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Wednesday
Sep172014

 

 

 

 

Wednesday
Sep172014

Rubio Fisheries Bill Praised by Saltwater Community

Representatives of the nation’s 11 million saltwater anglers and the industries they support, which collectively have a $70 billion annual economic impact, commended Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) for his work on the Florida Fisheries Improvement Act, introduced today.

The bill creates a strong base to ensure that the recreational fishing and boating community’s priorities are addressed during reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Act, the overarching law managing the nation’s saltwater fisheries.

“Sen. Rubio worked closely with our community to understand our needs and concerns,” noted Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation. “We know it will take a bi-partisan commitment to enact this into law, and we have been equally impressed with the work of Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) to include our priorities in his draft Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Act reauthorization.”

Rubio said, “Florida’s fisheries deeply impact the economic well-being of our state, as well as many Floridians whose way of life depends on them. But our fisheries are also a national treasure that feed Americans across the country, provide jobs across the food industry chain, and have become a favorite pastime for millions who provide direct and indirect benefits to our local, state and national economies.

 “This legislation ensures necessary improvements to management and data collection are made to fully optimize our fisheries and help advance Florida’s interests when it comes time to amend the Magnuson-Stevens Act. However, I know there is more work to be done, and I will continue to work with Floridians and my colleagues in Congress to prioritize reauthorization of the MSA in the next Congress.”

Recreational anglers’ primary priorities are identified in the Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management’s report “A Vision for Managing America’s Saltwater Recreational Fisheries.”  The Commission, headed by Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris and Maverick Boats President Scott Deal, identifies six key policies that would achieve the Commission’s vision, including adoption of a revised approach to saltwater recreational fisheries management; allocating marine fisheries for the greatest benefit to the nation, and creating reasonable latitude in stock rebuilding timelines.

“We are pleased to see many of the Morris-Deal priorities addressed in Sen. Rubio’s legislation, reflecting his commitment to give long overdue attention to improving recreational fisheries management,” said Angers.

“We look forward to continuing our engagement with Sen. Rubio and Sen. Begich to incorporate several other priorities in the final version of any legislation, including a fix for the broken management of the red snapper fishery in the Gulf.”

Contributors to the work of the Commission include American Sportfishing Association, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Berkley Conservation Institute, Center for Coastal Conservation, Coastal Conservation Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, International Game Fish Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and The Billfish Foundation

Tuesday
Sep162014

New Regulations in California Could Include Tackle Ban

California is at it again. This time, fishing tackle made with lead, copper, and zinc could be banned as a result. And what happens in California will affect anglers all over the country.

From the California Sportfishing League:

"The State has proposed new regulations targeting lead sinkers and fishing gear. As a consequence, fishing equipment made of lead, zinc and copper could be outlawed, forcing manufactures and suppliers to flee California’s market altogether and drive up the cost of fishing gear as much as 20-fold! If fishing is listed as a product of interest, every other State in the Nation will soon follow.

"We need your help. The Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) will be holding workshops on September 25th and 29th, and your voice needs to be heard. The public comment period closes October 13th, so don’t wait! Join our fishing coalition today! Attend these important workshops."

Go here to sign the petition to oppose the ban.

Monday
Sep152014

What's Ailing Susquehanna River Smallmouth Bass?

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission photo

Despite its refusal to declare the Susquehanna River impaired last year, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) says that it will continue intensive sampling of what was once a world-class smallmouth fishery.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission asked for the designation, as fingerlings continue to die, adults carry ugly lesions, and eggs show up in the testes of male fish. Additionally, an estimated 80 percent of the bass seem to have disappeared from the central part of the state, where the North and West Branches meet, down to Conowingo Dam in Maryland.

The 2014 plan calls for analysis of fish tissue for pesticides, PCBs, and metals. Also biologists will look at insects, mussels, and other invertebrates, as well as sample the water for sediment, pollution, and pesticides.

At 464 miles, the Susquehanna is the largest river to drain into the Atlantic, and its massive watershed of 27,500 square miles includes portions of New York and Maryland, as well as nearly half of Pennsylvania.

“Over the last two years where we tremendously enhanced our examination efforts, DEP has learned a great deal about the health of the Susquehanna River,” said Secretary E. Christopher Abruzzo.

 “It is important to continue these efforts so that DEP can create policy and regulation based on facts and sound science.”

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation believes that a “perfect storm” of conditions have contributed to the sick and declining smallmouth population, with pollution from farms and sewage plants, low dissolved oxygen, rising water temperatures among the contributors. These stressors make the fish more susceptible to bacteria, parasites, and diseases that might not have affected them in the past.

(This article appeared originally in B.A.S.S. Times.)

Friday
Sep122014

Little Known Florida Fishery Revealed

Miami Herald photo

Have you heard about the clown knifefish fishery in Florida? Probably not.

The clown knifefish is one of 41 exotic species observed or established in the Sunshine State. Most are small specimens, but the clown knifefish, along with the butterfly peacock, is a notable exception.

Here’s what the News Observer reports about the predatory exotic fish now being targeted by anglers:

“Boynton Beach freshwater fishing guide captain Butch Moser, 66, started catching the Asian invaders for his clients in the Ida-Osborne chain of lakes in Palm Beach County not long after the first one was spotted during 1994, probably a discarded pet from someone’s home aquarium.

“Numbers of clown knifefish grew steadily over the next decade and a half, but their range never really expanded north of West Palm Beach or south of Boca Raton. They kept Moser and his customers busy for hours at a time, targeting them around grassy shorelines and beneath bridges.

“During December 2008, Nick Fusco caught a 13 1/2-pounder near Lake Clarke Shores that reigns as the International Game Fish Association all-tackle world record for the species.

"A chill in January 2010 knocked the fish way back; clown knifefish, like other tropical exotics, can’t tolerate water temperatures below 54 degrees for very long. But the back-pedaling jumpers have rebounded to the point that Moser and a few other guides and anglers target them again. Moser said he is far from the 50-fish days he enjoyed pre-freeze, but his clients recently have caught up to a dozen in a day, along with largemouth bass and other native species.”

Here’s the latest Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission  about the clown knifefish:

“Not only peacocks were slammed by the cold and are now recovering, said Moser. In late August, he said he had ‘never seen the fishing as good as the past few weeks.’ Several locks along the canal are open, and running water is attracting sunshine bass, peacock bass, clown knifefish -- the whole gamut.

“One of his favorites, the unique clown knifefish, is running from 3 to 10 pounds. The fish are often full of shad but aggressively take any 3- to 4-inch minnow. According to Moser, when hooked, they back up, then make a quick run and jump like a tarpon. They are tough to net since they back away and jump, so Moser’s tip is to get the net under them when they jump.

“He recommends watching for a round boil and bubbles on the surface. Cast directly to the disturbance or fish a float with a live bait 3- to 4-feet deep and kept down with light weights. In the heat of the day, shade around bridges or pilings is productive. Since clown knifefish are a relatively new (1994) introduction, with a limited range in the Osborne-Ida chain, they are not included in the Big Catch program. Catches should not be transported alive elsewhere.”

Go here to learn about all of Florida's nonnative fish.