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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NOAA Sets $15 Fee for the National Saltwater Angler Registry

Fishermen in Hawaii, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, U.S.V.I. must register or renew in 2011

NOAA announced today that the fee for registering with the National Saltwater Angler Registry will be $15 as of January 1. The change affects anglers, spear fishers and for-hire fishing vessels in Hawaii, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and U.S.V.I., although some anglers are exempt.

Fishermen in other coastal states are exempted from the federal requirement when they comply with state saltwater license or registration regulations. Twenty-two of the nation’s 24 coastal states have saltwater angler registries or licenses and have been exempted from the federal requirement because they are providing registry information to the National Saltwater Angler Registry.

The National Saltwater Angler Registry helps NOAA to gauge the health of marine fisheries. Congress created the registry, a national directory of anglers, through the Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization Act of 2006 to improve surveys of fishermen used to assess the health of fish stocks and the economic contributions of anglers. Through effective regulations based on data collected through the registry, NOAA helps to preserve recreational fishing for the anglers, fishing businesses, coastal communities and millions of Americans whose lives and livelihoods are connected to saltwater fishing.

The law authorized NOAA’s Fisheries Service to charge a fee for the annual registration beginning in 2011. Unless fishermen meet one of the exemptions specified in the law, they are required to register if they are fishing in federal waters, or are targeting – or might catch – anadromous fish. These are species like salmon, striped bass, shad and river herring that live in saltwater but spawn in fresh water. In addition, non-exempt anglers who registered in 2010 and are still required to do so have one year from their initial registration date to renew.

Fishermen are also exempt from registering if they are under 16; only fish on federally permitted charter, party or guide boats; hold a Highly Migratory Species Angling permit; or are fishing commercially under a valid license. Fishermen who hold a valid fishing license from an exempted state are automatically entered into the registry, and do not need to take further action. Finally, people fishing in an exempted state who are not required to have a saltwater fishing license in that state – as is sometimes the case with seniors or active duty military – are not required to register.

Persons who meet the definition of “indigenous person” in the final rule for the registry program are required to register, but will not be required to pay the registration fee if they affirm during the registration process that they qualify and acknowledge that submission of a false statement is a violation of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Information on who qualifies as an indigenous person will be posted on the registration website at http://www.CountMyFish.noaa.gov.

The National Saltwater Angler Registry is part of a major initiative to improve how NOAA’s Fisheries Service gathers, analyzes and reports recreational fishing data. The goal of the Marine Recreational Information Program, or MRIP, is to ensure that the data scientists, managers, stock assessors and others need to effectively conserve our nation’s ocean resources is available, accessible, held to the most exacting scientific standards, and broadly trusted by our partners and stakeholders in the fishing community and others. For more information or to register, visit http://www.CountMyFish.noaa.gov or call toll-free 1-888-MRIP-411.

Conservation And Industry Groups Team Up To Bring Fishing To Military Families

Take Me Fishing™ Collaborates with Sierra Club Water Sentinels and Zebco to Donate Rods and Reels to Military Families

ALEXANDRIA, VA (November 23, 2010) – In recognition of America’s veterans and those who currently serve in the military, the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation’s (RBFF) Take Me Fishing campaign has partnered with the Sierra Club’s Water Sentinels and the National Military Fish & Wildlife Association (NMFWA) to give families on military installations an opportunity to experience the great outdoors through fishing. Rod and reel manufacturer Zebco donated more than 500 rods and reels to the program, which otherwise would have fell just short of reaching retail racks.

“Supporting this program was a very natural decision for us,” said Zebco President Jeff Pontius. “By providing the repurposed rods and reels to military families, we not only have the opportunity to show support for our troops, but also engage new anglers in the sport of fishing.”

Take Me Fishing and Zebco shipped the most recent donation to the Sierra Club Water Sentinels who will distribute the rods and reels to members of the National Military Fish & Wildlife Association for repeated use by families on military installations. The NMFWA will communicate this opportunity to its members to solicit additional participation in the program. Since 2009, more than 59,000 youth have benefited from the donation initiative on 17 military bases in 11 states.

“Our goal is to expose youth to the outdoor experience and our members will be thrilled with the opportunity to get youth on military installations involved,” said NMFWA President Tammy Conkle. “The premise of this program encompasses everything we stand for. It’s outstanding.”

