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Menhaden are harvested for use in aquaculture feed, pet foods, livestock feed and dietary supplements. (Photo: NOAA)
Raritan Bay is home base for many of New York and New Jersey’s fishermen. In season fishermen leave the many marinas that dot the bay shore of Staten Island, Monmouth and Middlesex county and head out to the bay in search of striped bass, bluefish, summer flounder (fluke) and other game fish. In order to have a successful day on the bay, anglers look for baitfish. Find the bait, you find the gamefish. The predominant baitfish in Raritan Bay is bunker (formally known as Atlantic Menhaden), both large adults and immature small bunker that we call “peanuts”. Without bunker in the water, you might as well play golf.

Ranked right up there with the Chesapeake and Delaware bays, Central New Jersey’s Raritan Bay is one of the predominant nurseries/estuaries for Atlantic Menhaden stocks. Bunker spawn out at sea and the fry get caught up in the currents and ride them into the back bays and estuary areas where they stay the summer and grow larger until fall. The adult bunker are herring-like fish which swim together in very large schools and feed on micro-organisms like algae, copepods and plankton. They are a lynchpin in the ecology of the bay – converting the micro organisms into flesh and becoming a protein enriched package for our carnivorous fish, marine mammals and marine birds.

Spawning sockeye salmon.
Researchers at Canada's Simon Fraser University announced recently that Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) was detected in two wild sockeye salmon collected from the waters of Rivers Inlet, British Columbia. This marks the first time that ISA has been detected in fish found in pacific northwest waters, whether wild or farmed. The discovery has caused a considerable amount of alarm, given the potential threat that ISA poses to the already-dwindling stocks of wild salmon in pacific northwest waters.

ISA has long been a problem for salmon farming operations in the waters off Norway, Scotland, eastern Canada and Chile. The virus, by infecting the red blood cells, causes severe anemia in affected fish, often leading to death. Mortality rates in infected farming operations as high as 100% have been observed. Loss rates of 70% are not uncommon. There is no treatment for the disease once a fish is infected and vaccines designed to prevent infection are considered less than effective and difficult to administer.

The Youghiogheny River ("The Yough") in Ohiopyle State Park, is one of Pennsylvania's premier trout fisheries.
PennFuture, one of Pennsylvania's leading environmental advocacy organizations, is calling for support for their efforts to bring legislative action to stop the prospect of natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania's state parks. Gas companies, which are steadily expanding drilling operations throughout the state, are current performing preliminary studies evaluating state parks for drilling operations. Most importantly, despite seeming counter-intuitive, drilling for gas in Pennsylvania's state parks is currently completely legal.

Although it may come as a surprise to many, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does not own the mineral rights to over 80 percent of the land in Pennsylvania's state parks. This is a result of the fact that when the state acquired the majority of the land currently established as state park lands, the mineral rights to these lands had already been purchased or were too expensive to acquire. The state acquired only the land, not the right to drill below its surface, and the current laws of Pennsylvania give the current owners of these mineral rights full authority to develop their assets.

Puerto Rico Bonefish
As a continuation in our ongoing "20 Questions" series, we sat down with guide Chris Goldmark who splits time in Puerto Rico and New Jersey guiding for bluefish, stripers, bonefish, tarpon and jack crevalle just to name a few. To learn more about Chris before reading his innermost thoughts, check out his guide profile. Also check the links below the interview for our brief writeup on bonefishing in Culebra.

Hatch Magazine: Every fly fisherman thinks the big three (bonefish, tarpon, permit) when the Caribbean is mentioned. What's the next-best (or better) species to target on the fly in Culebra?

Chris Goldmark: Big Jacks, crevalles and especially Horse eye.

HM: You're quoted in an earlier article in Hatch Magazine as saying that "Culebra should never be considered a major Bonefish destination by any stretch of the imagination," yet you've decided to make it not only your home for six months of the year, but the location for your bonefishing guide business. What gives? Why anchor your business and invite other anglers to visit a destination that is so un-major? Surely it's not just the food at Mamasita's, right?

Delaware River Basin Commission
Late last week, the city council of Philadelphia's 17 member panel voted unanimously to pass a resolution to sue the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC). The purpose of the lawsuit is to insist no drilling of the Marcellus Shale take place in the Delaware River Basin, which provides Philadelphia residents with 100% of their drinking water, until a full environmental impact assessment is completed. The DRBC has stated recently that it plans to vote on November 21, ending the current moratorium on drilling and opening the Delaware River basin to fracking.

DRBC

The lawsuit joins others filed by the Attorney General of the New York and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, amongst others. The lawsuits demands both a Delaware River Basin-specific cumulative impacts study and the EPA national study of the risks high-volume hydraulic fracturing poses to drinking water, according to Protecting Our Waters.

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