Week of May 28, 2007

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World

Spanish team wins IGFA Offshore World Championship 

Team accomplishes unbelievable feat of 10 marlin releases on final day

CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico – With just five marlin released in the first two rounds and a zero on day three, the team representing Spain’s Marina Rubicon Marlin Cup 2006 seemed to be mired in the middle of the 62 boat field of the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) Offshore World Championship. 

 

But their luck changed -- even with a boat called the Bad Market -- as the team bolted to the top with 10 releases on the fourth and final day to win the eighth annual world class competition in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The amazing day of “being in the bite” equaled the 10 release record set by the defending champions last year also on the final day.

 

Jose Gomez set the pace for the team from Lanzarote, Spain, with six of the marlin releases for 1800 of the points. With his teammates Jeronimo Valasquez, Federico Acevedo, Joaquin Bachiller, and Martin Pastor Navas they produced a total of 4500 points, one release better than the second place team.

 

“With an amazing 10 fish finale for the winners this tournament was everything we hoped it would be,” said IGFA tournament director Mike Myatt.  “The cream rose to the top and we are proud of the new champions.”

 

Each catch-and-release of a marlin (blue, black and striped)

or a swordfish equaled 300 points. The catches are scored and released alive at the boat in accordance with the IGFA

tournament rules with all anglers using 30 lb. Momoi fishing line. Teams also received “weight” points for tuna, wahoo or dorado caught per pound over 25 lbs. Local charities received the donations of all fish weighed at the Cabo docks.

 

The prestigious four-day tournament hosted what is believed to be the single largest contingent of international anglers and teams (30 countries represented) in a fishing competition. The United States was represented with 19 teams competing. There were over 40 teams representing tournaments in the countries and territories of Angola, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, England, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Kingdom of Tonga, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Portugal, St. Lucia, Senegal, Spain, Sultanate of Oman, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks and Caicos, Vanuatu and Venezuela. Several of the teams had anglers from the countries of Holland, Singapore, the Canary Islands and Ireland.  

           

Founded in 1939 the IGFA is a not-for-profit organization committed to the conservation of game fish and promotion of responsible, ethical angling practices through science, education, rule making and record keeping.  IGFA members are located in over 125 countries and territories. The IGFA welcomes visitors to its 60,000-square-foot interactive Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum in Dania Beach, Florida.   www.igfa.org


National

Help prevent the spread of VHS

The boating and angling communities are again being called upon to clean up the mess caused by the arrogant commercial shipping industry and an impotent Congress. We can help prevent the spread of VHS with some simple steps:

 

* Use minnows purchased only from registered bait dealers, or

* Use baitfish only in same waters where found

* Don't move live fish between water bodies

* Drain bilges, bait buckets, live wells when leaving the landing

* Dispose of unwanted minnows in trash or garden

* Disinfect your boat; a half a cup of bleach in 5 gals of water will do the trick

* Clean plants and debris from your boat before leaving the landing


Boaters/Anglers Receive $110 Million in Long Overdue Payout 

Efforts in 2005 to recapture 4.8 cents of the 18.3 cents per gallon tax on motorboat fuel and direct it back into the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act's Aquatic Resources Trust Fund (ARTF) have finally started paying dividends for the nation’s boaters and anglers.  Previously, only 13.5 cents (or 73%) of the tax paid by sportsmen went into the ARTF to support the fishing and boating programs important to the nation’s anglers and recreational boaters.  However, FY2007 is the first year that sportsmen can enjoy the full benefits of

their dollars to the tune of $110 million extra in funding thanks

to what initially looked like a debate over pennies.

 

Money from the ARTF is used for state-based boating safety, fisheries conservation and boating access programs as well as for support of coastal wetlands, and marine sanitation device facilities, among others.  The Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation led a multi-year effort with the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, including Rep. Don Young (R-AK), Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) and former Rep. Clay Shaw (R-FL), to pass the bill


Gov’t Told to Curb Use of SS Numbers

WASHINGTON -- Plagued by regular breaches in the security of personal data, federal agencies were ordered last week to eliminate the unnecessary collection and use of Social Security numbers by early 2009. That order and several other new security measures against identity theft were outlined in a memo to all department and agency heads from Clay Johnson III, deputy director for management of the Office of Management and Budget.