“We’re very excited by this partnership,” said Sierra Club Water Sentinels Director Scott Dye. “Together, we’re making a difference in the lives of youth by engaging them in outdoor activities and efforts to clean up and protect America's water resources.”

Since 2005, the Take Me Fishing campaign has played a critical role in helping generate nearly $20 million for state conservation efforts and introducing more than one million youth and newcomers to boating and fishing. The campaign increases awareness of the need to protect, conserve and restore the nation’s aquatic natural resources through encouraging participation in recreational boating and fishing. The rod donation program is a means of both reaching a new audience to build this awareness while at the same time supporting the nation’s troops and their families.

The rods and reels provided by this program will extend the opportunity for outdoors experiences to the nation’s military youth, who may otherwise face barriers such as overseas deployment of parents.

Our research shows that fishing is recognized as the top 'gateway' activity to other outdoor interests,” said RBFF President & CEO Frank Peterson.  “We’re hoping these fishing experiences will have a positive impact on families when given the opportunity to get out and enjoy one of America’s favorite pastimes together.”

To learn more about the program or to donate your own rods and reels, visit http://www.sierraclub.org/watersentinels/.

About RBFF
RBFF is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase participation in recreational angling and boating, thereby protecting and restoring the nation’s aquatic natural resources. RBFF helps people discover, share and protect the legacy of boating and fishing through national outreach programs including the
Take Me Fishing™ campaign and Anglers’ Legacy™.

About the Sierra Club’s Water Sentinels
The Water Sentinels are a program of the Sierra Club, the nation’s largest and oldest grassroots environmental organization.  Sierra Club Water Sentinels work to protect, improve and restore the waters of the United States by fostering alliances to promote water quality monitoring, public education and citizen action. Sierra Club Water Sentinels are also committed to creating outdoor opportunities for youth across the country.

Monday, November 22, 2010

$9.2 Million to Restore Fish Habitat in Great Lakes

NOAA Announces $9.2 Million to Restore Fish Habitat in Great Lakes

NOAA announced today that it has awarded about $9.2 million to nine projects throughout the Great Lakes Region that will restore fish habitat by removing dams and barriers, constructing fish passage, restoring wetlands, removing marine debris and invasive species.

NOAA received funding from the Environmental Protection Agency through President Obama’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to support these projects.

“Industrial activities and development have led to the habitat degradation in the Great Lakes basin,” said Eric Schwaab, assistant administrator for NOAA’s Fisheries Service. “These projects to restore more than 700 acres of habitat and open more than 100 miles of river for migratory fish passage, are an important step in restoring the fisheries of the Great Lakes.”

Projects funded include:

• Removal of the Campbellsport Millpond Dam (Campbellsport, Wis.) – $684,000 –
The Village of Campbellsport will remove the Millpond Dam, opening fish passage
throughout the uppermost 25 miles of the Milwaukee River and restoring approximately
22 acres of wetland and 3,000 feet of free-flowing river.

• Erie Marsh Preserve Coastal Wetland Restoration Project (Erie, Mich.) – $2.5
million –The Nature Conservancy will construct and improve levees, water distribution
canals, and water control structures; install a new water supply system; and build a fish
passage structure. This will increase the quality and diversity of approximately 258 acres
of coastal wetlands and provide additional fish spawning and rearing habitat.

• Fordson Island Oxbow Restoration and Debris Removal (Detroit, Mich.) – $150,000
– Detroit Wayne County Port Authority will remove 15 metric tons of shoreline debris in
and around Fordson Island. The island, located in the Rouge River just upstream of the
Detroit River, is uniquely positioned as a refuge for fish and wildlife.

• Lower Black River Fish Habitat Restoration Project (Lorain, Ohio) – $1.7 million –
The City of Lorain, Ohio will build two fish habitat shelves, totaling more than 3,000 feet
of new fish habitat, in the Black River watershed – a tributary to Lake Erie.

• Restoring Lake Erie Hydrology and Coastal Marsh (Middle Harbor, Ohio) –
$643,000 – Ducks Unlimited will install a culvert to establish fish access and restore the
water connection to Lake Erie. At least 350 acres of submerged aquatic grasses and
other native vegetation will be planted, which will provide natural and long-term flood
control in the marsh.

• Radio Tower Bay Restoration Project (Duluth, Minn.) – $665,000 – In the first phase
of this project, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and its partner, the
Minnesota Land Trust, will remove marine debris, including 460 derelict pilings, from
Radio Tower Bay.

