire it out too much, resulting in better recovery on release. Rubber nets can be used as an aquarium of sorts too, holding the fish in the current until its recovered and swims from the net on its own.

Being in control of your fish by not letting it zip all over and spook other fish also increases the odds for additional hookups. If there are other anglers nearby it’s just common courtesy not to spook the whole pool. Sometimes, an angler with a decent fish hooked walks down river trying to “keep up” with the fish. If others are fishing downstream it’s just plain rude since it will disturb the water they’re fishing, unless it’s truly a gigantic fish, one the size seldom seen in the water you’re fishing. Walking a fish also takes the pressure off the fish. With no pressure, the fish is resting and you lessen your chances of landing it. Lose the fear of losing fish and you’ll find you’ll do less fish walking.

So we got some of the quirks out of the way, the fish is reasonably beat, but not beat to death, and now it’s in the net. Keep the fish in the net and in the water while you remove the fly. Barbless hooks make that easier and put less stress on an already stressed fish. Hold the fish into the current, that keeps the water flowing over its gills for a quicker recovery. Keep the fish in the water until it’s recovered enough to swim away on its own. If it needs a little “push” its not ready yet.

If you want a picture and you’re alone, take the picture with the fish in the water. Bank shots in the grass are the kiss of death. If you’re with someone else, keep the fish in the water while your buddy gets ready, focused, and framed. Then on the count of two, quickly lift the fish, supporting it by the tail and under the pectoral fins, take the shot and put the fish back in the water. This process should take no more than two or three seconds. The shot you get is the shot you get. With some luck, the picture came out fine. With time and experience, the pictures come out fine more and more often.

Friday, December 26, 2014

An Enjoyable Journey into the World of the Trout

The new fly fisherman can get overwhelmed from all the information available on the sport from casting to entomology to how to read a stream. These elements can be broken down into simple and easy parts that will make your time on the water an enjoyable journey into the world of the trout.

One skill over another doesn’t take precedence to be a successful angler . Each in their own way is an important part of the process of fly fishing. Skills learned in casting are as important as knowing what fly to use. The same is true of  the techniques used to fish different types and styles of flies. But the question is; where are the fish?

It’s said that 10% of fishermen catch 90% of the fish. I don’t know where this statistic comes from, or even if it’s really true, but I do know fishermen who fish in the right place will do much better than those that don’t. So let’s take a look on how to identify these secret locations.

First, think like a fish. You’ll quickly recognize two of the most important needs for survival are food and shelter. When you have both of these occurring in the same place, you're in the right water. These areas all have names that anglers use to help in identification and in description when talking with each other. I don’t mean specific location names like Trout Pool or Rainbow Riffle, but names descriptive of the type of water you’re faced with. The location names do exist, but to get other fishermen to give up that information can be like trying to get the Coke recipe, only harder.

The names I’m referring to are riffles, runs, pools and pocket water. Let’s start with riffles. These are areas in the stream that have more of a down hill gradient that cause the water to flow quicker. A broken surface and somewhat of a gurgley appearance characterize it. A small rapid might give you the picture. These areas are higher in oxygen content and often more fertile with aquatic insect life. The broken surface makes seeing into the water difficult. It also makes it hard for trout and other fish to see out. To a fish, that equals cover. This cover and higher amount of food give two important elements that fish need; food and cover. The techniques you’ll use will vary with the behavior of the fish. When there are insects hatching and trout noticeably feeding from the surface a dry fly technique can be the most exciting method. At other times, nymphs, wet flies, and streamers will also be effective.

Riffles run into pools. Pools are deeper, sometimes wider parts of the river or stream that act to slow the current. Their depth is where fish seek cover. Feeding fish can often be found near the top, or head, of the pool where current speed still provides the cover of a broken surface or at the shallow end, or tail of the pool where feeding on surface flies is easier but still the refuge of deeper water is just a tail flip away.  Approach these areas carefully. Fish can easily see your approach and will hide in the deep water before you ever saw them.

As a riffles extends down stream it can create a run. This is usually the area just upriver of a pool. Runs can have a swift current, but usually a smoother surface than a riffle and a deeper and more defined main channel. Fish like runs because again, they provide food and cover. Are you catching the theme, food and cover? Find it and you’ll find the fish.

Pocket water is the kind of water that has more velocity like a riffle, but also has many exposed rocks or boulders. These rocks and boulders form pockets behind and alongside them that provide hiding places for fish but also lets them easily feed on what the current brings to them. The pockets also give smaller baitfish places to hide, and big fish do eat little fish. Some waters have lots of pocket water while others hardly have any.

Now that you have a visual picture of the looks and character of a stream or river it might seem that the entire place will be harboring trout.  Well, not really. In each of these stream sections there will be parts that are simply more productive, parts that are more favored by trout and other fish. Identifying these sections isn’t too difficult if you remember that food and cover are what fish are always seeking.

Break each river section down into components. What part of the riffle has the most or best cover? Are there deeper sections or sections with a more broken bottom, maybe larger stones? Keep in mind that fish are essentially lazy. They look to the current to bring them food. Current breaks, also called current seams, where two different currents meet allow the fish to hold in the slower current while watching the faster current for an easy meal. Where you see foam lines form you’ll usually find hungry fish. The same water dynamics that congregate the foam and other bits of debris also congregate aquatic insects.

In pools you might find a large rock or a dead tree. Trout will use these as hiding places, lurking in the shadows with a watchful eye for an easy meal. Deeper and larger pockets in pocket water sections act as personal mini pools to trout. Runs frequently will have undercut banks, giving trout a safe haven and a protected lookout to snatch up anything that happens by.

Yogi Berra said, you can observe a lot just by watching. On stream observation is the best way to hone your water reading skills. Lessons learned first hand are the ones most often remembered and used to your advantage. When you approach a river or stream don’t instantly jump in. Take some time to look around; watch the water for feeding fish. Sitting on the bank can be productive fishing time as long as you stay alert and enjoy the wonderful surroundings you’ve chose to be in, a place of wonder and discovery.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Memories by the Mile

I like old trucks. The manufacturer doesn't seem to matter much, just the fact that it's old. A new one is pretty to look at, but it lacks personality. Too young, I guess.