 

Johnson gave the agencies 120 days to review all their files for instances in which the use of Social Security numbers is superfluous and "establish a plan in which the agency will eliminate the unnecessary collection and use of Social Security numbers within 18 months."

Beyond that, agencies were directed to review all information they have that could be used to identify an individual citizen or employee, to ensure such records are accurate and "to reduce them to the minimum necessary for the proper performance" of their duties.

 

The order is based on the principle that "the federal government should not unnecessarily collect or maintain personally identifiable information," OMB spokesman Sean Kevelighan said. By requiring agencies to reduce such data to a minimum, the risk of harm from identity theft will decline, he added.

The order was the culmination of steps taken since the Veterans Affairs Dept reported one year ago that a laptop with information for more than 26.5 million military personnel, including data on 2.2 million active-duty military, Guard and Reserve members, was stolen from a department employee. 

The massive VA breach created an uproar among the public and in Congress. The Bush administration set up an Identity Theft Task Force, which made recommendations last month.  Johnson's memo "formalizes the recommendations of the task force," Kevelighan said. "Agencies will reduce the unnecessary use of the Social Security number, thus reducing the potential for loss of personal data and the potential for identity theft."

 

It was not immediately clear whether Congress would be satisfied with the timeline set by administration or with the range of steps ordered.

 

After the VA breach, an investigation by the House Government Reform Committee found that 19 agencies had lost personal information about thousands of employees and the public in 788 incidents since Jan. 1, 2003. And the blunders just keep on coming.

www.newsmax.com/scripts/printer_friendly.pl?page=http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2007/

5/22/215137.shtml?s=us


Environmentalists Classified as Terrorists, Get Stiff Sentences

10 Militant Environmentalists Could Be Sentenced as Terrorists

The first two members of a radical environmental group who admitted to setting a series of fires aimed at saving animals, were sentenced May 24 to 12 to 16 years in federal prison.  In an unusual move, the judge agreed with a prosecutor's request to classify the crimes as acts of domestic terrorism, making them subject to harsher prison sentences.

 

U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken last week sentenced Stanislas Meyerhoffa to 16 years and Kevin Tubbs to 12 years, seven months. The pair were part of a group that admitted to setting fire to a forest ranger station, a police substation, a dealership selling SUVs and a tree farm. "Fear and intimidation can play no part in changing the hearts and minds of people in a democracy," Aiken told Tubbs before sentencing him.

 

Meyerhoff, 29, and Tubbs, 38, are members of the Family, a Eugene, Ore.-based cell linked to the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front. The group is suspected of 20 arsons in five states that caused $40 million in damage. Before his sentencing, Tubbs, his voice choked with emotion, read from a statement, saying he was deeply sorry for causing harm to others. "I am disgusted, sickened, saddened and totally ashamed that I played any part in any of the incidents," he said.

Since their arrests last year, members of the cell have all pleaded guilty to charges of arson and conspiracy. They have insisted, however, that they would fight at their sentencing hearings the "terrorist enhancement" classification that could increase their prison terms and land them in supermax prisons.

 

Radical environmental groups, including the Earth Liberation Front and an associate network, the Animal Liberation Front, have been called "the No. 1 domestic terrorism threat" in America by the FBI. Their members include four of the Bureau's 11 most wanted homegrown terrorists.

The groups and their supporters said that in more than 1,100 acts of arson and vandalism, the members have never killed a single person, and the "terrorist" label is intended only as a scare tactic and means of augmenting the government's rolls of captured terrorists.

 

Federal agents arrested the 10 defendants last year in an action called Operation Backfire. At the time of their arrest, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales called the cell's $40 million dollar campaign of arson -- which targeted a horse slaughterhouse, SUV dealerships, a scientific research center, logging companies and a ski resort -- "a pattern of domestic terrorism activities."

 

 


USFWS funds tribal programs

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that almost $9 million in grants will go to 60 Native American conservation projects in 18 states. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne called the Tribal Landowner Incentive and Tribal Wildlife Grant programs “an important part of the Department’s effort to support tribal sovereignty, culture and fish and wildlife resource management programs.”