• Restoring Native Fish Spawning Habitat in the St. Clair River Delta (St. Clair,
Mich.) – $890,000 – Michigan Sea Grant will construct 40,000 square feet of native fish
spawning habitat in the St. Clair River and connect spawning habitat to almost 14 square
miles of rich, underutilized nursery area in the St. Clair delta.

• Coastal Fisheries Habitat Restoration in the St. Lawrence River (Watertown and
Alexandria Bay, N.Y.) – $1 million – As part of an on-going restoration effort, Ducks
Unlimited will install fish passage and excavate river channels at three locations in the
upper St. Lawrence River watershed in New York. The project will restore and enhance
110 acres of marsh ecosystem and fish spawning habitat.

• Watervliet Dams Removal in the Paw Paw River (Berrien, Mich.) – $920,000 –The
Berrien County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority will remove two concrete dams,
restoring fish passage to more than 100 river miles, including 31 miles of the mainstem
and tributaries of Lake Michigan.

The EPA provided the NOAA Restoration Center with funding for habitat restoration in the Great Lakes region as part of President Obama’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a collaborative effort between EPA and 15 other federal agencies with a goal of building on existing and current work to restore the Great Lakes.

For more information on the Initiative and Action Plan go to www.greatlakesrestoration.us

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Fish That Roars?

Well not really, but the Lionfish is causing quite a roar among fishermen and other environmentalists with some comparing the lionfish invasion of the southeast US coast to the Asian carp invasion plaguing the Mississippi River system.

Lionfish are native to the western Pacific Ocean and range from Japan, Korea and south to Australia.  These voracious predators have found their way into the warm waters from the Carolinas to Florida and are causing concern as they prey on juvenile native fish like grouper and snapper.  Not only are they eating machines, disrupting the natural ecology of the reefs they invade, but they are poisonous having venomous needle-like fins that deliver a painful sting that can cause nausea and breathing difficulty. Rarely fatal, the sting does present a health and safety threat to fishermen, divers and swimmers.

One novel control mechanism has been the fishing derbies that are held in Florida where the fish have established a stronghold.  The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, which much of is off limits to fishing for other species, has been the site of one of these derbies where over 650 lionfish were captured by specially licensed divers and served as part of the menu at the evening banquet.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) launched an Eat Lionfish Campaign aimed at getting people to fish for, remove and eat these invasives as a means of controlling their spread and growth.  Some restaurants have started adding them to their menu with diners comparing the delicately flavored fish to grouper or snapper.  Female lionfish can lay over 2 million eggs a year which means stopping their spread is going to take a big appetite. Up and down the east coast the battle cry is "Kill It and Grill It!"

Lionfish are believed to have found their way to the US via the aquarium trade where they may have accidentally found their way into US water following hurricanes in the 1980's and 90's. 

Feds Enforce Right Whale Wrongs

The Right Whale Ship Strike Reduction Rule became the law on December, 2008 and during the rules first season only letters of notice were given to violators.  This ship strike rule applies to vessels of 65 feet and greater and restricts their speed to a maximum of 10 knots in these special zones.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that notices of violation were issued to seven vessels that violated the rule in the 2009-20010 season. The penalties for this violation range from $16,500 to $49,500.  The special speed limit is only in effect from November 1st to April 30th, times when the slow moving, surface dwelling Northern Right Whales are most likely to be present.

There are only about 300 to 400 Northern Right Whales left in the world.  Because of this they are given protection under the endangered species act and are also given special rights of way by the enactment of vessel speed limits in certain waters from Rhode Island to Georgia.

Right Whales are huge, baleen whales using their baleen "strainers" to feed on zooplankton as they swim.  They can weigh up to 70 tons and reach lengths of 55 feet.  Calves are 14 to 15 feet when they're born after a year long gestation period by the female.  Since females not becoming sexually mature until ten years of age the population of these whales is very slow growing.  Studies show that the whales numbers have only been holding steady for the last several decades.

Collisions with ships are the whales greatest threat.  Besides speed restrictions several other steps have also been taken by the government to reduce the likelihood of ship strikes such as; changes to the Traffic Separation Scheme servicing Boston, MA, Mandatory Ship Reporting systems that provide right whale sighting information to mariners, speed advisories of 10 knots to vessels in locations where right whales are seen, and recommending shipping routes in critical calving areas off  the Florida and Georgia coasts and Cape Cod Bay where whales tend to aggregate.