The same is true of a new sport utility vehicle. Even the name, sport utility vehicle, seems cold. Too hipster.

What ever happened to "trucks"? Old faded trucks at that. Faded paint talks to us about experience and many traveled roads. The broken-in seat is like an old pair of boots, both memories of many miles.

Truck seats are also special places for the hidden heirlooms that so often roll out from under them. Like the empty shotgun shell that brought down the first grouse pointed by a young setter whose ashes have since been scattered and washed into the earth with a tear or two.

A little rattle under the dash and a finicky AM radio always made for a fine traveling companion. Especially with a longtime fishing buddy in the front passenger seat who also has always been a little finicky and who too has recently begun to rattle.

A truck should be half as old as you are, or at the very least older than your kids. Every kid needs to remember Dad's old pickup.

Trucks should still be named in fractions. Half ton and three-quarter ton tell us a lot more about the vehicle than the snappy names given to today's sport utilities. It used to be quite simple. One ton was bigger than three-quarters that was bigger than half. Now all it seems like we have are a ton of options.

Options like automatic hubs that have taken away the simple pleasure of stepping into knee-deep mud. With today's trucks you don't need to push a floor shift to engage all four wheels. A push of a button or a self-thinking computer chip is all it takes.

Most of my friends drive new SUV's. Not that this makes them bad people, but the vehicles they bought to bring them closer to the great outdoors seems to do just the opposite. With windows up and automatic climate control engaged, they are just as far removed from the sounds and smells of the outside world as if they were sitting in traffic on the freeway.

No heirlooms ever roll out from under their seats. No coffee stains on the floor. Not even any dust from last year's grouse season rests on the dashboard. They keep their vehicles as clean as a luxury sedan. With the price of one being about the same, I can understand why.

I have been accused of abusing my truck because it hasn't had a coat of wax, or any soap for that matter, since the first month it came to live with me. An abused vehicle? Nope, it wouldn't start every time you turned the key, and it wouldn't warm you after a cold rainy morning in the field. And most important, it wouldn't safeguard so many heirlooms.

There's the ding in the tailgate heirloom from backing up the trail too fast to load an excited young boys' first buck. Then the armrest chewed by an eager young pup left alone while his master sipped coffee at a local diner early one opening day morning. The sun visor still sports a size fourteen Hendrickson dry fly, tied by a good friend and placed there as we drove to the next stream one warm spring day. I placed it there for safekeeping. I guess it worked since it's still there.

I can't forget the logging road dust on the dashboard. Down the defroster duct are some Adirondack black flies. Maine pine needles are under the seats and Cape Cod sand is ground in the carpet. When the heater is on, I can listen to the rustle of Pennsylvania oak leaves. And on days when the sun hits the exposed seat stuffing just right, I can relive the smells of a New England  dairy farm.

I know that mixed in with this potpourri are the Montana stream bed pebbles and the Maryland salt marsh grass. Like confetti on New Years Eve, the heat ducts have been known to blow a grouse feather or two.

With all of the features, luxuries and do-dads added to today's sport utilities, something has been lost. When we try to improve upon the simple basic things it never seems to work. It all turns into aluminum Christmas trees.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Sign-up for the 115th Christmas Bird Count

Depending on your location, one of the dates between December 14, 2014 and January 5, 2015 is the date for the 115th Christmas Bird Count.

For more than a century citizen scientists have been collecting data for the longest running wildlife census collecting useful information on bird populations across the Americas. Some observers brave the elements for a few hours while others simply keep a tally from the comfort of their home logging visitors to their feeders, while others spot birds from the warmth and comfort of their vehicle.  Either way, it's an interesting and totally fun way to spend a few hours on your select day, and you don't have to be a hardcore birder to participate.
To get involved this year or to learn more about The Christmas Bird Count, visit this site: http://birds.audubon.org/christmas-bird-count  Even if you live in a big city, there's a location near you

Two Florida Reptile Dealers Sentenced to Prison for Conspiring and Trafficking in Protected Reptiles

Two Florida men were sentenced on charges of conspiracy and trafficking in protected timber rattlesnakes and endangered Eastern indigo snakes on Friday, Dec. 5.  A federal judge in Philadelphia sentenced Robroy MacInnes, 55, of Inverness, Florida, and Robert Keszey, 48, of Bushnell, Florida, to 18 months and 12 months in prison respectively for their role in trafficking in state and federally protected reptiles.  MacInnes and Keszey co-owned a well-known reptile dealership, Glades Herp Farm Inc., based in Florida, and Keszey formerly hosted the Discovery Channel show “Swamp Brothers.”  The defendants will also serve three years of supervised release.  MacInees was also sentenced to pay a $4,000 fine and Keszy will pay a $2,000 fine.

Between 2006 and 2008, the defendants collected protected snakes from the wild in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, purchased protected eastern timber rattlesnakes that had been illegally collected from the wild in New York, and transported eastern indigo snakes, which are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act, from Florida to Pennsylvania.  The evidence at trial showed that the protected rattlesnakes were destined for sale at reptile shows in Europe, where a single timber rattlesnake can sell for up to $800.  The eastern indigos were intended for domestic sale where a single snake is worth up to $1,000.  In addition to trafficking in illegal animals, the defendants attempted to persuade a witness not to provide the government with information regarding their illegal dealings.

The eastern timber rattlesnake is a species of venomous pit viper native to the eastern United States, and is listed as threatened in New York.  It is also illegal to possess an eastern timber rattlesnake without a permit in Pennsylvania.  The eastern indigo snake, the longest native North American snake species, is listed as threatened by both Florida and federal law.

Both MacInnes and Keszey were convicted on Nov. 15, 2013 after a jury trial in Philadelphia.  The case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement, with assistance from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.  The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Patrick M. Duggan of the Environmental Crimes Section of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Kay Costello of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

2014 List of Candidates for Endangered Species Act Protection

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released the Candidate Notice of Review, a yearly status appraisal of plants and animals that are candidates for Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection. Twenty-two species from Hawaii and one from Independent Samoa and American Samoa were added to the candidate list, one species was removed, and one has changed in priority from the last review conducted in November 2013. There are now 146 species recognized by the Service as candidates for ESA protection.

