MaxKatt

‘Salt Water People’ Explores Baymen’s Lives on Long Island

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16 hours ago, Cpalms said:

Is

From This week's East Hampton Star.......Sad indeed.

Is Climate the Culprit?

Many theories about a massive scallop die-off
 
Courtesy of Andrew Cassel
November 7, 2019

Baymen and lovers of shellfish can hold on to hope that East Hampton waters will offer an abundant crop of bay scallops when they open to the annual harvest on Sunday, but if the first days’ harvest in state waters is an indication, they will be disappointed. There are several theories, but one certainty is a massive die-off of adult scallops in the region.

“They all died,” Danny Lester, an Amagansett bayman, said on Tuesday. “We already looked. We looked two weeks ago and everything was dead.” In town waters, he said, “there’s a few. Not enough to amount to anything.”

“No scallops this year,” Stuart Heath, a Montauk bayman, said. “Everything died.”

Barley Dunne, the director of the town’s shellfish hatchery, which seeds town waterways with scallops, clams, and oysters each year, was somewhat more hopeful. “It sounds like everything in the Peconics is dead,” he said yesterday, “but stuff in the inner harbors seems to be fine. I just got out of a Southampton water body and it’s pretty good. I’m seeing the usual level of dead, but a lot are alive, large, and healthy.”

But at the Seafood Shop in Wainscott, “It’s the worst of the worst news,” Alex Fausto said on Tuesday, referring to reports of a paltry harvest. “When they open in town waters, maybe it will be a little different. Who knows? But it looks very, very bad.”

With no sign of a usual culprit — the harmful algal blooms that decimated the region’s bay scallop population in the 1980s — causes including unusually high water temperature and low dissolved oxygen are seen as likely factors in mortality.

“Up until end of June, everything looked fine,” Stephen Tettelbach, a shellfish ecologist who conducts population surveys as part of Cornell Cooperative Extension’s shellfish restoration efforts, said yesterday. “There had been a really big set of scallops last year, especially in the western and central part of the Peconics. So the expectation, the hope was that this year was going to be a real good year.”

But sometime between the end of June and the beginning of last month, Dr. Tettelbach said, “there was a big die-off of adult scallops. When we went back on October 1, all through the month we saw population declines at different sites of 95, 99, even 100 percent at some locations. We really did not find any places where there were any real concentrations of high numbers of scallops.”

Dr. Tettelbach, who is a professor emeritus of biology at Long Island University, said algal blooms could not be responsible. “There’s been no brown tide in the Peconics since 1995. This year, there was basically no rust tide, which has been implicated as a cause for mortality in the past. . . . From all those pieces of information, it’s safe to say this was not due to a harmful algal bloom.” A bloom that affected scallops would likely have affected clams and oysters as well, he said. “There’s no indication of that.”

Another possibility — disease — was also unlikely, he said. “There’s a lot of juveniles. One would expect if it were a disease it would have affected both adults and juveniles.”

That leaves predation or environmental conditions, he said. “I’m leaning toward, at this point, high water temperature and low dissolved oxygen.” U.S. Geological Survey records for Orient Harbor and the mouth of the Peconic River, he said, proved those conditions this year.

“I’m leaning toward some physiological stress to adult scallops, probably related to spawning. Spawning is a stressful activity for scallops, and I’m guessing that the timing of spawning this year may have coincided to a large degree with high temperatures and low dissolved oxygen. I don’t have firm data, but that would be my best-guess conclusion. I’m saying that’s probably related to climate change.”

A wildcard, he said, is predation by fish, crabs, and whelks, “but that’s primarily taking place on juvenile scallops. There are a lot of blowfish this year. Our understanding is they primarily eat juvenile scallops, not adults, so I don’t think they can be the cause.”