 

The Tribal Landowner Incentive Program will fund 24 projects, at a cost of a little more than $2.5 million, and the Tribal Wildlife Grant program will fund 36 proposals at a cost of more than $6.3 million. The Tribal Landowner Incentive

Program grants provide for the protection, restoration and

management of habitat to benefit species at risk, including Federally-listed endangered or threatened species, as well as proposed or candidate species.

 

The Tribal Wildlife Grant program provides funding to defray the cost of implementation of programs that benefit fish and wildlife and their habitat including species that are not hunted or fished.  The grants made to Federally-recognized Indian tribes were made possible

under the Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2002 and a program created within the State Wildlife Grant program, also in 2002.


Regional

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for May 25, 2007

Lake Level Conditions:

Lake Superior is presently 16" below its level of a year ago, while Lake Michigan-Huron is 2" lower than it was at this time last year.  Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are 2 to 7" above their levels of a year ago.  Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are expected to rise 3 and 2", respectively, over the next 30 days.  Lake St. Clair is predicted to drop an inch, while Lakes Erie and Ontario are projected to drop 2" over the next month. During the next few months, Lake Superior is predicted to remain well below its water level of a year ago, while water levels of the remaining lakes are expected to be similar or slightly above last year’s levels.  See our Daily Levels web page for more water level information.

 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:

Outflow from the St. Marys River is predicted to be well below average for May. Flows through the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are also predicted to be lower than average this month. Flow in the Niagara River, as well as the St. Lawrence River, is expected to be above average.

 

Alerts:

Due to abnormally dry conditions on the Lake Superior basin

over the last several months, Lake Superior’s water level is currently below chart datum and is expected to remain below datum over the next six months.  Users of the Great Lakes,

connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels.  Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings.

 

 

Superior

Mich-Huron

St. Clair

Erie

Ontario

Level for May 25

600.0

577.6

574.2

572.1

246.3

Datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff in inches

-13

+ 2

+22

+33

+35

Diff last month

+1

+2

0

0

-1

Diff from last yr

-16

-2

+2

+4

+7

 

 


Annual Spring Ruffe Surveillance

Conducted in Thunder Bay area of Lake Huron

The USFWS Alpena conducted their annual spring Ruffe surveillance in the Thunder Bay River, Lafarge harbor, and Partridge Point marina areas of Thunder Bay during the month of April. The survey was conducted to detect the presence of spawning phase Ruffe. Small mesh (1.3cm) gill nets (33 x 1.6m) were used during the survey. Nets were set overnight, biweekly during the month of April. No Ruffe were captured.

 

Ruffe were first found in the Thunder Bay area of Lake Huron in 1995. It is the only area of the lake where the invasive has

been captured. Their population increased and peaked in

1999, then began to decline. In 1996 the Alpena FRO initiated fall efforts to remove Alpena FRO, April 2007 young-of-the-year Ruffe, and in 2002 annual efforts were initiated in the spring to remove adult spawning Ruffe.

 

Young of the year were last collected in the fall in 1991 and spawning phase Ruffe were last captured in the spring of 2003. Ruffe have not been captured in the Thunder Bay area since 2003. Efforts continue to detect any remnant or resurgence of the population. 


Federal vessel M/V Baird vessel will still stock lake trout

With some statewide freezes on fish stocking due to the uncertainties of viral hemorrhagic septicemia, it won't affect a planned lake trout release by the USFWS into Lake Michigan

south of Sturgeon Bay. Thousands of young, hatchery-reared lakers will be stocked over Clay Banks Reef from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's new state-of-the-art fish stocking and population assessment vessel, the M/V Spencer F. Baird.


Lake Ontario

Chinese Mitten Crab found in Lake Ontario

Two individual Chinese mitten crabs were found at different times since 2005 at the Ontario Hydro electrical plant in the bay during routine inspections done to make sure the screens aren’t blocked with fish or other debris. “A male was found in December 2005, and a female was found in December 2006,” said Karen Schmidt, fisheries technician with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Lake Superior Office in Thunder Bay.

 

This saltwater species, which grows to about the size of a person’s hand, is causing problems for commercial shrimp trawlers on the West Coast. Removing numerous crabs from shrimp nets is time-consuming and costly, and the crabs often damage or kill the catch. Although Chinese mitten crabs can live in fresh water they need salt water to reproduce. This has biologists breathing easier because the species is not likely to become invasive in Lake Superior if it can’t reproduce.