The Service is now soliciting additional information on these species and others that may warrant ESA protection to assist in preparing listing documents and future revisions or supplements to the Candidate Notice of Review.

Candidate species are plants and animals for which the Service has enough information on their status and the threats they face to propose as threatened or endangered, but for which a proposed listing rule is precluded by other, higher priority listing actions. The annual review and identification of candidate species helps landowners and natural resource managers understand which species need most to be conserved, allowing them to address threats and work to preclude ESA listing.

The 23 species being added to the candidate list include the Ma‘oma‘o, a large, dusky olive-green honeyeater native to Upolu and Savaii, Independent Samoa (Samoa), and Tutuila Island, American Samoa, but now only found in small populations on the islands of Savaii and Upolu.  Also being added are 18 Hawaiian flowering plants and four ferns found on one or more of the Hawaiian Islands; all are being negatively affected by nonnative animals and plants.

Although candidate species do not receive ESA protection, the Service works to conserve them and their habitats using several tools: a grants program funds conservation projects by private landowners, states and territories; and two voluntary programs ­– Candidate Conservation Agreements (CCAs) and Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances (CCAAs) ­– engage participants to implement specific actions that remove or reduce the threats to candidate species, which helps stabilize or restore the species and can preclude ESA listing.

The removal of one species announced today – Packard’s milkvetch – was based on the reduction of the species’ primary threat from off-highway vehicle use, the increase in the number of known locations which increased the overall population, and the species’ overall stable population status over a five-year monitoring period.

All candidate species are assigned a listing priority number based on the magnitude and imminence of the threats they face. When adding species to the list of threatened or endangered species, the Service addresses species with the highest listing priority first. Today’s notice announces changes in priority for one species – Sprague’s pipit – based on a reduction in the imminence of the threat from conversion of habitat on the bird’s breeding grounds.

The complete notice and list of proposed and candidate species is published in the Federal Register.

The Red Knot Designated as Threatened Under the Endangered Species Act

Mispillion Harbor, Delaware. Credit: Gregory Breese/USFWS
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced federal protection for the rufa subspecies of the red knot, a robin-sized shorebird, designating it as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. A “threatened” designation means a species is at risk of becoming endangered throughout all or a significant portion of its range.

“The red knot is a remarkable and resilient bird known to migrate thousands of miles a year from the Canadian Arctic to the southern tip of South America,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “Unfortunately, this hearty shorebird is no match for the widespread effects of emerging challenges like climate change and coastal development, coupled with the historic impacts of horseshoe crab overharvesting, which have sharply reduced its population in recent decades.”

Since the 1980s, the knot’s population has fallen by about 75 percent in some key areas, largely due to declines in one of its primary food resources – horseshoe crab eggs in Delaware Bay, an important migratory stopover site. Although this threat is now being addressed by extensive state and federal management actions, other threats, including sea-level rise, some shoreline projects and coastal development, continue to shrink the shorebird’s wintering and migratory habitat.

Changing climate conditions are also altering the bird’s breeding habitat in the Arctic and affecting its food supply across its range, in particular through climate-driven mismatches in migration timing that affect the peak periods of food availability. The bird must arrive at Delaware Bay at exactly the time when horseshoe crabs are laying their eggs.

“Although historic threats in the Delaware Bay area have been ameliorated thanks to the actions of federal and state partners, our changing climate is posing new and complex challenges to the red knot’s habitat and food supply,” Ashe said. “It has never been more critical that we take positive action to save this bird.”

One of the longest distance migrants in the animal kingdom, some rufa red knots fly more than 18,000 miles each year between breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic and wintering grounds along the Gulf Coast, southeast United States and South America. One bird, banded by biologists in 1995 in Argentina, has been nicknamed Moonbird because he has flown the equivalent of a trip to the moon and at least halfway back in his 21 or more years of migrations.

Along its epic migration, the red knot, which can be identified by its rufous breast, belly and flanks during breeding season, can be found across 27 countries and 40 U.S. states in flocks ranging from a few individuals to several thousand. Although rufa red knots mainly occur along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, small groups regularly use some interior areas of the United States during migration. The largest concentration of rufa red knots is found in May in Delaware Bay, where the birds stop to gorge themselves on the eggs of spawning horseshoe crabs; a spectacle drawing thousands of birdwatchers to the area. In just a few days, the birds nearly double their weight to prepare for the final leg of their long journey to the Arctic.

International, state and local governments, the conservation community, beachgoers and land managers are helping ensure red knots have safe areas to winter, rest and feed during their long migrations. These partners help knots in a variety of ways, including managing the harvest of horseshoe crabs (which are caught for use as bait in conch and eel pots), managing disturbance in key habitats, improving management of hunting outside the United States, and collecting data to better understand these birds.

In making its decision, the Service analyzed the best available data in more than 1,700 scientific documents, and considered issues raised in more than 17,400 comments provided during 130 days of public comment periods and three public hearings. Protections under the ESA will take effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

As required by the ESA, the Service is also reviewing the U.S. range of the rufa red knot to identify areas that are essential for its conservation, known as critical habitat. The Service expects to propose critical habitat for the rufa red knot for public review and comment in 2015 after completing the required review of economic considerations.

Visit http://www.fws.gov/northeast/redknot/ to read the final rule and response to comments; view and download video, photos and maps; and explore more resources, such as an interactive timeline and infographic. The rule will be available at www.regulations.gov on December 11, 2014, under docket number FWS-R5-ES-2013-0097

Monday, December 01, 2014



The Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) initiative to crack down on illegal dumping in state parks and recreational lands has yielded eight more enforcement actions, all for disposing of debris and other materials in state-owned natural areas.

The DEP’s “Don’t Waste Our Open Space” campaign was launched in late March. Investigations of illegal dump sites on state properties by Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Conservation Officers, State Park Police, and DEP’s Compliance & Enforcement personnel has resulted so far in 28 arrests or enforcement actions.

The program is a coordinated effort of a host of DEP agencies, including Parks, Fish & Wildlife, Solid Waste, Water Resources, State Forestry Services and the Natural Lands Trust. All activities of this new effort are posted on www.stopdumping.nj.gov, a website that serves as a hub for the entire program.

