Archive for the ‘Environmental issues’ Category

Iron Fish! The most muscles per pound of ANY fish!

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

I may make a note here and there, but, mostly, I purloined this article upon which I stumbled. I have left all of the attributions in so you know who the guilty parties are.

I am not sure if I approve of this genetic modification. Generally, I support reasonable genetic playing around, after all, all advances in agriculture and animal husbandry resulted from controlling the reproductive process of whatever was being manipulated. Jacob did this to his father-in-law to insure the goats and sheep he got to keep were the ones likely to be borne. I believe that was based on color. I forget who I studied about as a kid, but, I still recall the controlling of which peas got to fertilize the other peas led to the development of better peas. I have over 250 named varieties of day-lilies many of which are triploids, you got it, genetically modified plants and beautiful! Slaves, sadly, were bred for strength. Commenting on this fact caused Jimmy the Greek his job when he discussed the link between the prevalence of blacks in football and the foul habits of slave owners to breed their slaves for desired characteristics. You and I picked our brides and grooms based on certain genetic traits we found attractive. So, fiddling with genetics is not new. But, when you start using technology, we start to get nervous. Maybe with good reason. Somehow, Arnie the trout bothers me. I look at this body and do not see muscles, I see tumors. Finely developed bodies are pleasant to look at. This goes for human and animal. This fish does not turn me on! What do you think?

Meet Arnie, the Terminator Trout with the physique of a body-builder

By Sara Nelson
Last updated at 1:11 AM on 13th March 2010

Scientists have created a genetically-modified trout with the rippling muscles of a body-builder.

Arnie terminator trout

The mutant fish is the result of a decade-long effort by Terry Bradley, a professor of fisheries and aquaculture at the University of Rhode Island.

The rainbow trout’s enhanced muscle mass is between 15 to 20 per cent higher than that of a standard fish, thanks to Professor Bradley’s research into the inhibition of myostatin, a protein that slows growth.

The increased muscle mass will have commercial benefits in that larger fish can be grown without increasing the amount of food they need.

While the physical differences in the fish include a prominent dorsal hump, making it look as if it has muscular shoulders, and the appearance of ‘six pack abs’, no differences in behavior have been noted.

Describing the results as ‘stunning’, Professor Bradley told Science Daily: ‘Belgian blue cattle have a natural mutation in myostatin causing a 20 to 25 percent increase in muscle mass, and mice overexpressing myostatin exhibit a two-fold increase in skeletal muscle mass.

‘But fish have a very different mechanism of muscle growth than mammals, so we weren’t certain it was going to work.’

Luckily for Professor Bradley, it did work.

The team injected thousands of rainbow trout eggs with various DNA types designed to inhibit myostatin.

Of the eggs that hatched, those which carried the gene began to develop ‘body-builder’ physiques.

Professor Bradley added: ‘The results have significant implications for commercial aquaculture and provide completely novel information on the mechanisms of fish growth.

‘The results also allow for comparisons between the mechanisms of growth of muscle in mammals versus fish, and it could shed light on muscle wasting diseases in humans.’

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This blog is underwritten by David Atherton of Emmrod Compact Fishing Systems. This system is unbreakable, versitile and can be used in so many circumstances. If you backpack, need a survival fishing pole for your car, plane, or horse pack, if you rid motorcycle or 4 wheelers, this system is for you! Check it out at or

The Day the Ocean Almost Ate My Son

Monday, December 14th, 2009

Over the course of my life, I have had a number of occasions where Mother Earth gave me a glimpse of her raw, naked power.  I know why we attribute a female nature to “Earth.”  We do not say “Father Earth.”  It is always “Mother Earth.”  It must be that ability to go from Peace, Light and Beauty to raging, unbridled explosion of the energized screaming heebee jeebees in virtual nanoseconds, and then, return to Peace, Light and Beauty as if there had been no change since the previous calm.  Perhaps I need to have Billy Joel add a verse to “She’s Only a Woman to me.”  Well, I digress.

Today’s memories will be three vignettes of Mother Nature’s wildness as demonstrated by the Ocean.