Chinese mitten crabs are a burrowing species native to the Yellow Sea in Korea and China. Hairiness is their distinguishing characteristic; they feature dense patches of dark hair (resembling mittens) on their claws. (However, it’s not actually hair, but “setae,” long bristles of chitin – the tough, horny protein that forms the crab’s shell.)

 

Unlike the contaminant-ridden (and not to mention small) quaggas, mitten crabs are good to eat. They are a famous delicacy in Shanghai cuisine and some areas of their native range have been overfished. In fact, it’s thought they were introduced illegally into the San Francisco Bay in 1992 as a human food source.  Purposeful introductions aside, it’s believed that both the crab and the quagga mussel were spread by ballast water discharge. Their larvae are tiny and can easily fit through ballast water screens.

 

 


 

Lake Michigan

MI - New Record Brown Trout

Casey Richey, nephew of journalist Dave Richey, of Frankfort, MI on May 13 landed what will prove to be a new Michigan Brown Trout record. Shattering the old record by over 2 lbs, it will now stand in the record books and the third largest brown trout on record.

Casey's 36.13 lb brown trout also will set a new line-class record for brown trout being caught on 10 lb line in the records kept by the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward, Wisconsin.

 


Illinois

State sets Urban Fishing clinics schedule

DNR Urban Fishing Program

Illinois DNR fishing clinics provide free fun and fishing instruction, with access to fishing gear also available. Youngsters can learn to fish and enjoy their time outdoors this summer by attending a free Illinois DNR Urban Fishing Clinic, scheduled for 40 locations throughout the state.  The IDNR also provides fishing opportunities to anglers of all ages through the popular Access to Fishing Initiative in which fishing gear can be borrowed at dozens of locations statewide.

 

The free Urban Fishing Program clinics are targeted toward children ages 16 and younger, but anyone interested in learning basic fishing techniques may attend. Fishing clinic instructors present information on fish and other aquatic life, rules and regulations for fishing, as well as basic instruction on baiting a hook, tying a knot, casting, and how to handle and return fish to the water.  As part of each clinic, participants are provided with rods, reels, bait and tackle for 90 minutes of catch-and-release fishing.

 

Urban Fishing Clinics are presented on weekdays during the late spring and summer months at 40 locations throughout

the state.  In addition to the scheduled clinics outlined below, fishing clinics can also be arranged for scouts, seniors, civic clubs and groups with special needs.

 

The Illinois Urban Fishing Program was introduced in Chicago in 1985 to teach individuals of all ages to fish, to provide better local fishing opportunities, and to give participants an understanding of and a greater appreciation for natural resources.  The backbone of the program consists of free summer fishing clinics that include fishing at nearby stocked ponds.  Urban Fishing Program coordinators also hold non-fishing Conservation Education Programs and visit schools during the fall, winter, and spring to teach and promote fishing and the appreciation of natural resources.

 

The IDNR Access to Fishing program provides loaner fishing gear to anglers of all ages.  The loan program provides the opportunity to borrow rods, reels and tackle packs.  Participating loaner locations include many public libraries, park and forest preserve districts, bait shops, recreation departments and other locations.  A list of sites offering access to fishing gear is available by checking the web site at www.ifishillinois.org or by phoning the IDNR Urban Fishing Program at 217/782-6424.


Free Fishing Days, June 8-11

Dozens of organizations conduct fishing derbies and other special events as part of Illinois Free Fishing Days.  Organizations interested in receiving educational and promotional materials to be used as part of an Illinois Free Fishing Days event should contact Gary Watson, IDNR Free

Fishing Days events coordinator, at 217/782-9990.  Mark your

calendars for the 2007 Illinois Free Fishing Days, June 8-11.  During Illinois Free Fishing Days, anyone may fish without the need to have a sport fishing license, inland trout stamp or salmon stamp.  For more information on fishing in Illinois, check the web site at www.ifishillinois.org.


