>> NOVEMBER 18, 2017 <<
MIS-MANAGEMENT OF EPIC PROPORTIONS CONTINUES WITH COD & SEA BASS MANAGEMENT
1st BEING - THE 'RAP' ON CODFISH FROM THIS WEEKS MEETING
When it comes to fishery management in this region, most 'stakeholders' have thrown up their hands and given up as far as reasonableness within the regulations and more so, the utter garbage estimates coming from the taxpayer funded M-RIP-off program.
Let me first start with the red box squared off on the ppt. from the RAP (aka New England Recreational Advisory Panel) and something that I caught last week and questioned, that being a POSSIBLE 'RECREATIONAL' sub-ACL for GB COD.
How about that, and mind you that their are some operators north of the 42 LAT line in the GOMaine management area who are not happy with the thought of the for-hire industry south of this line being able to retain cod while they have a zero possession limit, and now start the process to limiting or stopping the retention of the Georges Bank sub-unit of the codfish stock. So it seems that someone or some entity put it out there that there should be a sub-ACL for GB COD, and the ramifications can/will have some extremely constraining recreational control limits in either shortening the season and/or a much smaller possession limit for those in southern New England and in particular the waters off Long Island and New Jersey.
The other issue which Captain Tim Tower - fv BUNNY CLARK, ME. noted in his Tuesday, November 14, 2017 fish-news blog and it concerns M-RIP-off....and that is the term for this program which continues to have extreme problems in increasing the accuracy of its estimates, and as I have noted, GOTTEN MUCH WORSE.
Except for some early morning desk work, I spent the whole day at a Recreational Advisory Panel (RAP) meeting in Portland, Maine. Actually, I got there at 8:00 AM, so I could attend a port meeting for a "program review" on the New England Fishery Management Council. This was part of a series of meetings reviewing the way the Council does business including communication, stake holder representation, what the Council is doing right or wrong and how can the Council better serve all those involved in the fishery and the public. The meeting started at 8:30 AM and lasted until 10:00 AM. There were only six of us who attended the meeting so there was plenty of input from me and everyone else there, almost like a special private meeting.
The RAP meeting started at 10:00 AM and adjourned at around 5:00 PM, maybe later. It was, basically, a preliminary meeting for our January meeting where we will decide on the upcoming recreational fishing regulations. It was also a peek at what is coming "down the pike" for the 2018 fishing season. We are an advisory panel that advises the Groundfish Committee that advises the Council. So we can suggest recreational fishing regulations and make policy decisions as long as the Groundfish Committee and the Council "rubber stamps" our advice. Then, of course, all this has to be approved by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS or the Service).
It's important to note that we asked for certain parameters for adjusting the models that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) will use to see if the regulations we decide will work in a sustainable fashion. This is important as it might give us more latitude when deciding what the new regulations will be.
A preliminary recreational groundfish landings report was produced for the meeting. They had landings data through the end of August. It showed that:
- we were under the target allowable catch for haddock but
- over in the cod mortality.
This through all user groups. We will see the landings figures for the full season in our January meeting.
For 2018, there will be an increase in the amount of haddock and cod that we can kill. That is the best way to describe it.
It doesn't mean that we will be able to keep cod as the mortality rate in catching cod (without keeping them) is enough to take care of the total allowable catch.
And it's really complicated because the private angler data shows that they are killing far more cod than we believe is true.
And this is because data collectors don't have enough intercepts on the private angler. And when they do intercept a private boat, that catch figure is taken at the angler's word and that data is extrapolated to the other private boats that they couldn't meet at the dock, regardless of whether they caught fish or not - or even it they went groundfishing! So, it's complicated.
So for the deciding January RAP meeting, if we make the right decisions with the final data sheet, and the models we have chosen work out, we may be able to keep cod.
It is unlikely that this will happen but it is a possibility. I am not an expert on this stuff, unfortunately. And I don't know how the models will show everything at this place and time. Nor does anyone else. The models have to be run. I believe in the science; that's not the problem. I do not believe in the data or the way it is collected. Data collection is the responsibility of the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) program, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA - Department of Commerce, just like the Service is a division of NOAA.
Other parts of the meeting involved a consensus statement to leave the halibut the way it is with the recreational angler saying; "the halibut is a trophy fish which has no recreational allocation....that these fish not be taken away from the recreational fishery."
There is a problem with too many commercial landings of the species.
Enough so that if the total allowable catch is caught before the end of the season, it could shut down Federal commercial groundfish boats. We don't believe the recreational angler catches enough halibut to worry about.
for the angler who lands
We talked about Georges Bank cod.
They are being overfished and overfishing is occurring.
Something will have to be done.
The Council wanted our take on it. But we are so unfamiliar with that fishery, no one had an opinion. I started to make a motion but was embarrassed to not be able to come up with a salient idea.
We sent a motion to the Groundfish Committee which will have the result of being able to have regulations in place before the fishing year in January.
