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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Planning the Perfect Fly Fishing Trip

 Cross Current Guide Service & Outfitters
The Upper Delaware River and much more...

The shorter days of winter give us longer nights to dream about the fishing that is yet to come.

I hope everyone had a happy holiday season!

The Upper Delaware had an outstanding season for 2011. There were times that were tough for sure, but the seemingly never ending Fall kept the dry fly action going right into Thanksgiving. The wet year gave us excellent water flows that provided miles of water cold enough for trout, something we hadn't seen in more than a decade. Right now the river looks excellent. Water levels are high as are the reservoirs. The brown trout had excellent spawning conditions this past Fall and the rainbows should be looking at the same this Spring.

Here at Cross Current few changes have taken place. The first is our new website. Well, not really "new" but definitely a face-lift. Check it out at CrossCurrentGuideService.com.

We also have added a new destination to our travel itinerary. March 3 through 10 will have us bonefishing in the Bahamas. We'll be staying on one of the more remote and undeveloped islands. Massive white sand flats line the island's entire shores and with them bonefish from 4 to 10 pounds. Call or email if you'd like to join us or want more information on the trip. crosscurrent@optonline.net

We also book destinations to just about anywhere you may want to fish, both hosted and individually. Call or email for details.

The Double Haul Club is up and running providing private access on the East and West Branches of the Delaware. Look for the club's website launch in the very near future. Club membership also includes discounts on local lodging and dining. In addition, club members enjoy travel discounts to any of our travel destinations. Annual membership is only $500 per person. To receive a membership brochure and more information send us an email or visit us at the Fly Fishing Show in Somerset, NJ or Lancaster, PA.

During January 27, 28, 29, 2012 we'll be at the Fly Fishing Show, in Somerset, NJ. and at the Lancaster, PA Fly Fishing Show during February 18 & 19, 2012. Stop by our exhibitor booth for some fishing talk or drop in on one of the several presentations we’ll be giving. Visit the shows website for times and directions.

Until the next cast,


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Calling Them Shrimp Just Wouldn't Make Sense

The headline reads like the title of a science fiction move: Giant Prawns Invade Texas. Known to be in the Gulf of Mexico for the last few years, giant Asian tiger prawns have now appeared in Texas waters.

These prawns are speculated to be aquaculture escapes and have taken hold in the gulf coast waters where they threaten the native white shrimp, crabs and shellfish. One theory is that floods washed them out of aquaculture ponds in South Carolina, the Caribbean or one of the gulf states.

The prawns are big and competitive and compete for the same food sources as their native relatives. The tiger prawns also think nothing of dining on their smaller cousins and small crabs too.

The giants are known carries to 16 different diseases that are known to be lethal to native species.

I'm guessing due to their large size, sometimes better than a foot long, these prawns are so named because calling them shrimp just wouldn't make sense.

More information on these alien invaders can be found at ProtectYourWaters.net

Monday, December 26, 2011

Legislation to keep vessels with illegally caught seafood out of U.S. ports introduced

A bill introduced in Congress yesterday would prevent pirate fishing vessels from entering U.S. ports to offload their illegally caught seafood. This pirate fishing is often called illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The Administration bill, which implements an international agreement the United States helped negotiate, would benefit U.S. fishermen, seafood buyers, and consumers by keeping illegal seafood out of global trade. It is sponsored by U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, who introduced it in the Senate yesterday, and is co-sponsored by Sens. Begich, Snowe, Whitehouse, Murkowski, and Rockefeller.

“Illegal fishing undermines fishermen in the U.S. and worldwide who fish sustainably and legally, and it can devastate fish stocks and ocean ecosystems,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “As one of the top importers of seafood globally, the U.S. is committed to combating illegal fishing and ensuring a level playing field for our fishermen. The international agreement and this bill will close the world’s ports to illegal fishing.”

Illegal fishing deprives law-abiding fishermen and coastal communities around the world of up to $23.5 billion in revenue every year, and undermines efforts to monitor and sustainably manage fisheries. Since seafood caught through IUU fishing enters the global marketplace through wide-ranging ports mostly outside the U.S., keeping that seafood from entering the global market requires an international solution and the cooperation of multiple countries.

