Congress continues to bumble around in its effort to reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, which should come as breaking news to no one who understands the complexity of the law and the usual banality that ensues in Washington whenever more than three people gather in a room to discuss anything.
With that in mind, U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman of California is taking his act on the road, going coast to-coast to hold a series of roundtable discussions to "engage diverse perspectives, interests and needs of individuals who have a stake in the management of our ocean and fisheries resources."
Correct us if we're wrong here, but isn't that just about everyone in the whole US of A? Just sayin'.
Anyway, Huffman, who is chairman of the House Water, Oceans and Wildlife subcommittee, has not offered a specific agenda or schedule for his personal rolling thunder tour.
But he did say he is committed to holding at least one session in each of the eight regions managed by a federal fishery management council – including New England. So, perhaps Gloucester?
He also said he is committed to introducing a draft Magnuson-Stevens reauthorization bill by next spring. So, keep a sharp orb peeled for that on Amazon. Or just wait for the movie.
Sighted subs, looted same
OK, embarrassing personal disclosure time: At some point within the last fortnight, we managed to lose a fairly important and unduplicated key. Worse, we suspect we may have mistakenly thrown it out while cleaning out our car – which is the very last time we will engage in any such custodial folderol.
It's a key. They're small. It happens. At least we didn't lose, say, two submarine shipwrecks from World War II.
The wrecks, which have been sitting undisturbed on the ocean floor off the coast of Malaysia for about 80 years, belonged to the Dutch navy and were sunk when they ran into Japanese mines in the South China Sea, according to a story in the New York Post.
Now, the boats have just vanished, leaving behind only "broken scraps and their outlines in the sand."
Way worse the submarines -- K XVII and O 16 -- had been left as ocean graves for the 77 Dutch sailors that went down with the vessels. Now those human remains are gone as well.
"Researchers have now verified the submarines have vanished, and suspect their remains were salvaged by looters," sayeth the Post story.
Jet Bussemaker, whose grandfather Anton Bussemaker commanded the 0 16 and died in the sinking, was suitably appalled.
"It is shocking to all the relatives, but at the same time it does not surprise me at all" said Bussemaker, who previously served as a minister for veterans. "As a minister, I had to report to the chamber that three other warships had disappeared from Indonesian waters. There were already indications at that time that the O 16 had been tampered with."
Just in case you've run out of things to worry about, allow us to restock your angst cupboard: The Coast Guard is warning ship owners to update their onboard cybersecurity after a major hacking incident aboard a large vessel entering the Port of New York in February.
According to the Forbes website, the Coast Guard led the inter-agency investigation into the "significant cyber incident" that compromised the control systems of a deep draft vessel bound for the Port of New York and exposed "significant vulnerabilities" of the ship's security system.
"The investigation concluded that the malware attack had 'significantly degraded the functionality of the onboard computer system" used to update electronic charts, manage cargo data and communicate with shoreside facilities, according to the Forbes story.
The potential for problems and danger from this, it seems, are virtually endless. If they catch these guys, they should, at the very least, be keel-hauled right in front of the Statue of Liberty.
Give us your tired, your poor, your imbecilic . . .
Lifejackets for lobstermen
Just a reminder that the nice folks from the Lifejackets for Lobstermen campaign are setting up shop this week in Gloucester as part of their campaign to encourage lobstermen to wear personal flotation devices while lobstering.
The rolling caravan, which spent two days last week at Manchester's Masconomo Park will be back there on Monday, and will be on the Everett R. Jodrey State Fish Pier, Tuesday through Friday, beginning around 10 a.m. Local lobstermen will have the chance to check out and purchase personal flotation devices.
On Wednesday, the Lifejackets for Lobstermen folks will be joined by some of the gang from the Fishing Partnership and other stakeholders in a community event that will feature information booths, free food from the Gloucester Fishermen's Wives Association and other attractions to help support safe work along the waterfront.
So, if you're a lobsterman, go get something to make you safer on the water. And then get yourself something good to eat. That's some double-barrel fun right there.
Pufferfish and cocaine apparently don't mix
We've never understood the allure of eating something poisonous – pufferfish, for example, or eggs – just to see if you might survive. It's sort of like playing Russian roulette with four rounds instead of one.
But you know how it is: There's no stopping some folks from inflicting the maximum amount of carnage on themselves. Frankly, it's pretty much the basis for all of reality television.
So, it's hard to feel too sorry for the 43-year-old Florida man who ended up in the hospital after eating the liver of a pufferfish – perhaps the most toxic of all pufferfish parts – while using cocaine.
"After eating the liver, the man started vomiting profusely, had numbness and weakness in his legs, couldn't speak clearly and had chest and stomach pains," a story on the vice.com website stated, quoting a case report of the incident. "Within four hours he was in the emergency room, where doctors also discovered he had extremely high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease."
The gentleman's kidneys, according to the story, did not respond to treatment and he will be on dialysis for the remainder of his days.
As always, no fish were harmed in the making of this column.
Contact Sean Horgan at 978-675-2714, or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SeanGDT.