I made two trips to the Sulu Sea.  In my first trip during the very early 1960’s, we left Mindanao on an inter-island freighter.  Even with the expanded memories of my young eyes–10-11 years old at the time, I do not recall this freighter being very large.  Perhaps a hundred feet long.  I do not recall a lot of steel like the freighters that plied between the US and the Philippines which I clearly recall from my trips back and forth across the Pacific. In my mind’s eye, I recall a wooden boat.  It had a main cargo bay in which most of the people also sat.  The primary cargo was copra.  Copra is the fruit of a mature coconut after the coconut is halved and the meat is popped out.  The meat is dried, bagged in large burlap bags and transported to processing centers where any number of products are made. Much of it is squeezed dry and the oil saved for use in soaps, lotions and cosmetics. In its unprocessed state, it has a very strong odor.  Not unpleasant, in normal circumstances.  These inter-island boats are powered by large diesel engines which, in this case seem to leave a lot of the fumes in the hold.

As we started our journey from Southern Mindanao and hopped from island to island loading and unloading goods and people on a journey that would almost reach Indonesia’s outer islands, the ocean was smooth, loving, nururing and pleasant.  Several hours into the trip that changed. I do not recall the transition, although there must have been one.  I just remember vividly as the waves grew, the violence of the freighter’s shaking motion grew. The waves were over the top of the boat and at least 30 to 35 feet high. The babies were crying, the mothers were vomiting.  The copra was emitting its fragrance in seemingly more potent quantities.  The diesel engines pumped more fumes into this cacophony of smell and sound.  It became unbearable to me and I felt myself becoming ill.  I was regretting the fine supper I had experienced before boarding. Finally, I went up to the top of the freighter.  Although seeing the violence of the ocean was frightening, the wind did clear my head which magically calmed my stomach.  I remained up top for the rest of the trip.  I do not know if Jonah was on board and the crew heaved him over the side or if there was another reason, but, within a few hours, the wind died to nothing, the sea was glassy and smooth with the rest of our voyage moving forward without incident.

On another day in the late 1980’s, I went fishing off the rocks about a half mile beyond the end of the road in Makaha, Waianae Coast, Oahu, Hawaii.  These rocks, while old, are not so old as to have been ground down by the forces of the winds and tides.  On the contrary, they are razor edged from almost any angle you touch them.  They are not smooth but full of ridges, crags, valleys, cuts and breaks.  When walking you need to pay attention.  You better not try them barefoot.  But, if you can get out to the edge, you can catch some very nice fish.  All that makes these rocks hard to walk on makes them great habitat for fish.  On the day I went fishing there, the ocean was calm, the sky was blue and it was just beautiful out. Now, waves come in sets, typically, about 7 in a group.  You start with a small wave and the waves grow in size until the seventh which is the largest, then, it starts over again.  You must watch the waves when near the edge.  I do not think most of us out on those rocks that day were paying much attention.  Suddenly, one wave came roaring up from the depths.  It dwarfed all the large waves of the preceding hour. It was as if Neptune had been forking a bit out of each wave that came by to stockpile for a single big onslaught against the interlopers on the rocks. The wave came boiling out of the depths, crashing over the rocks in places almost three to four feet deep.  Fortunately for me, I was on a rock a bit above the fray.  Unfortunately for one young lady, she was in a bit of a low spot.  The wave grabbed her, threw her down on the rocks and drug her about 50 or 60 feet back in towards the path.  Then, with a barely a whimper, the water all dribbled away.  However, the witness remained.  This lady was wearing a bathing suit. Her right leg had been dragged over the lava rock the entire distance and was sliced, diced and lacerated from her thigh to her calf.  It was an ugly site indeed.  Someone called an ambulance to come to minister to her.

Finally, on another day, probably in late 1985, I was outside of our Makaha condominium playing on the beach with my daughter and son.  My daughter was up a ways playing in the dry sand.  My two year old was a bit lower and I was even closer to the water fishing.  Suddenly, this same Neptune thrown abnormal wave came roiling out of the depths. Before I knew it, Willie was rolling towards the Ocean.  Had I been three feet further away, I doubt I could have caught him. But, thank God, I was able to grab him before he became victim of the Ocean’s insatiable hunger.

