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Environmental/Fishing Management Issues

The Earth Was Once Warmer Then it is Today

By John Toth

   I wondered how Greenland got its name since it is cold and covered mostly with ice. It had to be green sometime in its history to get that name. I read the 2024 edition of the Old Farmer’s Almanac and I got my answer. The Almanac comments on the weather for each month of the year and this is what it has to say about the month of February 2024.

  “Identifying past weather patterns is always controversial, but history seems to show that in a thousand years ago, the weather was very warm in Europe compared to today. Greenland really had some green pastures, and Vikings ran cattle. During this period, springtime in Italy frequently began in mid-February.

  The Medieval Warm Period (MWP), which roughly coincided with the Middle Ages in Europe, lasted from c. 950 to 1250. It was a time of relatively warm conditions said to have prevailed in various parts of the world, though predominately in the northern hemisphere from Greenland eastward through Europe and parts of Asia. Possible causes of the Medieval Warm Period include: increased solar activity, decreased volcanic activity and changes to ocean circulation.The warm period was followed by a decline in temperature levels. This was called the “Little Ice Age” because it was the coldest phase since the last ice age occurred.

  I also recall watching an episode on the History Channel about this warm period in Europe.  During the Warm Period, England was producing so much wine that   France put a tax on it to keep English wine from flooding the Continent! That came to a stop with the advent of the Little Ice Age and England could no longer cultivate the grapes it needed to produce wine in such quantity. European countries switched to growing ground crops like potatoes, carrots and cabbage, crops to withstand this cold. 

  I presume most people do not know that the earth was warmer a thousand years ago than it is today. Yet the media continually blames any flood or storm today on Climate Change. Unless something is done to combat it, the earth is doomed. That is why two young women recently threw soup at the Mona Lisa painting to bring our attention to stop using fossil fuel. The phones these two women have in their back pockets are made of plastic and if they have ever driven a car they have used fossil fuel many times in their life. If we discontinued the use of oil that makes products like phones, cars and many other products, our country would grind to a halt with catastrophic results. It would be much better if we balanced our energy consumption by using a combination of gas, oil and especially nuclear energy instead of focusing only on solar and wind to satisfy our energy needs. Wind and solar are green, but they cannot handle the energy demands of our country.

 Some of our states, including New Jersey, want to ban the use of gas powered vehicles. Governor Murphy announced in November that our state will require car manufactures to offer a percentage of zero-emissions vehicles beginning with new model year 2027, and increasing that number until 2035 when all new light duty vehicles sold will have zero emissions. However, most New Jersey residents (56%) say they are not very likely to buy an electric vehicle due to cost, range anxiety and the fact that they do not work well in cold weather.

  A New York Times article dated February 9, 2024 detailed woes of a buyer of the Ford’s F-150 Lightning truck costing $79,000 that is supposed to have a range of 300 miles. This owner claims he never got 300 miles and as cold weather arrived and while driving 35 miles to an ice rink, his range fell by 73 miles! Another time, a 60-mile jaunt reduced his range by 110 miles! The Biden administration is expected to complete new emission rules in March 2024. Its proposal in effect would require battery-operated cars to make up to two thirds of all light vehicles.

 Is Climate Change real? The answer is certainly yes! However, the temperature of the earth is not set by a button that we can press to regulate it. We are now in a warm period, but the earth was warmer then it is today during 950 to 1250!  In a panic and hysteria, we are trying to cool the earth by mandating people to buy vehicles they don’t want to buy or even afford.

  Mother Nature determines the temperature of the earth. Some of our efforts to change it like by using windmills, heating homes by electric instead of gas and switching to electric to cook food instead of gas will have little to no effect in changing our weather patterns. These changes will increase our energy bills and in the case of windmills cause environmental damage to our ocean, especially for future generations.

(The Old Farmer’s 2024 Almanac)

(The New York Times, February 9, 2024)

(Asbury Park Press, February 26, 2024)



Orsted Cancels 2 of Their Offshore Wind Projects

Financial Loses May Reach $5.6 Billion!

  Orsted stunned the offshore wind industry by announcing on October 31st that it was stopping work on its two New Jersey wind projects. Ocean Wind 1 was supposed to be New Jersey’s first offshore wind project, opening the door for more to follow. The 98-wind turbine would have been located southeast of Ocean City and would have powered about 500,000 homes once complete. A second Orsted project, Ocean Wind 2, would also have powered another half-million homes and was under development in waters south and west of the first project.

  Years of work had already been completed, designs approved and permits secured from various agencies. There was outreach to various communities to explain the projects and the numerous job offers that would result during construction of them, also explaining the sites where they would be installed.

  Financial loses also include payments to equipment suppliers for goods already ordered or delivered and penalties for walking away from contracts. Additionally, New Jersey’s legislature and Governor Murphy approved giving Orsted a $1 billion tax break to give Orsted financial support through their difficult financial times. Now Senator Vin Gopal is calling on the our state’s Attorney General to sue Orsted for fraud and negligence and to get every penny returned to our state. On the day after Orsted walked away from their NJ Windmill projects, Governor Murphy said that Orsted was a “dishonest broker”.

  While many of us have tried our best to pause or stop offshore wind development, our many questions went unanswered by Orsted and their windmill project seemed to be unstoppable. What did stop them was basically that their windmill projects would cause Orsted to lose a lot of money due to supply chain problems, inflation, high interest rates and increasing labor costs. Orsted’s windmills would have been 850 feet high. Building that high of a structure would require a huge amount of steel and high labor costs to erect them along with blades over 300 feet long. Because of these issues, Orsted’s CEO, Mads Nipper, decided to cancel their windmill projects in New Jersey since going forward with them would result in more financial losses over time.

  The same issues that caused Orsted’s financial losses to stop construction have spread to other windmill companies. Equinor has written its value down by $300 million. Its partner, BP (British Petroleum), $500 million and   Eversource sliced $300 million from its portfolio. All of this chaos caused a BP executive to lament that the offshore wind industry is “fundamentally broken”. Hopefully, they will also follow Orsted’s example and also cancel their offshore windmill projects.

  If the offshore wind industry is going to move forward, it will require subsidies and tax breaks. Orsted’s CEO, Mads Nipper, said that “Consumers will also have to pay more in their electric bills for power generated from offshore wind, as developers demand higher prices and protection from inflation”. Do we really need to pay more for our electric bills so that these developers can make a profit? However, governmental agencies in Washington and Trenton will probably throw good money after bad since it is of no cost to them and it also hurts to publicly admit that windmills are not a good investment to fight Climate Change.

  In speaking of Climate Change, it has gone on for millions of years and about several hundreds of years ago the world even had a mini Ice Age. Our world’s temperature is not run by a thermostat and nature will go where it wants to go. We are not going to change it by outlawing gas stoves and replacing them with electric ones. Mandating new homes to be heated by electric is more costly and not as efficient as natural gas. How our electric grid can handle more demand for home heating and electric vehicles is a question that needs more attention if we are to move forward with these measures to reduce Climate Change. What will change are the increased and needless costs we will be paying in our electric bills to finance all of them, including offshore windmills.

Sources: New York Times, November 2, 2023

Asbury Park Press, November 2, 2023

New York Post, November 3, 2023


900 Hundred Dead Dolphins Wash Ashore in Ukraine

By John Toth

  Ukraine is building cases against Russia for genocide, aggression, crimes against humanity and also a new one called Ecocide. This new one is crime against Ukraine’s environment.

  Since the Russian/Ukraine war began, approximately 900 dolphins have washed up dead on Ukraine’s shore line. Russian warships menacing the southern coast of Ukraine in the Black Sea make constant use of acoustic sonar signals that scientists say interfere with dolphins’ sense of direction, since they use their own natural sonar for echolocation.

  Explosions, rocket launches and low-flying Russian fighter jets only add to the cacophony traumatizing dolphins. However, scientists have cautioned that it is too early to directly link the dolphin die off to a single cause since fuel leaks, explosives or an assortment of flotsam associated with the war that have spoiled vast swaths of the Black Sea. Also, the Russians have destroyed the Kakhovka Dam sending trillions of gallons of polluted water down the Dnipro River to the Black Sea. However, before this dam was attacked, the dolphins were dying in record numbers.

  There are a number of environmental issues with placing windmills on New Jersey’s shoreline and they include but are not limited to ripping up the ocean’s floor to bury cables 6 feet deep that will reach windmills that are 15 to 20 miles from shore. These cables will give off electro-magnetic waves that may disrupt fish migration patterns. They are being placed on/by productive scallop and squid fishing areas that threatens the livelihood of commercial fishermen and potential loss of a food source resulting in higher prices for fish. The windmills will definitely kill a huge number of bats and birds.

  However, 900 dolphins washed up on Ukraine’s shoreline and their scientists suspect noise is confusing these animals and their sense of direction. Locally, we have witnessed a number of whales and dolphins washing up on our shoreline after boats doing mapping of the ocean floor with sonar for placement of windmill structures. This noise will only increase when windmills are being anchored to the ocean floor. When in operation, windmills over 850 feet high with their swishing blades that are hundreds of feet long will be a continual source of noise affecting all of our fisheries, especially whales and dolphins. These huge windmills will also emit vibrating noise as their blades turn that will add to this noise issue.

  Windmill advocates insist that windmills are needed to combat Climate Change. However, are we trading off the health of our ocean and its marine life to stop Climate Change? Are we trying to solve one problem by creating another one that may be more damaging than Climate Change?

  How many whales and dolphins and other marine life will wash up on our shorelines once these hundreds of windmills are in full operation like what is happening on the shores of Ukraine?

Source of information – New York Times, August 18, 2023

China Targets Other Nations to Supply its Need for Fish

By John Toth 

  The more things change, the more they stay the same. Not too long ago in the 1970’s, the Russian fishing fleet was taking huge amounts of fish, especially cod and haddock, off our nation’s coast line along with ships from other nations. The Russian fleet was different in that it was able to plunder our fisheries since it had a huge mother ship that was refrigerated and could store huge amounts of fish in its hold. Smaller Russian fishing boats would transfer their catch to the mother ship so that a lot of fish could be caught without these boats having to return to Russian ports to unload their catch. I still remember reading that these ships were catching a lot of lobsters but the Russians were throwing them back into the water since they were unfamiliar with them until some Russian chef discovered that they taste good!

  To deter the Russians from depleting our fishing grounds and putting our fishing fleets out of business, our fishing community united behind the proposal to extend our coastline to a 200 - hundred mile limit. This would effectively keep the Russians and other foreign fleets out of our prime fishing zones. I still remember Al Ristori, who was a tireless advocate to establish the 200-mile limit, visiting our club and directing us to write letters, post cards and sign petitions to get our politicians on board to this 200 - mile extension of our coastline that was eventually enacted.

  Compared to what we experienced in the 1970’s  is totally different than what other nations are experiencing now. Over the last two decades, China has built the world’s largest deep water fishing fleet by far with nearly 3,000 ships! Having severely depleting fishing stocks in its own coastal waters, China now fishes in any ocean in the world and on a scale that dwarfs some countries entire fishing fleet. It also has a huge mother ship with a hold that is refrigerated and can store thousands of tons of fish that the smaller fishing boats transfer their fish to it.