“The sustainability of fish and fish products and the economic integrity of those who sell them is a priority for the seafood community,” said John Connelly, president of the National Fisheries Institute, an industry association. “Efforts to stamp out illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing go a long way in protecting the resource and ensuring the global seafood industry is operating at the highest standards. It also helps create a level playing field whereby the industry both in the U.S. and around the world plays by the same rules.”

“This legislation further strengthens the United States' commitment to closing our ports to illegally caught fish,” said Gerry Leape, senior officer at the Pew Environment Group. “The U.S. is the third largest seafood market in the world, so passage of this bill will deal a heavy blow to any vessels looking to offload and sell contraband fish.”

This legislation arises from the first binding global agreement to focus on combating IUU fishing, the agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing. This international accord is recognized globally as a landmark agreement. As a leader in the negotiation of the agreement, the U.S. was one of the first countries to sign it, an act that expresses an intention to ratify the agreement. The agreement will take full effect when 25 parties to the agreement ratify it.

Three countries – Norway, Sri Lanka, and Burma – along with the European Union have already ratified it, and 18 more countries and the U.S. have expressed an intention to ratify.

Countries that ratify the agreement have four basic obligations:
  • Designating ports through which foreign fishing vessels may enter;
  • Conducting dockside vessel inspections in the designated ports, following established standards;
  • Blocking port entry and access to port services to vessels known to or believed to have been involved in IUU fishing, particularly those on the IUU vessel list of a regional fishery management organization; and
  • Sharing information, including inspection results, with the governments of vessels found involved in IUU fishing during an inspection.
U.S. law already prohibits foreign-flagged fishing vessels, even those operating legally, from landing their catch at most U.S. ports. However, in addition to fishing vessels, the agreement and implementing legislation extends to both transport and other support vessels, which may be carrying IUU fish transferred to them at sea.

The implementing legislation, introduced as the Pirate Fishing Elimination Act, follows the November 14 transmission of the agreement itself from President Obama to the Senate. Congressional approval of the agreement and its implementing legislation will ensure continued U.S. leadership in the global battle to stop IUU fishing and will allow the United States to encourage broad ratification of the agreement worldwide.

NOAA has taken a number of steps to combat IUU fishing and prevent illegal seafood from entering the global marketplace. In September, NOAA and the EU signed a historic statement pledging bilateral cooperation to combat pirate fishing. The U.S. also identifies countries engaged in IUU fishing through the U.S. High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protect Act and participates in international fishery management organizations to address IUU fishing. To find out more about NOAA’s efforts to end illegal fishing, see http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/iuu/.

One of World’s Rarest Birds in Western North Carolina

Biologists recently confirmed the presence of a pair of whooping cranes outside Hayesville, North Carolina, marking the first time the birds have been documented wintering in Western North Carolina.

Whooping cranes are one of the rarest species in the world, with a current estimated global population between 525-550 individuals, which is divided into four main groups. All wild whooping cranes are part of a western population that migrates between Canada and coastal Texas and now numbers approximately 300. In 1999 state and federal agencies, non-profits, and private individuals formed the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP) to restore a migratory flock to eastern North America. This carefully-managed and heavily-monitored eastern flock began with a small group of captively-reared birds which has grown to more than 100 individuals, including the two found in Clay County. The third and fourth populations are reintroduced populations of nonmigratory whooping cranes in Florida and Louisiana.

The Western North Carolina sighting of whooping cranes was reported through the BringBacktheCranes.org website on December 9, 2011 by Paul Hudson, of Hayesville, N.C.  After the initial report, Jennifer Davis, of the International Crane Foundation, joined Hudson and confirmed his sighting upon finding the birds foraging in a soybean field.

“With Jennifer’s great tracking abilities and my local knowledge, we found the birds again and got to view them from a safe distance. They lifted their giant wings and displayed while calling, which echoed across the valley,” said Hudson. “What wonderful creatures they are, and I got two chances to see them in the wild. How cool is that?”

