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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pennsylvania Adds 99 Streams to Wild Trout List

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) today added 99 new waters to the state’s list of wild trout streams, raising the total number of documented waterways which support naturally reproducing populations of trout to nearly 3,650.
The board voted to add the streams during a special Commission meeting held today at Bald Eagle State Park in Centre County. It also removed 16 waters from the list and adjusted the limits on eight others.
The changes resulted from recent stream surveys undertaken as part of the PFBC’s Unassessed Waters Initiative, a collaborative effort among the agency, local colleges and universities and conservation groups to survey the Commonwealth’s nearly 45,000 remaining unassessed waterways. Surveying unassessed waters and documenting wild trout populations are consistent with the Commission’s five-year Strategic Plan, Strategic Plan for Management of Trout Fisheries in Pennsylvania and the agency’s Resource First philosophy.
The wild trout stream designation has regulatory significance because wetlands that are located in or along the floodplain of the reach of a wild trout stream are considered “exceptional value” by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and are entitled to the highest level of protection by DEP.
The changes voted on today will go into effect immediately upon the publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. The list can be found on the PFBC website at: http://fishandboat.com/images/exec/minutes/2011minu/04min_exh_i.pdf. The current version of the wild trout streams list was last revised in April 2010 and can be found on the PFBC website at: http://www.fishandboat.com/trout_repro.pdf.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fly Fishing Guide to the Upper Delaware River

The popular Fly Fishing Guide to the Upper Delaware River by Paul Weamer has just been released in it's 2nd edition.  This completely revised edition contains interviews with the rivers most renowned fly fishing guides.  Updates on lodging and dining options are included.  But most important to the fly fisherman is the updated information on hatches and fly patterns.

American Angler magazine says, "...this book should be a part of your pre-trip planning".

It's available on Amazon and at select fly shops:  Fly-fishing Guide to the Upper Delaware River: 2nd Edition

Sunday, May 08, 2011

High Number of North Atlantic Right Whales Sighted off Rhode Island

New Mother/Calf Pair Confirmed
A NOAA whale research team sighted 57 endangered North Atlantic right whales, including four mother/calf pairs, on April 22 while conducting an aerial survey of Rhode Island Sound. The aerial survey team is based at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center's laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass. In late April 2010 the team documented a record 102 North Atlantic right whales in these and nearby waters.

“Last year was a record year off Rhode Island, and many right whales were also sighted off Provincetown last week, so we expected to see some whales,” said Peter Duley, whale researcher at NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) who was on the aerial team. “The last time we flew in this area, on April 7, we observed eight right whales, including a new mother /calf pair not seen in the southeast calving ground, which is very exciting. We saw that same mother with her new calf again on Friday. It is her fifth known calf.”

Many of the right whales were seen feeding at the surface and were quite easy to spot. “We noticed two or three and then found 17 feeding in the first group we encountered,” said Duley. “We also saw some sei whales as well, which is not unusual since they like the same food.”

“We’re excited that we’ve found a large congregation again this year in Rhode Island Sound and at the same time of year,” said Allison Henry, who was also on the flight. “It appears that, like last year, they are not the same individual whales either, which means that roughly a third of the entire known population has been seen around Cape Cod and southern New England within one week. That’s pretty amazing!”

All of the whales were actively surface feeding, indicating dense patches of copepods, the tiny marine zooplankton on which right whales feed. During this time of year, right whales are migrating through southern New England waters generally headed northward to feed at different times and places throughout the summer.

“It’s wonderful to see so many right whales in the area feeding, and especially to see mother and calf pairs,” added Christin Khan, the third member of the April 22 aerial survey team. “With such a small population the birth of each new calf is one more step on the path to recovery. We are thrilled to discover another new calf in addition to the 20 already confirmed for the season.”

The whales were sighted within waters that are also part of a seasonal management area (SMA) for large whales intended to reduce the risk of harmful collisions. North Atlantic right whales are particularly susceptible to collisions with vessels, causing serious injuries and deaths of the animals. The likelihood of a seriously harmful collision is reduced when vessel speeds are slowed.

Within the area, vessels 65 feet or larger are required to abide by a speed limit of 10 knots or less between November 1 and April 30 of each year. NOAA has announced additional protection in adjacent areas by implementing a short-term management area that mariners are asked to either avoid or, while transiting, to voluntarily reduce speeds to 10 knots or less.

Another source of human-caused injuries and deaths among large whales is entanglement in some kinds of fishing gear. Pot /trap and gillnet fishermen throughout the northeast are required to rig their gear to make it less likely to injure or kill a whale that encounters it, and to mark gear to help identify any entangling line or gear that is recovered from an entangled animal.

NOAA’s Northeast marine mammal aerial survey team completes hundreds of survey flight hours annually over the waters off the northeast and flies much of the year, weather permitting. The April 2011 and 2010 aggregations off Rhode Island rival those documented in December 2008, when the team spotted 44 right whales in Jordan Basin in the central Gulf of Maine where they expected to see no more than a few. That finding challenged accepted thinking about feeding and mating grounds in New England.

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NOAA Fisheries Service is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation’s living marine resources and their habitat through scientific research, management and enforcement. NOAA Fisheries Service provides effective stewardship of these resources for the benefit of the nation, supporting coastal communities that depend upon them, and helping to provide safe and healthy seafood to consumers and recreational opportunities for the American public.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources. Visit us at http://www.noaa.gov or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/noaa.lubchenco.

Another Place I Wouldn't Have Gone

There are many reasons to pick up the fly rod, too many to list but nonetheless there are some that come to the forefront.

One reason is the fly rod introduced me to some of the best people anyone would ever want to meet. Many of my closest friendships were introduced by it too.  It has taken me to places that otherwise I would have had no reason to gone.

