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Postby EC NEWELLMAN » Sat May 13, 2017 10:08 pm

Good evening...

I originally wrote and posted this on socialized media today, and now posting here on the site.

Folks, you can pass it around and share the contents. I want everyone to know what is going on with this charade being foisted upon fishermen along this coast. (Charts posted on the bottom of this thread).


On this dreary grey skies day as I read through the various online blogs I came across a piece from AMERICAN ELEPHANTS - Misconceptions About Wind: Basic Arithmetic by The Elephant's Child' that really struck me due to the data he laid out about the continued fraud/scam/cronyism of renewable or better known as "green energy."

As I have written about a number of times on so-called green energy derived from wind, it is not only destructive to wildlife (birds/bats/environment thus humans), but extremely inefficient since it is intermittent as far as collecting and distributing to the public during peak energy periods.

It is also a energy alternative that only survives due to us the taxpayer in direct subsidies, and in the near future the consumer market which has to pay for the electricity (and the taking offline of traditional energy sources). The numbers only add up for the investors as they have built-in cost escalators during the term of the contract even as the cost of other energy products goes down to its availability in extraction to efficiencies in distributing to the consumer.

There was something which I like to highlight within this first article which directed me the reader to another piece, one written by Matt Ridley in the UK based SPECTATOR - 'Wind turbines are neither clean nor green and they provide zero global energy' and brings us to the theme of this piece about the arithmetic never adding up. To wit:

"Here’s a quiz; no conferring. To the nearest whole number, what percentage of the world’s energy consumption was supplied by wind power in 2014, the last year for which there are reliable figures? Was it 20 per cent, 10 per cent or 5 per cent? None of the above: it was 0 per cent. That is to say, to the nearest whole number, there is still no wind power on Earth."

Wind energy consumption is still roughly at ZERO?

More so the issue of reliable....reliable figures was brought up about wind energy and now as we move along, doesn't this sound familiar to what both Captain Monty Hawkins and myself have been writing about the outrageously inaccurate MRIP harvest estimates?

Pop quiz, and no peaking for the data... Can you name which state(s) had the highest estimated BSB landings in pounds during Waves 3, 4, 5, and not so lucky, Wave 6?

Wave 3 - Massachusetts
Wave 4 - New York
Wave 5 - New York
Wave 6 - New York

How about the 'Nutmeg' state...Connecticut, without one foot of shoreline directly bordering the ocean, and they out harvested New Jersey by slightly over half a million pounds or it's neighboring state, Rhode Island with its Block Island BSB fishery by approximately 350,000 lbs. Did any fishermen out there know this information?

Remember a few moments ago I mentioned reliable figures and in this case, how reliable are the numbers coming out of collected data in New York? Lets start with an easy one....

Notice the chart - Table 2 and how NY has ZERO pounds being reported from ALL recreational sector modes. I ask...and you should too, how could that be with NYS opening BSB season on June 27th (even with a 3 fish possession limit), thus 4 open days of fishing. In fact, one could easily see not only the promotion by the DEC noting the opening date, along with the various media and fishing industry entities and the pictures of NY anglers making opening day biscuit catches...on June 27....which is...Wave 3!~

Why is there a ZERO in the FINAL - MRIP Wave 3 listing for all fishing modes in NY then?

Lets now move through the rest of 2016 until we get to this Wave 6 anomaly here in the once Empire State. Out of a 61 day period of open days (we are not talking fishable days), we now see that NYS private vessels anglers figuratively "blew the roof off" the harvest in numbers of fish along with the total amount of pounds, and as much of what is the MEAN AVERAGE - BSB reported to be landed by those in the private vessel mode was 2.5 lbs (720,891 divided by 287,170). Now compare that to that average weight to what the most noted party boat captains did in NY during Wave 6 at an almost 2.1 lb mean average weight.

Time and again we have pointed out the unreliability of the collected data for both the for-hire and private vessel modes which is due once again to a number of factors:

1- Extremely small sampling in the collection of few data sets with the private vessel mode

2- "Hot pressure" locations such as Montauk over representative in the sampling, thus neither being "random" and skewing the final extrapolated estimates

3- Oversight by "someone" at the NYS DEC in ensuring that EACH DAY of sampling during November - December 2016 was checked and verified, and that their was a more random selection of ports/docks/vessels from Staten Island through NYC and the coastal shoreline which makes up Long Island in order to provide a larger snapshot of fishing behavior/effort during these two months

4- Delays in VTR data being either unavailable or incomplete for both preliminary and final harvest/effort estimates

5- Integrity and quality assurance that the data was not only sampled properly at collection, but the preliminary and final numbers then being called into question time and again as we reported this year (remember the 20 lb BSB and 22 lb Scup harvested???? by NY for-hire....based upon VTR data!)