Since Hudson’s first sighting, at least two other people have reported the birds.

“We’re pleasantly surprised that we’re beginning to get a steady stream of reports, since the birds don’t usually pass through Western North Carolina and we haven’t put out a call for people to report sightings,” said Billy Brooks, a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologist who has spent years working with whooping cranes. “It’s wonderful to see people recognizing that these birds are something special in their community.”

The cranes are a male/female pair, and biologists anticipate they’ll mate when they return north in the spring. Like all members of the eastern population, the birds have identifying leg bands. The male goes by the number 28-08, meaning he was the 28th chick hatched to the eastern population in 2008. The female is 5-10, the fifth chick hatched in 2010.

When young eastern whooping cranes make their first southward migration, they follow closely related sandhill cranes, older whooping cranes, or an ultralight aircraft which leads the birds south from Wisconsin, across Tennessee and Alabama into Florida. After that first guided migration, the birds are on their own to select a route and a wintering area.  The male of this pair spent last winter at Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in southeast Tennessee, along with a handful of other whooping cranes which winter there with thousands of sandhill cranes. While Clay County is outside the main migration corridor, it isn’t far enough to worry biologists.

It remains to be seen whether the pair will make Western North Carolina their annual wintering ground. Aside from ecological factors, it may depend, in part, on the behavior of Western North Carolinians. Brooks advises anyone encountering a whooping crane in the wild to give them the respect and distance they need.  WCEP recommends not approaching the birds on foot within 600 feet; remaining in your vehicle; not approaching in a vehicle within 600 feet or, if on a public road, within 300 feet; remaining concealed and not speaking loudly enough that the birds can hear you; and not trespassing on private property in an attempt to view whooping cranes. These birds are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Endangered Species Act.

“It’ll be fascinating to see if these birds remain in Western North Carolina,” said Brooks. “There are a lot of factors that play into that – not only human disturbance, but also whether the habitat has what they need to over-winter.”

Whooping cranes were listed as an endangered species in 1967, the result of hunting and specimen collection, human disturbance, and loss of habitat. Whooping crane numbers dipped to an all time low of 16 individuals in 1941. They once occurred from the Arctic coast to the high plateau of central Mexico, and from Utah east to New Jersey and Florida.  Standing almost 5 feet tall, it’s the tallest bird in North America.  Adult birds are characterized by snowy white plumage, a crimson crown, long thin black legs, and white wings tipped with black that measure almost 8 feet in length.  The plumage of juvenile birds is a mixture of cinnamon and white.  Deriving their name from the distinctive whooping call, the call of the whooping crane can carry for miles.

Recognizing that the few remaining wild birds had become concentrated in small areas, scientists became concerned that a single catastrophic event on either the wintering or nesting grounds could wipe out the population.  This led to efforts to establish additional, separate populations.

The Whooping Crane Recovery Team, a group of biologists that provide policy and recommendations for the species, searched for possible locations to establish a second migratory flock.  In 1999, the team recommended that a flock of whooping cranes hatched in captivity be taught a migration route between central Wisconsin and the west coast of Florida.  The recovery team then sanctioned the ultralight-led migration techniques of Operation Migration, Inc. as the main reintroduction method.

In 2001, Operation Migration's pilots first led captive-reared whooping crane chicks south from Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin to Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge in Florida.  This effort to guide young cranes to wintering grounds has become an annual event and is considered key to establishing the eastern population. To prepare for the journey and release into the wild, the young cranes are introduced to ultralight aircraft and raised in isolation from humans.  Project biologists and pilots adhere to a strict no-talking rule, broadcast recorded crane calls, and wear costumes designed to mask the human form whenever they’re around the cranes.