Another possibility is the cownose ray, which Dr. Tettelbach said is primarily a southern species but one that was seen in local waters this year and has appeared here previously. “They are definitely animals that will and do eat adult scallops — in fact, they wiped out most of the population in North Carolina in the 1990s. One of the baymen from Southold told me he saw some of those in Hallock Bay this year, which is connected to Orient Harbor. They’re in the Peconic system, we just don’t know how many of them there are, and whether they could have caused this level of die-off.”

But, he added, “We saw lots of dead adult shells, which suggests a cause other than rays, because they will crush the shells.”

“That’s been debunked,” Mr. Dunne said of the cownose ray theory, “because the shells are intact. I don’t get it.”

“Friends who are in the oyster-growing business said this was one of the best years they’ve ever seen for oyster growth,” Dr. Tettelbach said.

But the proliferation of commercial and recreational oyster farming, Mr. Heath suspects, may be having an unintended consequence. “The water is crystal clear,” he said. “Everyone keeps raving about these oysters. I don’t think it’s such a good idea, because they’re competing for the algae” — not harmful blooms, but rather beneficial algae on which shellfish feed.

“In my opinion, everyone promoting the public growing oysters is a big mistake. . . . If there’s nothing in the water column for them to eat, how can they survive?” 

 

It was a hot summer.  We lost some trees.  Tree guy said 1.5 year of excessive wet followed by excessive heat stressed many in the area to death. 

 

I'd like to see some science on it.  One of the guys quoted in the article should have referencesed specific temp measurements.

 

Same on the Oysters.  I'm skeptical of "Oyster kill."  400 years ago when the water was perfectly healthy there would have been millions more oysters...were they killing everything then?

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2 hours ago, MaxKatt said:

 

 

Same on the Oysters.  I'm skeptical of "Oyster kill."  400 years ago when the water was perfectly healthy there would have been millions more oysters...were they killing everything then?

It's more the mindset that feels so sad.  Algae blooms, hot weather and fish kills have been going on since the dawn of time, Who knows but what you certainly never hear from the local commercial guys is "hey scallops are dogsht this year for whatever reason so lets lay off." It's just the opposite - they are out dredging for the few survivors and pointing fingers.  Worry about next year next year.  Cuz hey $15 dollars a pound is $15 dollars a pound.

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11 mins ago, Cpalms said:

It's more the mindset that feels so sad.  Algae blooms, hot weather and fish kills have been going on since the dawn of time, Who knows but what you certainly never hear from the local commercial guys is "hey scallops are dogsht this year for whatever reason so lets lay off." It's just the opposite - they are out dredging for the few survivors and pointing fingers.  Worry about next year next year.  Cuz hey $15 dollars a pound is $15 dollars a pound.

 

I never understand that though.  It's so stupidly short sighted.  You could keep having golden eggs forever, so long as you don't kill the ****ing goose.

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2 hours ago, MaxKatt said:

 

I never understand that though.  It's so stupidly short sighted.  You could keep having golden eggs forever, so long as you don't kill the ****ing goose.

There have actually been economic papers written about the phenomenon; the term that they use is "Discounting the future," which is really just a more academic description of the old adage that "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."

 

The bottom line is that people are much more willing to take a dollar today, even if they know that if they wait a year or two, they could end up with substantially more.  They rationalize it by saying that the future is an unknown--they might get sick and not be able to cash in two years from now, or they might move out of the industry, or the laws might change and make it impossible for them to reap the expected reward, etc.  Studies have shown that the promised future reward must be very large, and very likely to happen, before people are likely to consider waiting.

 

Fishermen aren't alone in that.  I worked on Wall Street for 35 years, including a stint a Lehman Brothers that ended when that company filed for bankruptcy, and I can assure you that the short term view is just as prevalent there.  Everything is about making the quarterly and annual "numbers."  If it looks like earnings will come in short of analysts' projections, they lay off staff in order to cut expenses and look proactive, even if management knows that such staff will be needed in the following year and might prove hard to replace.  After all, managers' bonuses are calculated on an annual basis, so positioning the company to excel in five years isn't going to earn anyone a big bonus this year, and if the company has a few quarters, or a couple of years, of below-industry-average earnings, the manager might not be around to cash in on the success of his/her five year plan, while the next manager to fill the slot will benefit from a predecessor's long-term planning.