I've had the thrill of fighting strong fish with the slightest of mechanical advantage.  I've also had the pleasure of playing the diminutive jewels that are sprinkled in the smallest of pure mountain streams;  life that would never have been revealed to me otherwise.

The fly rod has taught me lessons in physics and biology that somehow slipped by me in school.  It's given me a sense of timing that music classes couldn't.  The fly rod has also given me time.

The hurried pace and urgency that increase the stress of everyday life is brought to a halt with the fly rod.  Like a magician's wand, you wave it and time becomes still.

The fly rod is in my hand daily, even when I'm not fishing it's the figurative staff that points me in the right direction. It drives me to read an essay penned by an author whose desk is a river bank, whose thoughts flow from the page like the water in the river that inspired him.

The rod is there when I wind feathers to a hook until the color and texture of the material breath life into the curved metal. The fly rod has taught me about insects and aquatic life, about moon phases and tides and what's natural and not.

I've had many fly rods in my life and still do. They've come and gone with just a couple still hanging around for no specific reason.  For every rod I've given or sold to another fisherman two others have taken its place.  So it is with rods.

I'm not sentimental about my fly rods, though I wish I still had my very first; a Garcia. Of all the rods I've had through the years my favorite was always the one I was fishing with.  When a rod is of reputable manufacture and made by hands that understand what it's for, it has a natural liveliness.  Rods made by machines or people who don't even know what it is they're making have no interest to me.

Fly rods aren't about catching fish, they're about casting.  Casting is what's about catching fish.  The balance a fly rod creates in your life with the tempo, feel, and the gravity defying rolling of the line is artistic by view but a craft by performance.  It's a journey anyone can embark on, a place anyone can visit.  The fly rod will turn the ordinary stream, creek, lake or pond into a place of wonder and discovery.

A fly rod will catch fish. And it will do it with reverence whether that fish has a bill for a nose and fire in its eyes, or is a fish identified by its vermiculations and adipose fin.

The reasons to pick up a rod are many but few are actually needed. We take it fishing and it takes us somewhere else. Maybe to another place we wouldn't have gone on our own.


Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, joined by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens and Salvatore Amato, Special Agent in Charge, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement in the Northeast Region, today announced that Yong Hao Wu, a co-owner of Howei Trading, Inc., of Brooklyn, has been charged with illegally importing snakehead fish, which are dangerous to indigenous fish populations.

District Attorney Brown said, “Although the snakehead fish is considered a delicacy in Chinese and Korean cuisine, it is a predatory freshwater fish that has been outlawed in New York State since 2004 because it is a danger to local fish and wildlife. It is disheartening that people are willing to take a chance of these fish escaping and wreaking havoc on our ecosystem for mere monetary gain.”

Commissioner Martens said, “Live importation or possession of the Chinese Snakehead fish is banned in New York because it is a destructive invasive species to New York’s aquatic ecosystem. Although these particular live Snakehead fish were intended to be used as food, they often are purchased as pets and later released into New York’s waterways where they damage or destroy our native fish species. This arrest highlights the efforts of our Conservation Police officers to protect our native aquatic species. I would also like to commend and thank the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agents and the Queens District Attorney for joining us in this fight to preserve New York’s natural resources.”

Special Agent in Charge Amato said, “If invasive snakeheads escaped into New York’s waterways, the impact on native fish species would be nothing short of devastating. The Service is grateful for the cooperation and hard work of our New York State counterparts to combat illegal smuggling of the fish some call ‘fishzilla.’”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Yong Hao Wu, 43, of West 27th Street in Brooklyn. Wu, who is a co-owner of Howei Trading Inc., of 4709 Eighth Avenue in Brooklyn, is presently being held pending arraignment on charges of felony commercialization of wildlife [ECL 71-0924.3] and importing fish dangerous to indigenous fish populations [6NYCRR 180.9(b)(1)(iv)(c). If convicted, Wu faces up to four years in prison.

District Attorney Brown said that, according to the charges, on February 13, 2010, a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation officer at John F. Kennedy International Airport assisted in the inspection of a shipment of fish imported by Howei Trading Inc., which declared the fish as the Chinese black sleeper (Bostrichthys sinensis). However, it is alleged that the 353 fish, which had arrived from Macau on EVA Air, were live snakehead fish (Channa asiatica), weighing nearly 190 pounds. Under mobile surveillance the shipment was allowed to be delivered to Howei Trading, where it was then seized. It is alleged that once inside the location Environmental Conservation officers discovered a tank containing 82 additional snakehead fish.

It is further alleged that a review conducted by the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, noted that Howei Trading Inc., had declared the importation of a total of 3,889 Chinese black sleeper fish on six prior shipments between January 24, 2010, and February 10, 2010. However, at the time of his arrest, Wu allegedly admitted that he had imported the snakehead fish in those six earlier shipments.

Species of invasive snakeheads, a predatory, freshwater fish native to China, Russia and Korea, have been found in rivers and lakes across the United States, from California to Maryland’s Potomac River. Snakeheads are air-breathers and can travel short distances over land, writhing their body and fins until they reach a suitable aquatic habitat. With no natural predators in the U.S., these voracious feeders out-compete native species, disrupting both native waterways and the commercial fishing industry dependent on native species.

The investigation was conducted by Lieutenant John Fitzpatrick, of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Law Enforcement, in conjunction with Special Agent Paul Chapelle, of the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Senior Assistant District Attorney David Chen, of the District Attorney’s Economic Crimes Bureau, is prosecuting the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Gregory C. Pavlides, Bureau Chief, and Christina Hanophy, Deputy Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Investigations Peter A. Crusco and Deputy Executive Assistant District Attorney Linda M. Cantoni.

It should be noted that a complaint is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.