Thus, over my life I have learned, the power of Nature is awesome.  Do not take either the calm or the storm for granted.  Our lives are nothing against it.  I thank God for protecting me and mine in those cases were the line between life and death, health and ill can be so thin.

For information on the Emmrod fishing system, go to,

Commercial Fishing vs. Sport fishing

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

I find myself conflicted.  I really detest fishing nets and long line fishing.  On the other hand, I like cheap fish at my local stores!  How do we find a middle ground? Wikipedia has a fairly good pro and con article on Long Line Fishing which I will not regurgitate here.  But, the long and short of it is the various jurisdictions are working hard with the commercial fisheries to craft both product and procedures to avoid the negative aspects of Long Line Fishing yet keep it as a viable means of meeting our commercial fish production needs.

What are the primary negative aspects?  From an ecological point of view, they are:  Catching unwanted species of fish;  catching birds–about 100,000 albatross die each year as a result of long line fishing per the Wiki article; and catching turtles.  I will add one more to that.  They just take too many fish.  A multi mile long line with hundreds or even thousands of hooks has the capability to decimate the fish population in an area.  In fairness, the law recognizes the state of the fishery and limits or raises the number of hooks permitted based on the number of fish available to catch.

My strong feelings are based on what I observed in Hawaii.  I do not recall why, but a number of long liner boats were fishing near Guam or Samoa, I forget which, and went afoul of the government or the people there. In any case, they moved to Hawaii.  They were dragging lines within legal limits; however, were not obeying local custom. Local custom, if I recall correctly said long liners had to stay at least 20 miles out; however, legally, they could be within a few, two or three? miles of the shore.  They were encouraged to obey local custom but declined. There was virtually an instant decline of the fisheries within 20 miles of the coast and this was the fishery the tourist trade, local recreational and small scale commercial fishers used.  I am not aware of the politics involved, but, would guess the powers that be within the local community, the business community and the ethnic Hawaiian as a subset of the local community raised such a stink the state government felt compelled to change the rules and pushed that long line fishing limit back out to the 20 mile, or perhaps even the 26 mile limit.  The close in fishery almost immediately began to get better.

So as a recurring theme, we need to continue to seek that middle ground where we preserve our resources, recognize the value of all the players and consumers and determine how to meet our corporate needs as people, yet meet the needs of each of the groups involved.  Total environmental fascism is clearly not the answer.  Neither is fishing it all out until it is gone.  God has given us huge resources and technological skill and a huge amount of ocean.  Let’s see how to put it all together.

While the brilliant minds are out their figuring out how to do this, check out my Emmrod fishing system at which you can access at any of the following addresses:,,,,,,

One of the biggest fish I ever caught and why I was glad it got away!

Friday, December 11th, 2009

I lived in the little town of Maili, Ohau Island, Hawaii from 1985 to 1992. I was gone mucht of that time on the road to South East Asia (SEA) but made time to go fishing when I was home.  We lived five houses from the main highway that circled the Island, almost.  On the far side of the highway was a beautiful beach and the ocean.   It does not get more convenient than that! 

My pole was about ten feet long and I used a large open face spinning reel.   I had a large swivil at the end of the line, then put a leader with a weight on it and threw it out as far as possible, maybe a 120 feet or so.  The weight would normally hang up in the rocks so you could have a good tight line that would not be thrown back up onto the beach by the wave action.  When you had a hit, the lighter line attached to the weight would break and you could fight your fish.   I baited my nice sized hook with a long strip of squid or eel, and put a heavy duty leader on it that was tied to a swivil type clip.  After clipping the baited hook and leader to the line, it would work its way out to sea until it hit the larger swivel at the end of the line.  After getting it all set I up, I placed the pole in a holder stuck in the sand, hooked a bell to the line, picked up a book, pretended to read it while I watched the girls and waited for the bell to ring.

