Archive for the tag 'fishing'

Source: Geoffrey Croft via

National Grid is expected to wrap up decontamination operations of last week’s gas and oil spill by the end of this weekend, while authorities note that the problem may be worse than originally expected.

A test of the oil that gushed from an old National Grid pipe found a PCB level of 10,000 ppm, 200 times the acceptable level and high enough to be deemed hazardous waste, a Department of Environmental Conservation bulletin notes. The sample was taken directly from the oil and not from areas where it has mixed with Jamaica Bay’s protected waters, where the concentration would have been diluted.

PCBs are a cancer-causing toxin.

The unusually high PCB level is due to the fact that the defunct pipe held old oil and gas from a different regulatory era, not the cleaner compounds circulating in National Grid’s active pipes.

Samples have not yet been tested from Paerdegat Basin – the site of the spill – itself, but the state Department of Health will review data on contaminant levels in the water and sediment to determine long-term effects on fish and wildlife. The DEC will conduct an investigation once cleanup is completed.

National Grid is also working with DEC and the Coast Guard to clean any boats and structures that have been contaminated by the spill.

The company led a tour of the area for local politicians including City Councilman Lew Fidler, who is skeptical of the company’s evaluation of the damage.

“You never take the word of the person who did it for how bad (it is),” Fidler told the Daily News. “I know it’s not on the level of the Exxon-Mobil spill, but if it’s in your neighborhood it sure feels like it.”

The spill was reported to authorities at 1:30 a.m. on September 28. National Grid was capping the unused pipe by injecting it with a cement slurry, but something went wrong and between 800 and 1,400 gallons of natural gas condensate, compressor oil and turbine oil poured into Paerdegat Basin, part of the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.

National Grid and the Williams Company are currently seeking the government’s permission to build a natural gas pipeline underneath Jamaica Bay, with a metering station in Floyd Bennett Field’s hangars. The proposal has already received the green light from federal legislators and is currently under review by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

However, environmentalists say National Grid and Williams both have a history of accidents like this and the plan should be blocked in favor of protecting the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, a national park.

The DEC and Coast Guard are advising the public to avoid recreational boating and fishing near Paerdegat Basin. They also say to avoid consuming fish and shellfish from the area’s waters.

Source: Geoffrey Croft via

Source: Geoffrey Croft via

Early Thursday morning to Friday, 1,100 gallons of gas and oil spilled into the Paerdegat Basin Creek, which connects to the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, after a pipe-cementing incident had gone wrong.

We reported on the story as it broke, and more information has since been released . Geoffrey Croft, blogger at A Walk In The Park NYC and founder of NYC Park Advocates has put together some photos of the environmental calamity and got feedback from local mariners.

“You could taste oil in your mouth” a boater said at the Midget Squadron Yacht Club, according to Croft, who also notes that neighbors were reporting headaches and nausea.

After the spill, the Coast Guard sent out pollution responders which included the FDNY, DEC and the Miller Environmental Group, an environmental waste crew. The cleanup crews are  laying down oil booms and blue absorbent pads in the water to help soak up the oil.

Over the weekend, officials were near the spill warning boaters and fishermen not to go near the water.

National Grid, which is the company that was replacing the pipe that initially leaked the toxins, was on hand, too. According to Croft, “Contractors were filling up multiple 55 gallons drums along Seaview Avenue in front of Canarsie Park.”

National Grid released the following statement after the spill:

On Sept. 27 National Grid and its contractor were working on filling in an old gas main that is no longer in service with cement.

During the process an oily water residue spilled from the exit pipe into a valve box. An odor from the residue was released, resulting in a number of odor calls. We were onsite with crews throughout the night investigating and did not find any gas leaks. We immediately notified the appropriate agencies and we and our environmental contractors are working under the direction of the Coast Guard and the NYS DEC to clean up a spill in Paerdergat Basin.