These seasonal regulations are set to expire on December 6, 2013 at which time NOAA will make a determination as to the laws effectiveness in protecting the Right Whale and increasing its population.

Pennsylvania Fishing License Can Give You an Extra Month to Fish

The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission's fishing license year runs from January 1st to December 31st.  But each year the following year's fishing license goes on sale beginning December 1st.  This means if you buy your Pennsylvania 2011 license in December of 2010, you also get December 2010 covered. A bakers dozen of fishing months!

If you already have a current PA fishing license this doesn't do a thing for you, but if you don't and are thinking of getting one December is a good time to do it.  You'll pick up some steelhead fishing opportunity in the Lake Erie tributaries and some trout fishing opportunities in the waters approved for extended trout seasons. There's walleye, muskie and pike fishing to be had too.

You can buy your license at authorized issuing agents located throughout the state or do it online with a few mouse clicks and a credit card.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Redneck Fishing Tournament

Asian carp are a huge problem in the Mississippi River watershed which means it's a huge problem from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. The Mississippi River is the largest river system in the US flowing for over 2,300 miles. The basin takes in all or part of 31 states, more than half the country! So it's no wonder that what affects this river affects all of us.

Not to minimize the scope of the problem - it is huge - these folks are doing their part ridding the river of as many carp as they can and having a good old time doing it!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Commercial Striped Bass Harvest Increase Denied by ASMFC

Conservationists praise ASMFC decision on striped bass

Managers reject proposal to increase commercial harvest 


CHARLESTON, SC – After months of intense debate, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) announced today that it has denied a proposal to increase the commercial harvest of striped bass by up to 50 percent. Public sentiment has run intensely against the proposal from the moment it was introduced last February, as recreational anglers up and down the East Coast flooded their ASMFC representatives with calls to deny the proposal.

“This is a great day for conservation,” said Richen Brame, CCA Atlantic States Fisheries director. “Managers were very much in danger of increasing mortality at a time when the stock is declining, but they took the conservative approach in light of all the uncertainty surrounding the stock today. They should be commended for refusing to take a path that could have ended in disaster.”

Last February, conservationists were stunned when the ASMFC Striped Bass Management Board chose to ignore a host of significant concerns from scientists and enforcement officers about the health of the striped bass population, and instead directed its staff to draft a proposal to increase commercial harvest. Anglers who remembered the dark years of the ‘70s were alarmed that managers were attempting to ramp up commercial harvest even as anglers were seeing serious warning signs on the water.

“CCA members, particularly in Maine and New Hampshire, have said repeatedly they are not seeing striped bass in the abundance seen just a few years ago,” said Mac McKeever, president of CCA Maine. “Anglers in the northern reaches of the striped bass range are the canaries in the coal mine when it comes to the health of the striped bass population, and anglers here are not encountering anywhere near as many fish as they did just a few years ago. There is definitely reason to be concerned.”

Other warning signs pointing to a need for managers to take a cautious approach include declining trends in the striped bass Juvenile Abundance Index, “significant and unreported” poaching in the Exclusive Economic Zone, and the potentially devastating impact of Mycobacteriosis in Chesapeake Bay, the primary striped bass spawning ground for the entire Atlantic Coast. Seventy percent of the fish sampled there had lesions associated with the disease and in aquaculture, Mycobacteriosis infections are virtually always fatal.

“Our members were especially motivated to contact their representatives on the ASMFC throughout this process and let them know this is no time to be talking about increasing harvest of striped bass,” said Charles A. Witek, chairman of CCA Atlantic Fisheries Committee. “The problems facing striped bass today are far more complex than simple overfishing. Managers did the right thing by taking a precautionary approach to management. Striped bass are the crown jewel of ASMFC’s  management successes and should be treated as such.”
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. Visit www.JoinCCA.org for more information.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Amazonian Port Collapses into River

This really has nothing to do with fishing except that it happened near water...

The Amazonian port of Chibatão, Manaus, Brazil literally collapsed and fell into the river.  Manaus is the capital of the Amazonas state and is located at the confluence of the rivers Negro and Solimões. The footage was captured by a security camera and shows just how fast something can go terribly wrong.  Two workers were confirmed missing and up to ten others may have got swept to their deaths.

Porto Chibatão is the largest private port complex of Amazonas state and is located on the Rio Negro.  There was construction being done at the time the landslide occurred to create an access to a floating pontoon that served as a berth due to low water levels in the river.  The river was at its lowest level since records began in 1902 due the Amazon’s worst drought since 1963. According to the government’s geological service, the Rio Negro was at a depth of 13.63 meters, down from a high of nearly 30 meters last year.