“The results of this program should continue to serve as warning for illegal dumpers that their actions will not be tolerated,” said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin. “Through our investigations, we are showing that no site is too remote to be caught and those who have no regard for the environment, wildlife or people who enjoy the outdoors will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
Recent enforcement actions for the illegal dumping initiative, all conducted by State Conservation Officers, include:
  • Haroldo Recinos-Castillo, 39, of Penns Grove, was charged with illegal dumping in a Wildlife Management Area and illegal solid waste disposal, after a large debris pile – consisting of paint, insulation, concrete, windows, shingles, motor oil and household trash – was discovered this month at D.O.D. Wildlife Management Area in Oldmans Township, Salem County.
DEP’s Bureau of Emergency Response cleaned up the hazardous materials. In addition to charges, DEP is seeking restitution for cleanup of the site. Conservation Officers Wesley Kille and Jeremy Trembley investigated the case.
  • Luis Pulla, 47, and Alex Gualotuna, 34, both of East Windsor, were charged with illegal dumping and illegal solid waste disposal after two large piles of construction debris were found at Assunpink Wildlife Management Area in Allentown, Monmouth County, in September.
Both pled guilty to illegal dumping and each were fined $1,500, plus $1,000 each in restitution for the cost of the cleanup. The case was investigated by Conservation Officer Shannon Martiak.
  • Robert E. Davis, 41, of New Egypt, was charged with illegal dumping of construction and household debris that was found near the Lake Success section of Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area in Jackson Township, Ocean County, last month. A court hearing for the charges is still pending.
  • Brian K. Rosario, 18, of Egg Harbor Township, was charged with illegal dumping of solid waste, particularly a discovery of pressure treated lumber at Hammonton Creek Wildlife Management Area in Mullica Township, Atlantic County, in July. Rosario pled guilty and paid a $500 fine. The case was investigated by Conservation Officer Todd Vazquez.
  • Lyndon Long, 48, of Millville, was charged with illegal dumping of construction debris at Makepeace Wildlife Management Area in Hamilton Township, Atlantic County, in July. Long pled guilty to the illegal dumping charges and paid a $400 fine. The case was investigated by Vazquez and Conservation Officer Joe Soell.
  • Clarence Mays III, 29, of Hammonton, was charged with illegal dumping and dumping of solid waste also at Makepeace Wildlife Management Area in connection with construction debris that was discovered by Officer Vazquez in June. Mays pled guilty and paid a $250 fine.
  • Christopher J. Daraklis, 18, of Absecon, was charged with illegal dumping of construction debris at Port Republic Wildlife Management Area in Atlantic County in September. Daraklis pled guilty and was fined $800. Conservation Officer Keith Fox investigated the case.
The “Don’t Waste Our Open Space’’ campaign incorporates strict enforcement of illegal dumping practices, while raising awareness of the problem through outreach and education.

Strategically deployed motion-sensor cameras have been set up in select state parks and wildlife management areas to help nab violators. Information on arrests and charges filed in connection with illegal dumping will be posted on www.stopdumping.nj.gov.

The DEP is being aggressive in its pursuit of civil and criminal complaints against violators. Penalties for illegal dumping in state parks and in fish and wildlife areas will include criminal fines of up to $5,000 per violation and civil penalties of up to $1,500 per violation.  In addition, the state also will seek much stiffer penalties for major violations through the Solid Waste Management Act, which authorizes the DEP and county health departments to initiate civil actions for illegal dumping violations

Illegal dumping, which includes everything from unlawful disposal of construction debris and old TVs and computers to the dumping of car parts and tires-- and even entire vehicles -- has been a growing problem in the state’s vast natural holdings in all 21 counties in recent years.

Nearly all of the state’s more than 170 publicly owned tracts, including state parks, state forests, wildlife management areas, marinas, and natural lands and preserves, have been impacted by illegal dumping. These lands account for 813,000 acres of state-preserved open space.

For more information on state parks, forests and wildlife areas, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/ and http://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Just Because They Can

I remember fly fishing for carp before it was cool. It was something to do when there was nothing else to do, like chub fishing on steroids.

Now that we target this shallow water, skittish invasive specie, should they become food for the table, or do they become food for racoon, skunks and the like, or released back to the water to continue to invade? I tried the food for the table thing once, when my then 5 year old son landed a 10lb carp and insisted it come home with us. Good memory, not so good taste.

There are places that if it weren't for carp there wouldn't be any fish at all. Their adaptability allowed them to fill a niche not occupied by other fish. But should the effort be on improving water quality or on preserving carp. I guess sometimes you just have to take what you can get.

Carp thrive in some very clean wild trout streams too, and in all places in between the pristine and the grimy. They don't live in the grunge because they prefer it. They live there just because they can.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Mandatory Life Jacket Requirement Starts November 1

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is reminding boaters that beginning November 1 and lasting through April 30, they are required to wear a life jacket while underway or at anchor on boats less than 16 feet in length or on any canoe or kayak. The requirement applies to all Pennsylvania waters.
“Life jackets are the most important piece of safety equipment on a boat,” says Laurel Anders, director of the PFBC Bureau of Boating and Outreach. “According to Pennsylvania’s boating accident reports, almost 80 percent of all boating fatalities happen to boaters not wearing a life jacket. A disproportionate number of the fatalities occur during the months of November through April. During these cold weather months, boaters are especially at risk due to the water temperature and the risk of sudden cold water immersion.” 
When a person is unexpectedly plunged into cold water below 70ºF, the body’s first response is usually an involuntary gasp. Without a life jacket, a victim may inhale while under water and drown without coming back to the surface. If an individual does make it back to the surface, his ability to swim is usually restricted because of a shortness of breath or hyperventilation.
Individuals who plan to fish, boat or hunt from a boat this fall or winter are encouraged to follow these cold water survival safety tips:
  • Always wear a life jacket, even when not required. Many models also offer insulation from cold air. Read the life jacket’s approval label to be sure it’s appropriate for your boating activity.
  • Never boat alone.
  • Leave a float plan with family or friends and know the waters you plan to boat.
  • Bring a fully charged cell phone with you in case of emergency.
  • Wear clothing that still insulates when wet, such as fleece, polypropylene or other synthetics.
  • If you are about to fall into cold water, cover your mouth and nose with your hands. This will reduce the likelihood of inhaling water.
  • If possible, stay with the boat. Get back into or climb on top of the boat.
  • While in cold water, do not remove your clothing.
  • If you can’t get out of the water, get into the Heat Escape Lessening Posture (HELP). In this position, individuals bring their knees to their chest and hug them with their arms.
  • Once out of the water, remove wet clothes and warm up as soon as possible.
  • Seek medical attention when necessary. Some effects of exposure to cold temperatures can be delayed.
To learn more about life jacket wear and cold water survival, visit
For more information about fishing and boating in Pennsylvania, please visit our website at www.fishandboat.com.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