Indiana

Shooting range at Atterbury FWA to be dedicated May 29

The Proctor Memorial Shooting Range, at Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area, will be dedicated during a public ceremony, May 29, at 1:30 p.m., at the facility.  The state-of-the-art range, a $4.7 million modern facility that features a 66-position rifle and pistol range, and four combination trap and skeet fields, will open for public shooting, May 30.  Located between Indianapolis and Columbus, near Edinburgh (4250 E.

Edinburgh St.), the state-of-the-art facility replaces an aging

shooting facility that was being used by more than 15,000 shooters each year. 

 

The DNR will be reimbursed for about 75 percent of construction costs through federal aid. The aid is derived from federal excise tax revenue from the sales of firearms and ammunition, and archery equipment.  For more info:

www.in.gov/dnr/press/pr-atterbury-opening.pdf


Proposal to allow rifles with pistol cartridges approved by NRC

One buck rule extension also approved by NRC

An administrative rule proposal allowing the use of rifles with pistol cartridges was approved by the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) at its May 22 meeting. Pending approval of the attorney general and governor, the change will become law later this year. Under the proposal, rifles with pistol cartridges that meet the specifications listed below would be allowed during this year's deer firearms season, which takes place Nov. 17 through Dec. 2.

 

The deer hunting rule change language continues the DNR's longtime position of allowing only short-to-medium range equipment for taking deer. The DNR has often received requests from the public for a rule change allowing some rifles during deer firearm season.

 

The rifle must fire a cartridge that meets the following specifications:

a) fire a bullet of .357 diameter or larger;

b) have a minimum case length of 1.16 inches; and

c) have a maximum case length of 1.625 inches.

 

Some of the cartridges that will be legal under the proposal:

.357 Magnum

.38-40 Winchester

.41 Magnum

.41 Special

.44 Magnum

.44 Special

.44-.40 Winchester

.45 Colt

.454 Casull

.480 Ruger

.475 Linebaugh

.50 Action Express

.500 S&W

 

A proposal to extend the one-buck rule for another five years was also approved by the NRC at the May 22 meeting. The one-buck rule refers to current deer-hunting regulations that allow only one antlered deer to be taken per hunter per year with regular archery, firearm and muzzleloader licenses.

 

The current rule implemented in the fall of 2002 will not expire until Sept. 1, 2012 if the change is approved by the attorney general and governor's office. Before 2002, up to two bucks could be taken by a hunter each year.  These proposals, as well as several others, can be viewed at http://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/about/rules.html


Minnesota

Emerald ash borer threat leads to firewood restrictions

Memorial Day Weekend marks the unofficial start of the summer camping and recreation season. Those who plan to build campfires need to be aware of new firewood movement restrictions recently signed into law by Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

 

Firewood may be obtained when a person arrives at a state park, or from an approved firewood dealer who is selling it.  EAB is a tiny beetle that is devastating forests and neighborhoods in Canada and several of Minnesota's neighboring states. To date, EAB has killed more than 20 million ash trees and infested over 40,000 square miles in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Canada.

           

Many park visitors bring firewood with them when camping in state parks or forest campgrounds, said Chuck Kartak, DNR Parks and Recreation Division deputy director.  The DNR defines approved firewood as:

 

- firewood offered for sale by vendors currently under contract with the DNR

- firewood offered for sale by vendors who have successfully completed an application process requiring that a proof of purchase is  provided to customers, and requiring that the

wood originated within Minnesota and within 100 miles of where it will be used

- firewood offered for sale by vendors that is documented to have been treated by a method that ensures it is free of EAB.

 

The three approved treatment methods include removal of bark and the outer one-half inch of sapwood; kiln drying of firewood to United States Department of Agriculture specifications; or heat-treating firewood to U.S. Department of Agriculture specifications.

 

Kartak said that although the firewood restrictions might seem confusing, "the thing people should remember is to buy firewood from an approved vendor close to the place where they will be recreating."

           

Movement of firewood has been closely associated with the spread of several very damaging forest pests, including EAB and gypsy moth, as well as the pathogens that cause Dutch elm disease and oak wilt. Minnesota's forests and neighborhood trees are at particular risk from EAB.  Ash were used extensively as street trees to replace elms lost to Dutch elm disease in the 1970s and 1980s. The state has the third largest volume of ash timber in the nation.


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