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Former all-state RB opts out rest of high school season to focus on college prep

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Former all-state running back and Temple commit Johnny Martin has opted out of the remainder of his senior season at Timber Creek.

First-year Timber Creek football coach Brian Wright said he received a text from Martin on Wednesday night, a few hours after Martin and the Chargers wrapped up practice for Friday’s 15-12 win over Delsea.

“He just texted me Wednesday night and said he was opting out to prepare for college,” said Wright. “That was pretty much the extent of it. I had no inkling he was even thinking about it. It is what it is. I wished him good luck.”

Martin posted three 1,000-yard seasons – including a 2,000-yard season as a sophomore when he was second-team all-state – at Highland the previous three years, though he missed the final four games of his junior campaign after being suspended for an off-the-field incident.

Martin transferred to Timber Creek for his final season. He played in the Chargers’ 21-0 opening-night loss to No. 7 Williamstown, gaining 45 yards on 14 carries and catching two passes for 16 yards.

Prior to the game, Wright talked about how engaged his new running back was in practice, even taking scout-team reps when he wasn’t needed on offense.

“He was awesome,” said Wright, who added the running game will be by committee without Martin. “I liked his mentality, but if his interest is elsewhere then we’ll focus on the kids we have that want to play.”

Timber Creek resumes its season Friday against Martin’s former team, Highland.

Martin didn’t respond to a text and call asking for comment.

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Bill Evans covers the West Jersey Football League. He can be reached at bevans@njadvancemedia.com

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Bluefin tuna in focus as Japan seeks boost to catch limits

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MITO, Japan (AP) — Countries involved in managing bluefin tuna fisheries are set to face-off over a Japanese proposal to raise its catch quotas for the fish, highly prized for sushi and sashimi.

At an online meeting that began Tuesday, Japan is seeking to raise its catch limits for both smaller and larger bluefin tuna by 20%.

A slight improvement in the spawning population for the fish has raised confidence that it can recover from decades of overfishing. But conservation experts worry that the capture of small fish used for farming bluefin tuna is may be putting the recovery of the species in peril.

The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission includes more than two dozen countries that collaborate to manage fisheries on the high seas and curb illegal and unauthorized fishing and other activities that endanger highly migratory species such as the Pacific bluefin.

Countries participating in management of the Pacific bluefin committed in 2017 to reducing their catches to help return the species to 20% of its historic size by 2034.

Japan plays a critical role in the survival of the species not just because of its huge appetite for the fish. The Pacific bluefin spawns almost entirely in seas near Japan and Korea. Japanese fishermen also capture small tuna to be farmed to maturity, although the number of traditional artisanal fishermen has fallen in recent years as younger Japanese choose not to engage in such dangerous and difficult work.

The latest data show the spawning stock biomass of the Pacific bluefin, an indicator of the fish’s ability to reproduce at a sustainable level, rising to about 28,000 metric tons in 2018 from 10,837 metric tons in 2010.

That is still less than half the estimate for 1995 of a spawning stock biomass of 62,784 metric tons. It