Monthly Archives: January 2010

Attention Anglers, Fisheries Researchers Need Your Help

Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) biologists are requesting angler assistance with a research project on red snapper and other reef fish.  The study is focused on Florida’s Gulf Coast, particularly from Tampa Bay northward.

A major emphasis of the work is to better understand how many fish can survive after being caught and then released.  In addition to red snapper, other reef fish that will be studied include:  gag grouper, red grouper, black grouper, vermillion snapper, and gray (mangrove) snapper.

How can you help?

Fill out a catch card. FWC is seeking volunteers to take with them on their next offshore recreational fishing trip a catch card to record the numbers of red snapper harvested and a tally of red snapper released by size and hook location.  To receive a red snapper catch card with free return postage, send FWC an e-mail with your complete mailing address to  Or, if you don’t mind paying postage, a catch card data sheet may be downloaded at

Please provide a return address with the completed catch card and FWC will send you a free adhesive fish ruler to place on your boat or cooler.

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History of Sea-Level Changes

Shorelines have migrated back and forth many times throughout geological history. When the planet cools, coastlines generally move seaward because more water is locked up in ice.  When the planet warms coastlines move landward because ice is melting into the ocean, driving up global sea level; and that’s what is occurring now.

Over the past million years, the Earth’s climate has oscillated between cold times – popularly known as ice ages – and warmer times called interglacials. The ice ages have usually lasted for about 100,000 years, and the warmer periods tens of thousands of years.  The last ice age ended about 12,000 years ago.  Today, we are living in an interglacial called the Holocene.

Natural wobbles in the Earth’s orbit have a strong role in initiating major climate cycles.  Orbital wobbles cause subtle changes in the amount of sunlight that reaches the Earth at different latitudes. In other words, particularly sensitive places on the planet get warmer or cooler because of small changes in the Earth’s path around the Sun. Then powerful “feedbacks” in the climate system kick in, accelerating the trend toward more warming or cooling.

For instance, consider an ice age transitioning to a warm interglacial.  The Earth’s orbital wobble slightly increases the amount of sunlight – and warmth – in an icy place like northern Canada.  Ice and snow are excellent reflectors of solar radiation; they help keep the planet relatively cool by bouncing the sun’s rays back into space.

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Tampa Bay Leads State in Shore-Based Fishing Licenses

Just 60 days after the deadline requiring that shore-based saltwater anglers purchase $7.50 licenses, more than 40,000 have been sold statewide, with Tampa Bay residents leading the state in the number of licenses purchased.

“It was a surprise to see how many more licenses were sold here than in other parts of the state,” notes Luiz Barbieri, head of marine fisheries research at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.  “There’s a very clear dominance in the Tampa Bay region – most other counties have sold licenses in the hundreds, they’ve been sold in the thousands here.

Source: Bay Soundings.

Piney Point Transformed to Eastport

It’s a totally different view from the highest point in Manatee County today then in November 2001 when bay managers faced a potentially catastrophic spill of nearly a billion gallons of highly acidic and nutrient laden water into pristine Bishop Harbor.  Forced to release 10 million gallons to prevent the stacks from collapsing, they discharged water carrying three times the annual nitrogen budget to the poorly circulating harbor and caused a significant algae bloom.

Eight years, over 1.6 billion gallons of wastewater and $140 million later, the abandoned phosphate plant at Piney Point has been transformed to Eastport, and a park being developed by a New York Investment group that’s attracting attention from businesses across the country even as the real estate market lags.

The gyp stacks that caused countless sleepless nights for bay managers are now empty and lined with 80 mil high-density plastic.  With an anticipated capacity of about 14 million cubic yards, they’ll hold 25 to 30 years worth of dredged material from expansions and maintenance work at Port Manatee, piped under US 41 at up to 40,000 gallons per minute in a very cost-efficient operation.

Never Again!

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28th Annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2010 10:00 – 6:00 PM SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2010 10:00 – 6:00 PM

Family oriented day of fun and educational activities.  Historic waterfront fishing village location, live music and dancing, marine life displays, nautical arts and crafts and plenty of delicious seafood.  This year there will be expanded entertainment areas!  Just head west toward the beaches on Cortez Road (SR 684) 12306 46th Ave., Bradenton, FL 34215.  Expanded local parking can be found just east of Cortez Village. Remote parking and shuttle bus service also available.  Check (new website). Admission $2.00, kids under 12 free. All proceeds go to the FISH Preserve.

Festival endorsed by Jean-Michel Cousteau

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