Most of the times, the bell did not ring. Long Line fishing was in a state of flux with many long liners plying the close in waters. (See my blog on long line fishing.)  Yet one day, the bell went nuts!  I grabbed the pole and jerked it back with some strength.  For the next 45 minutes or so, I fought something, but had no idea what it was.  I just knew I was getting tired.  Meanwhile a big crowd of people gathered on the top of the berm behind me waiting to see what monster I had hooked.  Finally, it showed in the surf near the beach.  A HUGE turtle! 

No way!  I can’t keep it, even though they make great soup and the shells look great in combs.  But even worse, it is illegal to hurt them or do anything to them.  On the other hand, if I just cut the line, it will be a death penalty for the turtle eventually.  So, I just kept fighting it hoping to get close enough to use my pliers to remove the hook or at least cut the line very close to the turtle so it won’t strangle in it. 

All of a sudden, there was a big wave and my line was slack. I was SO happy, the big one got away!  I think everyone on the beach sighed a sigh of relief with me.  Go back to the wild, lay a lot of eggs and avoid the turtle eaters in life.

I do think, if I had been using my Emmrod Packer, with a bait casting reel and a gulf master tip, I would likely have been able to land it.  So, I guess we just need to be happy they were not invented at that time!   But, if you are going to fish for some large fish, read the earlier story on Mel and look at some of the heavy duty options on my website which can be reached at any of these addresses:,,,,,,

A couple more things I learned at the dry dock.

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

I really enjoyed my time working at the Barbers Point dry dock in the mid 80’s.  It was a job I did until the investigations of the cases of Americans missing in South East Asia kicked in late September 1988.  At that time, I became the NCOIC of the Investigations branch and went on the road constantly for the next three years.  As much as I loved fishing at the dry dock and hated to give up my part time job, I was thrilled to do this exciting work in SEA.  I will include some blogs about Vietnam later.

However, two incidents stand out in my mind from my time on the dock. 

There came a night when we had the spot light focused just off the end of the dry dock about about ten feet from shore.  I would guess there water was about 20 feet, maybe even a bit deeper there.  The light penetrated easily to about 15 feet.  There were at least two nice schools of fish.  We were pretty casual about other folks fishing in our light and as I recall two or three of the employees were fising off the end of the dry dock and there were one or two guys fishing from the bank.  Another guy came along and asked for permission to “throw a net.”  I told him he was welcome to throw a line, but, if he threw a net, I would get out my knife and cut the net up.  He pulled out a pole and caught some nice fish.

I do not know why nets upset me so.  I guess as a short fat kid growing up, I developed a bit of feeling for the under dog. Those stinking nets take everything, there is with no chance of escape.  If I had let him throw the net, he would have cleaned out the fishing for a long time to come.  On the other hand, there was almost always someone fishing there both day and night.  We never sufferred from a shortage of fish.  So the moral of that story is, let’s shepherd our resources so we can all enjoy them for a long time and have the courage to stand for some reasonable principals.


The other conversation I recall was with a guy named Alex.  He was a big guy.  Chinese extraction but about six feet tall and certainly over three hundred pounds, not that I ever picked him up or weighed him.  I did notice whenever he walked on to the dry dock, the dock tipped.  He was from “The Big Island”  (Hawaii). We were chatting during a slow time one night and he asked where I lived.  The conversation went like this:  “Hey, where you stay?”  “I stay Waianae side.” “You stay Waianae side? What one hauli boy stay Waianae Side fo?  Kinda rough, yeah?”  “I nevah get no problem deah.” 