 

It's just human nature to think in terms of short-terhm profits, and let the future ride.  It's the sort of thinking that has harmed many of our fisheries, and other natural resources, over the years, and will cause more harm in the future.

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46 mins ago, CWitek said:

There have actually been economic papers written about the phenomenon; the term that they use is "Discounting the future," which is really just a more academic description of the old adage that "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."

 

The bottom line is that people are much more willing to take a dollar today, even if they know that if they wait a year or two, they could end up with substantially more.  They rationalize it by saying that the future is an unknown--they might get sick and not be able to cash in two years from now, or they might move out of the industry, or the laws might change and make it impossible for them to reap the expected reward, etc.  Studies have shown that the promised future reward must be very large, and very likely to happen, before people are likely to consider waiting.

 

Fishermen aren't alone in that.  I worked on Wall Street for 35 years, including a stint a Lehman Brothers that ended when that company filed for bankruptcy, and I can assure you that the short term view is just as prevalent there.  Everything is about making the quarterly and annual "numbers."  If it looks like earnings will come in short of analysts' projections, they lay off staff in order to cut expenses and look proactive, even if management knows that such staff will be needed in the following year and might prove hard to replace.  After all, managers' bonuses are calculated on an annual basis, so positioning the company to excel in five years isn't going to earn anyone a big bonus this year, and if the company has a few quarters, or a couple of years, of below-industry-average earnings, the manager might not be around to cash in on the success of his/her five year plan, while the next manager to fill the slot will benefit from a predecessor's long-term planning.

 

It's just human nature to think in terms of short-terhm profits, and let the future ride.  It's the sort of thinking that has harmed many of our fisheries, and other natural resources, over the years, and will cause more harm in the future.

I can't believe I am going to defend Dick Fuld here but he and his coterie of managers did not have the hindsight provided by of hundreds of years credit derivatives and housing crashes.  If we are equating the Lehman's bankruptcy and what appears to be a scallop "bankruptcy' The difference is the laymen have seen scallop crashes many many times before when Fuld had not.  

 

Hopefully the 2008 crash was a once in generation or longer event.  East Hampton baymen have essentially been doing a relatively similar thing year in and year out for centuries.  Even though Mr. Fuld should should have easily anticipated what was going to come (that the US was in a massive housing bubble with massive amounts of bad debt associated with it) It was the first time he had experienced this in his life and had he questioned himself he certainly did not have centuries worth of experience of his ancestors to guide him.  These folks did and do.   

 

The EH Trustees have tireless rebuilt the shellfish stocks over the years for the community (at a staggering cost) They have seen this before, many times, they know how it ends.  Yet do they shut it down? as far as I know it is not even being discussed - it's full steam ahead and damn the consequences.  They should know.  They have far more experience than Fuld did with a far more simple problem.

 

FWIW may Dick Fuld rot in hell.

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On 11/5/2019 at 10:21 AM, MaxKatt said:

 

Is that 13 / 14 generations a real thing?!?!?!   That's a Loooooonnnngggg time for a familty to be doing the same work.  Amazing if true.

Their families go back to the 1600’s, the earliest settlement and township on Long Island. A generation used to be considered 20 years. I think they are covered.

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On 11/7/2019 at 0:13 PM, CWitek said:

It rides the borderline between legal and illigal.  "Haul seine" and "haul seining" isn't defined in NY law.  Gill netting is specifically allowed.su

 

So they now use gill nets, not the haul seines that were traditionally used, but they run them out from the beach and around the fish that they believe are there, and haul them back to the beach to catch fish that aren't necessarily gilled, but merely engulfed by the arc of the net.

 

It needs a legislative solution, and some attempts have been made, but nothing has gotten past the talking stage so far.

