Friday, October 28, 2011

Beach Cleanup Saturday, October 29th is a GO!

Update: Beach Clean up for this Saturday is a go! Please check this blog for any changes due to weather. Hope to see you on the beach!


SCUSSET BEACH – Join the New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance, Capt. John Boats and the Department of Conservation and Recreation from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, working together to clean up Scusset Beach, located within the Scusset Beach State Reservation. The rain date is from 9 to 11 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 30.


This cleanup effort is part of Coastsweep, the commonwealth’s annual coastal cleanup program that is organized by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management and the Urban Harbors Institute of UMass Boston. Last year, more than 2,900 Coastsweep volunteers collected in excess of 20,000 pounds of trash from beaches, marshes, rivers, ponds and the seafloor.


NECWA and Coastsweep will provide all the necessary supplies, including protective gloves, garbage bags and data sheets for this cleanup effort.


After the event, cleanup participants are invited to enjoy drinks and snacks and NECWA will raffle off a number of nature-related items like T-shirts and DVDs to thank everyone for helping out.


For additional information, call Tammy Silva, NECWA staff member and CJB naturalist, at 508-410-9749 or email tsilva1620@yahoo.com.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Mola rescue on October 22, 2011 in Wellfleet Harbor


The Sunfish Sisters!

Ocean Sunfish Rescue in Wellfleet Harbor off Mayo Beach - Saturday, October 22, 2011

(Please read Nancy's story about an ocean sunfish rescue after Krill's message)

Message from Krill:
On Saturday, October 22, 2011, I was whale watching offshore when I received a call from CT, a good friend with IFAW's Marine Mammal Rescue Program. CT had just received a report about an ocean sunfish in dangerously shallow water just off Mayo Beach, Wellfleet Harbor. The caller was very concerned that this sunfish was in jeopardy of stranding and her concern was justified.

Since I was offshore and would not be able to assist, I asked CT if the caller could push the ocean sunfish back into deeper water, but only if conditions were safe for the person. That was the last I heard about this situation until I got back to the dock late that afternoon and listened to a cell phone message from the Wellfleet Police Department. They had left a message about this same ocean sunfish and provided the person's contact information.

I immediately called the number and spoke to Nancy, one of the 3 beach walkers that had successfully rescued the ocean sunfish in question. As I listened to Nancy describe the situation, I was impressed with the effort by this trio and was amazed at how much time they had spent in the water (in October), in an effort to get the sunfish back into deeper water. People like Nancy, her sister Kay and their friend Jay are truly amazing human beings. They redeem my faith in mankind. Not many people would have taken the time and effort to help this fish for in many people's minds, it is "only a fish." But they did act and their actions saved one very lucky ocean sunfish!

Thank you Nancy, Kay and Jay for caring enough to get involved and to act. For when the tide is going out, acting fast is the most critical part of any rescue effort. Once an ocean sunfish strands on a beach or on a sand flat, their large size and weight limits any rescue effort. But even when an ocean sunfish is in a few inches of water, they are easy to move and float into deeper water.

Nancy's Story:
My sister Katy and I saw him splashing a lot inshore just before low tide a little after 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22. He was between Mayo Beach and Powers Landing. We walked him out in the direction of the breakwater trying to get him as close to the channel as we could. Jay Allison from WCAI joined our efforts. Jay was taller than us, which was important because the sunfish had to be about 7 feet from top of the dorsal fin to the bottom of the anal fin. Overall, this ocean sunfish was probably 5 feet in length.

He did keep re-orienting himself towards the beach, but we tried to keep him headed out towards the deeper water. Once we got him out in water that was up to my neck (I am 5'3"), we pushed him out towards the deeper water. Then I could not touch the bottom anymore and we lost sight of him near the bottom. By this time the tide was coming in, so hopefully he was in deep enough water to not get into more trouble. It took close to an hour and a half to do this, and his eye kept moving and looking - and he was moving his fins, too. Fingers crossed!

I just read the article in the Cape Codder - and am so glad that we all took the time to help the ocean sunfish!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

BEACH CLEANUP AT SCUSSET BEACH - Saturday, October 29th at 9 am to 11 am




New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance (NECWA) / Captain John Whale Watching and Fishing Tours announce …

BEACH CLEANUP AT SCUSSET BEACH - Please join us!

Date: Saturday, October 29th

Time: 9 am to 11 am

Location: Scusset Beach within the Scusset Beach State Reservation

For the past six years, the New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance (NECWA), Captain John Whale Watching and Fishing Tours and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) have teamed up to conduct a fall beach cleanup at Scusset Beach. This cleanup effort is part of COASTSWEEP, the Commonwealth’s annual coastal cleanup program that is organized by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management and the Urban Harbors Institute of the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Last year, over 2,900 COASTSWEEP volunteers collected over 20,000 pounds of trash from beaches, marshes, rivers, ponds, and the seafloor.

Join NECWA, Captain John Boats and DCR on Saturday, October 29th from 9 am to 11 am as we work together to cleanup Scusset Beach located within the Scusset Beach State Reservation. Our rain date is Sunday, October 30, 2011 from 9 am - 11 am. Check the NECWA News blog (necwanews.blogspot.com) for updates on this event.