6- The questionable explanation(s) and summary on a document that I at least did not see until today which explains the Wave 6 BSB follies in NY (see: ... _Final.pdf )

So much for the reliable data that was fed down the MRIP data sewer line right on through which the Technical Committee then commented when asked at the Joint Meeting in Alexandria on how they (the TC) do not know how MRIP arrives at their powerball numbers. This led to us wondering upon hearing this if ANYONE is picking up the phone or sending a email from the TC to MRIP and asking if their numbers are even within the realm of possibility for either a particular Wave, Mode or for that matter, a particular state.

As an example, what would one think if someone was putting away in the bank 100-200 dollars during the 5 year period during months Nov-Dec and then proceed in putting away 29x higher than the average of 100-200 dollars on the sixth year of the time series. Wouldn't one raise an eye at the bank...or maybe the IRS?

It also calls into question when we compare the two neighboring states of New Jersey and New York with the compare and contrast of the BSB fishery. Many industry people along with long time fishermen know that New Jersey was a powerhouse state for years when it came to BSB harvest. Over the past decade, a growing precipitous trend has occurred that corresponds with the north and eastward shift of the stock. One wonders if this was taken into account by those who voted this past week on 2017 BSB recreational regulations.

If we look further, landings in New Jersey of BSB have not only decreased as measured in the number of fish harvested by all modes, but as much and a more accurate indicator of what is going on in both their inshore and offshore waters:

1- The average size of fish caught (not harvested) by all anglers

2- A noticeable 'length' decrease from past years

Thus a weight disparity between NY and what fishermen in NJ catch and ultimately harvest even with their smaller minimum size when it comes to the length of the fish being caught. New Jersey anglers have been left to fish upon BSB that roughly now average between 9-12 inches during the summer and through to the early fall period.

Those voting this past Wednesday in support of the Wave 6 - 5 fish BSB possession limit, created a disparate negative economic impact upon the Garden State for-hire fishing industry as well as businesses that rely on fishing related activities since they failed to take into account that "ANGLERS CAN ONLY FISH AND HARVEST UPON THE PRODUCTIVITY OF THE SPECIES WITHIN THEIR COASTAL WATERS."

If the range in the size of fish, (and mind you that the numbers in the MRIP data show this trend) range in a smaller average size then the states in the northern group, how can they be penalized by a possession limit that does not take this into account as has been reported harvested since 2012?

This brings us to the MRIP chart displayed on the NOAA MRIP DATA QUERY page. Notice how they mention the PSE (Percent Standard Error) and "precision." One wonders about any precision that can be attained in sampling a bare handful of fishermen on the number of fish caught/discarded, and also measured for weight and length.

Now think about having this done only at one location or small localized area of a day and then spreading and applying it to a geographical land mass extending over 130 miles east to west and which has five distinctly separate areas (ie: Long Island Sound, East end North & South Fork, South shore LI coastline, NY-NJ Bight nexus and bays, river and harbor waters around NYC).

Once the raw data is collected, an aggregation of data points are now plotted which then provide the high and low point boundaries indicated as well as a 'center point estimate' derived from the collected samples.

The PSE is used as the 'margin of error' but due to the high variability of the collected data, the margin of error reflected in the PSE at times becomes so removed from a reasonable "estimate" and figuratively becomes "scattershot" when it is applied across one state. This has been the main complaint by those who have a bare understanding of the MRIP program.

Think of a shooting target with a bulls-eye and ten rings emanating from the center. Then take of a shooter firing 50 rounds at 25 yards with a breakdown that had 1 to 3 rounds hitting the bulls-eye but the overwhelming grouping of all round fired ending up hitting within the outermost rings of 8, 9 and 10.

How accurate is that shooter? Would they qualify in law enforcement...or in the military...or if his life depended upon being that much more accurate in hitting at "center mass" of the target? But MRIP would counter with "but they hit within the target!"

It then leads us to these two questions:

1- Can small samples of fishermen effort/catch/harvest accurately correspond, and be applied to a population of fishermen?

2- Is there a point where estimates are so unreliable that they create data outliers that should not be carried over and used for regulatory management purposes?

One can bring up the Wave 6 - BSB estimate in NY where the protocol of random sampling was disregarded since the weighting was biased to the collection in the confines of Montauk. Within the ASMFC - April 28, 2017 Memorandum sent between the SF, SCUP and BSB Management Board to the Technical Committee (on page 6):

1- Montauk accounted for 92.5% of BSB A+B1 fish with 44 intercepts (of 56).

2- 19 days of assignments in Montauk in Nov 2016.

3- 17 days of assignments in Montauk in Dec 2016.

