Environmental officials warn against harmful dolphin feeding…

While Kayaking in Jarvis Creek at the right tide, we get to see the dolphins feed naturally in their environment. Some times they fish alone and other times they fish as a family working together. Dolphins will usually fish by thrash feeding. This is where they may work together and group the fish to a desired shallow side of the creek and whip the tail around  just below and close to the surface of the water sending large splashes around. This sends a shock wave through the water which stuns the fish for a few seconds and allows the dolphin(s) to grab some fish. The other method they do and we occasionally see in Jarvis Creek with lucky timing is “strand feeding.” This is where the dolphin(s) will chase fish to the shallows and sometimes send a wave with them as the dolphin(s) slide up in the mud of the creek embankment grabbing fish and then sliding back into the water.

It is beautiful to enjoy nature in its own environment, doing its own thing on its own terms… and that is what we get to share in when exploring Jarvis Creek.

Story from the Island Packet below.

Environmental officials warn against harmful dolphin feeding…

Each summer, an illegal and harmful trend returns to Beaufort County — the feeding of dolphins in the wild.

Wayne McFee, wildlife biologist with the National Ocean Service, said the practice is reported throughout coastal South Carolina but is “extremely bad” in the Hilton Head Island area, where dolphins are often found frolicking in Broad Creek.

Feeding dolphins violates federal law and puts them at risk of being hit by boat propellers. It changes their foraging behavior and causes them to beg, and it leads to health problems when they are fed things like dead fish and human food, McFee said.

“It’s also a hazard to humans because animals being fed can get aggressive,” McFee said.

Guides with local eco-tours — the “eyes on the water” who usually call in violations — have recently spotted people feeding dolphins from boats, said Al Segars, veterinarian with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.

McFee said it appears incidents of dolphin-feeding will be on par with the yearly average of five to 10.

The chance of law enforcement catching people feeding dolphins, however, is slim, Segars said.

The National Ocean Service forwards reports of illegal feedings to the National Marine Fisheries service, which has only has a few enforcement officers based in Charleston, McFee said.

Segars believes public awareness is the key to reducing the practice. Segars said DNR has had workshops asking eco-tour guides to help educate visitors and report violations.

“You get somebody from Kansas who went to SeaWorld that one time, and they probably don’t know you shouldn’t feed the dolphins,” Segars said.

 

Also in the same paper, a sad additional dolphin story.

Uptick in dolphin strandings worries marine scientists

More than 30 dolphins mysteriously washed up dead in the Lowcountry this spring. The big spike in strandings alarms federal researchers enough that they are conducting extensive tests on the remains.

From late February through early May, 32 bottlenose dolphins stranded, mostly in Charleston and Beaufort counties. That’s three times as many as normally would be expected during those months.

“Right now we don’t know why they died,” said Wayne McFee, National Ocean Service marine mammal stranding program scientist. “Most of the animals we’ve had have been really decomposed.” The testing will take months, he said.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has designated the strandings as a “unusual mortality event,” because they were unexpected and involved a relatively large number of animals. The designation gives forensic researchers funding to do detailed testing of remains, because of potential environmental and human health threats.

A dolphin that dies because of contamination or a virus can be bad news for people who live along the coast. Because the sea mammals are so close to humans in some ways, they are a prime “canary in the coal mine” of trouble in the water.

Marine mammal strandings along the South Carolina coast tend to spike in the spring and fall each year, when migrating animals are on the move. But in the past few years, strandings have spiked in mid-winter. The most likely explanation is the same winter cold snaps that led to mass bait fish kills along the beaches.

The cold depletes the shallows of food — fish schools for the dolphin.

Dolphins that already are sick can’t catch enough to sustain themselves, so they weaken and gradually die, sometimes of pneumonia.

More than 10,000 bottlenose dolphin are thought to roam along the Southeast coast. Some 40 dolphins strand on South Carolina beaches each year.

Stranded

An average of 52 marine mammals get stranded each year in South Carolina:

  • 80% are bottlenose dolphins
  • 10% are pygmy and dwarf sperm whales
  • Most live strandings are single animals that are sick and dying.
  • Most animals must be euthanized.
  • 25% of bottlenose dolphins strand with evidence of human interaction, usually entanglements or ingested plastics.Source: South Carolina Marine Mammal Stranding Network, Coastal Carolina University
  • 2011 Shrimp season is now open.