Lake George Steamed About Clams

This past August a colony of invasive clams was discovered in New York's Lake George.  Called Asian clams after their ancestry of southeast Asia, these invaders compete with native organisms for food and excrete nutrients that promote algae growth.  They can also turn the water green and the calcium they release helps zebra mussels flourish.  Like the zebra mussels, they reproduce quickly and clog pipes.  All in all, not good.

Lake Tahoe has the same problem in an even bigger way.  Experts from there have visited Lake George to help with the eradication effort.  The current plan is to place benthic mats over the colonies and suffocate them.  The mats seem to have had an impact in Lake Tahoe in controlling the clams and the hope is that in Lake George they'll be able to eliminate the clams before they get too strong a hold.

According to the United States Geologic Survey (USGS) Asian clams are currently in over 35 states plus the District of Columbia.  They first showed up in the US on the west coast in the 1930's.  Now they are found across the entire country.

The best way to prevent infestations of Asian clams and other invaders and hitchhikers from spreading is to follow the recommendations found at Protect Your Waters This website is part of the "Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!" campaign sponsored by the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the United States Coast Guard.  A visit to their website provides valuable information on the many invasive species threatening our waterways along with directions on how to help prevent and curtail their spread.

Tim Daughten from the Orvis Company has an excellent video on how to prevent the spread of this and other invasive species.  Check out this two minute video here: Tips For Stopping The Spread Of Invasive Species

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Coalition documents Obama’s ghoulish salmon plan

Calling it devoid of science and law, salmon and fishing advocates say biological opinion is a bad ‘trick’ on the people of the Northwest 

November 3, 2010

PORTLAND, Ore. – A coalition of fishing, business, and conservation organizations asked a federal judge today to declare President Obama’s Columbia and Snake river salmon recovery plan illegal.

“We’d like to pretend this plan is just a ‘trick’ and the ‘treat’ is still to come,” said Michael Garrity of American Rivers. “But we can’t. We’ve been here too many times before. This administration has got to stop trying to put a pretty costume on an ugly plan and start following the law and science. We’re dealing with people’s livelihoods and keystone species on the brink of extinction.”

Because federal dams are harming threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead in the Columbia and Snake rivers, the law requires federal agencies to create a plan – or biological opinion (BiOp) – to reduce the damage. The papers filed today respond to the Obama administration’s continuing failure to provide legal, science-based plan.

“For two years the coalition has asked the Obama administration to uphold its promises for scientific integrity and transparency,” said former Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife fisheries chief Jim Martin. “It appears those were empty promises. If anything, the administration is going backward in terms of openness and scientific integrity.”

In 2009, the coalition asked Obama to review the 2008 Bush salmon plan. The Obama administration agreed to do so, but instead of significantly improving the legally flawed Bush salmon plan, the administration adopted the plan as its own. The only addition from the Obama administration was an Adaptive Management Implementation Plan (AMIP) that promises only to study additional measures to help Endangered Species Act-listed salmon should their populations collapse.

The Western Division of the American Fisheries Society judges the AMIP “inadequate for ensuring the protection of threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River Basin."

The Society review found that rather than using a precautionary approach to protecting threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead, the plan “seems to use a precautionary principle to support the 2008 Biological Opinion and defend the status quo.”

Such skepticism of the Obama approach is widespread. “The federal government simply ignored science that didn’t meet its political goals – it ignored science from the AFS, fisheries biologists with the State of Oregon or the Nez Perce Tribe, and its own so-called ‘independent scientists,’” Martin said. “This plan puts the weight of risk on the fish in violation of the law, and the risk is of extinction.”

The Obama plan, according to the coalition’s filing, augments the flawed approaches of the past with new unscientific defects. For example, the Obama plan details the threat climate change poses to salmon, but proposes no new actions to address climate impacts.

Obama’s plan offers no new actions to protect Snake River sockeye salmon whose woefully low numbers have already tripped predetermined action “triggers.” The Western Division of the American Fisheries Society deems the federal agency approach to Snake River sockeye protection “inappropriate.”

Moreover, the Obama administration’s process for adopting the biological opinion has been shrouded in mystery. Legal proceedings have revealed federal agencies’ refusal to release more than 40 percent of the relevant documents.