“Our whole club filled with gas,” said Mike Keller from the Diamond Point Yacht Club, a maritime club within the vicinity of the spill. “My car completely filled will the smell of methane gas to the point where I was gagging. This whole area was filled with methane gas, waves of gas.”

Keller also said the spill spread was pushed out by outgoing tides to Jamaica Bay on Friday.

“Coast Guard pollution responders, working closely with city and state partners, will ensure the responsible party performs a proper and complete cleanup of the spill site,” wrote Petty Officer Erik Swanson, Coast Guard spokesman in New York, in a statement.

If National Grid is found responsible for any wrong-doing, they will be fined.

Lisa King, from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation stated that the spill “contained some PCBs,” which is a persistent organic pollutant, whose production was banned in the late 70′s. She goes on to say that:

At this point, it appears the spill is contained to that waterway. National Grid was performing work in the area at the time. You need to contact them for more specifics on the work they were doing. We are advising against recreational fishing and boating in the waterway until further notice. National Grid hired a contractor to clean up the work that has been on scene since the night of the spill. DEC is overseeing the work with the US Coast Guard. Once the immediate spill clean up efforts are complete, DEC will conduct sampling to see if there is lingering environmental damage.

In the meantime,boaters are still asked to stay away from the contaminated site.

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz issues a press release this morning, commending the state Department of Environmental Conservation for their fast response to Friday’s oil spill in Jamaica Bay.

Below is the press release:

In the wake of Friday’s oil and gas spill in JamaicaBay, Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn), a member of the Assembly’s Committee on Environmental Conservation, is praising the state agency charged with overseeing the investigation for its quick response and asking to be kept informed as the probe into the spill moves forward.

According to published reports, National Grid was cementing an “older pipe” on the evening of September 28 when 1,100 gallons of natural gas condensate, compressor oil and turbine oil discharged into Jamaica Bay.

Inspectors from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEC) and Coast Guard responded, and an environmental response contractor hired by National Grid has been working to suck the water-oil mixture out of the area to prevent further environmental damage.

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UPDATED POST (7:28 p.m.): National Grid contractors are cleaning up 1,100 gallons of gas and oil that gushed into the waters of Paerdegat Basin, which connects to the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, after an accident Friday night.

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Erik Swanson told Sheepshead Bites that National Grid was cementing an older pipe when there was an unexpected discharge of hazardous materials at approximately 1:30 a.m. The discharge was a mixture of natural gas condensate, compressor oil and turbine oil.

National Grid alerted the Coast Guard, who sent a pollution responder team to the scene, along with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation inspectors.

The company hired Miller Environmental Group, a Long Island-based environmental response contractor, to clean the waters, which involves sucking the water-oil mixture out of the area to prevent anymore sheening or environmental damage, Swanson said.

The contractors will be working throughout today and tomorrow, but the repairs are expected to continue past the weekend.

Coast Guard and local governmental agencies will investigate the cause of the accident. If National Grid is determined to have caused it or acted inappropriately, they will be fined, Swanson said. There will also be continued testing of the waters to ensure the public’s safety.

Authorities are cautioning mariners and fishermen to avoid the area.

Original Post (5:00 p.m.): Authorities are telling fishermen, mariners and water enthusiasts to stay away from the Paerdegat Basin are of Jamaica Bay, following a National Grid oil spill. Here’s the alert:

Alert issued 9/29/12 at 4:45 PM. Oil spill contractors working for National Gird Corporation, under the direction of the US Coast Guard and the NYS DEC, are working to clean up a spill of oil and hazardous materials in Paerdergat Basin, Brooklyn. The public is advised to avoid fishing and recreational activity in this area until further notice. An odor may also be present in the area. There is no danger of an explosion.

We have contacted the Department of Environmental Conservation regarding the circumstances of the spill and are awaiting a response.

This is a breaking news story and may contain inaccuracies. We will update it as more information becomes available. If anyone has more information or additional photos, please send them to tips (at) sheepsheadbites (dot) com.