  In the summer of 2020, the conservation group Oceana counted nearly 300 hundred Chinese ships operating near the Galapagos Islands, just outside Ecuador’s exclusive economic zone, the 200 miles off its territory where it maintain rights to natural resources under the Law of the Sea Treaty. 

  Another Chinese fleet has also moved off the coast of Argentina to catch squid. It used to have six boats in this area and now it has 528 boats in this location and the annual catch rose from 5,000 tons to 278,000 tons! “We have a permanent Chinese fleet 200 miles off our coast “said Pablo Ferrara, a lawyer and professor at the University of Salvador in Buenos Aires, referring to the distance covered by Argentina’s Economic Zone.

  How can squid or any fish survive this fishing pressure of 528 boats catching them on a continual basis? We all know that squid is a valuable food source not only for humans, but also for a large variety of fish that target squid for their nourishment. Taking squid in such large quantities has to severely deplete their numbers to a point where they are overfished and the whole ecosystem in this area is disrupted since other fish will not be able to feed on them.

  The appearance of the Chinese fishing fleet on the edge of the Galapagos Islands in 2020 focused international attention on the industrial scale of China’s fishing fleet. While countries like Ecuador, Peru and Argentina are trying to restrict China from its territorial waters, there is little that can be done to restrict China on the open seas. The consumption of fish word wide continues to rise and at the same time stocks of most species continue to decline.

  “The challenge is to persuade China that it too has a need to ensure the long-range sustainability of the ocean’s resources” said Duncan Currie, an international lawyer who advises the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition. “It’s not going to be there forever.”

  From what I can see with China’s huge fleet and their placing 528 fishing boats off the coast of Argentina to fish for squid until they are gone – Good Luck with that since fish sustainability is not in China’s vocabulary!


Comments on Going Green with Electric cars

By John Toth

  Because of Climate Change, a number of car companies have announced that they will be completely phasing out their manufacturing of gas powered engines and only make electric cars. Others have said that they will convert at least a half of their production line to electric cars. The time line to do this is around 2030 to 2035 and these companies include General Motors, Nissan and others. However, the snag to doing this rests largely on China.

  Electric cars need batteries to operate and they include but are not limited to manganese, lithium, copper, nickel and especially cobalt. Cobalt extends the range a car can travel and it also prevents batteries from burning up. By 2018, Chinese companies owned half of the cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the source of most of the supply of cobalt in the world. In the last three and a half years alone, Chinese companies have been the biggest international buyers for additional lithium supplies. According to Wood Mackenzie, an energy research and consulting firm, China now possesses 90 percent of global capacity to process raw lithium, about 70 percent of cobalt, and 40 percent of nickel. Also, China has almost all of the manganese and graphite refining capacity. In essence, China is now the supply chain for automakers who want to make electric vehicles. During the 2020s and into the 2030s, America is expected to remain reliant on Chinese metal supplies to make their vehicles.

  Our relations with China are currently strained, especially over the status of Taiwan. The Communist party leaders have made it no secret that Taiwan is a part of China and have made threats to invade it with only America stopping this takeover. Any incident with Taiwan or others can make China punish us by not providing us with access to their supply chain to produce our electric vehicles. All of this creates a level of uncertainty for our automakers to produce electric vehicles by their established timelines.

  While electric cars are supposed to help the world combat Climate Change, there are also downsides to them environmentally and human lives. Retrieving all of these metals require extensive mining that rips up the earth, especially in countries like the Congo. Unfortunately, cobalt is also called the “Blood Diamond of Batteries” because of the perilous mining conditions that exist to extract it in  countries like the Congo. Desperately poor people will work in cobalt mines with little to no safeguards that are common in most mining facilities causing accidents and deaths. Children also work in these mines because their families must rely on their income. Also, the Congo is run by a dictator (Yuma) and countries cater to him so that their access to this precious metal is maintained.

  While we hear about the positive effects of electric cars, there are also downsides to them that we also need to hear about and understand them.

  Sources for this article include the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Asbury Park Press.



Report on the August 6th Meeting with BOEM and Fishermen Concerning Windmills – By John Toth

  The federal Bureau of Energy Management (BOEM) conducted the last of five meetings on August 6th that were held with anglers, both commercial and recreational, to receive their input on windmills that are being planned for implementation by the New York Bight area (by the entrance to New York harbor). BOEM has the authority to develop where these windmills should be placed by our shore and what language should be in the leases of the developers that will build them.

  BOEM’s plan is to issue a final sale notice and conduct an auction sometime late 2021 or early 2022 that allow any number of developers, including but not limited to the developer, Equinor, to bid in these leases.

  Some of the representatives from BOEM included: Amanda Lefton, Luke Feinberg, and Brain Hooker.

  This was considered to be a hybrid type of meeting with the general public who wanted to be on ZOOM, but it also included a number of commercial anglers who met at a building in Belford Massachusetts to join this ZOOM meeting.  Most, if not all of these people at the Belford location were commercial fishermen and are especially concerned about windmills destroying their scallop grounds.

  This meeting was facilitated by Pat Field who had the responsibility of recognizing participants to speak and to ensure that their comments were not excessive in length so that others had the opportunity to make their comments heard. This ZOOM meeting was scheduled for 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

  There were a lot of comments made in this 2 hour period and I cannot cover all of them. However, the following represent some of the major comments that were made:

  You are not listening to US – A number of participants indicated that they have gone to numerous meetings, attended ZOOM/Webinar meetings and have asked questions or have made comments concerning cables, loss of fishing grounds and environmental concerns. We always hear “We want to hear the concerns of stakeholders in the fishing community” – but our concerns are not being heard. We do not see what BOEM or the developers are doing to actively to address our concerns. Some of these issues include what BOEM/developers are doing to stave the loss of fishing grounds for scallops and other species like clams and squid. One participant, Bonnie Brady, indicated that she has been in touch with BOEM and developers for a number of years and while she gives them information on how these windmills will negatively affect the commercial industry, she does not hear back from them. She is not the only person who made this comment, but was followed by others expressing this frustration over “we want your stakeholder input” – but nothing is done when it is given to them. (I totally agree with this comment since I have attended numerous windmill meetings, in-person and on ZOOM , with a similar outcome to the input I have given them).

  Slow down and do the windmills right – it seems that we are rushing to put up the windmills and then see what happens next! There are a number of critical issues that merit further study such as the possible harmful effects of cables that emit electromagnetic waves, and noise generated by rotating blades that may negatively affect  the migration of fish and whales, especially the Northern Right Whales. Another critical issue is the possible effect it will have on the Cold Pool; a huge body of water that fish inhabit on a seasonal basis and a disruption of it can have a dire consequence on the future of our fishing industry. The environmental impacts that the windmills will have on the ocean’s environment have not been adequately studied and the windmills should not be erected until these studies have been completed. Do it right the first time!

  Energy vs. food – Why are windmills being placed on productive scallop, clam and squid areas when they can be positioned in other areas? There seems to be a battle between having energy over food and it does not have to be that way. We are disrupting our seafood industry to have more energy and threatening the livelihoods of commercial anglers who bring food to our tables. Reducing the areas where commercial anglers can fish will significantly raise the price of seafood to levels that we have not seen before.

  Placement of the windmills by the New York Bight area poses safety risks – this is a heavily traffic area by the shipping industry and collisions will be increased due to the narrowing of transit lanes by these windmills. It is also known that windmills have a disruptive effect on radar and incidents of fog and storms will increase the likelihood of collisions that can have a disruptive effect on the shipping industry.

  One mile is not enough spacing between windmills – Initially, the spacing between windmills was set by the developers at .75 miles. After complaints by commercial fishermen that this was not enough,  the developers reluctantly agreed to make the spacing one mile. Commercial fishermen want it increased to a minimum of 2 miles or more to prevent collisions with the boat traffic that is expected to be in the lanes for use by commercial as well as recreational anglers. Also, rock piles will be at the base of the windmills and these piles will further reduce the one mile spacing that is currently planned between them.  Safety is paramount for any industry!

  Is 6 feet enough to bury the cables? – A lawyer who represents the commercial fishing industry questioned whether 6 feet is adequate enough to bury the windmill cables because of the electromagnetic waves they generate. In some locations on the ocean’s floor, it will be very difficult to achieve a 6 feet depth due to hard and rocky strata. To overcome this problem, the developers may resort to cover the cables with a blanket of sand or other materials.  If commercial trawlers have their gear entangled with these cables, who is liable for the damages to the trawlers?   This legal issue also needs resolution before the windmills go up.

  I have given you a brief snapshot of this ZOOM meeting and there are certainly a lot more issues that need resolution than what I have written. I thought it was a frank exchange of comments that BOEM needed to hear concerning the windmills planned for New Jersey’s shoreline.

  The real issue here is whether BOEM will finally listen to what the fishing industry is telling them!




 PO Box 655     Belmar, NJ    07719    


Offshore Windmill Projects – What are The Risks?


  To combat climate change by moving our country away from dependence on fossil fuels, major offshore windmill projects are in various stages of being planned or in the process of being implemented. From Massachusetts to Virginia, approximately 2000 windmills are planned to be located off our eastern seaboard. In New Jersey, approximately 600 of them will be 15 to 20 miles off our shoreline. These windmills will be about 800 feet high or more and with blades about 150 feet long. Windmills with this size and numbers have never previously been used in our ocean before. What are the risk factors to the ocean’s environment, fishing industry and costs to consumers for going forward with this huge energy producing endeavor?   




·         Noise and Vibratory Effects – anchoring hundreds of windmills over 800 feet high will certainly make loud noise on a temporary basis and disrupt movements of nearby marine life. Preliminary research on pile driving has shown adverse effects on marine animals including stress, anxiety and predatory responses as with squid. This research is short term (one day) rather than long term. However, once the windmills have been firmly anchored, the continual swooshing noise created by their blades 150 feet long and the vibratory effects of the windmills columns will last. Sound travels easily in a water environment and the long term effects of this noise on the east/west migration of fish and marine life are unknown. If this noise has a detrimental effect on the migration patterns of fish as well as spawning, it can seriously disrupt our entre fishing industry with several years of poor to no fishing prospects as a result. Whales are particularly sensitive to noise and this can seriously disrupt their migration patterns.


·         Ocean Floor Habitat & Ecosystem – the 2000 windmills proposed for implementation from Massachusetts to Virginia will certainly have a disruptive effect on the ocean floor and its ecosystem. Not only will their anchoring stir up the ocean floor, but also their many cables that will be buried at least six feet to connect them together and to transmit the energy to land. What will the effect of windmill installation on the ocean’s floor and its ecosystem be in the near and long term? What will be the impact on the ocean floor and its marine inhabitants due to the scouring of the ocean’s floor and deposition of materials for windmill placement and cable installations? Will these wind farms disrupt larval shellfish and finfish transport?