This so anglers know what they will be able to keep long before the season starts. We give up making the regulatory decisions ourselves. But, normally, all this is done for us. So, in the past, it has appeared that we came up with the solution when we were really told what we can and can't do by the Service.
We also talked about a limited access program for charter/party boats engaging in the fishery, a different way to manage our fishery in general and having a boat limit for regulated priority fish species along with a bag limit, party/charter boats being exempt.
>>>>>The idea behind the last item is to get the private boat catch down to reasonable levels.<<<<<
That was the RAP meeting in a nutshell. I tried to explain it all in terms that you might better understand. I have bias but I try to be objective as I can be. And I am aware of trying to remain objective.
On a side note, I almost got into a multi-car pile up on the way back home from Portland. A car in front of me jacked on it's brakes. Thankfully, I was far enough behind that I didn't have to jack no mine, leaving just enough room for the car behind me to do the same. Swerving around the car in front (and sneaking between two cars in the other lane) helped me to avoid a big mess. I can tell you that my heart was beating hard enough to rival any beating heart during a long hill climb on my bike!
Thank goodness that Captain Tim came out unscathed while coming home from a fishery meeting!
Getting back to the issue of GB COD and the issue on halibut.....
On GB COD, thankfully no motion was made, thus none voted upon by the RAP, but as you can see there is push for some regulatory action to be taken and I wouldn't be surprised if this comes up in the coming years, in part due to the idea of "we can't catch em, but they can." Nice right, especially when this is done within the for-hire circle of stakeholders........
Halibut.... yes it is apparent that there were more halibut being hooked into and landed on handgear during 2017. The number of halibut harvested may have been the highest recorded in many decades and it is a sign that the decrease in commercial effort has resulted in a resurgence of one of the most special fish that we can catch off our coast.
In closing, I and a few others here just find it extremely distressing that the for-hire industry and as much with recreational fishermen looking at further restrictions when there are a number of positive signs with the amount of cod and halibut being seen once again. I do emphasize here about "dodging a bullet" with what occurred at the November 2017 RAP, and it should be kept in mind during the coming years that we can very easily lose what we are allowed to harvest with in these two particular fisheries.
THE FISHERMEN'S LIE CONTINUES WITH THE MIS-MANAGEMENT OF THIS FISHERY
Here we go again with the utter dribble coming from the latest documents for the Monday, November 20, 2017 from 2:00 PM 5:00 PM - Joint Meeting of the MAFMC and ASMFC Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Advisory Panels (Webinar)
Just yesterday, the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Monitoring Committee 2018 Recreational Measures Recommendations (Draft as of 11/17/17) can be summed up for the layman fishermen as:
You did catch less fish in 2017, and we should give you more for 2018, but we HIGHLY RECOMMEND not to.......
Okay....but why when this is what those in the industry see when going to the mid-range wrecks once the nonsensical EEZ - BSB closure was lifted:
In summing up for the minutia on BSB within this document which will be discussed at the AP:
- Extremely robust 2015 cohort which is seen in BOTH the northern and southern BSB sub-units, unlike the 2011cohort robustness measured only in the northern sub-unit
- Target possibly higher than previously documented at 2.3x above Target due to the 2015 cohort class
- Noticeable size discrepancy between northern and southern sub-units as fish on the westside of the Mud Hole notably being under the minimum 12.5 inch size, while east of the Mud Hole above the 15 inch minimum size
- Lifting EEZ 5 week closure to stabilize the season into one continuous period from the spring opening to the winter closing (Dec. 31)
- Projection of high harvest rates in 2018 due to the 2015 cohort now within harvestable size range
- Noted much lower coastwide and state harvest as per M-RIP-off through Wave 4 in 2017
- Attempts to open Wave 1 BSB fishery through a LOA (Letter of Authorization)
So what gives here, other than major-league, ulcer causing 'agita' given by those who sit within the comfortable confines of their office and only knowing this fishery through what they see upon their computer....
It does not look good folks for those within fishery management who continue to keep their jack-boots upon the neck of all fishermen, when BSB is the largest foodfish stock under the purview of the MAFMC.
When will common sense coming to the fishery regulators with BSB, and I would tune into this Monday's webinar because we DEMAND answers to the reason why we have the most risk averse regulations on the most robust bottom fish stock under their management (yes I repeated myself because I am sick and tired of their double talk too!)
If you look at this SNOOZE-DAY article from the other day, do you notice something in the headline?
I did, but I did not make much about it due to the writer of the article who I do know of and which I would hedge would never make "a play on words" as some others thought of when they first saw the image on socialized media.
Interesting, both figuratively and literally for many who know about this particular individual and his rap-sheet with the NYS fishing industry and fishermen over the past decade.
Again after seeing who wrote the article, I never would have thought it was anything more than LIer or LONG ISLAND-ER, in order to keep the headline within the space of the article. But...to think that the PERCEPTION of this individual from the general fishing public did make more than a few think twice, on how some fishermen feel about the person noted in the article....and I will add, rightly so.