Gill nets do not have a pocket, you can’t engulf fish. There are no hoop nets to brail them out.They were called “run arounds” by baymen in GSB. But the fish were always gilled, and therefore dead. I remember seeing  plenty of haul seine  sets where pucker on the pocket was opened to let  some of catch escape. Same for fish traps. If you try to use a gill net as a haul seine, the net will break. I really have to question more regs for these guys. The smallest most historic group of fisherman and the greatest number of regs per participant.  

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28 mins ago, Shag said:

The smallest most historic group of fisherman and the greatest number of regs per participant.  

The only legislative solution is to put the practice out of its misery once and for all. They guys that still do it only do it to keep some local yokel tradition alive. 

 

They were out haul seining at Indian Wells this morning - those clowns couldn’t catch their ass with both hands. I’m sure they will all end up selling their tags to guys like Paukulu buddies and are only too happy to go back to their construction jobs.

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3 hours ago, Cpalms said:

I can't believe I am going to defend Dick Fuld here but he and his coterie of managers did not have the hindsight provided by of hundreds of years credit derivatives and housing crashes.  If we are equating the Lehman's bankruptcy and what appears to be a scallop "bankruptcy' The difference is the laymen have seen scallop crashes many many times before when Fuld had not.  

 

Hopefully the 2008 crash was a once in generation or longer event.  East Hampton baymen have essentially been doing a relatively similar thing year in and year out for centuries.  Even though Mr. Fuld should should have easily anticipated what was going to come (that the US was in a massive housing bubble with massive amounts of bad debt associated with it) It was the first time he had experienced this in his life and had he questioned himself he certainly did not have centuries worth of experience of his ancestors to guide him.  These folks did and do.   

 

The EH Trustees have tireless rebuilt the shellfish stocks over the years for the community (at a staggering cost) They have seen this before, many times, they know how it ends.  Yet do they shut it down? as far as I know it is not even being discussed - it's full steam ahead and damn the consequences.  They should know.  They have far more experience than Fuld did with a far more simple problem.

 

FWIW may Dick Fuld rot in hell.

Fuld was actually trying to extricate Lehman from its problems and get leverage down to manageable levels when events caught up with him and things all fell apart.  In part, the problem was political.  Lehman went to the Fed to attempt to arrange a takeover by another institution, but it turned out that another broker was in much worse shape than Lehman was, and the Fed directed the healthier organization to take over the other broker rather than Lehman.  And because of the controversy over the Bear, Stearns rescue by JPMortan, the politicians weren't willing to provide certain guarantees for Lehman, because the time was right, politically, for at least one institution to fail.

 

As an attorney at Lehman who was standing by to get documentation in order when everyting went down, I saw things that weren;t reported in the press.  Lehman wasn't perfect, but wasn't as bad as has been portrayed in the popular press.  There were a lot of other things going on, and Lehman got caught on the wrong side of history and the political side of things.

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1 hour ago, Shag said:

Gill nets do not have a pocket, you can’t engulf fish. There are no hoop nets to brail them out.They were called “run arounds” by baymen in GSB. But the fish were always gilled, and therefore dead. I remember seeing  plenty of haul seine  sets where pucker on the pocket was opened to let  some of catch escape. Same for fish traps. If you try to use a gill net as a haul seine, the net will break. I really have to question more regs for these guys. The smallest most historic group of fisherman and the greatest number of regs per participant.  

The lack of a pocket is why theyre getting away with using gill nets, but they really are using them to surround fish and trap them between the net and the beach, where they can be captured even if not gilled in the mesh.  "Gill seining," as opposed to the use of run-around gill nets, has been an issue for the past decade or so, and because of ambiguities in the regulatiolns, the DEC has been unable to stop it.  

 

Maybe this year...

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1 hour ago, Cpalms said:

The only legislative solution is to put the practice out of its misery once and for all. They guys that still do it only do it to keep some local yokel tradition alive. 