·         Cold Pool – is a very huge band of cold bottom water in the ocean extending from Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras that is fed by freshwater input from multiple rivers and estuaries. This area experiences one of the largest summer to winter temperature changes of any part of the ocean around the world. Cold Pool has impacts on shellfish, pelagic and other fish. The migration patterns of Atlantic Butterfish and others are influenced by this Cold Pool. The Science Center for Marine Fisheries released a report on July 28, 2020 that windmill projects may have a disruptive effect on this Cold Pool and further study is needed to ensure that this does not occur.


·         Bird and Bat Kills - will certainly increase with the 2,000 windmills in their path, including the red knot birds. While there is less migration of birds and bats at offshore areas as opposed to inshore, these windmills will have a killing effect on offshore bird and bat life. By changing their migration patterns to avoid windmills, birds and bats may use more energy to do it and die as a result. Determining the number of bird and bat kills will be next to impossible since wind and tide will take them away.


·         Cables and their electromagnetic effects - on fish movements/migration patterns need a definitive resolution instead of continual conjecture. This issue has come up at several windmill meetings and the response to it is that it is still under review. This uncertainty of the electromagnetic effect needs to be resolved due to its important impact on all types of marine life.


·         Horizontal Directional Drilling - Orsted plans to connect one of its two power lines from its Ocean Wind project by Atlantic City to the Oyster Creek power plant for use of its infrastructure to disperse its electrical energy. To make this connection, Orsted plans to do horizontal directional drilling under Island Beach State Park so that its power line can connect to the Oyster Creek plant. What are risk factors of doing this type of drilling for this park that is enjoyed by so many people?



Fishing Industry – both Recreational and Commercial:


·         Placement of windmills on/by scallop & squid areas – an issue of contention for commercial fishermen who see this as an impediment to their commercial operations and the potential loss of a valuable food source. Their livelihood is threatened and this issue needs resolution with both commercial operators and windmill developers. Relocating windmills away from these commercial fishing areas does not seem to be an option for windmill developers. Can the lease areas for developers be enlarged by BOEM so that windmills do not have to be placed over the scallop/squid areas? What are other options?


·         Spacing between rows of windmills has been increased from .75 miles to 1 mile- by developers to appease the concerns of commercial fishermen who claim that .75 miles is not enough space for them to perform their dragging operations. Commercial fishermen have asked developers for at least two (2) mile spacing between rows of windmills for them to effectively and safely conduct their dragging operations. Is a one-mile spacing between windmills safe enough to accommodate both recreational and commercial traffic that will be fishing through it?


·          The New York Bight area is already congested - with shipping traffic going into the New York/New Jersey harbors. The shipping lane for these ships will be further constricted by the windmills proposed in this area by the developer Equinor with ship and windmill collisions an increasing possibility. For example, if an oil tanker collided with another vessel and created an oil spill, it could create an environmental disaster. Additionally, what impact will the wind farms have on radar for navigation and rescue operations by the Coast Guard?


  Cost & Other Issues:


·         Cost – windmills cannot economically compete with natural gas and must be subsidized. What can consumers expect to be paying to subsidize windmill operations? This question has not been answered and consumers have every right to know it.  At the moment, there are legal challenges to whether windmill developers can even receive subsidies. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) report, published last year but not yet finalized, would require wind and solar power generators to show the actual cost of production instead of showing lower prices due to subsidies.


·         Energy Storage requirements - for storage of electrical power on land is needed when windmills do not turn for lack of wind or during storms. At this time, the current generation of batteries for electrical storage is too expensive to build and cannot store the energy when it is required. Until and if the technology for energy storage on land for windmills comes on line, this needed energy will continue be backed by coal, gas or nuclear energy.


·         Only solar and wind power for our country’s future energy needs – this is “putting all of our eggs in one basket” approach and other sources of energy should be considered, especially nuclear that is being used effectively around the world.


·         Mono pile (column) construction for most windmills – will not have the four-legged base like the ones off Block Island. They will have a single round column going into the ocean floor with mounting hardware and capped with an inverted pie plate type of structure, thereby minimizing attraction to sea life. Can they attract fish like the windmills off Block Island?


·         Will Recreational anglers be able to fish by windmills – developers indicate that recreational anglers can fish by the windmills, but there is nothing in writing to guarantee this access.


·         Security – who is in charge of security for the windmills? This question has not received an official answer. Without it, windmill power can be easily shut down by terrorists by attacking the substations that transmit power to land.


·         The ultimate goal of solar and windmill power is to replace all fossil fuel - generated by coal and natural gas. New York has a goal of having 100% electrical power generated by wind and solar for its state by 2040.  Retrofitting homes to provide heat and cooling solely by solar and wind in the future would be very expensive and cost thousands of dollars. Will consumers be able to bear these costs? 


We are all concerned about the negative effects of climate change on our environment and the deployment of this huge number of windmills in our ocean is intended to reduce the warming effect of fossil fuels on our climate. However, in the attempt to address the problem of climate change, are we creating another one, just as harmful, by seriously disrupting the health of our ocean and the marine life that live in it? Before we move forward with this huge energy project, the above issues need to be addressed. Many of them have been raised at meetings with developers and at seminars held at Rutgers and Stockton Universities, but definitive answers to them have not been forthcoming. Until then, and given the issues raised above, support for these windmill projects should be delayed until we can feel comfortable that our ocean and the marine life in it will not be harmed with so many windmills in it.


By Trustee John Toth and Membership Director Arnold Ulrich       8/23/2020


                      tothjohn@verizon.net          kavester@aol.com




Report on Stockton University Conference on Windmills – by John Toth

   On August 16th, I attended this “Time for Turbines” conference that was held at Stockton’s campus in Atlantic City, an all day event and attended by people who  strongly support the windmill projects off our coastline. Many company representatives who want to receive contracts associated with the building of them were also in attendance. Approximately, 150 to 200 people were in the conference hall. After the welcoming speeches, the conference then moved into a panel type of format with four members discussing various topics related to windmills. This panel format left little room for taking questions from the audience so that the conference could adhere to its tight schedule.

   The first panel (New Jersey State Government Resources to Support Offshore Wind) was moderated by Jeanne Fox from Center for Renewables Integration Inc. She asked panel members to comment on our state’s commitment to the windmill project and they included members from the NJ Board of Public Utilities, Sara Bluhm, Brian Sabina, NJ Senior VP Economic Transformation, Jane Cohen, Advisor, to our Governor, and Shawn LaTourette, NJ DEP, Chief of Staff. All of their comments offered strong commitment from our state for windmill development.

   The second panel (What’s New and Spinning: Project Visions, Timelines, and Local Supplier Updates) included Kris Oleth, Manager of Stakeholder Engagement for Orsted, the Danish company that won the award from our state to build windmills 15 miles off Atlantic City. She indicated that these new windmills will light up 500,000 homes and may be in operation by 2024. At this point, I asked this panel about how it intended to address the noise issue that would be generated by the anchoring of windmills and its affect on whale and fish migration. I was assured by panel members that issue was being reviewed and that measures were being considered to mitigate it, such as stopping construction if whales were migrating near them at the time.

   The third panel (Off Wind: An Economic Engine That Can Deliver) focused on the many jobs that would be created, up to 15,000 by constructing them. Union representatives also talked about the job training programs they will offer to get the workforce prepared for the many skills needed to construct them. Emphasis would also be on training workers from the local community and minorities.

   Before breaking for lunch, we saw a recorded video by Governor Murphy who spoke enthusiastically about this windmill project. Also, Senator Steve Sweeney, President of NJ Senate, strongly backed windmill development because of the many jobs that would be created and its boost to our state’s economy (he also mentioned as a former ironworker, he would love to be building the big windmills)!

   The 4th panel (Addressing Environmental Concerns) was moderated by Catherine Bowes, National Wildlife Federation Program Director. Captain Paul Eidman talked about the windmills presently off Rhode Island and not only about the power they produce but also their reefs that are home to many fish. On this panel was a Bill Wall, Project Director, LS Cable America who gave a presentation on the type of cables that would be used to transfer energy from the windmills to land. The electro-magnetic effect emanating from these cables is a BIG concern since they may negatively impact fish migration. I asked him if he thinks that these cables will not affect fish migration and he replied that he did not think so, but could not rule it out altogether.

   When this panel finished, I met Bill Wall outside the meeting hall and told him that this cable issue really needs a final resolution since it is an impediment of windmill development going forward. We do not need maybes, but an official statement from a reputable organization stating that the cables will not have a negative effect on fish. He told me that he will make contact with a person at Rutgers who he thinks has been doing research on these cables and may come up with the information I requested from him.

   In addition to this cable issue, there is the problem of windmill placement over productive fishing grounds for scallops, clams and squid. Commercial fishermen are planning to sue the windmill industry over this since they will lose their access to these fishing areas and possibly go out of business. During a break between the panel discussions, I asked Doug O’Malley, NJ Environment Director, if there could be some compromise like giving the developer a larger lease space so that the windmills could be placed in alternate locations to mitigate his problem. He referred me to another person who is more familiar with this issue. This person, William O’Hearn, from Business Network for Offshore Wind, told me that “he did not have an answer for me”. I did not even get a “we are looking into this” or at least tell me of some type of meeting planned in the near future with the commercial industry to discuss this problem.

   In summary, there were a lot of “heavy hitters” at this conference and a lot of excitement to get the windmills up and operational. The comment I heard frequently from panel members was “let’s get this right the first time”. However, there are outstanding issues that will not go away by ignoring them and they will ultimately delay the installation of the windmills. The “I don’t have an answer for you” won’t stop the commercial industry from dragging their lawsuits through the courts that will delay movement on windmills. The cable problem I mentioned is another obstacle that needs resolution.

   As a footnote, after this conference I received information that the Bureau of Energy Management (BOEM ) a division of the Interior Department, is ordering a study of the cumulative impact of a string of windmills along the east Coast, including Orsted’s windmills off Atlantic City. This review comes in response to concerns from fishermen about the impact of offshore wind development on East Coast fisheries. The date when this review will be completed is unclear at this time.



Update on Offshore Wind Forum with Recreational Anglers

By John Toth

   This forum was held on March 6th at the Ocean County Library and scheduled to start at 6:00 p.m. It was hosted by Paul Eidman, Anglers for Offshore Wind Power, and Helen Henderson from the American Littoral Society. In attendance were representatives from windmill developers: Equinor, Orsted, and EDF Renewables/Shell. Approximately 50 anglers were also in attendance.

  The purpose of this meeting was to have recreational anglers hear what the developers had to say about their windmill operations and to ask questions about how these new windmills could affect their fishing opportunities. Before this meeting started, attendees were asked to write their questions for the developers on a piece of paper and the developers would then be asked to answer them in the order that they were presented to them.

   After opening statements by Paul Eidman and Helen Henderson, each developer was asked to give background information on their respective companies in developing windmill projects. I have to say that I was impressed by their solid backgrounds in this industry. For example, Equinor has developed a huge windmill farm off Denmark and EDF Renewables also off the coast of Holland. They are not newcomers to this industry, and they have a lot of experience in developing and implementing windmills at many offshore locations around the world. While        Denmark and other European countries have developed thousands of windmills as an alternate energy source, we have only five offshore windmills in our region located off Block Island, by Rhode Island’s coast.