NY DEC Releases Draft Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan for Public Comment

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today released its Draft Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) strategy to prevent the introduction and spread of AIS in New York State for public comment. Comments will be accepted through December 15.

Aquatic Invasive Species threaten the ecology of New York's rich abundance of waters and can harm water-based recreational opportunities and economies. New York is particularly vulnerable to AIS due to its vast marine and fresh water resources, major commercial ports and the easy access that ocean-going vessels have to the Great Lakes via the State's canal system. Managing an infestation is extremely costly, so prevention is the most cost-effective strategy.

"Prevention of aquatic invasive species is critical to the long-term vitality of waterways across New York State," said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. "This strategic plan details proposals to further our efforts to help ensure AIS-free waters remain free and additional AIS are not introduced to other waters. We welcome the public's ideas and feedback on the draft strategy." This action-based Strategic Plan updates DEC's "Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Management Plan," which was written in 1993. The draft plan includes more than 50 actions designed to address prevention, detection, and response to AIS. Proposed actions identified in the strategy include:
  • Expand the boat launch steward program statewide;
  • Develop an AIS response framework to guide decision making when AIS are detected, and communicate the reasoning for the response selected;
  • Implement an AIS public awareness campaign and evaluate its effectiveness in reaching target audiences;
  • Expand the use of AIS disposal stations at waterway access sites;
  • Establish regional "first responder" AIS teams to incorporate local expertise in planning and implementing appropriate AIS responses; and
  • Identify and evaluate risks associated with pathways for AIS introduction and movement within New York.
Aquatic invasive species arrive by many pathways including direct introduction, live animal trade, the nursery and landscape trade, recreational boating and cargo transportation. Northern Snakehead, Sea Lamprey, Round Goby, Hydrilla and the New Zealand Mudsnail are examples of aquatic invasive species present in some New York waters, which can prey upon or displace native species, alter habitat or otherwise harm native species.

The Draft Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan can be viewed on DEC's website. Public comments will be accepted from October 30 through December 15. You can send comments to the address below or email them - enter "AIS Management Plan" in the subject line.
Philip Hulbert

NYSDEC Division of Fish, Wildlife, and Marine Resources
625 Broadway, 5th Floor
Albany, New York 12233-4753

To help slow the spread of both aquatic and terrestrial invasive species, DEC asks all citizens to clean, drain and dry watercraft and gear after boating and fishing; use non-invasive plants in gardens and landscaping; use local firewood; and learn about, look for and report invasive species. Invasive species can be reported online to New York's Invasive Species Database, a partnership with the Natural Heritage Program and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, by clicking the link to "Report an Invasive."

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Brooklyn Fish Dealer Sentenced To Four Months For Wire Fraud

 Caught is Scheme to Steal $500k in Fluke

October 22, 1014 Alan Dresner, a federally-licensed fish dealer from Brooklyn, New York, was sentenced today in federal court in Central Islip, New York, for violations stemming from his role in systematically underreporting fluke (summer flounder) that was being harvested as part of the federal Research Set-Aside (RSA) Program, the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division announced.

On April 23, 2014, Alan Dresner pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. The scheme involved his personal falsification and internet submission of at least 120 fisheries dealer reports from July 2009 to December 2011, as part of a scheme to defraud the United States of 246,376 pounds of overharvested and underreported fluke valued at $510,000.

As part of his sentence, Dresner will serve four months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. The defendant was fined $6000 and ordered to make a $15,000 community service payment to the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County in order to pay for the enhancement of fluke habitat in the waters of Long Island through the C.C.E.’s Marine Meadows Program. Dresner was ordered to pay $510,000 in restitution to the Marine Resources Account of the New York State Conservation Fund. Dresner was also ordered to surrender his federal dealer license and was banned from accessing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) SAFIS computer system.

“Today, Dresner was held accountable for his role in defrauding a federal research program, a program whose purpose is to help ensure the long-term sustainability of Long Island’s fisheries,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Sam Hirsch for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “We are committed to protecting the natural resources that the American people depend on today and for future generations as well.”

“This scheme to land tremendous amounts of overages for profit was not only detrimental to the RSA program, but also to the law abiding fishermen who will not be able to participate in this program in 2015,” said NOAA Special Agent Logan Gregory. “The Office of Law Enforcement will continue to focus on ensuring a level playing field by investigating these types of environmental crimes.”

Alan Dresner is “Fish Dealer X” as that person is identified in the related case of U.S. v. Anthony Joseph. As a federal fish dealer, Dresner had a NOAA permit to purchase fish directly from commercial fishing vessels without having to go through an intermediary. In July 2009, Dresner learned that Anthony Joseph, captain of the F/V Stirs One, was consistently overharvesting fluke through Joseph’s abuse of the RSA Program. By July 2009, Dresner was making regular purchases of illegal fluke from Joseph at the Point Lookout, New York, waterfront.

In order to cover-up his illegal fishing, Joseph would mail falsified fishing logs, known as FVTRs, to NOAA.  However, falsified FVTRs were just one side of the coin. This is because fish dealers are required to report their purchases to NOAA on an electronic form known as a dealer report. The dealer reports include information such as date of landing, port of landing, catch vessel, corresponding FVTR numbers, commercial grade, species, price, and weight. NOAA utilizes the data in the dealer reports to set quotas and implement other management measures designed to ensure a sustainable fisheries. The dealer reports also serve as a check on the information that is submitted in FVTRs.  In other words, for their scheme to work, the false data on the FVTRs had to match the false data on the dealer reports. A mismatch would have indicated a serious error or fraud, and would have been a red flag for fisheries managers.  Accordingly, during July 2009 to December 2011, the defendant schemed with Anthony Joseph to file at least 120 false dealer reports with NOAA, representing a loss of 246,376 pounds of fluke valued at $510,000.