 

They were out haul seining at Indian Wells this morning - those clowns couldn’t catch their ass with both hands. I’m sure they will all end up selling their tags to guys like Paukulu buddies and are only too happy to go back to their construction jobs.

All it should take is a definition of "haul seine" that addresses both construction and mode of deployement.  Virginia already has someting in place that we could adapt for legislation in New York.

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On 11/9/2019 at 6:21 PM, Shag said:

Their families go back to the 1600’s, the earliest settlement and township on Long Island. A generation used to be considered 20 years. I think they are covered.

 

Interesting view point.  I suppose if you think of a generation as GenX, Millenial, GenZ, Boomer, the are indeed roughly 20 and you could squeeze 13/14 of them in since birth of nation.

 

I was thinking about my ancestors, and ancestory.com work.  

 

Me, my Father, my Grandfather, my Great-Grandfather is 4 generations, but that only takes you back a 150 years.  Thus  "13 / 14" generations doing the same thing in THIS country didn't seem possible.

 

In any case, it's amazing.  From my ancstory work, I can tell you it's only about 3 generations (using my definition) trails go cold, people stop tending gravestones, etc.  

 

 

 

 

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On 11/9/2019 at 8:52 PM, CWitek said:

Fuld was actually trying to extricate Lehman from its problems and get leverage down to manageable levels when events caught up with him and things all fell apart.  In part, the problem was political.  Lehman went to the Fed to attempt to arrange a takeover by another institution, but it turned out that another broker was in much worse shape than Lehman was, and the Fed directed the healthier organization to take over the other broker rather than Lehman.  And because of the controversy over the Bear, Stearns rescue by JPMortan, the politicians weren't willing to provide certain guarantees for Lehman, because the time was right, politically, for at least one institution to fail.

 

As an attorney at Lehman who was standing by to get documentation in order when everyting went down, I saw things that weren;t reported in the press.  Lehman wasn't perfect, but wasn't as bad as has been portrayed in the popular press.  There were a lot of other things going on, and Lehman got caught on the wrong side of history and the political side of things.

 

I also observed short sighted wrong doing in my buisness career.  Was at Moody's when junk bonds were politely re-branded as "speculative grade"  or "high yield" and the CBO / CMO monsters were dreamt up.  ...After 10 years I left for Enron. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, MaxKatt said:

 

Interesting view point.  I suppose if you think of a generation as GenX, Millenial, GenZ, Boomer, the are indeed roughly 20 and you could squeeze 13/14 of them in since birth of nation.

 

I was thinking about my ancestors, and ancestory.com work.  

 

Me, my Father, my Grandfather, my Great-Grandfather is 4 generations, but that only takes you back a 150 years.  Thus  "13 / 14" generations doing the same thing in THIS country didn't seem possible.

 

In any case, it's amazing.  From my ancstory work, I can tell you it's only about 3 generations (using my definition) trails go cold, people stop tending gravestones, etc.  

 

 

 

 

'Generation' has multiple definitions.  In this case Shag misunderstood how I was applying the word.   'Generations' in the context I was using the generations are countable and finite -  great grandfather, grandfather, son, grandson is four generations. 

 

They lady I bought my house from in EH can document her ancestry going back 13 generations in town. Most of her relatives are buried in the cemetery up the street and there is a museum practically for their family in town.  Nothing to do with communication skills or spending habits of millennial's or baby boomers or "considered 20 years" nonsense.

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On 11/9/2019 at 7:53 PM, Cpalms said:

The only legislative solution is to put the practice out of its misery once and for all. They guys that still do it only do it to keep some local yokel tradition alive. 

 

They were out haul seining at Indian Wells this morning - those clowns couldn’t catch their ass with both hands. I’m sure they will all end up selling their tags to guys like Paukulu buddies and are only too happy to go back to their construction jobs.

gill netters are catching none and are monk fishing and you cant sell your tags you have to go on there boat but they are not even setting there nets fish are all 2 miles off the beach 

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