In addition to the ultralight-led method, biologists from the International Crane Foundation  rear whooping crane chicks that are released in the company of older cranes, from whom the young birds learn the migration route, part of WCEP’s “Direct Autumn Release” reintroduction method.
Founding members of WCEP include the International Crane Foundation, Operation Migration, Inc., Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey's Patuxent Wildlife Research Center and National Wildlife Health Center, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, and the International Whooping Crane Recovery Team.  Many other flyway states, provinces, private individuals and conservation groups have joined forces with and support WCEP by donating resources, funding, and personnel.  To report a crane sighting or learn more about the project, visit the WCEP website at http://www.bringbackthecranes.org.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Didymo Infestation Leads to the Death of 434,000 Lake Trout

It all started back in August, 2011 when Hurricane Irene trashed the White River National Fish Hatchery in Bethel, Vermont. 

Not only did the hatchery sustain damage and lose thousands of fish including Atlantic salmon, lake trout and native brook trout, but the flood waters injected didymo, aka rock snot, into the hatchery. 

Efforts are under way to disinfect and reopen the facility but in the meantime 434,000 lake trout became homeless. 

These fish were slated for stocking in Lake Ontario and Lake Erie but wildlife managers cancelled that fearing introducing the invasive didymo into the Great Lakes. Second thought was to stock them in already contaminated waters, but in the end no one wanted them and the decision to kill the fish was made. 

The fish were taken from their tanks and dumped into deep pits, covered with lime and buried.  A huge waste of fish as I see it.  Didymo is a diatom that has colonized many waterways with its fibrous coating but it's not poisonous.  Why couldn't these fish be either sold to a commercial wholesaler or donated to shelters and food banks?  I'd like to believe there's a good reason they weren't.  Emphasis on the "I'd like to..."

Take a minute and email your congressman and ask why.  Here the link to make it easy: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Rhode Island Bans Felt Soles

Rhode Island becomes the fourth state to ban felt soles in an effort to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species. The Ocean State joins Alaska, Vermont and Maryland in having statewide bans. 

A look at Rhode Island's 2012-2013 Fishing Regulations simply states: It is prohibited that any person use foot gear with external felt soles in any state waters, inclusive of freshwater, tidal, or marine. This shall include any waters shared with adjacent states in which any Rhode Island Fishing Regulations apply.

Note that Rhode Island and Maryland ban the use of felt sole in both freshwater and saltwater.

Simms urges support for on-line sales tax

Marketplace Fairness Act creates level playing field for specialty fly shops

BOZEMAN, Montana (for immediate release) – Simms Fishing Products is urging the U.S. Congress to approve legislation that enforces sales taxes on Internet sales from out-of-state retailers with online revenues totaling more than $500,000.

The proposed legislation, titled the Marketplace Fairness Act (S-1832), levels the sales tax collection playing field for local retailers by granting the states authority to enforce existing laws and require out-of-state, online retailers to collect and remit sales taxes to those states. Sponsored by Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), the proposed legislation has strong bipartisan support.

“Our business and the sport of fly fishing depend on healthy specialty fly shops,” said K.C. Walsh, president of Simms. “This legislation will close a critical loophole that has given an unfair competitive advantage to online retailers. Our dealer-partners in states with high sales taxes have been hit hard trying to do business under the current structure.”

The legislation does not mandate a new sales tax. Under current law in 45 states, consumers are supposed to pay sales taxes on the goods they purchase, but online sellers are not collecting the tax in the same way that local brick-and-mortar businesses are.

“With the Internet and modern shopping methods, fly fishers can go online and get an all-inclusive price to have an item delivered to their doorstep,” said Bill Kiene, owner of Kiene’s Fly Shop in Sacramento, Calif. “When an online retailer doesn’t charge California’s 8-10 percent sales tax, that price comes in below what my shop must charge. This bill would rectify that.”

This legislation is being supported by a wide variety of retailers, manufacturers and organizations. The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association and The National Bicycle Dealers Association are in favor of this legislation. Amazon.com, Sears Holdings Corp. and traditional retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. also back the measure.

“Specialty fly fishing retailers have been critical to our growth in revenues and jobs,” said Walsh.
“They are being unfairly impinged by online retailers who do not currently collect sales taxes,
challenging their viability and jobs in local markets. Please contact your legislators to support
the Marketplace Fairness Act.”