  Question – asked by Glenn Arthur representing the Diving community – can divers be allowed to do their diving activity by the windmills? Answer – No problem, diving activity is not restricted by the windmills.

  Questions – by John Toth, representing the Jersey Coast Anglers Association (JCAA) and the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance (NJOA) – Can anglers be allowed to fish by the windmills? Also, as a follow up question – Do you see this access being  restricted in the event of terrorist activity;  possibly resulting with all access restricted and resulting (as an unintended consequence) in the creation of a Marine Protected Area (MPA)?  Answer- Anglers will be allowed to fish by the windmills. In regard to terrorist activity, the developers do not see this type of activity happening since there are so much better targets on land that would be far more effective in causing mayhem, such as bombing subways that a lot of people use. Note: The offshore windmills in European waters do not allow any types of fishing by them with the exception of England that allows them.

  Question – Have developers researched other forms of energy production alternatives besides windmills such as energy that can be produced by harnessing the motion of waves. Answer – No, but it is an interesting concept and may be developed as an alternate energy source in the future.

  Question – These windmills have a projected lifespan of 20 to 25 years and what are your plans to decommission them? Will you just leave them at their locations when they are not producing ay energy? Answer – the developers intend to remove them. They will have a bond in their contracts to pay for their removal. (Interestingly, there were some comments made to keep them at their location even when they are past their energy production so that they still could be used as artificial reefs!) These unproductive windmills could become navigation hazards and the commercial fishing industry would want them removed.

  Questions – By Bob Rush (member of New Jersey’s Marine Fishery Council who spoke on his behalf and not on the Council) – Why has there not been more science introduced to first answer the negative effects that these windmills can cause with fish migration patterns, whale activity, electromagnetic effects of the cables on fish life. It seems to me “that we are building the windmills first, and then figuring out later the negative drawbacks that they pose on marine life”. Answer- An Environmental Impact Study (EIS) is being conducted presently to review possible negative impacts that the windmills can have on marine life. They will cover the effects of noise generated by the installation of the windmills by pile driving (that may have to stop when whales are located nearby) and the effects of the cables (that will be buried seven (7) feet underground). Presently, this EIS is in progress, but final results have not been concluded and there is not a projected time when it will be concluded.

  Question – What kind of security will be provided by the windmills? – Answer – the Developers do not have any plans to provide security. They indicated that most likely, the US Coast Guard would provide it.

  Question – How much space will there be between windmills. Answer – The spacing will be .7miles. A number of attendees thought that this spacing is just too tight with both recreational and commercial ships using this narrow path. Note: in a prior windmill meeting I attended with commercial anglers present, the commercial industry wants at least two (2) miles spaced between windmills to make navigation much easier

  Question – Will the windmills be able to withstand the hurricanes the USA has almost on annual basis and storms like we had with Sandy? Answer – We have put up thousands of windmills and we have not lost any of them, especially the ones in or by the North Sea near Denmark. The North Sea is very rough on many sailing vessels.

  Question – How much will taxpayer have to subsidize these windmills? Answer – this subject is not part of this forum.  It will be addressed at future windmill meetings.

Unfortunately, time did not allow me to ask other questions that I would like to have answered.  Windmills are planned to be placed on productive scallop and clam grounds. The commercial industry plans litigation to prevent this from happening and, consequently, this litigation will possibly delay implementation of the windmill project. I want to know if there any plans to change the location of these windmills. Why should we lose a valuable food source when these windmills can be placed in another location?

   The developers talked about a substation that is part of this windmill project and they did not explain how it ties in with the windmills. I want to know more about it and will ask for clarification of this substation at another meeting.  

  I plan to attend future windmill meetings and keep you informed of all the latest developments of this huge project that will affect all of us NJ residents.

Summary of Presentations on Windmills for Recreational Anglers

By John Toth

   On October 18th, I and about 40 other recreational anglers attended a meeting at the Langosta Lounge in Asbury Park to hear presentations on windmills by Zach Cockrun, Director of Conservation Partnerships for the National Federation of Wildlife, and Captain Dave Monti, a Rhode Island charter captain who is very familiar with the operation of the five windmills currently in place at Block Island. These presentations, unlike the two others I attended on July 9th and September 30th, were geared just for recreational anglers so that we could better understand this huge windmill project that will be in New Jersey’s waters in the near future.

  I took notes of this meeting and after a few days, I sent an email to Zach Cockrun asking him questions as follow up to it.

  Question - On one of the boards, there was a statement that anglers have guaranteed access to the windmills.  Who is the guarantor for this access?  Does it cover all of the windmills since there are a number of developers for different windmill locations? Will we see a signed document to this effect?

  Answer - Every developer we have spoken to has said they will not restrict access.  As far as I know most are on public record, but it is a good reason to show up to hearings to get them to say it on record.  BOEM and the Coast Guard have also said they don’t have plans to enforce access restrictions outside of construction.

  We’re trying to find the best mechanism for getting it in writing, but would also be happy to look into meeting with NJ officials to express access concerns.

  Question - “Nothing has been set in stone” is the phrase we have been hearing, but is the scallop/clammer sites still set to have windmills on them? If this happens, not only will the commercial fishermen be put out of business, but we will be also destroying prime areas that produce this food source we consume. The ocean is vast and can these windmills be moved to alternate locations?  Given the talk about compensation to commercial anglers, it seems to me that the decision to put windmills on these sites has already been determined. Is that true?

  Answer - Siting the windmills is dependent on a variety of factors – bottom type, navigation, wildlife impacts, and avoiding, when possible, fishing grounds.  Conflicts with scallopers is definitely still a possibility despite efforts to minimize those conflicts.  In the case of the Vineyard Wind project in MA, the developer worked with scallopers to change the layout of the wind farm to improve their ability to operate in the area.  They are reducing the number of turbines, and changing the direction of the arrangement as well as adding a 4 mile transit zone through the middle.  Finally, they are likely to increase the distance to 1 mile between each turbine to help gear move through the wind farm area.

  Even all of that said, mitigation will likely be necessary as there will still be impacts.  However, I think it is very unlikely that even numerous wind farms lead to the end of this industry.

  Question -These questions are more for confirmation purposes – there will be about 400 windmills deployed, they will be about 460 feet in height, and once they are all deployed, how many homes are they expected to illuminate? Also, will the energy produced by them be solely used by New Jersey residents or will the energy be sent to other states? Also, what will be the length/width of one blade?

  Answer - A 3,500 mw commitment is between about 350 and 580 turbines, depending on technology.  Current offshore wind turbines are 6MW each and would need more.  I think it is more likely by the time the first wind farm in NJ gets developed that turbines will be 8-10MW and require fewer.

  They are approximately 300 feet to the turbine hub.  A blade is Approximately 225 feet long.  So a blade at the peak will make the entire structure 525 feet tall. 3,500 mws of offshore wind power will power at least 1.1 million homes.  This is a conservative estimate. The power is being purchased by New Jersey to meet its renewable energy goals.

  Question – The windmills are expected to supply 3,500 megawatts by 2030.  Is this four times the future energy needs of our state as I have written in my notes?

  Answer-The total potential generation of offshore wind from Maine to North Carolina could meet 4 times the country’s energy demand.  It is not realistic that we would build this much offshore windmills, but we say it to point out how big the potential for energy generation is. Only a fraction of that can meet the needs of coastal states in the Northeast and Mid Atlantic.

  Question - What is the total area of the ocean that these windmills will cover including the spaces between them?  In regard to this spacing, will it be enough for commercial boats to navigate through them?

  Answer- The development farthest along will be between .8 and 1 nm apart – more than enough for commercial traffic.  They also are including a transit lane 4 miles wild for ships moving through the wind farm.

  By that standard, a 100 turbine farm, which would be an approximately 800mw project powering 250,000 homes would likely be around 100 square miles (not including transit zone).

  Question - Captain Monti indicated that the 5 windmills by Block Island are not disrupting fish migrations etc. But his chart also indicated that the effects of multiple windmills (400) are not known. This is an issue of concern since anchoring this number of windmills will produce noise, the rotating blades will make noise, the cables will give off electro-magnetic effects, and the installation of the cables disrupting the ocean bottom will all have a negative effect on whales and other fishery migration patterns and also their habitats. Placing cables on the ocean floor for so many windmills will really tear it up and most certainly have a negative effect on a multitude of fisheries. Migrating birds, with this number of windmills, can also have the potential of being killed by them. Is there an environmental impact study in progress or planned in the near future to address these issues?

  Answer- Yes.  Each project will have to undergo an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).  Once produced, we can comment on the EIS to recommend other areas of study if things were missed.  One of the key elements of an EIS is it includes what are known as “cumulative impacts” – the idea is to assess impacts of the entire industry.  So the first project will assess impacts of the planned 100 turbines.  The second project will assess impacts of that project PLUS any existing projects.  The idea is that as we slowly build these out over the next few years, we will learn more in ways that could inform how, when and where we build specific projects.

  Question - We all know the corrosive nature of salt on everything and windmills will be exposed to salt 24/7. These windmills are supposed to have a lifetime of 25 years and the corrosive nature of salt can significantly reduce this lifetime. I remember you saying the developers must be bonded so that they can absorb financial losses due to this type of problem. Will this bond not only cover losses for unexpected maintenance issues, refurbishments of blades or even a total loss due to destruction by a storm like Sandy?

  Answer- The engineering behind these turbines is incredible.  They are built to withstand direct hits from category III hurricanes – much bigger than Sandy.  The 25 year lifetime is a reasonable estimate.  We just witnessed the first decommissioning of a wind farm that was built in 2001 in the UK.  The firm decommissioned them because the units were not big enough to justify ongoing maintenance costs.  That makes sense because they were first generation technology.The bond wouldn’t cover maintenance issues, but these firms know how to run wind farms. Orsted, one of the lease holders in NJ operates more than 1000 turbines across the world and knows what the maintenance costs will be for these farms. 

  FYI -At another windmill meeting on September 20th in Long Branch, BOEM representatives seemed to be receptive to having developers in the process of installing windmills to remove phantom cables lying on the ocean floor that have broken off commercial boats and are a big nuisance to all ocean vessels. You may want to consider this task as part of the Scope of Work for future developers.

  Answer- We’ certainly be willing to look into this!

  In regard to meeting with New Jersey officials as Zach indicated in his answer to me about guaranteed access, I plan to contact individuals in our recreational community who can assist us in trying to have this access guaranteed.

Windmills are coming to New Jersey in a Big Way

By John Toth

  On July 9th, I attended a meeting in the Municipal Building at Belmar hosted by the NJ DEP and the Bureau of Energy Management (BOEM), a federal agency that is involved in determining windmill placements. Both of these agencies explained that Governor Phil Murphy issued an Executive Order mandating that he wants to see 3,500 Megawatts of energy produced by windmills off New Jersey’s coast by 2030. These windmills would be placed in federal waters approximately 17 miles off New Jersey’s coast. NJ’s Bureau of Public Energy (BPU) would interface with potential developers in the leasing process, and the NJ DEP would focus on environmental issues involved in setting up these windmills.