    Good news for anyone looking for fresh local shrimp…

    In the creeks we have been seeing some small shrimp running in the shallows along with small fish. Going through the shallows in a kayak, the shrimp try to scurry for cover. Around low-tide is when it is the best time to see nature in creeks. At high-tide the small fish and shrimp hide around the root systems of the Smooth cord grass and use it as cover from larger predators. Obviously when the water retreats back to the ocean on an outgoing tide, they have to follow the water out of the grass and into the shallow channels of the creek. This is where we see them and the Blue Herons, Egrets and dolphins feeding on them.

    More on the story in today’s paper below.

    First day of shrimp season yields smaller brown shrimp

    Read more: http://www.islandpacket.com/2011/06/22/1700611/first-day-of-shrimp-season-yields.html#ixzz1Q9AZEGcx

    Shrimper preparing the nets.The commercial shrimping season opened Wednesday morning — nearly a month later than usual — as local boats trawled for summer brown shrimp after white shrimp usually harvested in spring were widely killed off by winter cold snaps.

    Temperatures dropped so low in the winter that the first crop of white shrimp never showed, causing the S.C. Department of Natural Resources to delay the season so the crustaceans could repopulate by fall.

    Last week, DNR trawls began pulling in summer brown shrimp.

    “They came out of nowhere all of a sudden,” said DNR biologist Larry DeLancey.

    The season opening couldn’t have come soon enough for Benny Hudson Seafood owner Tonya Hudson-DeSalve on Hilton Head Island. She had run out of shrimp frozen from last season.

    More than 10 boats that launched from the dock Wednesday reported sizable catches of brown shrimp, she said.

    “The good thing is there’s plenty of them. They’re just a little small,” she said. “We need to pray for some rain to get them up to size.”

    Rain adds nutrients to the water that feed the shrimp, and it moves them downstream from the brackish feeder creeks, where they otherwise would remain and stay small.

     

    JCWS is a NuCanoe Dealer

    NuCanoe Website

    Rentals / Tours / Demo / Retail

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    About mid summer of 2010, Jarvis Creek Water Sports became a NuCanoe dealer. We were looking for some stable family boats to add to our fleet and who we could represent in the area. There ware currently two other dealers in the state of S.C. at the moment.  The NuCanoe is like the swiss-army knife of personal crafts making it great for any family who may need a small craft for multiple occasions rather then multiple boats.

    The NuCanoe can be used for hunting, fishing, paddling, and rowing.  There is also a third party which has built a sailing kit that works on the boat as well. There are numerous accessories which can help in customizing your craft to which you may need for your next adventure. The NuCanoes come in two sizes, 10 foot and 12 foot. We like the 12 footer for a little extra length for tracking better and for the families who enjoy it together. The width of the boat makes it really stable and unlike a traditional canoe, has channels and a skeg on the bottom to help it track better through the water.

    NuCanoe Models
    NuCanoe Accessories
    NuCanoe F&Q

    Since we are a small store with limited space we do have one base model for sale while we have some others out for tours and rentals. If you know what you would like, we can help you customize a NuCanoe for you and order it. It can be shipped to the store for you to pick-up or we can have it shipped to you when ordered.

    If you would like to try one out, we have a few for tours and rentals.

    If you are interested and would like one, we can order one to you specifications and have it shipped to your door as well. For questions, prices, tours or rentals… call 843-681-9260.

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    Cold Delayed Local Shrimp Season

    Generally up in Jarvis Creek around this time of season kayaking around low-tide, we would be seeing young shrimp running in the shallows. This year unfortunately, the cold from the past two years has put a hurt on the local shrimp and limited their numbers.

    More of the story below from the Island Packet.

    Shrimp Prices Rise story Photo

    Shrimp prices rise; state delays season

    The price of shrimp is soaring, with cold winter temperatures, natural disasters and higher fuel costs playing a role in the lack of supply.

    Lowcountry shrimp were devastated by the winter cold, meaning almost no fresh local shrimp are available this spring. The earliest any local shrimp might be available is late June because the state has delayed the opening of the commercial season.

    The harvest problems couldn’t have come at a worse time. Other domestic and imported shrimp cost consumers more because of factors such as high fuel prices, the Japanese tsunami and flooding in southern Thailand, where much of the shrimp imported to the United States is farmed.

    The best hope for local crustaceans now is that brown shrimp, or summer shrimp, show up in enough numbers to open that season by late June.

    New Website!!!

    It has been a long time coming with some hard work and help from our customers to help create the new website. We have a new photo gallery with shared photos from our customers and more information about Jarvis Creek. There are a few more features we are working on to see if we can get working but wanted to get the site up as soon as possible to get the information out to our customers.

    Check it out and let us know what you think.