About Simms Fishing Products: Established in 1980, Simms Fishing Products is the
recognized leader in guide-quality fishing waders, outerwear, footwear and apparel. Their full
line of gear is available at specialty and large format retailers nationwide. For more information
on Simms, please visit www.simmsfishing.com. For additional media information, please contact
Matt Crawford at Pale Morning Media, matt@palemorning.com or call 802.583.6069.

Pennsylvania Free Saltwater Angler Registry Available Jan. 1

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is reminding saltwater anglers that they can register with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for free beginning Jan. 1 through the PFBC’s website.

NOAA requires annual registration from both Pennsylvania residents and non-residents – 16 years of age or older – who target or catch shad, striped bass and river herring from the Delaware River below Trenton Falls or in the Delaware River Estuary.

Beginning Jan. 1, anglers who fish in Pennsylvania and its boundary waters have the option to register through the free PA Saltwater Angler Registry Program (PA-SARP), or to register for a fee through the federal online registry or by calling toll-free 1-888-674-7411. A web button in the left column of the PFBC website called “PA-SARP” directs anglers to the free registration page.

“As a registered saltwater angler, you may be asked by NOAA to participate in surveys about your fishing activity,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “Information obtained from these surveys is used to determine the health and sustainability of marine fisheries and to make informed decisions about how many fish can be caught the following year.”

Anglers must have a valid Pennsylvania fishing license prior to registering with PA-SARP.

Anglers do not need to register if they meet one of the following exceptions:

  • Are under the age of 16.
  • Hold a Highly Migratory Species Angling Permit.
  • Fish commercially under a valid license.
  • Possess a valid registration with the National Saltwater Angler Registry administered by NOAA or from another exempted state.

Please note that River herring (also known as alewife and blueback herring) and hickory shad (endangered species) are regulated with a closed fishing season, year-round. These species are not to be targeted. If caught, they are to be immediately released.

“Saltwater anglers should carry their Pennsylvania Saltwater Angler Registration Card with them while fishing as proof of compliance with this registration program,” Arway added. “And anglers should contact the applicable state agency when fishing the tidal waters outside of Pennsylvania to be sure they are in compliance with the states saltwater angler registration requirements.”

For more information about fishing and boating in Pennsylvania, please visit our website at www.fishandboat.com.

Friday, December 16, 2011

$485 Million in Grants to Clean Up Abandoned Coal Mines

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today that grants will be awarded in 2012 totaling more than $485 million to remove health and safety hazards caused by past coal mining activities.  This is $90 million more than last years grants.

The money for Abandoned Mine Land (AML) grants is from coal receipts and is divvied up through a federal mandated formula in the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA).

“When our nation enacted mining reform in 1977, we made a simple and bold promise that the revenues from coal extraction today should help clean up the legacy of coal mining many years ago,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “These grants help fulfill that promise while putting men and women to work across the country on restoration projects that will bring lands back to life, clean up rivers, and leave a better legacy for our children and grandchildren.”

The top states relieving grants are Wyoming ($150 million); Pennsylvania ($67.2 million); West Virginia ($66.5 million); Kentucky ($47 million); and Illinois ($24 million)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sportsmen say "Personal Experience" is their #1 Influence

77 percent of anglers and 78 percent of hunters name “personal experience” as the number one influence when deciding to buy a particular brand. This is from a recent study by Southwick Associates on that very topic.

"This is a clear message to companies that if they provide a product that delivers on its promises every time a sportsmen uses it, they may well have made that hunter, shooter or angler a customer for life,” says Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates, which designs and conducts the surveys at HunterSurvey.com, ShooterSurvey.com and AnglerSurvey.com.

Ranking right up there with personal experience and brand loyalty in purchase decisions is recommendations from experienced friends.  No surprise here as the "referral" is what's driven sales for decades.

Magazines, even with their declining subscription rates, are still ahead of television, radio and the internet as far as influencing buying decisions through advertising. Feature magazine articles also hold a big influential place with fishermen and hunters.

A surprise outcome is that endorsements by sporting and other celebrities place pretty far down on the list as to what influences a particular brand.  Could this mean manufactures will start dropping the proliferation of signatures on their products that in many cases seem like just an excuse to raise prices.