  For recreational anglers, there are two major concerns with these windmills and they are: we do not want them to be placed on prime fishing locations – and we want to be able to fish by them when they become operational. The concern is that these windmills can be like Earle Pier and we would get chased away by security guards if we get to close to them. We were told that we would be able to fish by them, but do we really know for sure? In Europe that has extensive windmill development and with the exception of England, all other European countries ban fishing by their windmills. In regard to prime fishing grounds, we will have to further review their recommended locations to determine if windmills should be placed on them.   

  BOEM showed four locations under consideration for these windmills: Fairways North, Fairways South, Hudson North and Hudson South. These locations were strongly criticized by commercial fishermen in the audience since they are in the areas they fish, especially for scallops and clams. They said that they would eventually be put out of business.  In response to that, a BOEM representative indicated that a fund could be established to compensate commercial anglers for loss of their fishing business! I don’t think any of us would like to be told that a new project will put us out of business! A number of commercial fishermen and their families have been in the fishing business for generations and now they hear that they will be the casualties of these new windmills.

  The commercial fishermen requested that there should be at least two nautical miles between the windmills to facilitate their dragging operations. BOEM did not respond positively to this request. The commercial fishermen were livid that BOEM would not at least do this for them and they loudly expressed their frustration over this issue. 

  I asked BOEM how many windmills they envision being built and the answer I got is that they don’t know. I also indicated that a couple of years ago, Clean Ocean Action (COA) made a big fuss about seismic testing by one boat and the blasts it produced, harming whales and other species in their migratory patterns. Drilling the ocean bottom to establish pylons for windmill foundations will most certainly make a lot of noise to vastly exceed anything done by one boat doing seismic testing. The BOEM representative conceded that this is a major concern since it would especially affect whales. However, they are looking at way to reduce this harmful effect.

  A question was raised from the commercial anglers about the projected lifespan of these new windmills.  The BOEM representative indicated that these windmills will have a lifespan of 25 years. This answer caused quite a stir among the crowd with someone yelling “They won’t last that long with corrosive salt water. Don’t you people know that these windmills will be in the ocean”! Another person asked “Who is going to monitor the operation of these windmills so that potential problems with them can be easily rectified such as broken wind blades? The BOEM response was that they will resolve that issue in the near future.

  This is an ongoing process and at this time this major project is in a public comment period. There is certainly more to come on this windmill program and I will keep you informed as it moves forward. 


Giant Sea Gate Proposed off Sandy Hook – Can it Work?

  Federal officials are considering building a 5-mile sea barrier stretching from Sandy Hook to Queens to protect northern New Jersey and New York from devastating storm surges - a proposal that has drawn overwhelming criticism, especially environmental advocates. This proposal is one of six considered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers when a 12 foot storm inundated lower Manhattan. This proposal is in its infancy and that the cost, how large it would be and what materials would be used to build it still need to be developed.

  Although other states and countries use such barriers, this 5-mile barrier would change fish migrations, affecting the recreational and commercial industry which generates about 2.5 billion annually in economic activity.

  This 5-mile barrier would begin from Sandy Hook in Monmouth County to Breezy Point in Queens that would be designed to keep storm surges from entering New York harbor, the Hudson River, Newark Bay, the Hackensack River and Raritan Bay. It would allow passage for ships via gates.

  There are a number of problems associated with this barrier including shutting off the tidal system which brings in oxygen and nutrients into our shores. Our estuaries essentially become alike a stagnant lake. More importantly, if this barrier was in place and was hit by a huge surge, where would the surge water go? It would go to one or both ends of the barrier and then hit the communities at the ends of this barrier. So, what good does that do!

  The other proposals use barriers also, but it looks like the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers need to go back to the drawing boards!

Banning Plastic to Save the Oceans

  Cities and nations are looking at banning plastic straws and stirrers in the hope of addressing the world’s plastic pollution problem. The problem is so large that scientists say that is not nearly enough.

  Australian scientists (Denise Hardesty & Chris Wilcox) using trash collected on U.S. coastlines during clean ups over five years estimate that there are 7.5 million plastic straws laying around America’s shorelines. They also figure means as many as 8.3 billion plastic straws are on the world’s coastlines.

  That number is small when you look at all the plastic bobbing around oceans. A University environmental professor from Georgia (Jenna Jambeck) calculates that nearly 9 million tons of plastic end up in the world’s oceans and coastlines each year.  “For every pound of tuna we’re taking out of the ocean, we’re putting 2 pounds of plastic in the ocean”, says Sherry Lippiat, a California regional coordinator for NOAA.

  Sea birds can ingest as much as 8 percent of their body weight in plastic, which for humans “is equivalent to the average woman having the weight of two babies in her stomach”, says members of the Australia’s Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.

  The United Kingdom announced plans on April 19, 2018 to ban the sale of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton swabs as the global war against plastic gains momentum. As many as 1 million birds and 100,000 sea mammals die every year ingesting some of the world’s 150 million tons of plastic in the world’s oceans, advocates say. The proposed ban comes as British Prime Minister, Theresa May hosts Commonwealth leaders at a summit from 53 nations. (Asbury Park Press, April 20 & 22 editions).

After Tsunami, Sea Creatures from Japan Come to USA Shores

By John Toth

  After the huge tsunami damaged Japan six years ago, it also unleashed a very different threat onto the coastline of North America, a massive invasion of marine life from across the Pacific Ocean.

  Hundreds of species from the coastal waters of Japan-mostly invertebrates like mussels, sea anemones and crabs – were carried across the Pacific on huge amounts of floating fishing debris. The first piece of wreckage began washing up on the shores of Canada and then the United states. To the surprise of scientists, this debris was covered with sea creatures that had survived crossings that in some cases had taken years!

  It is too early too early to tell how many of these invaders have gained a foothold in North American waters where they could challenge or even replace native species. While such “rafting” of animals across oceans happened in the past, scientists say that this Japanese tsunami is unprecedented due to the sheer numbers of organisms that it sent across the world’s largest ocean. While there was a concern that this debris was contaminated with nuclear waste, that fear proved to be infounded.

  Such large numbers of marine animals were able to cross the Pacific because they rode on debris like plastic and fiberglass – that proved durable enough to drift thousands of miles. These synthetics can stay afloat for years or even decades. This floating material ranged in size from coolers and motorcycle helmets to entire fishing boats, teeming with living sea animals that are native to Japan, but foreign to North America. One that first appeared was a 180-ton floating dock that washed ashore in Oregon in June 2012.

  It is remarkable that that such wide range of species could survive the journey across the Pacific and were even able to reproduce, in some cases, at least three generations before reaching our shores! Approximately 634 pieces washed up to our shores and they carried about 239 invasive species!

  With rising sea waters, this “rafting’ of invasive sea creatures on so much debris in our oceans can become more common and also very injurious to the eco-systems of many countries.

(NY Times, September 29, 2017).



Report on Ethanol Going From 10% to 15% - By John Toth


I wrote a letter to various legislators asking them NOT to increase ethanol from 10 to 15% and the following is the response I received from Congressman Pallone:



 Sand Mining-by John Toth


     Background - Super Storm Sandy damaged/destroyed so much of our beaches and now coastal communities want sand to bring their beaches back to what they were pre-Sandy. Beach replenishment has been an ongoing process when storms periodically hit our beaches, but the beaches now need a lot of it because of Sandy. The Manasquan Inlet to Barnegat Inlet Coastal Storm Reduction Project calls for beach fill construction along the oceanfront between Point Pleasant Beach, and the northern boundary of Island Beach State Park. This project calls for using sand from offshore sources for 50 years! Project cost - $513.9 million!

    Where to Get the Sand Needed for this huge project? - The Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has its present focus on the Manasquan Ridge which was formed perhaps hundreds/thousands of years ago (the last Ice Age?). This ridge is the home of numerous sand eels and other species that attract all types of fish that is targeted by both recreational and commercial fishing. In 2014, commercial fishermen netted $4.8 million worth of summer flounder on the wholesale market according to NOAA. The Manasquan Ridge is huge, about 1,700 acres or 1,500 football fields, and it has underwater sand hills that rise about 20 feet off the bottom. There are also a few shipwrecks and rock ledges on it. The Corps maintains that there are not many economically viable land sources of sand for the large quantities needed for these replenishment projects. This ridge's sand is also the right texture for the Corp's use. It has 38.6 million cubic yards of suitable beach fill material. The Corps would like to take sand from this ridge (and others) since it is a big pile of sand and makes their job easier to pick up this sand and the cost to do it less than looking for it elsewhere. Not all of the ocean floor has sand on it.

    Conflict - Fishermen have been weary with the Corps over this ridge and others nearby, which they depend upon to hold fish. They are still bitter over the Corps use of nearly half of the Harvey Cedar Lump for the Long Beach Island to Little Egg Harbor Inlet beach replenishment project. The coastal communities want this sand to restore their beaches, especially for the tourism industry. The Corps does not unilaterally act on its own to remove this sand, but acts on the direction provided by our NJ Department of Environmental Protection in concert with federal agencies like the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) since this ridge is in federal waters. The NJ DEP has given its approval for this project that may begin as early as next year. At this point, BOEM has not and it is waiting for the NJ DEP to submit a formal application to do so.

    What's Next? - In an effort to come up with some type of resolution to this conflict, a meeting was held in Trenton on July 28th with the Director of the NJ DEP, Bob Martin, and his staff. Representing commercial anglers was Jim Lovgren and Scot Mackey from the Garden State Seafood Association. Ken Warchal represented the Jersey Coast Anglers Association (JCAA). I represented the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance (NJOA) since I am its president and our club is also a member of NJOA. The above issues were discussed and the following is a quick snapshot of the major points that were raised:

     While it was not the intention of the NJ DEP to disrupt productive fishing areas, the fishing community should have been invited to review the DEP’s plans for sand removal before it began.
     Options other than taking sand from the Manasquan Ridge and others like it included - taking sand from areas where it is has been concentrating due to the normal washing away from the beaches (in the Wildwood area or other locations like it) or even from areas close to beaches that have unusual buildup from sand that washes away from the nearby shores - taking it from one of the ridges that is not that productive for fishing (lesser of two evils) - and taking sand that has been dredged from inlets and then usually dumped not far away them.
     The Corps will not stop doing beach replenishment due to the existing contracts that it has with the DEP. However, the NJ DEP staff will do a comprehensive review of alternate locations that sand can be taken from to lessen their impacts on our prime fishing areas. When this review is completed, the NJ DEP will invite us to another meeting to review their findings.
This meeting was constructive in that solutions were being offered to mitigate the problems created by beach replenishment. I will keep you updated as this sand mining issue unfolds.


