Tag Archives: bunker

‘Do I need life insurance?’ A morning as a Peconic fisherman

Rain is the forecast as Tom Gariepy arrives at the Peconic River just before 5 a.m. for one of the last bunker hauls of the season. He backs his trailered sharpie bait boat into the still, 68-degree water, parks his pickup on the road and waits for veteran fishermen Lenny Nilson and Kenny Anderson before the three push off in two boats for the waters around Indian Island, in Riverhead. On the way out, Gariepy sees a giant school of bunker just beyond the launch point, but Nilson has a feeling about the waters to the north and east. >click to read<14:17

New York’s Whales Love Bunker. So Do Fishing Boats. Conflict Ensues.

It has been a bountiful summer for bunker in the waters off New York, and for local whale spotters. Bunker, a favorite food of many larger predators, including whales, are enjoying another year in a decade-long recovery.,,, On Aug. 30, a boat from Omega Protein lowered a net nearly six city blocks long into the water, about 25 miles southeast of the Rockaways, and pulled up about 800,000 pounds of bunker, also known as menhaden. On Sept. 6, Omega returned to the vicinity and hauled out nearly 2 million pounds more. Tom Paladino, a former charter fishing boat captain who started running whale watches from the American Princess in 2010 as local whale sightings began to grow, did not mince words. “We have a major issue with a fishing fleet coming in and taking all the food from the whales,” he told his passengers. Omega says it is doing nothing of the sort and is removing only a tiny fraction of the local menhaden that its spotter pilots have estimated to be in the tens of millions. “The best science shows that this is a completely sustainable fishery and the whale diet is not being impacted at all,” said an Omega spokesman, Ben Landry. > click to read<11:51

The Bunker Resurgence: The Good News Beyond Recent Fish Kills

According to Megan Ware, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission in Arlington, Virginia, “Results of the 2015 stock assessment indicate that the [menhaden] stock is not overfished, and overfishing is not occurring.”Joe Warren, an associate professor with the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University, agrees. Professor Warren’s lab uses acoustics to estimate the biomass (weight) of menhaden in the Peconic River and Flanders Bay. That’s essentially the same technology recreational fishermen employ using fishfinders.,,, Warren further observed that each of the surveys encountered anywhere from five to 25 schools that could range from hundreds to tens of thousands of fish. The professor cited anecdotal evidence that there are more bunker in New York waters as humpback whales off the Atlantic coast on the south side of Long Island have been observed feeding on bunker during the past several years. click here to read the story 15:37

Subsidizing the effort, Riverhead gets help to avoid repeat of Peconic fish kill

image bunker riverheadIt’s 5:30 a.m. and Will Caldwell and his crewman Dave Inoue step into the shallow water to set a seine net at the mouth of the Peconic River, working to prevent another biological and public relations nightmare. “It’s nothing but fish,” said Caldwell, a Hampton Bays commercial fisherman, of the bait fish swarming the river at sunrise on Wednesday. “They’re everywhere.” “We are going to clear this river out to make sure we don’t have another bunker kill,” said Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter, who toured the Peconic with Caldwell on Tuesday. “What’s great is they’re capturing the bunker before they get too far up river.” Walter said the town is paying 2 cents per pound of bunker to help make it feasible for fishermen, while the state is contributing another 2 cents. The price has fallen to 8 cents, so, he gets 12 cents per pound. Read the rest here 20:22

Nearly a month early, bunker appearing in large numbers in Peconic River

2016_0401_bunker-1Almost a year after the major fish kills in the Peconic Estuary last summer, bunker fish are being seen in large numbers in the river almost a month earlier than usual this spring. During last summer’s fish kill, bunker fish were washing up dead by the hundreds of thousands on the shores of the Peconic and Flanders bays during the months of May and June. It was the worst fish die-off in decades, spurring a multi-agency investigation into its cause. That investigation found nitrogen-fueled algal blooms were to blame. Read the article, click here 10:10