Anyone who's a fisherman, hunter or a shooter can participate in Southwicks's marking surveys by simply visiting   AnglerSurvey.com, HunterSurvey.com, ShooterSurvey.com 

Launched in 2006, AnglerSurvey.com, ShooterSurvey.com and HunterSurvey.com help the outdoor equipment industry, government fisheries and wildlife officials and conservation organizations track consumer activities and expenditure trends. The information above represents only a small sample of the vast amount of data collected from the complete survey results and available to government agencies, businesses, the media and other interested parties. Results are scientifically analyzed to reflect the attitudes and habits of anglers and hunters across the United States

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ocean Dead Zones are Shrinking Habitat for Billfish and Tuna

NOAA researcher collaborates on important study of how ocean dead zones are shrinking habitat for blue marlins, other tropical billfish and tunas

The science behind counting fish in the ocean to measure their abundance has never been simple. A new scientific paper authored by NOAA Fisheries biologist Eric Prince, Ph.D., and eight other scientists shows that expanding ocean dead zones – driven by climate change – have added a new wrinkle to that science.

In the December 4 paper published in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change, these scientists sound an alarm that expanding ocean dead zones are shrinking the habitat for high value fish such as marlins in the tropical northeast Atlantic Ocean. As dead zones expand, marlins, other billfish and tunas move into surface waters where they are more vulnerable to fishing. Dead zones are areas in the ocean where oxygen levels are so low that creatures cannot survive over the long term.
“By combining the disciplines of oceanography and fishery biology, we are getting a much clearer picture of how climate driven dead zones are shrinking the habitat for some of the world’s most valuable fish to commercial and recreational fishermen,” Prince said. “With a clearer picture, we will be able to make better management decisions for the long-term health of these species and their ecosystems.”

In the past, Prince has studied the movement of marlins and other billfish in ocean waters off Florida and the Caribbean as well as in the tropical waters of the eastern Pacific. The new paper combines Prince’s research on marlins in the northeast tropical Atlantic Ocean off Africa with oceanographic research in the same waters by Lothar Stramma  and his colleagues at the Leibniz Institute of Marine Science in Kiel, Germany, as well as scientists at the University of Miami Rosensteil School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

Prince tagged blue marlin, one of the most valuable recreational species on the planet, with pop up satellite tracking devices to record their horizontal and vertical movement. He compared this information on fish movement with detailed oceanographic maps developed by Stramma and his colleagues on the same ocean areas showing the location of zones with low dissolved oxygen. Prince, Stramma and Sunke Schmidtko, who was at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle at the time of the research, are the three equally contributing first authors of the paper.

Blue marlins and many other billfish are high energy fish that need large amounts of dissolved oxygen. By comparing the movement of the blue marlins and the location of low-oxygen areas, the scientists show that blue marlins venture deeper when dissolved oxygen levels are higher and remain in shallower surface waters when low dissolved oxygen areas encroach on their habitat from below.

 “The shrinking of habitat due to expanding dead zones needs to be taken into account in scientific stock assessments and management decisions for tropical pelagic billfish and tuna,” said Prince. “Without taking it into account, stock assessments could be providing false signals that stocks are healthy, when in fact they are not, thus allowing overfishing that further depletes these fish stocks and threatens the sustainability of our fisheries.”

While the new paper focuses on the tropical northeast Atlantic Ocean off Africa, the expansion of low-oxygen zones is occurring in all tropical ocean basins and throughout the subarctic Pacific, making the compression of habitat a global issue. The problem for pelagic fishes in the tropical Atlantic is particularly acute, the authors note, because many of these fish species and the unintended catch, called bycatch, are already fully exploited or overfished.

The new paper follows earlier research by Prince published in 2010 in Fisheries Oceanography based on tagging of marlins and sailfish in the waters off Florida and the Caribbean, which also showed these billfish prefer oxygen-rich waters close to the surface and move away from waters low in dissolved oxygen.