4- This little doggy nugget of MRIP minutia (on page 4) wit:

"It is not clear how intercept weights are calculated by MRIP, but a few intercepts can have a disproportionately large influence on a harvest estimate. As an example, one intercept of a single angler with 10 landed black sea bass is “weighted” by 5,588.3, so the expanded harvest of that intercept is 55,883 A+B1 black sea bass (10 x 5,588.3). A single intercept (out of 56 intercepts with black sea bass landings) is responsible for 15% of the landings in NY’s Wave 6."

Wouldn't this skew the final data with ONE intercept accounting for 15% of the final BSB numbers for Wave 6 on BSB in NY? (We know by what was officially reported that it did).

Doesn't this go to the polar opposite to one of the tenets of the new and improved MRIP program of removing or at least limiting the bias in the collected samples in order to improve the confidence of the data? Or is just the pillow talk when we hear those talking on how MRIP has improved....I ask, "improved from what awful measurements and program design from the recent past?" Wasn't this the reason why they keep reminding us of all the "tweaks" to the MRIP program?

Did one also figure in on how many "bad weather days" occurred during this 61 day period? Notwithstanding the warmer weather, but warmer weather is not indicative to calmer seas! How many lost days were attributed to the party boat fleet which could not sail due to winds gusting greater than 25 miles an hour and sea heights which led those even with the largest vessels to keep the dock lines securely attached to all bits along the rail?

So one of the final thoughts that I can leave you with is the main talking point when you are at the fishery meetings on how the "arithmetic just doesn’t work" with Recreational Harvest Estimates. Time and again we can easily locate and document - strings of unrealistic harvest in numbers/landings (thus total pounds) along with the error in applying "the big picture" MRIP data across two neighboring states with New York and New Jersey.

No one with any mathematical background that works within the fishery realm should stand by and allow this to keep occurring year after year. More so, those at the regulatory table either at the state or federal level should vociferously question as it concerns:

1- The most thorough benchmark assessment which indicated the stock has now at 2.4x higher than the Target and yet a painful reduction to the recreational sector in 2017 will occur

2- A 53% increase in the ABC for 2017 which neither decreased the number of closed days during the federal Sept-Oct closure or the severe cut to the possession limit for the northern management region

3- The ongoing charade by those within fishery management on the decay (removal of fish either to direct or indirect mortality) over the time series of the 2011 cohort - 2012 Age 1 BSB which provided the great uptick in the SSB over the last few years

As I first started this discussion on the fraud going on within the wind energy realm with two articles which pointed out the bad numbers, fishermen are also being forced to fish under the most constrained regulatory limits yet at a time when it is at its highest measured biomass since maybe post WWII due to inaccurate MRIP numbers.

The MRIP data again is evidence and clearly indicate that we have a taxpayer funded program causing economic hardship not only upon the fishing industry, but on what literally is "Joe the plumber-fishermen" who only wants to catch enough BSB for a dinner or two with his family. The final action taken this past Wednesday on recreational black sea bass once again highlights something so troubling in the behavior of fishermen this season since they:

1- See no LEGITIMACY in the current regulatory process as it concerns what they can possess

2- Undermines the AUTHORITY of a regulation that was originally intended to rebuild and then sustain the stock at reasonable fishing effort

3- INTENSIFIES non-compliance among the angling public who are forced to regulatory discard perfectly good seafood due to onerously long - closed seasonal periods, extremely constrained possession limits and what has become artificially high minimum size limits and we should add in part due to the lack of access to other traditional species

I understand that this is a long and somewhat in-depth post to be read in a social media format. But I believe we are at the point that these thoughts have to be shared with the fishing public because I highly doubt that the for-hire industry can continue to be viable in what has become an anti-harvest sentiment with the regulatory framework for most species of fish in our region (ie: winter flounder, blackfish).

All too many fishing organizations and media outlets have let us down in what is becoming a fight over reasonableness in what fishermen can legally possess. We also should include the phony-support by all too many politicians on both the state and federal level to recognize that the for-hire sector is there to provide anyone in the public the means to enjoy a day of fishing. In essence and the utter reality, a for-hire business that relies and specializes on the catching of fish in order to sell trips for the average fishermen, will most likely fall by the wayside in the near future.

It is clear when you hear those speaking at the fishery meetings on the mindset for the future of the for-hire sector of minuscule bag limits, and we already have the majority of inshore species with a possession limit of 1 through to 5 on: fluke to winter flounder, striped bass, blackfish and now sea bass.

Countless times a few of us have pointed out that the arithmetic doesn't work when it comes to estimating recreational harvest, and yet is used right down to the very last digit when it comes to the fishery management side. But when it comes to the for-hire and recreational fisherman's side, the numbers will not and do not add up in what they are allowed to possess while fishing for BSB in on our regional waters.

Please spend a few moments looking through this document on the numbers not adding up in NY - Wave 6: See what you can come up with when reading this: ... _Final.pdf

EC Newellman


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