In other words, he could not fathom (seing we are talking about the ocean), how a white guy would live out in the Waianae coast area.  Now, I was not the only white guy out there, but, it certainly was an area that was primarily “local people” from Hawaii.  I got to thinking on the subject and figured out it really has more to do with how we ourselves behave than anything else. I have been a minority or foreigner most of mylife.  I grew up as a third culture kid.  That is a child who grows up in a country that is not his own.  Diplomats, overseas businessmen, missionaries, military kids fit the bill for this definition.  The Thais call these children “Chamelion people.”  It is an apt expression.  All my life I had worked at fitting into the society where I was temporarily residing.  No where was home, but, you figured out how to fit in.  It worked the same in Waianae.  You made it a point to “talk story” over your fence with your neighbor.  You did not have to agree with everything, you just had to be friendly. You made it a point to meet the guys down the street.  You made it a point to meet AND HELP people in the community.  It was amazing how kind, helpful and wonderful the people were.  To me, it was not “rough” at all.   It was a blessed and joyous seven years I thank God for having the opportunity to enjoy.

So, when in Rome, eat spaghetti!  When near water, Fish with the Emmrod Fishing System!  Check them out at

Why you should get a night watchman job on a dry dock!

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

My last duty station in the military was at Barbers Point, Hawaii.  In 1987 and a bit of 1988, I worked part time as a night watchman on a dry dock just outside of Barbers point.  In and of itself, there are quite a few interesting stories to tell about that.  This dry dock was involved in making the decorations depicting bomb strikes on the vessles used to film “Winds of War.”  That was neat to see.  Then, there was the huge sailboat we had in the dock for about six months while we cleaned it up and fixed the break in the keel which was caused by not blocking it correctly.  At least, that is what the owners said.  Then, there were other boats that came and went including a submarine which was also used in the movie. 

Now, those things are neat, but not the reason why you take a low paying night time job.  You take it because these little man made bays off the ocean are prime breeding areas for all kinds of fish.  On top of that, you have a huge spotlight at your disposal to draw the fish to the good ol’ fishing hole.  We had so much fun fishing there.

I have tried to recall and look up names of fish we frequently caught and have struggled on both accounts.  There was a large eyed Jack we called Papio.  I think when it got over five or ten pounds we called it ulua.  What we caught off the end of the dock was Papio.  These were a nice silver fish that tasted great.  When they hit, the really fought and were great fun to catch.   They tended to school with a reddish colored fish whose name I could not locate.  It too tasted quite nice.  If you caught an eight inch fish of either type, we figured they were pretty big.  Then, there was the Oio.  This is a Ladyfish or Bonefish.  These were really fun.  They looked a bit like Walleyes and were typically 18 to 24 inches long.  You cleaned these fish by “Spooning” them.  To do this you cut off the tail about an inch into the fish.  Then, you took a large spoonand gradually worked the meat out the cut end of the fish.  It would squirt out like toothpast.  Then, you took the bowlful of meat and mixed it up with eggs and other spices and vegetables and made deep fried meatballs from it.

My FAVORITE fish to catch was the Hammerheads.  They were about two feet long and fought like crazy. It would take about 20 minutes to land each one.  The interesting thing about these fish was they stunk to heaven.  But, if you gutted them and let them hang in the water overnight, they cleaned right up and you had some very good meet with no bones.  MMM MMM  MMM!  If you ever fish for hammerheads, be very careful of their teeth and skin.  The first one I caught sliced me like a razor and the skin is like an 80 grit sandpaper so handle with care.

I just wish I had had my Emmrod fishing poles back then.  It would have been so easy to put all my gear in a little bucket and have it convenient to go fishing.  The packer to bring in those guys you caught with bait and the kayak king to go after the Oio and Hammerheads by spinning.  Yes sir, if the opportunity to get a job on a dry dock presents itself, jump for it!

I am going to put in a word of caution.  I am not sure how healthy these fish were.  Who knows what kind of impact those rusting hulks we cleaned up had on the water in there.  But, my last kid was born after we ate a lot of these fish and I was not able to sell him to the circus. On the contrary, he has his Mother’s good looks, His father’s wife’s intelligence, graduated from Whitworth University summa cum laude and is now teaching English for the Japanese Government in Japan. 

Check out the Emmrod fishing system at,,

Why Don’t we make floating fish preserves?