Report on Making Sandy Hook Bay a Natural Marine Sanctuary


   On behalf of the Jersey Coast Anglers Association(JCAA) and the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance (NJOA), and our club, I attended a presentation given by Mr. Rik van Hemmen who is proposing to implement a Sandy Hook Bay Natural Marine Sanctuary. It would stretch roughly from Sandy Hook to the Earle Naval pier and to parts of the Navesink and the Schrewsbury rivers. This presentation was given at the Red Bank library at 7:00 p.m. on March 16th and it was attended by approximately 200-250 angry recreational anglers, commercial fishermen, oyster harvesters, clammers, and waterfowlers. Only about 60 could fit in the conference room and the rest waited outside the library. This turnout was due to the threat that this sanctuary would have on one of our most productive fishing grounds for both recreational and commercial anglers.

  Mr. Hemmen started his presentation by showing us a bunch of pictures of this area with boats and birds, but nothing concrete about WHY it should be a sanctuary. He did not stress any positive results we would expect to receive by having this sanctuary. He seems to love the area in question, but is oblivious to the repercussions that would result by having a sanctuary. In fact, Mr. Dan Ferrigno, a former and retired staff member of our NJ DEP with 30 years of experience, remarked that the sanctuaries we now have around our country (about 5 of them) all end up with tough restrictions on fishing, boating, jet skis and diminish the enjoyment people should receive by having them. Others in the audience voiced over and over again that this sanctuary status would lead to more fishing restrictions and that we do not need more regulations! Hemmen responded that he is not trying to impose these regulations, but he seemed oblivious to this major concern voiced by the audience.

  One person told him that he lives by the affected area and that the waters are cleaner than they have ever been and have more fish and that he did not see a need for this sanctuary, but Hemmen just blew off this remark. Building on this no need for a sanctuary, I remarked that "you obviously love the sanctuary concept to keep things the way they are for you, but YOU HAVE NOT MADE A CASE WHY WE SHOULD HAVE IT! He responded that "we will have more fish"! One person yelled out "do you have the data to prove it" and he said that he did not! His answer to me like the one he made earlier about a trash problem seems to be made up as he goes along with his presentation since he has no real answers to the important questions raised about his sanctuary proposal.

  My take on this sanctuary issue is that Hemmen does not understand the negative implications that a sanctuary has, but worse is that he is not accepting the comments that were mostly made by anglers in the room. The danger I see is that in spite of what was conveyed to him about restrictions, he will still go forward with this sanctuary and, of course, like- minded organizations may back him and this can gain traction to move it further.

  For this sanctuary to go to higher levels in our federal government it has to be first approved by our state government and that is our best hope to stop it. I will carefully track the sanctuary issue and keep you updated. We all need to stay on top of this important issue and all be united against it!

Be Careful Which Fish You Choose to Eat - Skip Tilapia!

  In a December 22nd article in the Asbury Park Press, the author (Samantha Davis) writes a "Healthy Living " column and tells how to better our health.  She tells us to eat wild salmon instead of farm raised because the fishmeal they use to combat parasites and disease in farm-raised commercial salmon has antibiotics and high levels of PCBs.

  One of the best fish to eat is sardines since they contain a lot of omega-3 and one of the few foods naturally containing Vitamin D.  But, she also indicates that tilapia, one of America's most popular fish should be avoided.

  According to the National Fisheries Institute, this freshwater fish has become the fourth most eaten fish in the U.S.! Tilapia is always farm-raised, and often imported from China that has an abysmal record for food safety. Farmed raised tilapia has a high inflammatory potential, which could lead to heart disease, asthma, and joint problems.

  Researches from Wake Forest University have found that tilapia has a higher inflammatory potential than that of a hamburger or pork bacon!  Not all fish is healthy to eat, only the right ones!

Genetically Engineered Salmon Declared Ready for US Plates!

   On November 19th, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a genetically engineered salmon as fit for consumption, making it the first genetically altered animal to be cleared for American supermarkets and dinner plates.

   The approval by the FDA caps a long struggle by AquaBounty Technologies, a small company that first approached the FDA about approval in the 1990's.  The FDA said the approval process took so long because it was the first of its kind.

   The approval of this salmon has been fiercely opposed by consumer and environmental groups, which have argued that the safety studies were inadequate and that wild salmon populations  might be affected if the engineered fish were to escape into the oceans and rivers. "This unfortunate, historic decision, disregards the vast majority of consumers, many independent scientists, numerous members of Congress and salmon growers around the world, who have voiced strong opposition" said Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director, Food and Water Watch.  Within hours of the FDA's decision, a consumer advocacy group, Center for Food Safety, said it and other organizations would file a lawsuit challenging the FDA approval.

   The AquaAdvantage salmon, as it is known, is an Atlantic salmon that has been genetically modified so that it grows to market size faster than a non-genetically salmon in as little as half the time.  Despite the FDA approval, it is likely to be at least two years before any of the salmon reaches the market.  It is also not likely that much of this salmon will be on the market because this company's production facility is relatively small and it is located in Panama.   

   FDA officials said that the salmon would NOT have to be labeled as genetically engineered. However, it issued draft guidance as to wording that companies could use to VOLUNTARILY label the salmon as genetically engineered or to label other salmon as not genetically engineered.

   This genetically engineered salmon represents a debate between one group that wants nature to take its natural course in the production of food and the harvesting of animals.  The other group wants science through genetically engineering to improve food and the harvesting of animals.  For example, scientists in China have recently created goats with more muscle and hair.  This debate between these two groups is far from over! (NY Times, November 20, 2015).



Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Report

   By John Toth


    I attended a public hearing to comment on the proposal of  Canadian - based Liberty Natural Gas LLC to develop a deep water docking station known as Port Ambrose that would be a transfer point for ships carrying liquefied natural gas (LNG)  to unload and pump gas to points in New Jersey and New York.  While noble in its intent to provide more energy to consumers, this LNG project poses a number of problems for our environment and safety.  A large number of groups, including the JCAA and the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance (NJOA) opposed the LNG project and a public hearing was held on November 4th to take testimony from advocates and opponents of LNG. The US Coast Guard and the federal Maritime Administration presided over this hearing that was attended by a large number of people. This hearing was held at the Sheraton Hotel in Eatontown at 6:00 p.m. Many of you, if not most, are familiar with this issue since it has been covered in prior JCAA newsletters.  I, and all present,  had exactly three (3) minutes to present their comments, and I had to talk fast to cover mine!.  Those people who had lengthy statements to read could not do it in that 3 minute timeframe and they talked so fast to cover their points that it was somewhat comical to hear them!. I gave these written comments to the public hearing officers, and also presented this oral testimony:


Statement by John Toth, representing the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance (NJOA) and the Jersey Coast Anglers Association (JCAA)


   As a Trustee of  the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance (NJOA) and the Membership Secretary of the JCAA, I  want to go on record that I am representing the NJOA and the JCAA and we are strongly against the proposed LNG project.  We are against LNG for going forward for a number of reasons and they include but are not limited to the following:

 1.       The proposed LNG port will be located at the Gateway to the NY/NJ harbor, approximately 18 miles off Long Island and 28 miles off New Jersey.  This is a highly trafficked area with thousands of boats and ships moving into and out of the New York/ New Jersey marine facilities.  Under these conditions, the LNG port can pose a serious hazard to the navigation of the many ships large and small that use this important waterway system.


  2.       As we all know, Super Storm Sandy caused tremendous damage with waves nearly 30 feet high.  Acting on warnings to this approaching storm, ships moved to different locations to avoid this super storm or took actions to better secure their craft.  A storm like Sandy can come again and can the LNG port be adequately secured from the effect of this type of storm?  If not, it will be tossed into the ocean with devastating economic effects on our entire region, including loss of life.


  3.       Exclusion zones will extend two miles from each docking buoy, eliminating the ability of fishing vessels to access or anchor in the affected area.  Commercial and recreational fishermen will be excluded from these important fishing grounds.  Anglers are excluded similarly from the present Earle naval fishing port and are chased away by inadvertently entering it.  While it is needed for security of the naval vessels being repaired there, it is a nuisance for anglers and one that we do not want to experience again by the proposed LNG port.


  4.       A LNG facility would be a prime target for those groups of people who want to see a 9/11 type of disaster happening again.  An exploding LNG port in our populous metropolitan area would be disastrous for the resulting damage it would cause to our entire region.


  5.       Notwithstanding terrorists, gas is in itself presents challenges to issues of safety.  A small leakage or rupture to a line or valve can have major safety consequences.  What if the gas lines from the LNG port to their shore locations rupture from some mechanical or pressure problem and spill into the ocean.  What kind of damage can it cause and how easily can a rupture like this be repaired.  The BP problem in the Gulf showed that repairs to mechanical systems in the deep sea can be problematic. 

 6.       The construction of new pipe lines will dredge up to 20 miles of sea floor resulting in damage to some areas of prime fishing grounds and fish breeding areas.  Super Storm Sandy caused enough damage to sea floor and the resulting dredging needed for beach replenishment due to this storm.  More damage to the sea floor is not what we want to see.

Instead of reducing the price of natural gas for US citizens, LNG may in fact increase the cost due to the selling of it to foreign markets.

Because of the above reasons and more that will be expressed by other groups at this hearing, the NJOA and the JCAA urges Governor Christie to veto this LNG effort.


(On November 12th, Governor Cuomo came out against the LNG project, effectively stopping it from going forward.  Governor Christie's veto of it is not necessary). 


Ocean Garbage Patches Stretch Thousands of Miles


There are floating islands of garbage in the world's oceans and are comprised of all kinds of trash, but mostly consisting of plastic.  One is estimated to be as big as the continental United States!  Plastic takes a long time to decompose and even when it does, the problems don't go away.  It simply breaks down into tiny pieces.

The debris collects in areas known as gyres.  An ocean gyre is a circular ocean current formed by the Earth's wind patterns and the forces created by the rotation of our planet.  The area in the center of the gyre tends to be very calm and stable.  The circular motion of the gyre draws in debris where it makes its way to the center where it becomes trapped and builds up.  The material builds up because much of it is not biodegradable.  The largest of these areas is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, but similar patches can be found in the North and South Atlantic and the Indian  Oceans.  The North Atlantic Garbage Patch is estimated to be hundreds of miles across in size with a density of 200,000 pieces of debris per square mile!  The trash is not like a floating landfill, but like a big bowl of soup flecked with pepper flakes. The pepper flakes are the tiny bits of plastic called microplastic.  They block sunlight from reaching plankton and algae below.  Plankton and algae form their own nutrients and they are very important in the marine food web chain and turtles, fish and other marine species rely on them for food.  If these animals start to die, there will be less food for predator species such as tuna, sharks and whales.

Cleaning up marine debris is not easy.  Many pieces of trash are the same size as sea animals, so the nets designed to scoop up trash would catch these creatures as well.  A workable solution to this problem has yet to be found. (Asbury Park Press, Sept. 5 page E3).


The Precarious Life of a Sand Crab

Anyone who has dug their toes or fingers in the wet sand at the water's edge has most likely unearthed a sand crab, a.k.a. sand flea or sand mole.  These armadillo-shaped creatures are usually no bigger than a thumb and are constant burrowers.  Their daily routine is a repetition of rolling in the waves, then frantically digging themselves back under the sand.  They can bury themselves in 1.5 seconds!  A unique fact about the sand crab is that it cannot move forward or sideway, but only backward!  They feed in the swash zone- the area where the waves wash up on the beach.  To feed, the crab burrows backward into the sand using rear claws and faces the ocean with their eyes and antennae visible.  When a wave flows over them, they uncoil a second feather-like antennae that filters out plankton as their favorite meal. 

