by Tom Siciliano
(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association March 2003 Newsletter)
The year is already off to a fast start with a lot of activities on the fisheries management front even if it is a little slow on the fishing grounds. Although those willing to brave the elements are catching some nice fish offshore on the party boats and I talked to one fellow who had 47 stripers the other day from the shore somewhere in New York. He wouldn’t divulge the exact spot except to say he has about a half hour walk to get to the spot. My guess is one of the power plant outflows.
The Atlantic City Boat Show was huge. Those interested in a new boat certainly had a lot to look at and choose from. I would like to thank everyone who helped man the JCAA booth at the show. Mark Taylor did his usual great job in coordinating the efforts. To say it snowed on the Friday of the show is to put it mildly and I decided to cancel the drive from Brick. A special thank you goes to Bruce Halstater of the Hudson River Fisherman’s Association. I tried to get a hold of him to tell him not to make the trek from Norwood in North Jersey but he had already left before 9:00 am. He worked the show all day and night and did not get home until 2:00 am. When we spoke to him later, he said he promised Mark that he would work the show and nothing was going to stop him from honoring his commitment. Now that’s dedication and shows how much the JCAA volunteers care about the work we are doing. The rest of the crew who manned the booth were Rich Pasko, Charlie Kochka, Dick Vesper, Don Longstreet, Bob Citarelli, Tom Fote, Dan Miller, Vernon O’Hara, John Koegler, Paula Emond, Doug Tegeder, Don and Al Marantz and Michael Koegler. Thanks again to everyone who helped out.
Put March 6th on your calendar. That is the date of the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council Meeting at the Galloway Township Library on Jimmie Leeds Road at 4:00PM. Items on the agenda are the recreational measure on summer flounder, tautog, black sea bass, scup and weakfish regulations for the coming year. Another topic, which will surely draw a large crowd, is the horseshoe crab regulation. Horseshoe crabs you say. Well, the Audubon Society and the American Littoral Society have determined that the number of horseshoe crabs has declined so much that it has had dramatic and severe effect on the migratory birds which fatten up on the horseshoe crab eggs during their spring migration. The number of red knots has declined and they place the entire blame on the decline in horseshoe crab eggs. I don’t exactly understand the logic and how the cause of the decline is entirely because of what the birds eat during a two-week period in south jersey during their northerly migration. What about the other 50 weeks of the year and what do they eat on the return southerly migration in the fall? There are too many questions and not enough answers to blame just the horseshoe crabs.
The fluke tournament is set for Saturday, June 14 with the Awards Ceremony the following Friday, June 20. Get your reservations in early. Remember, you can win the big prize just by showing up in Atlantic City the night of the awards ceremony. The $100 entry fee is all you need to win. The odds of winning are the best you will get in Atlantic City. We have never had a Grand Prize winner who has won a port prize. Maybe this will be the year to change that.
The board and committee chairpersons are having a brainstorming session on March 1 to review where the JCAA is and the direction we should go in the future. Anyone with ideas to be considered please forward them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at 732-477-8186. One of the items discussed will be the Dinner Dance, so anyone who would like to assist in selling tickets, obtaining prizes or helping to organize the event are welcome to come to the brainstorming session. Just give me a call.
Anyone interested in getting more involved with the JCAA is invited to attend the NJ Environmental Summit, March 29 in Princeton. This is the 17th year of this event and would be a good way to learn about some of the issues that we at the JCAA are dealing with. We would also have a chance to talk to you and learn a little more about you and how you might help us based on your interest and talents.
I attended a press conference on the recently updated Public Health Advisory and Guidance on Fish Consumption for Recreational Fishing. The main species mentioned were Striped Bass, Bluefish over 6 pounds, eels, lobsters and crabs. Depending on the level of risk one is willing to take on the lifetime possibility of developing cancer, one can eat more fish. The advisory gives specific recommendations for both a 1 in 10,000 risk and a 1 in 100,000 lifetime risk. The advisory provides the necessary information to make an informed choice on the number of meals of fish to consume. In this manner, you can decide how much risk is acceptable when you consider consuming the species listed in this advisory.
The DEP advisory starts the advisory with the following statement:
“Fish is good for you and your family and plays an important role in maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet. It is an excellent source of protein, is low in fat and cholesterol, and is full of vitamins and minerals. The American Heart Association recommends people eat fish regularly. Fish is also one of the few foods that are rich in the omega-3 fatty acids needed for proper development of the brain and nervous system in the fetus and infants, and may reduce the risk of heart attack. Fish is an excellent substitute for other protein foods that are higher in saturated fats and cholesterol. So include fish in your diet. However, certain fish may contain toxic chemicals, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from the water they live in and the food they eat. PCBs build up in the fish—and in you—over time. It is a good idea to follow a few precautions in consuming fish, particularly if you eat fish often.”
“The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS) provide advice on consuming those species of fish in which high levels of PCBs have been found. Since PCB levels may vary from one location to another, the advisory for fish consumption is also separated by site, so be sure to check which guidelines refer to your fishing location.”
Women of childbearing age and children are at greater risk and should follow the most stringent recommendations. Old guys like me can eat more if they are willing to accept the risks involved. Non-oily fish such as flounder, sea bass and blackfish are not affected by this advisory and they are fine to eat.
Smaller fish contain fewer PCB’s which bioaccumulate so the larger the fish the more PCBs they contain. Proper filleting and cooking can also reduce the level of PCBs by as much as 50%. Eat only the fillet portions. Do not eat whole fish or steak portions. Do not eat the heads, guts or liver, because PCBs usually concentrate in those body parts. Also, avoid consumption of any reproductive parts such as eggs or roe. The press release with more information and web site are below.
www.state.nj.us/dep/dsr/njmainfish.htm or the NJDHSS at 1-609-588-3123 or http://www.state.nj.us/health/eoh/foodweb. For more information on PCBs see the EPA web page: http://www.epa.gov/pcb/
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