Theft of domestic marine resources has far-reaching consequences beyond illicit financial gain. Fisheries managers operate on the basic assumption that fishers and dealers make accurate and honest reports to NOAA. When harvested fish is misreported or unreported, the integrity of fisheries statistics and associated mathematical models are jeopardized. Recently, based in large part on the recently quantified illegal fluke harvesting revealed by the guilty pleas in the Jones Inlet Seafood, Charles Wertz Jr., Anthony Joseph, and Dresner cases, on Aug. 12, 2014, the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council voted to suspend the RSA Program for 2015 in order analyze the effect illegal fishing has had on the soundness of the RSA Program.

Anthony Joseph pleaded guilty to wire fraud, mail fraud, and falsification of federal records on April 11, 2014, for his fisheries fraud crimes related to Alan Dresner and Jones Inlet Seafood. He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 20, 2015.

The case was investigated by agents of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, with assistance from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Police. The case is being prosecuted by Christopher L. Hale of the Justice Department’s Environmental Crimes Section, Environment and Natural Resources Division.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

2014-2015 Winter Storm Names

First, just to set the record straight, it's not the National Weather Service who names winter storms, it's The Weather Channel. This is the third winter season they are doing this and you can be sure it will continue in future years. It's a good social marketing gig for them.

The Weather Channel can dominate all the winter weather talk on the social networks like Twitter and Facebook by using #hashtags connected to the storm names. Good move Weather Channel, but lousy names, at least a few of them.

You can be your own judge.Visit their page Winter Storm Names 

Monday, October 06, 2014

Be Safe in Your Canoe & Kayak this Fall

I've been seeing a lot of canoes and kayaks on the river this fall, both fishermen and recreational paddlers enjoying the warm fall days and brilliant foliage. I can't help but notice that some of these paddlers are ignoring the cold water temperatures, routinely in the mid 50's and sometimes even down into the 40's. At these temps, it doesn't take long for hypothermia to set in putting an unfortunate fisherman or leaf peeper into a life threatening situation.

For these reasons, when I saw this recent press release form BoatUS I thought it very well worth sharing. The one thing I'll add to this is to have a dry bag along with a change of warm, dry clothing.

Have fun on the water this fall and many more to come!

For Paddlers, It’s High Season for Safety

ANNAPOLIS, Va., October 6, 2014 – It may be sunny outside with blue skies above, but waters are deceptively cold and unforgiving in the fall. For paddlers with just a few inches of freeboard to spare, getting wet this time of year can have serious consequences, so the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water has these seven tips for fall paddlecraft safety.

Know how to re-board: All paddlecraft are different, so before you hit a lonely, remote stretch of river or bay, learn (in a safe place) how to get back in the boat quickly and efficiently as hyperthermia is a threat that increases by the minute. Some paddlers add extra floatation inside the boat as it can help reboarding. (Tip: this can be accomplished simply by inflating a beach ball or purchasing aftermarket float bags). If you do ever fall out and can’t get back in, stay with the kayak or canoe – it’s a bigger target for rescuers to see.

Don’t keep it a secret: Tell people where you’re going by filing a float plan. It could be as simple as telling your spouse, in writing, where you are going and what time you plan to return. Writing it down makes it become habit. Be as specific as you can – this isn’t the time to forget to mention you’re heading to your hidden fishing hole two miles off the beaten channel.

Understand the basic rules of navigation: You may not be out there with icebreakers just yet, but there may still be some recreational boating traffic and potential ship traffic. The simple challenge is the smallest boats are hardest to see. One simple tip to help visibility is to spray the tips of your paddles a bright color. Paddlers also can help themselves by understanding some basic rules of navigation.

Don’t leave without a bailer: With low freeboard -- or the distance from the water to the gunwale -- paddlecraft are prone to getting water aboard. Once it starts, it’s only a matter of time before your canoe or kayak becomes ever lower to oncoming waves. Keep water out and buoyancy up by having a bailer ready (Tip: tie one to each seat).

Thermal up or down: Neoprene gloves, a drysuit or wetsuit tops and hats are the ultimate protection in retaining body heat this time of year. However, have outdoor gear that offers versatility by being able to cool down or warm up when appropriate. Even if it may feel like summer, never leave shore in just a t-shirt and shorts. It only takes just a short change of weather or a dunking to drench you and the hypothermia clock starts ticking. A bright colored rain parka can also be seen at great distances.

Going remote? Go Personal Locator Beacon (PLB): Advances in GPS technology have brought down the cost of personal locator beacons, but if your budget is tight you can still rent a PLB from the BoatUS Foundation for $45 weekly, plus shipping. There are no additional subscriber fees and paddlers going to remote locations can order online at BoatUS.org/epirb or call 888-663-7472 (Tip: mention code “DISC10” for a 10% discount on the weekly PLB rental rate through December 1, 2014).