The public is invited to participate in this cleanup effort. Let’s have fun spending time walking the beach and making Scussett Beach free from marine debris. NECWA and COASTSWEEP will provide all the necessary supplies including protective gloves, garbage bags and data sheets for this cleanup effort.

After the event, cleanup participants are invited to join us for drinks and snacks. And NECWA will raffle off a number of nature-related items like t-shirts and DVDs to thank everyone for joining us.

For additional information, please contact:

Tammy Silva

NECWA Staff Member

508-410-9749

tsilva1620@yahoo.com


Additional Links and Contacts:

NECWAwebsite at necwa.org and our NECWA News Blog at necwanews.blogspot.com

Captain John Boats website

DCR at Scusset Beach

Coastsweep at coastsweep.umb.edu or call the Urban Harbors Institute at 617-287-5570

Strandings provide rare close-up glimpse of the odd ocean sunfish

Strandings provide rare close-up glimpse of the odd ocean sunfish

Photos

phoCAsunfish02_1012.jpg
Photo courtesy of "Krill" Carson

Mass Audubon seasonal researcher Tempe Regan is about to do a post-mortem on this ocean sunfish in Truro on Oct. 5.

phoCAsunfish02_1012.jpg
phoCAsunfish01_1012.jpg

By Rich Eldred
Posted Oct 14, 2011 @ 07:29 PM
Print Comment

The inner arm of Cape Cod Bay is not only bad news for whales. Dolphins and sea turtles – it’s the end of the line for many an ocean sunfish as well.

The ocean sunfish is a large (up to 5,000 pound) flattened orbicular shaped fish with large dorsal and anal fins but virtually no tail fin. The reduced tailfin serves merely as a rudder while the other two fins proved the power. They’re often taller (up to 14 feet) than they are long (up to 10 feet). They’ll float near the surface, perhaps sunning themselves, with their large dorsal fin breaking the surface.

The Mola mola (its memorable scientific name) sports a beak-like mouth used for chewing up jellyfish and other similar gelatinous creatures.
Since there are a lot of jellyfish adrift in New England waters they aren’t uncommon offshore but few people have ever seen one alive.

One person who has seen a lot of sunfish is Carol “Krill” Carson, of Middleboro who founded the volunteer New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance in 2005. Her New England Basking Shark Project is dedicated to collecting sighting and stranding information on both basking sharks and ocean sunfish.

“That’s another large fish nobody knows anything about,” Carson said. “I thought wouldn’t it be nice if we could create a sighting network. The more eyes we have the more we can learn.”

The slow swimming sunfish arrive from the tropics in mid-summer and begin washing ashore right about now.

“They start (stranding) around late August and continue till early December, with September/October/November the highlight,” she reported. “They come in before the torpedo rays and sea turtles. We see them offshore feeding on jellyfish and for some reason they start to strand this time of year.”

They don’t seem cold-stunned like the sea turtles nor are they ill like dolphins. Perhaps they are feeding too close to shore. Carson often suggests people re-route them back out to sea.

“They get themselves in a bad position and the tide goes out,” she said. “When they’re high and dry they’re impossible to move. But in even a couple of inches of water you can move them easily. They are like saucers.”

The fish that wash up on Cape Cod Bay are smaller than those 2-ton giants. Carson suspects they are juveniles, much like the sea turtles that strand.

“Two weeks ago a couple called from Indian Neck [in Wellfleet]. I live in Middleboro and they said an ocean sunfish was stranding. I asked ‘Is it high tide yet?’ And told them ‘If it is safe you just push it back in,’ and they did,” Carson recalled. “They saved it because they caught it before it stranded.”

One sunfish discovered in Truro Oct. 5, wasn’t as lucky. The people who reported it to Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary thought it was a dead sea turtle. Carson arrived the do a necropsy and collect data. Another one turned up in Sandwich over the weekend. Carson has recorded eight so far this year. Last year she was able to rescue two and necropsied 18.

“I think a lot are funneled into the bay side of the Cape,” Carson said. “They should be moving south like everything. They’re more tropical fish.”

It isn’t that easy collecting data, weighing the fish is a problem.

“I’ve learned how to measure them, photographed them, sexed them, and I’m collecting tissue samples in my freezer at home. I was contacted by a researcher in England who wanted samples so he could compare DNA so I sent him 26 samples,” Carson said. “David Clapp and Sam McGee are helping by creating a portable tri-pod with a crane scale to get weight measurements. It’s sort of a fun project. It’s true science.”

One thing surprised Carson. While sunfish are classified as the heaviest boney fish in the sea she can cut through any part of the animal. Including the skull, with a basic knife.

“They’re more cartilaginous than anything else,” she noted.

She’s learned to age them by counting the rings in the vertebrae.
Anyone who encounters an ocean sunfish on the beach, dead or alive, is urged to call Carson.

“I did two ocean sunfish yesterday and because they were sitting on the beach so long everything was decomposed,” she said. “The faster I get to the beach the better it is.”



Read more: Strandings provide rare close-up glimpse of the odd ocean sunfish - - The Cape Codder http://www.wickedlocal.com/brewster/archive/x597430393/Strandings-provide-rare-close-up-glimpse-of-the-odd-ocean-sunfish#ixzz1bZDXU6MW