January 18, 2019
What’s in the Modern Fish Act?
Photo by Bill Brine/flickr
The recreational fishing and boating community is celebrating the enactment of the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2018, or the Modern Fish Act, which was signed into law by President Trump on December 31, 2018. The Modern Fish Act finally recognizes, in federal law, the differences between recreational and commercial fishing and adds more appropriate management tools for policymakers to use in managing federal recreational fisheries.

“Millions of American families take part in saltwater recreational fishing and boating activities and support multi-billion dollar industries that generate hundreds of thousands of jobs in our country,” said Jeff Angers, president of the  Center for Sportfishing Policy . “Today, we are thankful for this important milestone for federal fisheries management and marine conservation, and we look forward to continuing to improve public access to our nation’s healthy fisheries.”

The Modern Fish Act, introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Garret Graves (R-La.), enjoyed strong bipartisan support from a long list of cosponsors representing coastal and non-coastal states alike. On December 17,  the Senate unanimously passed the Modern Fish Act (S. 1520)  followed by  overwhelming approval in the House (350-11) on December 19 .

How Hipsters Are Getting Into Hunting
The Wall Street Journal
CLfT photo
A group of veteran hunters set out last month in a forest northeast of Atlanta with apprentices. Among them, a former vegetarian, a Haitian-born grad student and a farmers-market manager. They wore camouflage and carried crossbows.

They were aiming to kill white-tailed deer. But the real target: new hunters.

The number of Americans 16 and older who hunt is down 18% from two decades ago, according to federal data.  An older generation of hunters  is trying to lure recruits to the sport by pitching it as a good way to ensure meat is local, sustainable and probably organic.

“Earthy crunchy aligns very well with deer hunting,” says Charles Evans, 29, who works in hunter recruitment for the Georgia Wildlife Federation.

Why Midwest Whitetails are Shedding Early
By Spencer Neuharth/MeatEater
Photo by Suzanne Phillips/flickr
Although it was warm for December, I couldn’t help but shiver as the whitetail’s rack grew wider with each step closer. At 130 yards, I battled through buck fever and touched off a shot.

The deer dropped in its tracks. I quickly gathered my gear and set off to claim one of my biggest bucks ever. When I got to the deer I was stunned to find that it was missing something; lying just a couple feet away was half of his rack.

A whitetail shedding in December isn’t unheard of, but it’s not common either. Most deer across the Midwest drop their antlers between January and March, which is why I considered this buck an outlier. My dad witnessed something similar a few days later, though. While hunting with an  antlerless tag , he unknowingly shot a buck that had already lost its headgear.

All of a sudden, my buck didn’t seem like an anomaly.

Microbes Could be Key to Stopping Plastic Pollution
By Prachi Patel/Anthropocene
Photo by Kevin Krejci/flickr
Around 8 million metric tons of plastic are estimated to enter the oceans every year. But the oceans could provide a solution to this plastic pollution problem. In a new study published in  Bioresource Technology , scientists report that certain salt-loving microorganisms could eat seaweed and produce biodegradable plastics in a sustainable fashion.

While traditional plastics are derived from petroleum, bioplastics are a sustainable alternative made using plant matter as raw material. But growing plants requires large amounts of land, freshwater and fertilizer. Bioplastics made from low-cost, ideally  waste materials , would be much more sustainable. And the new seaweed-based degradable plastic fits the bill. It could be sustainably produced in large quantities offshore from non-food sources, its developers at Tel Aviv University say.

Commercially available  bioplastics  are made of a fully degradable polymer called polyhydroxyalkanoate that is naturally produced by  bacteria  or other microorganisms by fermenting sugar or fats. The microbes are usually fed vegetable oil, or pure carbon sources such as glucose, which is derived from corn or sugarcane.

The researchers from Tel Aviv University used single-celled microbes called Haloferax Mediterranei instead. 

Hunting with the Eagles
in Mongolia
By Hannah Reyes Morales/The New York Times
Photo by David Baxendale/flickr
When school is done on Fridays, Zamanbol heads back home, finishes her homework and does her chores as typical teenagers do anywhere. On Saturdays, she saddles up her horse, treks deep into snow-capped mountains and hunts wild beasts with a trusted partner: her trained bird of prey.

Zamanbol, 14, is an eagle huntress. A Kazakh nomad in the Altai region of Mongolia, she is part of a generation of nomadic youth who are embracing customs centuries old as they seek connection with their roots and the wild in a world being transformed by technology.

The young huntress, who goes to school in town during the week and returns to her nomadic family’s ger, or yurt, on the weekend, has been living among eagles her whole life.

The demanding craft of eagle hunting was passed on to her by her grandfather, Matei. With him by her side, she and her eagle have even hunted wolves.

“We are drifting faster than we even dream toward a sterility in wild life of the marsh and upland, from which there will be no returning. The pace must slacken!”

- Nash Buckingham
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