"The current plan is nothing more than more of the same failed policies of the Bush administration, only with a new cover sheet.” said Zeke Grader, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations (PCFFA), one of the plaintiff groups. “We’re seeing neither good science nor good policy in this plan – just another prescription for failure. More failure just destroys more salmon-dependent jobs.  At-risk salmon-dependent communities have a right to a plan based on science and law, not on politics and denial.”

Briefing on the case will continue through the end of 2010. A hearing before the United States District Court in Oregon isn’t expected until early 2011.

Plaintiffs in this case include a broad range of regional and national conservation groups, fishing associations, and business interests. They are joined by the State of Oregon, the Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho, and the Spokane Tribe of Washington.


American Rivers is the leading conservation organization fighting for healthy rivers so communities can thrive. American Rivers protects and restores America's rivers for the benefit of people, wildlife and nature. Founded in 1973, American Rivers has more than 65,000 members and supporters, with offices in Washington, DC and nationwide.


Yellow Breeches Project

The joint Yellow Breeches conservation project spearheaded by American Rivers and supported financially by the Orvis Company is designed to allow this legendary trout stream to flow free and clear and contribute to increasing the water quality of the Susquehanna River watershed.

By removing three dams on this river, critical trout spawning habitat will again be connected to clear runs benefiting the wild fish population of this legendary and popular trout stream.

Check out the letter American Rivers sent to Orvis updating them on the project:


The letter is published on The Orvis Company's new blog, The Orvis News   The Orvis News is all about conservation issues, fly fishing news & events, sporting dog and upland bird hunting along with high quality writing and photography.

Catch & Release Fishing... Do it right!

Over the decades catch & release fishing has taken a firm hold in the sport fishing community.  My guess is it started with fly fishing and more specifically, trout fishing.  This is just my guess and probably because that's where I was first exposed to the practice. Wherever it began isn't really as important as the fact that catch & release fishing began. It has since spread to become more of a common practice with just about every fresh and saltwater game fish.

From my side of the rod, that's great news (even better news to the many fish that are released each season).  The practice has led to better fishing in many fisheries.  It also eliminated the waste of storing fish in freezers until they became freezer burned only to be discarded several months later.

It's great that catch & release continues to gain popularity with anglers, but catch & release is more than just "throwing 'em back".  Taking proper care of the fish in your hands is an important element in successful catch & release fishing.   

Jason Puris of TheFin.com put together a good short video with Bob Popovics, Carl Safina and Brad Burns on how to release a striped bass. 

Here's a link to the video: http://www.thefin.com/ViewVideo.aspx?vid=61b5d3af-0998-4728-a4b5-f82082cdae3b

Friday, November 05, 2010

Anglers Evaluate NOAA Catch Share Policy

Anglers Evaluate NOAA Catch Share Policy
Final policy on controversial management tool opens door to reallocation, but perils of implementation remain

WASHINGTON, DC – November 4, 2010 – After months of intense debate, today’s official release of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations’ (NOAA) Catch Share Policy provides recreational anglers with two key elements: a framework to redistribute the benefits of harvesting the nation’s marine resources; and a commitment that catch shares have no place as a management tool for private recreational anglers. Coordinated input from the angling community significantly altered aspects of the draft policy, particularly the process of allocating fisheries between sectors.  However the system of assigning fixed percentages of various fisheries to commercial interests remains a controversial management tool to recreational anglers.

“It’s clear that NOAA’s leadership was listening at its Recreational Fishing Summit last April when the entire spectrum of the recreational angling community, from guides to tackle manufacturers to charter boat operators, voiced its apprehension regarding this policy,”said Mike Nussman, president and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association. “A number of significant improvements called for by participants at that summit and in subsequent dialogue with the agency are reflected in this document.”

Although catch share systems have been used in federally managed commercial fisheries for decades, the Obama Administration’s creation of the Catch Share Policy Task Force signaled a new intent to force catch share systems widely into federal commercial and recreational fisheries. Many in the recreational community were adamantly opposed to the Administration’s new direction as it was articulated in the draft catch share policy released in December 2009.

“It was never a question of ‘if’ catch shares were going to be a focus for this Administration,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation. “It was simply a matter of ‘how’ and ‘when.’ Although we continue to be opposed to separating the charter and private recreational sectors, by engaging with the Task Force and NOAA’s leadership, the recreational fishing community has helped shift the view of catch shares as a panacea to simply being another tool in the toolbox that managers may elect to use if a series of conditions are met.”