Keep it secure up top: If you need to get your favorite kayak or stand-up paddleboard to the lake on your car or truck’s roof this fall, go to BoatUS.com/addingpaddlecraft for a quick read on the three basic types of roof rack systems and ways to safely tie down the load. Your kayak has no desire to meet the road or become a hazard for oncoming vehicles

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pennsylvania Reduces Price of Fishing Licenses for 2015 Season

For the first time in its history, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) will reduce the price of annual fishing licenses next season, a promotional move agency leaders say is intended to highlight the sport’s affordability to families and younger audiences and to persuade lapsed anglers to return.
Beginning Dec. 1, prices will be reduced by $1, or approximately 5 percent, for resident and non-resident annual licenses purchased throughout the year. Anglers who buy 3-year and 5-year licenses will see a reduction of $3 and $5, accordingly, if they buy the license during the month of December. The discounts also apply to gift vouchers for annual licenses purchased throughout the year and to gift vouchers for multi-year licenses purchased in December.
“We believe the price cut will catch the attention of many people who haven’t fished in a few years, or who have wanted to try fishing, but mistakenly have thought that prices have increased like they have for other products and activities,” PFBC Executive Director John Arway said at the agency’s quarterly business meeting held yesterday and today.
“The fact is, the price of a fishing license hasn’t increased in nearly a decade, since 2005,” he said. “Fishing has always been an affordable and fun family activity that can be enjoyed for a lifetime. If we can capture the attention of potential new and returning anglers, we know they’ll be surprised at how inexpensive it is to fish and how easy it is to enjoy the sport.”
The PFBC sells approximately 850,000 licenses annually, but survey research from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2011 national survey estimated that 1.1 million people ages 16 and older either fished in the Commonwealth in 2010 or planned to fish in the state in 2011.
“This 250,000 gap and the anglers who do not purchase a license every consecutive year represent a segment of potential customers who may better recognize the value of a license at a discounted rate,” added Board President Norm Gavlick, who represents the northeast district. “At the same time, the discount should be a pleasant gift to current anglers when they buy their license for the next season, especially the discounts for the multi-year licenses over the holiday season.”
With the discount, the price of a resident annual license will be just $21.70; non-resident annual $51.70; 3-year resident $61.70; 3-year non-resident $151.70; 5-year resident $101.70; and 5-year non-resident $251.70. Trout/salmon permits, Lake Erie permits and combo permits are not included in the price reduction.
President Gavlick said he is especially excited about the savings customers can enjoy on multi-year licenses and vouchers during the month of December.
“We will actively promote the multi-year discount during the holiday season as the perfect gift for former and would-be anglers on everyone’s shopping lists,” he said. “Individuals can purchase a gift voucher equal to the value of a three or five-year license, and the recipient may then redeem it at his or her convenience.” Vouchers may be redeemed anytime during the year.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Warm Atlantic Ocean Waters Could Increase Expansion of Invasive Tropical Species

Lionfish.  Photo credit:  Kristy Owen, NEFSC/NOAA

Scientists studying the roles of temperature and depth in structuring fish communities along the North Carolina continental shelf have found that as ocean waters warm, tropical fish species―including the invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans) ―could expand into new areas that cold winter temperatures formerly rendered inhospitable.

Researchers from NOAA and the University of North Carolina, Wilmington analyzed year-round bottom water temperature data associated with fish community surveys in water depths from 15 to 150 feet off the coast of North Carolina. The scientists found that the fish community in deeper areas was mainly tropical, dominated by lionfish in depths between 122 to 150 feet, suggesting temperature is a key factor in affecting the distribution of this species.

Oceanographer Jon Hare, chief of the Oceanography Branch at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) and director of the Center’s Narragansett Laboratory in Rhode Island, was one of the study’s authors.

In 2000, Hare was involved in the initial research on the lionfish invasion into North Carolina waters. He worked at NOAA’s Beaufort Laboratory for 10 years, and since moving to the Northeast Fisheries Science Center has continued to follow the invasion and the possibility of lionfish spreading into the Northeast.
In their study, researchers looked at 40 native fish species found along rocky and artificial reefs off North Carolina. The findings were reported in the September 2014 issue of Marine Ecology Progress Series.
Related links:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Bitterroot Valley single-fly event will raise money for national breast cancer fishing program

Cast One for Hope brings anglers together for fly fishing and fundraising
Manchester, VT—September 16, 2014 Casting for Recovery , a non-profit organization offering support and educational fly fishing retreats for women with breast cancer is excited to announce the second annual Cast One for Hope event that will be held October 3 and 4 in Hamilton, MT. This year’s events will include music, a single-fly fishing event with prizes, a celebration dinner and live and silent auctions with the goal of raising more than $50,000 for Casting for Recovery programs across the country.
“Last year we had such an amazing turnout that we decided to add more elements to the event lineup this year,” says executive director Whitney Milhoan. “This event is a wonderful way for people to experience an unforgettable day of guided fly fishing while supporting a great cause. We get people out on the beautiful Bitterroot River in the fall to raise money to offer the same experience to women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.”
This year’s events include a kickoff party with music on Friday, October 3, from 6 - 9pm at Pineview Lodge and the main action taking place on Saturday, October 4 with the single-fly fishing event and a celebration dinner and auction at the exclusive Stock Farm Club  in the evening.  
Each event participant will choose a single fly to use for the day. If that fly becomes lost or unusable, the contestant is out of the running for “longest-lasting fly,” but can still continue fishing for fun to win additional prizes. There will be multiple categories that will be awarded prizes for event participants.
Registration is open to the public and there are still spots available at $1,000 per person which includes a full-day guided drift including lunch, an exclusive celebration dinner at the Stock Farm Club, awards, and a ticket to the kickoff party on Friday night.
This year’s auction items will be open to the public for bidding on September 25, 2014 at 8:00am. You can preview the items that will be up for auction here. Items include a bonefishing trip to Black Fly Lodge, fly rods from Sage, Tycoon Tackle and Orvis, framed prints by AD Maddox and much more with all proceeds benefitting women with breast cancer.
Additionally, special guest Mariko Izumi  will be in attendance and taping the event for an episode for the World Fishing Journal  which she will host. In addition to Izumi, anglers from different companies will be competing against each other to see who comes out on top with the longest-lasting fly. Teams from Temple Fork Outfitters, Black Fly Lodge, Costa, Simms, American Fly Fishing Trade Association and Sisters on the Fly will battle it out on the water on October 4, 2014.
“World Fishing Network is proud to support Casting for Recovery and aid in their mission to provide an opportunity for women whose lives have been profoundly affected by breast cancer,” says World Fishing Network’s vice president of marketing Pam Stinson. “For women to be able gather in a natural setting and learn the sport of fly fishing in a caring, supportive environment – what an incredible experience.”
To learn more about the Cast One for Hope event and to register please visit: www.castoneforhope.org . For sponsorship opportunities please contact Margot Page at events@castingforrecovery.org .
Casting for Recovery® (CfR) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 1996 by two women -- a breast reconstructive surgeon and a professional fly fisher.  CfR’s unique program combines breast cancer education and peer support with the therapeutic sport of fly fishing. The retreats offer opportunities for women to find inspiration, discover renewed energy for life and experience healing connections with other women and nature. CfR’s retreats are open to breast cancer survivors of all ages, in all stages of treatment and recovery, and are free to participants.  