To read the new paper, “Expansion of oxygen minimum zones may reduce available habitat for tropical pelagic fish,” visit the Nature Climate Change website.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Regional Saltwater Recreational Fishing Plans Released by NOAA

NOAA released the first regional saltwater recreational fishing action plans designed to help improve fishing opportunities and address recreational fishing priorities in each of the nation’s six coastal regions and for the angling community that fishes for tunas and other highly migratory species.

Saltwater angling is a treasured national pastime that provides significant benefits – jobs, income and sales - to our nation’s economy. In 2010, saltwater recreational fishing contributed $50 billion in sales to the U.S. economy and supported 326,000 jobs in fishing and across the broader economy.

The new action agendas mark the first time NOAA has both national and regional strategies in place to address the priorities of the nation’s estimated 11 million saltwater anglers who took approximately 73 million fishing trips in 2010. The plans are based on goals and objectives identified by participants at the 2010 Saltwater Recreational Fishing Summit.

“We worked closely with saltwater anglers and their supporters on plans designed to improve stewardship and fishing today and for future generations,” said Eric Schwaab, assistant NOAA administrator for NOAA’s Fisheries Service. “We’ll revisit the regional action plans regularly to ensure we continue to address our shared goals.”

A few examples of top priorities in the six regions include:
  • Hawaii and the Pacific Islands: A project to increase the number of fish available in the future by improving the survival of fish caught and released by anglers.
  • Alaska: A project to identify and restore important fish spawning habitat by opening up fish passages on rivers and streams and removing marine debris. 
  • Northwest: A project to develop and evaluate a new, more flexible management approach for Chinook salmon that may allow for increased recreational fishing. 
  • Southwest: Multiple cooperative scientific research projects with anglers to improve survival of fish caught and released by anglers and improve information on recreational catch and effort. 
  • Northeast: A project to work with the regional fishery management councils to ensure that Atlantic herring, mackerel, squid and butterfish populations are maintained at healthy levels. This project would also focus on reducing the unintended catch of forage fish such as river herring, which are important food for striped bass and other fish prized by saltwater anglers. 
  • Southeast: A project to investigate more flexible management strategies to provide greater fishing opportunities to the charter boats and other recreational “for-hire” boats.
Each of the regional action agendas includes projects that address the five national recreational fishing action goals which are:
  • Improving recreational fishing opportunities 
  • Improving recreational catch, effort and stock status data 
  • Improving social and economic data on recreational fisheries 
  • Improving communications Improving institutional orientation to promote greater understanding of saltwater angling issues. 
 The new action agendas include ongoing projects or projects expected to be completed in the next 12 to 24 months. The projects improve science and stewardship and help build stronger partnerships with the saltwater angling community through a more visible and responsive regional NOAA presence. To read the regional saltwater angler action agendas go to: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2011/12/recfish.html

Monday, December 05, 2011

Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission Photography Contest Deadline Extended to Dec. 31

HARRISBURG – Picture yourself as the winner of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s (PFBC) annual photography contest! There’s still time since the Commission has extended its deadline for entries to December 31. Past winners have seen their works featured in Commission publications such as Pennsylvania Angler & Boater magazine and enlarged as visuals for PFBC sportshow exhibits.

The contest is a great way for angling and boating photographers to not only show their craft but to also show their appreciation for the Commonwealth’s fishing and boating opportunities and aquatic resources. There are three judged categories this year with highly valued top prizes. The category “Anglers and Boaters” invites photographers to participate with submissions showing themselves and family members on the water. “Waterway Scenics” invites inspiring environmental images of your favorite Pennsylvania stream or lake. The category “Reptiles and Amphibians” encourages photographers to capture a moment when they might see a frog, toad, snake, turtle, salamander or skink in their native habitat.

To obtain an entry form, complete with contest rules and past winning entries, visit http://fishandboat.com/photocontest.htm.

The mission of the Fish and Boat Commission is to protect, conserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s aquatic resources and provide fishing and boating opportunities. For more information about fishing and boating in Pennsylvania, please visit our website at fishandboat.com.

Spring Gearhart
Editor, Pennsylvania Angler & Boater