As previously implemented, catch share systems in mixed commercial and recreational fisheries bestowed a percentage of a public fishery resource to a select group of private commercial entities based solely on their catch history, effectively locking in the allocation of that fishery forever while ignoring the growing participation and beneficial economic impacts of recreational fishing. Coastal Conservation Association has challenged just such a plan in federal district court. However, among the conditions laid out in the policy released today is a requirement for the fishery management councils to address the allocation prior to the implementation of any catch share system using conservation, economic and social criteria. The policy also requires that every mixed-use fishery allocation be reviewed periodically using the same criteria.

“All of those requirements were put forth at NOAA’s Recreational Fishing Summit as pieces that might make this policy more workable,” said Ellen Peel, president of The Billfish Foundation. “This is a good indication that the agency and Dr. Lubchenco are listening and, as promised at the summit, responding to the expressed concerns of our community. We are committed to working with the Councils and the Administration to ensure the pieces of the policy fit together to benefit recreational angling.”

The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is the sportfishing industry’s trade association, committed to looking out for the interests of the entire sportfishing community. We give the industry a unified voice speaking out when emerging laws and policies could significantly affect sportfishing business or sportfishing itself. We invest in long-term ventures to ensure the industry will remain strong and prosperous as well as safeguard and promote the enduring economic and conservation values of sportfishing in America. ASA also represents the interests of America’s 60 million anglers who generate over $45 billion in retail sales with a $125 billion impact on the nation’s economy creating employment for over one million people.

New Home Rivers Initiative on Michigan's Rogue River

Trout Unlimited Launches New Home Rivers Initiative on Michigan's Rogue River

Project to restore urban watershed near Grand Rapids.

Grand Rapids, Mich. - Trout Unlimited has launched a new watershed-scale restoration project on the Rogue River.

Aimed to protect and restore the Rogue River watershed near Grand Rapids, the project will address the impacts of development and other pressures due to its location in an urban area.

"Trout Unlimited set its sights on the Rogue River because it faces the pressures of development and urbanization and is an important river to this section of Michigan, in the state where TU was founded 50 years ago," said Warren Colyer, Trout Unlimited's Watershed Programs Director. "We're very excited to hit the ground running to improve water quality, habitat, and coldwater fisheries in the watershed."

The Rogue River is a tributary to the Grand River, which flows into Lake Michigan and supports a migratory steelhead fishery. The Rogue River is an extremely important trout fishery resource in southern Michigan. The lower portion of the river, below the dam in Rockford, is known for its excellent steelhead runs in the late winter and early spring. The eastern tributaries, particularly Cedar, Stegman and Duke creeks support brook, brown and rainbow trout fisheries.

Nichol De Mol has been hired as the project manager. A water resources expert, she was previously a watershed manager at the Annis Water Resources Institute of Grand Valley State University. The Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative office will be located in Muskegon.

"All of our TU chapters in Michigan are excited about this project and beginning intensive efforts focused at improving and protecting this important coldwater trout salmon and steelhead fishery," said Bryan Burroughs, executive director of Michigan Trout Unlimited.

This project is one of 12 Home Rivers Initiatives that TU operates throughout the country.

Working with a number of local partners, including the Schrems West Michigan chapter of TU, the Michigan TU Council, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment and other groups, TU will improve stream habitat and erosion control in the watershed. The project will increase habitat restoration efforts and analyze thermal impacts of the Rockford Dam on the Rogue River, as well as improve fish passage there. TU will work with local municipalities to better manage stormwater and will engage local citizens to help increase protection of the watershed.

Financial support for the project has been generously provided by the Frey Foundation, the Wege Foundation, Wolverine World Wide, Inc., the Schrems West Michigan TU Chapter and Robert DeVilbiss. 

Trout Unlimited is the nation's largest coldwater conservation organization, with 140,000 members dedicated to conserving, protecting, and restoring North America's trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds.

Fifty Dollar Nippers

“These modern nippers are total departure from traditional line cutters which are usually just an adaptation of old fashioned nail clippers . . . just the kind of creative, Twenty First Century thinking anglers expect from Abel,” said Don R. Swanson, president.

Yep,  Abel has re-invented the line nipper. The Abel Nipper is 1-3/4" long, 3/4" wide and tapering to 1/2" wide at the jaws.  It weighs seven-tenths (0.7) of an ounce.  A needle used to clean hook eyes is integrated into the jaws.  It'll cut line from 7X all the way to 100lb test which is good because that's what nippers are supposed to do. They look just like a nipper too, so there won't be any problems recognizing them.