Tragedy struck the family of Yevgeniy “Eugene” Glebov, a 29-year-old Brighton Beach lifeguard found dead in the waters off the Rockaways yesterday. He was discovered by a tugboat crew after he disappeared setting off on a lone fishing trip this past Friday.

Glebov, a Staten Island native, was an avid spear fisherman who was known for his daring technique, which consisted of wading into rough waters without an air tank to hunt giant bass. An expecting father, Eugene planned to give up his dangerous hobby once his baby was born.

Eugene’s bravery in the sea extended beyond his fishing trips and into his summer job.

“Two weeks ago, he rescued a girl . . . stuck in a fishing net,” his devastated father told the Post. “We were hoping for a miracle. We were really hoping he would be found alive.”

“The baby will be named after him: Eugenia. He was excited to be a father,” added Eugene’s cousin, Anna. “He wanted to drop his passion for a new passion.”

FIshing 1973

DailyDOCUMERICA recently dug up this old photo of Plum Beach, taken in May 1973 by Coney Island native Arthur Tress. It looks to be a part of the same Tress series as the Plumb Beach photo we showed you – also from DailyDOCUMERICA – in early July.

Looks like they’re having fun, but considering they’re fishing from what appears to be the DEP outflow pump near Brigham Street – which was still active at the time – we really hope this couple decided not to eat any of the catches!

Source: Jim Henderson via Wikimedia Commons

Folks strolling along the Emmons Avenue pier may notice the dinner boats, the restaurants and the swans in the Bay. And, of course, that local trademark: groups of fishermen, at the crack of dawn, continuing Sheepshead Bay’s traditional line of work.

The New York Times ran a profile of one of the fishermen, 28-year-old Kyle Kaltenmaier, who works on the Sea Queen 7, a party boat that docks along Emmons Avenue.

Kaltenmaier, who is from Woodhaven, Queens, is a first mate and an aspiring professional poker player. Better known as “Dolphin” to his crew, he reels in as many customers off the street as he does fish of the day.

The day the Times was there, he pulled 20 would-be fishermen for one of the Sea Queens’ three cruises.

On the boat, after the rods are hooked and baited, the lines are dropped and everyone relaxes, Kaltenmaier’s job is telling fishing tales like a modern-day Hemingway.

He talks about the whale he saw off the Rockaways and fishing disasters he’s had to avert with novice anglers.

As fulfilling as his life may seem, Kaltenmaier wants to take a break from the sea and spend more time in the casinos. As an aspiring professional Texas hold’em player, he wants to hit it big.

He’s been saving his fishing money and taking breaks in the winter time to work his card shark game in Altlantic City.

“I’ve tried it the past few years, but it’s just never worked out,” he said. “It’s just a matter of getting the right cardS.”

Kaltenmaier said he got into poker after watching passengers playing on the ship. He got so good that he was banned from playing against his customers.

“Poker is a lot like fishing: part luck, part skill,” said Kaltenmaier.

From Newsday:

The fluke and porgy seasons open in New York waters Tuesday with less restrictive rules on the number and size fish anglers can take.

For fluke, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation cut the size of keeper fish this month to 19.5 inches from 20.5 last year. Anglers can keep four fluke of that size, compared with three last year. The season ends Sept. 30, same as last year.

… In January, the DEC said the easing was likely because anglers didn’t catch their full allotment last year. Some said that was because the larger size and smaller amount made fishing unfeasible, particularly compared with states such as New Jersey, which can catch more, smaller fluke.

“These regulation changes reflect improvements to populations of scup, black sea bass and summer flounder,” said DEC Assistant Commissioner for Natural Resources Kathy Moser, who added the scup, or porgy, fishery is “particularly robust.”

… The DEC also eased rules for porgies, or scup, doubling the number anglers can keep to 20 from 10, and extending the season to Dec. 31. The size limit remains the same at 10.5 inches for those on shore or in private boats. Those on licensed party/charter boats face an 11-inch size limit, but they can take 40 fish during September and October.