The sand crab is one of the rare crab species that has no functional legs with which to navigate themselves along the beaches. They are carried down the beach by the wave action.  They are found around the world and are prey to birds and fish.  In some areas, commercial fishermen harvest the crabs when they are soft shells for bait.  Anglers in Florida prize these crabs to catch pompano and redfish


Pacific Octopus Holds Egg-Brooding Record

A pacific deep-sea octopus (Graneledone boreopaifica) has been found to have an egg brooding cycle of 53 months - the longest period that any animal is known to protect its eggs.

In April 2007, researchers observed a solitary female Graneledone in the Monterey Canyon, off the coast of California guarding a clutch of eggs.  The same scientists returned to the site 18 times over the next four and a half-years using a remotely operated vehicle to monitor the octopus and her clutch estimated at 160 eggs.  She did not feed while nesting, and her body became pale and slack. Like other octopods, the Graneldone dies after its eggs hatch. 

The scientists believe that the long brooding cycle may be a reproductive strategy.  Laying fewer eggs and guarding them so long allow the babies to grow and fully develop while still in their eggs, giving them the best chance of survival!  Nature at its best! (NY Times 8/19/14).

3.9 million Eyed Oyster Larvae
ReClam The Bay received 3.9 million Eyed Oyster Larvae to be placed in the waters on the Barnegat bay on Tuesday. ReClam the Bay is a volunteer-led nonprofit organization dedicated to providing hands-on

education for allages regarding the environmental benefits of shellfish filtering, feeding and the resulting cleaning of the waters of Barnegat Bay. The goal of this group is to involve the general public in shellfish-oriented stewardship activities so that residents can better understand that water quality and habitat protection are everyone's responsibility, and that healthy shellfish populations help restore and maintain estuarine water quality. ReClam the Bay works closely with the Barnegat Bay Shellfish Restoration Progam, which was established by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension

Oysters — A historical perspective
Eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica) and hard clams (Mercenaria mercenaria) have been important natural resources in Barnegat Bay since pre-colonial times when Native Americans gathered shellfish for nourishment. Their importance continued when Baymen began harvesting shellfish for sale and associated industries developed. At the peak of the oyster industry, from 1870 to 1930, the Barnegat Bay-Cape May area produced 20 percent of all market oysters harvested in New Jersey. By 1930 this figure declined to less than 10 percent. Oyster harvest declined for various reasons including overharvest, disease and changes to the bay’s



New York Was a Once City of Oysters


It is hard to believe that New York City was once surrounded by numerous and high quality oysters! Its
surrounding tributaries, estuaries, and bays once produced enough native shellfish that a typical city dweller ate
about 600 oysters a year! Cheap and abundant, oysters were the pizza slice of the 1800's. For less than a penny apiece. this poor man's dietary staple was sold at countless oyster saloons in lower Manhattan. The happy-hour special - called the "Canal Street Plan"- was all-you-could eat- for a six pence. Pearl Street, near Wall Street in lower Manhattan, is so named because this street was paved with native oyster shells. By 1910, 1.4 billion oysters a year were pulled out of city waters! Since oysters filter water, the increasing pollution in NYC waters began to make people sick and the polluted waters eventually took their toll on the oysters and their life cycle. Several environmental organizations(NY/NJ Baykeeper) are talking about bringing them back with seeding them at various locations, but it would take a lot of seeding and a lot of time to bring them back to the level they once had around New York!



Our chance for a cleaner, greener legacy

As New Jersey rebuilds, we can and we should rebuild in ways that keep sewage and other forms of pollution from fouling our waters and threatening our health and marine wildlife. To keep pollution from reaching the Shore, we need to upgrade our outdated and damaged stormwater infrastructure. And we
need to rebuild with green building solutions, such as pavement that can actually absorb water, rain gardens that can hold and filter water, and even green roofs that capture up to 50 percent of the rain that falls on a building. New Jerseyans have come together for the Shore before. When needles and garbage washed up on our Shore, we demanded and won new laws against coastal pollution. When Washington delayed sending relief after Sandy, we spoke out and Congress responded. Now it's time to stand up for the Shore again.

Together, we can win


Members and supporters like you make it possible for our staff to conduct research, make our case to the media, testify in Trenton and
build the grassroots support to make sure we rebuild in the right way, one that's best for our water, for our beaches and for generations
to come.
Read More at: http://www.environmentnewjersey.org/programs/nje/restore-our-shore


8.5 Million Pounds of Toxic Chemicals Dumped into New Jersey’s Waterways

Delaware River tops list of most polluted in the nation
Immediate Release
Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Trenton, NJ – Industrial facilities dumped 8.5 million pounds of toxic chemicals into New Jersey’s waterways, making New Jersey’s waterways the 12th worst in the nation, according to a new report released today by Environment New Jersey. Wasting Our Waterways: Industrial Toxic Pollution and the Unfulfilled Promise of the Clean Water Act also reports that 226 million pounds of toxic chemicals were discharged into 1,400 waterways across the country.

“New Jersey’s waterways continue to be open for business for the state’s biggest polluters. Polluters dump 8.5 million pounds of toxic chemicals into New Jersey’s lakes, rivers and streams every year,” said Megan Fitzpatrick, clean water associate with Environment New Jersey. “We must turn the tide of toxic pollution by restoring Clean Water Act protections to our waterways.”

The Environment New Jersey report documents and analyzes the dangerous levels of pollutants discharged to America’s waters by compiling toxic chemical releases reported to the U.S. EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory for 2010, the most recent data available.

Read more at www.environent NJ.org


Fish You Should Never, Ever Eat

Source  | Healthy Living

 One fish, two fish, bad-for-you-fish. Yes fish, no fish, red fish…OK fish? Our oceans have become so depleted of wild fish stocks, and so polluted with industrial contaminants, that trying to figure out the fish that are both safe and sustainable can make your head spin. "Good fish" lists can change year after year, because stocks rebound or get depleted every few years, but there are some fish that, no matter what, you can always decline. 

 The nonprofit Food and Water Watch looked at all the varieties of fish out there, how they were harvested, how certain species are farmed, and levels of toxic contaminants like mercury or PCBs in the fish, as well as how heavily local fishermen relied upon fisheries for their economic survival. These are the fish, they determined, that all of us should avoid, no matter what.



Why It's Bad: Tilapia, Contains Potentially Dangerous Fatty Acid Combination. Farm-raised tilapia, one of the most highly consumed fish in America, has very low levels of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids and, perhaps worse, very high levels of omega-6 fatty acids, according to new research from Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Nearly 90% of the Tilapia imported to the US, where use of antibiotics that are banned in the U.S. Farm-raised tilapia are a diet fishmeal made from Menhaden, Menhaden are the pray fish for many species of fish important to the health of our Atlantic fish population.



Eat This Instead: US hook-and-line-caught haddock, Haddock contains 90 calories, 20 grams of protein and .55 grams of fat per 100-gram serving, which is slightly more than 3 ounces. The same amount of cooked tilapia contains 128 calories, 26 grams of protein and 2.65 grams of fat. Haddock has fewer calories and a slightly healthier fatty acid composition.

Imported Catfish
Why It's Bad:
Nearly 90% of the catfish imported to the US comes from Vietnam, where use of antibiotics that are banned in the U.S. is widespread. Furthermore, the two varieties of Vietnamese catfish sold in the US, Swai and Basa, aren't technically considered catfish by the federal government and therefore aren't held to the same inspection rules that other imported catfish are.

Eat This Instead: Stick with domestic, farm-raised catfish, advises Marianne Cufone, director of the Fish Program at Food & Water Watch. It's responsibly farmed and plentiful, making it one of the best fish you can eat. Or, try Asian carp, an invasive species with a similar taste to catfish that's out-competing wild catfish and endangering the Great Lakes ecosystem.

Why It's Bad:
 Caviar from beluga and wild-caught sturgeon are susceptible to overfishing, according to the Food and Water Watch report, but the species are also being threatened by an increase in dam building that pollutes the water in which they live. All forms of caviar come from fish that take a long time to mature, which means that it takes a while for populations to rebound. 

Eat This Instead: If you really love caviar, opt for fish eggs from American Lake Sturgeon or American Hackleback/Shovelnose Sturgeon caviar from the Mississippi River system.

American Eel
Why It's Bad:
Also called yellow or silver eel, this fish, which frequently winds up in sushi dishes, made its way onto the list because it's highly contaminated with PCBs and mercury. The fisheries are also suffering from some pollution and overharvesting.

Eat This Instead: If you like the taste of eel, opt for Atlantic- or Pacific-caught squid instead.


Imported Shrimp
Why It's Bad:
Imported shrimp actually holds the designation of being the dirtiest of the Dirty Dozen, says Cufone, and it's hard to avoid, as 90% of shrimp sold in the U.S. is imported. "Imported farmed shrimp comes with a whole bevy of contaminants: antibiotics, residues from chemicals used to clean pens, filth like mouse hair, rat hair, and pieces of insects," Cufone says. "And I didn't even mention things like E. coli that have been detected in imported shrimp." Part of this has to do with the fact that less than 2% of ALL imported seafood (shrimp, crab, catfish, or others) gets inspected before its sold, which is why it's that much more important to buy domestic seafood. (Still need convincing? Find out the Top 5 Reasons You Should Never Eat Shrimp Again.)

Eat This Instead: Look for domestic shrimp. Seventy percent of domestic shrimp comes from the Gulf of Mexico, which relies heavily on shrimp for economic reasons. Pink shrimp from Oregon are another good choice; the fisheries there are certified under the stringent Marine Stewardship Council guidelines. 


Atlantic Flatfish 
Why It's Bad:
 This group of fish includes flounder, sole, and halibut that are caught off the Atlantic coast. They found their way onto the list because of heavy Commercial overfishing that dates back to the 1800s. According to Food and Water Watch, populations of these fish are as low as 1% of what's necessary to be considered sustainable for long-term fishing. 

Eat This Instead:
Pacific halibut seems to be doing well, but the group also recommends replacing these fish with other mild-flavored white-fleshed fish, such as domestically farmed catfish or tilapia


Atlantic Salmon (both wild-caught and farmed) 
Why It's Bad:
 It's actually illegal to capture wild Atlantic salmon because the fish stocks are so low, and they're low, in part, because of farmed salmon. Salmon farming is very polluting: Thousands of fish are crammed into pens, which leads to the growth of diseases and parasites that require antibiotics and pesticides. Often, the fish escape and compete with native fish for food, leading to declines in native populations. Adding to our salmon woes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is moving forward with approving genetically engineered salmon to be sold, unlabeled, to unsuspecting seafood lovers. That salmon would be farmed off the coast of Panama, and it's unclear how it would be labeled. Currently, all fish labeled "Atlantic salmon" come from fish farms. 