For your $50 you not only get a nipper, but your nipper has replaceable blades that Abel will replace for free during the first three years.  After that it's $10 to get replacements, that is if you don't loose the nippers by then.  If you want to add fish graphics to your nippers double the price to $100.  Pretty cool.  I can't wait to find a pair of these along the stream bank.

Hey, What Kind of Fish Is This?

Thanks to the International Game Fish Association's (IGFA) new iPhone app that features a fish ID description and color photo of every game species, you'll now know what that unrecognizable critter is hanging on the end of your line. The descriptions include extensive reference material from the IGFA including thorough habitat information, geographic distribution and fish anatomy.  The IGFA are the folks who maintain the record books for all tackle, line class, and fly tackle records for just about everything that has fins.

This app will also let you know if the fish you caught qualifies for a record, along with the rules so you'll know if your catch counts.  The IGFA didn't leave out the fly rodder's either, listing the rules for that tackle and game too.  There's even a feature with directions to get you to the closest official weigh station to get your record catch certified.  There's more too, check it out with the IGFA

If you have an iPhone you already use your phone for more than making calls, so now you can add a fishing related feature to wow your fishing buddies after you search the IGFA database and find that you qualify for a record.  Or you can just use it to kill time during the next meeting or seminar you're forced into attending. By the way it's only 9 bucks from the IGFA

Monday, November 01, 2010

No More Chubs & Smelts in Big Reed Pond

And that's a good thing if you're an Arctic char.  Big Reed Pond is in northern Maine and is one of only 12 locations where Arctic char still exist in the lower 48 United States.  The other locations are also in Maine.

The smelt, rainbow smelt to be exact, and creek chubs where accidentally or illegally introduced into the pond most likely by fishermen who dumped their unused baitfish into the water.  The chubs and smelt really took off and displaced the native fish like the Arctic char and brook trout.

Enter the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologists who over time captured the native fish and brought them to a private hatchery for safe keeping. With the pond cleared of its natural residents, the biologists then poisoned the pond with Rotenone to kill off the invasive species. Rotenone is a pesticide, in this case a piscicide that is made from the roots of several South American plants.  It biodegrade in just a few days leaving no harmful after affects or residue.  Check Rotenone out on the internet if you wish to learn more about it.

Remember the captured fish that were taken to the private fish hatchery? Well they're the parents to genetically pure char and trout that will be reintroduced into Big Reed Pond sometime over the next two years.  The work of these biologists along with a little luck could serve to ensure that Arctic char continue to survive in their native habitat.

Spiney Water Fleas: Not so small an issue

One of the least known of the aquatic invaders to US waters is the Spiney water flea and it's smaller cousin, the Fishhook water flea.  Both of these critters fall into the crustacean family along with shrimp, crabs, crayfish and the like.  But unlike the more popular crustaceans these guys are pretty small, placing them in the zooplankton family.

As a general category, zooplankton are a very important part of the food chain and contribute greatly to a healthy waterway.  However, both these water fleas are larger than your average zooplankton and as such feed heavily on the smaller, native zooplankton. They also reproduce very rapidly and quickly takeover a food supply.  The smaller plankton that they feed on are a very important food source for most juvenile fish.

It's not just being bigger than other zooplankton, but these fleas also have a funky body shape.  Their body is longer and has barbs along its length making it difficult for small juvenile fish to handle them.  Studies have shown that poor growth rates in fish have been the result.

Now all the above is bad enough, but try to visualize this; infestations so great that nuisance build ups occur on fishing line making angling nearly impossible to enjoy.  These build ups look and feel like wet cotton on the line.  As the line is reeled in the water fleas build up in the guides jamming the whole show.  Fisherman are often left with no alternative but to cut their line in order to free up the mess.

These guys are European imports and currently are found in Lake Ontario, Lake Michigan and some inland lakes in New York state.  Odds are, based on where they're confirmed now, that they're in other places too. To curb their spread it is important to be extra diligent in cleaning equipment. Not just the usual wader cleaning and boat scrub but also cleaning fishing line on the reel as these little guys can easily hide and survive there too.

Let's put up a good defense to this invasion and always follow the cleaning instructions on Protect Your Waters website to curtail the spread of these and other aquatic nuisances.