The DEC eased the black sea bass restriction to include 15 fish during a season that starts June 15 and ends Dec. 31, with a minimum size of 13 inches.

That should be good news to Sheepshead Bay’s fishing fleet, the operators of which have long complained that New York State’s heavy-handed restrictions hurt their ability to compete with nearby fleets in New Jersey and elsewhere. It hasn’t been all good news from the DEC this year, though; the agency tightened restrictions on blackfish in March.

CBS News’ Marketwatch blog put together a roundup of “unusual, creative locations” for business meetings, breaking away from the conventions of stuffy boardrooms and restaurants where you try to make your pitch in between shoveling sustenance into your pie-hole.

They queried a handful of corporate executives, including one who shared this anecdote about a business meeting aboard a Sheepshead Bay fishing boat:

While night-fishing
Recently, my business partner, a friend and I all went on a night fishing trip for striped bass out of Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. While we were on the boat the topic of domaining came up and after some discussions, our friend who is a domainer discovered that we were selling a portfolio. Before we got back to land, we sealed a deal to sell him the domain name portfolio. Not only was the trip a super fun time but it also provided us with a great business opportunity. –Ian Aronovich, CEO of

Sure, that’s one idea. And if you’re really nervous about the meeting – or if you get an offer that’s so awful you want to barf – well, you can just blame it on the waves!

Let’s make our own list out of this for all you Sheepshead Bay-based business men out there. What other unusual, creative business meeting locations can you think of in Sheepshead Bay? (Ed. – Don’t say Windjammer.)

It was way back in 2009 that Sheepshead Bites and Brooklyn Independent Television (a.k.a. BCAT) teamed up on the video above to tell the story of Sheepshead Bay’s struggling recreational fishing industry. With the help of Brooklyn VI’s Captain Sapanara, we identified some of the key issues facing the fleet, which shrank from dozens to just a handful in the last two decades. The causes included rising gas prices, cultural changes and a slew of overwhelming regulations that are smothering locals’ ability to compete with out-of-state fleets.

New regulations unveiled by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation recently have now dealt another blow, shortening the blackfish season by nearly four months, and upping the minimum size limit of each fish caught.

According to Courier-Life:

The state Department of Environmental Conservation shortened the 2012 Blackfish fishing season — which usually runs from October until April — for recreational casters by 70 days, forcing it to end in January. The agency also increased the minimum size limit of the catch by 2 inches, so that many of the Blackfish that were hooked had to be returned to the sea.

Charter boat captains say blackfish — which are also known as tautog and oyster fish and taste like cod or flounder — are a winter staple for fishermen trolling borough waters. Now that the blackfish season has been cut short in New York, their business has been cut by nearly 60 percent as recreational anglers go to New Jersey, they say.

“In a time of economic hardship why we’d want to send business out of state is beyond me,” said Greg Nardiello, captain of the recreational vessel Ocean Eagle, which used to troll for the ugly, but tasty, water breathers nicknamed “the poor man’s lobster.” “Blackfish is really the big ticket fish in the winter season. Now people are heading to New Jersey for it.”

Much like other regulations that determine the size and number of the catch, the latest rule-tightening is based on the population of the target species. The problem is that the data being used is either wrong or outdated.

Even the Fisheries Commission admitted that their numbers were off base: in a statement released on March 7, the agency admitted that their determination to reduce blackfish fishing by 53 percent was an overestimation and only a 37 percent reduction was necessary — meaning that the blackfish season could have could have extended.

Adding insult to injury, New York opts to follow more restrictive federal guidelines, while neighboring states like New Jersey determine their own rules – even if they’re fishing in the same waters. As many local fishermen point out, that often means a Sheepshead Bay boat might be anchored next to a New Jersey boat and casting into the same spot, but local passengers may only be allowed to bring home two fish, while New Jersey anglers can take home more.

According to Courier-Life, Department of Environmental Conservation officials will meet later this month to discuss the changes.

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