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

As I have meandered through the world and through my life one of the great mysteries I have noticed is how much resiliance God has built into his creation.  Don’t weed your garden and in very short order, it is over run.  Don’t plant a field and in ten years it has 5 to 15 foot trees all over it and in 20 it is a forest.  Don’t fish an area and in a year or two it is full of fish.  Even an empty pond, if it has enough water, will end up with fish brought in by fish eating birds like herons and storks.  And Randy, don’t hunt Montana for a year and you will get a huge one later!

In some third world areas famous for slash and burn farming practices, a technique encouraged on the local citizenry is to create fields surrounded by a strip of trees.  In the case I read not too long ago, the trees provided habitat for birds and lizards the people ate. Without the trees, they lost a major food source.  With the trees in place, they kept habitat for other foods and seed trees to replenish the worn out soil with seeds and it seemed to me the remaining trees kept the soil from washing or blowing away thus they could farm longer.

I lived for a while on the Waianae Coast of Oahu, Hawaii.  It always bothered me to watch fishermen with fine mesh throw nets taking all the little fish along the shore.  Those are what fed the bigger fish which in turn fed even the bigger fish.  On my coast, there was not much good fishing.  Periodically, we caught things, but it was tougher.  Yet, when you went to Hanauma Bay, an ocean preserve on the other side of the island, there were billions of fish–at any rate there were a lot!  I wondered then what would happen if the coast was blocked off into mile long sections and every fourth or fifth mile was off limits for fishing for a mile out into the ocean for a year.  I bet the fishing would be better in all the open fishing quadrants! 

I do recall a day when God smiled on us.  My Dad and my kids and I were on the Makaha beach almost at the end of the road.  We noticed a commotion in the water which turned out to be whales and dolphin and tuna.  They jumped and cavorted in our site for about 20 minutes!  It was a huge gift!

So yesterday, I was reading about the trouble there is farming tuna.  Some like yellow fin tuna, others like blue fin tuna.  I like canned tuna and tuna fish sandwiches. Looks like the Aussies and the Japanese are getting it figured out, but, they still have a long way to go.   Also, those horrible oil rigs in the gulf seem to grow a lot of gunk on their legs.  The gunk in turn seems to support a lot of fish.  Putting those ideas together, I thought it would interesting to go out into the sea in areas out of normal traffic and creat some huge no fishing zones.  In those zones floating mile long rafts with ropes hanging down a hundred feet into the ocean could be installed to create habitat for the fish.  The rafts would be anchored to the ocean floor by some sort of bungee cord system which would permit the normal ravages of tides and storms to pass by leaving the eco system in place.  It seems to me some good protected areas would be great for the overall good of the environment, commercial fisheries and the sport. 

The two biggest questions are of course:  How do you fund construction and maintenance and how do you enforce the “no fishing within 1000 feet (or whatever is determined to be appropriate.)  I imagine it would be necessary to be withing the legal limits of a country with the capability to protect the project and demand the big ocean going fisheries of any number of countries stay well away.  Also, I imagine it could be done cooperatively with several universities and private ventures.  Short term licenses could pay to fish within a certain zone.  The thought is, the presence of a food chain of significance would creat a fish population over a much greater area than the several miles of the preserve.

I know this is a huge project, but then, I also think there should be a ten foot diameter pipeline from all the flooding points of the major rivers which moves excess flood water from flood zones to areas of chronic water shortages.  We have interstates with huge right of ways.  There are streams and rivers which could be filled to move the water inexpensively.  You get the idea, a grand scheme which I have no potential to implement–in either case.  Never-the-less, creative ways to enrich our world, environment and lives should be on all of our minds.  Who knows which ones will catch fire?


Speaking of creative ideas, Duane Markley’s uncle worked on a prototype fishing pole back in the early 30’s which involved a spring in the pole.  The design worked ok, but was not completely functional.  A bit over ten years ago, Duane saw the original idea and put his mind to work on it.  Low and behold, his uncle’s germ of an idea took root, grew and now, we have a whole class of exciting new emmrod fishing poles!  That is the power of an idea.  Take it and grow it!

To see Duane’s work, check it out at, www.emmrodfishingfun,,,,,