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Governor Cuomo Signs Bill Aiding in Fight Against Aquatic Invasive Species

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation prohibiting the launch of watercraft in New York State without taking reasonable precautions to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. The bill (A9619-B, S7851-B) advances current efforts by the State and private organizations to halt the introduction and spread of invasive aquatic species into New York’s waters.

“The natural beauty that is found in every corner of New York is second to none, and it is imperative that we do everything possible to protect that from the dangers of invasive species,” Governor Cuomo said. “We all share a responsibility to protect our natural environment, and this legislation helps ensure that all who enjoy New York’s waters will also do their part to limit the spread of different types of aquatic life that would otherwise harm the local ecosystem.”

The legislation signed by Governor Cuomo makes it the responsibility of boaters launching watercraft to use common sense when putting in and taking out their boats. Before transportation or launch, the boater should first clean, drain and dry the boat, trailer, and any other exposed equipment of visible plant and animal matter, or have taken other reasonable measures to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. This will help prevent the spread between waterbodies and introduction of invasive species in new waterbodies throughout New York.

Invasive species are a threat because they have few natural predators in their new environment and can carry harmful diseases. Ultimately, invasives can outcompete native plants and animals and change entire ecosystems. Aquatic invasive species are one of the greatest threats to the State's treasured waterways because once introduced, they are nearly impossible to eradicate and expensive to manage.

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, aquatic invasive species seriously threaten economically important industries, such as tourism and fishing. Invasive species cost the U.S. economy an estimated $120 billion per year, and while the State has implemented various programs designed to control the spread of aquatic invasives, it is far more cost-effective to prevent them altogether.

Senator Tom O'Mara said, “Individual boaters are the front line of defense against the spread of invasive species, and this new initiative offers a straightforward approach asking all boaters to do our part to help protect waterways, regional tourism economies and local jobs. Taking every possible step to stop the spread of destructive invasive species before they take hold is the most cost-effective and common-sense approach to combat this severe threat to the environment and economy of the Finger Lakes and other waterways statewide."

Assemblymember Barbara Lifton said, “I am very pleased and appreciate the governor signing into law this important piece of legislation. This is a promising new day in our battle against aquatic invasive species that threaten our high-quality water resources and the recreational and economic benefits they provide,”

Stuart F. Gruskin, Chief Conservation and External Affairs Officer for The Nature Conservancy in New York, said, "The Nature Conservancy commends Governor Cuomo for signing this important legislation, which will reduce the spread of aquatic invasive species that harm human, economic and environmental health. Each year, invasive species cost our communities millions of dollars. By taking simple and common sense measures to clean, drain and dry our boats we can reduce the spread of these harmful species and protect our fishing, tourism and other water-dependent industries. We appreciate Governor Cuomo's commitment to prevent the spread of invasive species and applaud the bill sponsors Senator Thomas O'Mara and Assemblymember Barbara Lifton for their leadership on this issue in the Legislature."

Governor Cuomo’s signing of the bill today complements a broad approach by State agencies to combat the spread of invasive species in New York’s waters. The Department of Environmental Conversation this summer adopted regulations similar to this bill that prohibits boats from launching or leaving water access sites on Department of Environmental Conversation land without first taking these precautions. The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation this summer published proposed regulations that would place similar requirements on watercraft using State Parks. Several local municipalities and organizations in the State have already adopted local laws to address the spread of aquatic invasive species, including boat inspection and washing requirements. In 2014, the State adopted the first ever mandatory invasive species inspection programs at all boat launches on Lake George.

New York State has invested millions of dollars in response, mitigation and prevention programs to rid the environment of invasive species on water and land. In July, Governor Cuomo announced the State’s first-ever Invasive Species Awareness Week [2] to teach New Yorkers and visitors about the threat that these pests pose to our environment. More information about the State’s efforts to control and rid the environment of invasive species can be found here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

New York's 2013-14 Freshwater Fishing Regulations Extend Thru March 31, 2015

New Regulations Will Become Effective April 1, 2015

The current (2013-14) freshwater fishing regulations will extend thru March 31, 2015, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. New freshwater fishing regulations will take effect April 1, 2015 and a new regulations guide will be available from all license sale vendors at that time.

"This change was made based upon the change to the effective dates of our freshwater fishing licenses," said Commissioner Martens. "In the past, fishing licenses, like our hunting licenses were effective October 1 thru September 30. Fishing licenses are now effective 365 days from the date of purchase and it made sense to adjust the effective dates of our fishing regulations to coincide with the April 1 opener of the statewide trout season which is our traditional kickoff to the freshwater fishing season."

Anglers should continue to refer to the 2013-14 Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide for the fishing regulations in effect through March 31, 2015. The Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide is available from all license issuing agents, DEC regional offices and on DEC's website. The current regulations are also available on the new free New York Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife mobile app. Developed by DEC in partnership with Parks by Nature the app is available for iPhone and Android devices; users can download it for free in the iTunes App Store and the Android Market. The proposed new regulations will be available for public review and comment beginning in mid-September on DEC's website.

Anglers are also reminded that combination licenses are no longer available. If a person desires to fish in New York State, they must purchase a separate fishing license. Anglers should also be aware of the expiration date of their current fishing license, since expiration dates now vary depending upon when the license was purchased.

The NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This initiative includes streamlining fishing and hunting licenses, reducing license fees, improving access for fishing and increasing hunting opportunities in New York State
In support of this initiative, this year's budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have not reached their full potential. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the state's fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State.

This year's budget also reduces short-term fishing licenses fees; increases the number of authorized statewide free fishing days to eight from two; authorizes DEC to offer 10 days of promotional prices for hunting, fishing and trapping licenses; and authorizes free Adventure Plates for new lifetime license holders, discounted Adventure Plates for existing lifetime license holders and regular fee Adventure Plates for annual license holders.