Eat This Instead: Opt for wild Alaskan salmon now, and in the event that GE salmon is officially approved.


Imported King Crab
Why It's Bad:
 The biggest problem with imported crab is that most of it comes from Russia, where limits on fish harvests aren't strongly enforced. But this crab also suffers from something of an identity crisis, says Cufone: "Imported king crab is often misnamed Alaskan king crab, because most people think that's name of the crab," she says, adding that she's often seen labels at supermarkets that say "Alaskan King Crab, Imported." Alaskan king crab is a completely separate animal, she says, and it's much more responsibly harvested than the imported stuff. 

Eat This Instead: When you shop for king crab, whatever the label says, ask whether it comes from Alaska or if it's imported. Approximately 70% of the king crab sold in the U.S. is imported, so it's important to make that distinction and go domestic.


Orange Roughy
Why It's Bad:
 In addition to having high levels of mercury, orange roughy can take between 20 and 40 years to reach full maturity and reproduces late in life, which makes it difficult for populations to recover from overfishing. Orange roughy has such a reputation for being overharvested that some large restaurant chains, including Red Lobster, refuse to serve it. However, it still pops up in grocer freezers, sometimes mislabeled as "sustainably harvested." There are no fisheries of orange roughy that are considered well-managed or are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, so avoid any that you see. 

Eat This Instead:
Opt for yellow snapper or domestic catfish to get the same texture as orange roughy in your recipes.


Atlantic Bluefin Tuna
Why It's Bad:
A recent analysis by The New York Times found that Atlantic bluefin tuna has the highest levels of mercury of any type of tuna. To top it off, bluefin tuna are severely overharvested, to the point of reaching near-extinction levels, and are considered "critically endangered" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Rather than trying to navigate the ever-changing recommendations for which tuna is best, consider giving it up altogether and switching to a healthy, flavorful alternative, such as Alaska wild-caught salmon.

Eat This Instead:
If you really can't give up tuna, opt for American or Canadian (but not imported!) albacore tuna, which is caught while it's young and doesn't contain as high levels of mercury.


Chilean Sea Bass
Why It's Bad:
 Most Chilean sea bass sold in the US comes from fishermen who have captured them illegally, although the US Department of State says that illegal harvesting of the fish has declined in recent years. Nevertheless, fish stocks are in such bad shape that the nonprofit Greenpeace estimates that, unless people stop eating this fish, the entire species could be commercially extinct within five years. Food and Water Watch's guide notes that these fish are high in mercury, as well. 

Eat This Instead:
These fish are very popular and considered a delicacy, but you can get the same texture and feel with US hook-and-line-caught haddock


Menhaden the most important fish:

Video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUdiOeDdz8Q


by Jennifer Pyle, Assistant Biologist - Species Fact Sheets by Maryellen Gordon, Assistant Biologist April, 2012

The Delaware estuary, New Jersey's largest estuary system, is a semi-enclosed body of water where freshwater from the Delaware River mixes with salt water from the Delaware Bay. The estuary is a migratory route for many recreational and commercial fish and provides critical spawning and feeding grounds and nursery areas for many species.

The success of a species is contingent upon the survival of their young. The Delaware estuary provides a suitable nursery environment for young fish to grow. Monitoring populations of these juvenile fish is essential for fishery managers to estimate abundance and evaluate the success of the population. These assessments provide a means to predict population trends and future harvest potential of monitored species.

Bureau of Marine Fisheries biologists within the New Jersey DEP's Division of Fish & Wildlife conduct several surveys each year to study the status of species populations within the estuary. One of these surveys is the Delaware River Seine Survey.

The seine survey is a Fishery Independent Monitoring Project required by the Interstate Fisheries Management Plan for Striped Bass . It is currently the Bureau of Marine Fisheries' longest running fishery-independent survey. It began in 1980 when striped bass stocks were severely depleted and is primarily a juvenile striped bass abundance survey. Data collected provides an annual abundance index for this species, reported as the number of young-of-year per seine haul. Results have been corroborated by other independent surveys, such as the Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife's striped bass spawning stock survey.

A unique aspect of this survey is its longevity - it has been conducted for 32 consecutive years. Data from such a large period of time is highly beneficial to species population studies. Not only does this survey tell us how many fish there are from year to year, but the data also contributes to the development of fisheries management plans and projections of sustainable harvest levels.

For more information about the value of this survey, see the article from the 2006 Marine Issue of the Fish and Wildlife Digest: www.njfishandwildlife.com/pdf/2006/digmar28-31.pdf (pdf, 815kb).



Captain Paul Eidman was guest speaker at our November 20th meeting to discuss the decline of menhaden (bunker) stocks. Captain Paul is very active in bringing this important issue to the attention of fishing clubs. If bunker is NOT around, neither will there be striped bass or blue fish around to catch! Captain Paul will give us a very interesting power point presentation to show what is happening to bunker in our waters. http://shore11.org/captpauleidman

Not so Unusual Alliance - Anglers and Environmentalists

In the past, anglers and environmentalists were united for common concerns like clean water. This union has been adversely affected by the environmentalists calling for damaging restrictions on how much anglers can catch resulting in many boat captains going out of business. An article in the July 4th edition of the NY Times indicated that a third-generation fisherman from Maine (Captain Robbins) who specializes in catching herring has been at great odds with the environmental lobbyists and really dislikes them because of their promoting catch restrictions on herring. However, he has decided to work with them to stop 30 large boats that use nets as big as a football field to scoop up hundreds of thousand pounds of herring in the Gulf of Maine. Called mid-water trawlers, they account for 98% of the 100,000 tons of herring caught in New England waters. The trawlers appeared in New England waters about 10 years ago and would often come in small areas and fish until they scooped up everything. The locals call it “Localized Depletion”. If the herring is gone, tuna, birds and other fish have nothing to eat and they too are gone. New rules call for observers on these trawlers to monitor their catches and thereby have documentation to determine if herring is being overfished. Captain Robbins is convinced the herring is overfished and he also said that “A lot of times in commercial fishing, there’s a saying: don’t speak against other fishermen. But there’s times where you can’t do that, and this is one of them”.

Impact of 'fracking' for oil and gas:

A Toxic Spew? Coming to a water supply near you! “fracturing-fluid” Fracturing chemicals are routinely used on oil and gas wells where they are pumped deep into the ground to crack rock seams and increase production. Largely unregulated, they've been employed by the energy industry for decades and, with the exception of diesel; can be made up of nearly any set of chemicals. Also, propriety trade laws don't require energy companies to disclose their ingredients



EPA Scientist Points at Fracking in Fish-Kill Mystery

A mysterious fish-kill in Dunkard Creek may have been the result of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing of shale for natural gas.Was it coal miners whose runoff wiped out aquatic life in the stream where locals have long fished and picnicked? Or was it Marcellus Shale drillers and the briny discharge from their wells that created a toxic algae bloom that left a miles-long trail of rotting fish along the West Virginia-Pennsylvania state line?U.S. EPA has ended its investigation and pointed the finger at a local coal mine, Blacksville No. 2, and entered a multimillion-dollar settlement with the owner, Consol Energy Inc. But the lead EPA biologist on the case has challenged that idea, saying that the most likely explanation for the fish kill involves the environmental effects of Marcellus Shale drilling.

U.S. proposes new rules for fracking on federal lands

The Obama administration unveiled long-awaited rules on Friday to bolster oversight on public lands of oil and natural gas drilling using fracking technology that has ushered in a boom in drilling but also triggered environmental protests.


Horseshoe Crab Sculpture

Artist Chris Wojcik and his art team built a 47-foot life-like horseshoe crab sculpture that will be placed on the Axel Carlson reef. Wojcik, a scuba instructor and marine biologist from Bay Head, NJ, began building the sculpture to become part of an already existing artificial reef last October. The sculpture, made of reinforced concrete, will sit in 80 feet of water and become home to a variety of marine life. It was supposed to be deployed on the reef on July 25th, but windy weather delayed its deployment. The state Division of Fish and Wildlife is in charge of placing the sculpture on the reef and it announced that the sculpture will deployed in the early part of August, weather permitting.

Horseshoe Crab Sculpture Destroyed As reported in our August bulletin, a 47- foot horseshoe crab structure designed by artist Chris Wojcik was to be deployed on the Axel Carlson reef. About 100 people gathered on boats to watch it sink. The sculpture, towed by two barges, reached the designated area and the crews worked to slowly open the hatches of the barge to flood it while the crane workedto hold it level so it could sink properly. However, a rear strap supporting the stern of the barge snapped and the barge and sculpture plunged down to the reef, bow up. The sculpture weighing about 50 tons broke into small pieces on the ocean floor! These pieces will create an artificial reef, but not in the way it was supposed to and the artist who spent so much time and raising a lot of money to build it was very disappointed over this fiasco.


China to ban Shark Fin Soup at State Events - by John Toth

I was always curious about what goes into making shark fin soup since I have had it several times and I was always disappointed in its lack of taste and gooey texture. The world’s shark population has been around for millions of years and it is being depleted since the sharks are mostly killed just for their fins. So why kill sharks for a soup that is really not that good? The New York Times shed some information about shark fin soup (July 4, 2012). The soup, brewed from dried shark fins, is largely tasteless and slithery, but its serving at weddings and other events is considered a must-serve because of its status symbol. Essentially, you are making a statement that you have the financial means to serve it for your guests. Retailers in Hong Kong, the main hub for this trade, charge $260 dollars for about a pound of the fins! That equates to about $26 for a serving of this soup! With financial awards like that, no wonder the shark populations are under attack. Due to pressure form environmental groups, the Chinese government recently indicated that shark fin soup will be no longer be served at state-sponsored events. However, this decision is expected to take three years to be implemented! No hurry here! With the rapid economic growth of the Chinese middle class who can now afford this

soup, the slaughter of sharks for their fins will not end any time soon.

Big Bucks $$$ for Small Eels

The Asian market developed a huge taste for glass eels in our waters for their exotic dishes (barbecued eels and other seafood).  The huge pressure on this fishery resulted in the closure of fishing for glass eels that were once abundant during the 1990’s in New Jersey’s waters.  Because of their scarcity, juvenile eels fetch $2,500 a Pound and sometime even more!

An article in the March 16th edition of the Asbury Park Press reported that three fishermen from Maine came down to Absecon Creek (by Atlantic City) and set a net out early in the morning (2:45 a.m.) of March 13th to catch eels, but were being unknowingly watched by NJ conservation officers.  The two men operating the net took about three pounds of glass eels that equals about eight thousand eels.  On the shore, the third man from Maine was in a truck with a live holding tank that had another six pounds of eels in it or about 16,000 eels.  A catch of 9 pounds of eels would bring about $22,500 for not too much effort and time.  They would most likely have been around for more eels if they were not caught for more dollars to their wallets.  The three men involved in this illegal activity have a court appearance in Absecon municipal court and face some hefty fines.  It is amazing that such small eels could be worth $2, 500 a pound!  This is probably the most expensive thing that swims in any of our waters on earth!