It is almost 8 pm and just got home, and have to go back out, but the short story is:
1- We were very fortunate to get the Wave 1 BSB - Feb. opening for 2018....so far.....
2- It now has to go to the ASMFC, in the coming week to also be approved...and that is not going to be easy to the votes here.
OCt 18TH - 1615 hrs - Consider Potential 2018 Wave 1 Opening of the Black Sea Bass Recreational Fishery (M. Luisi) Possible Action
3- There are a few Council members who stood up.... Thanks to two main people from the New Jersey and New York area: Adam N. from NJ (who proposed this agenda item).... thanks to Tony D. from NY who has been working on Wave 1 and will continue to do so for 2019... Thanks to Greg D. Director of the NJ GSSA for his help...
Getting the support on passing a motion that had previously failed when brought up before the Council, shows that there are those out there who are actively fighting for your right to have access to a particular fishery.
4- Four party and charter boat operators who supported the measure showed up.... Paul Forsberg Sr. and Carl Jr. from the Viking Fleet, Captain Joe King Cod, Kenny Higgins for Rob Captree Pride and Captree Princess and myself for Captain Michael Ardolino of the Brooklyn VI who is under the weather (no doubt the offshore tuna fishing will make most ill)... No New Jersey operators that at least I knew of, showed up....but nonetheless we support opening the winter Wave 1 BSB fishery to *** ALL *** states and fishermen....
I keep pointing out that Captain Paul Forsberg Sr. was the ONLY speaker that was allowed to public comment to the Council (of course due to time constraints - this Wave 1 block of time was set at 30 minutes of discussion and then a motion to be made), and figuratively "hit it out of the ball park" in what he stated about the BSB fishery with the various impacts to both the fish and fishing industry. I doubt anyone could of stated it as well as he did.
As for no New Jersey operators or fishing groups attending, I do understand the difficulties in making it to a meeting in another state. As a few I spoke to last evening, I did not get home until 8 pm last night. Even a drive to Riverhead and getting a quick bite to eat afterward, sets you back for a long stop and grind drive along our highways here on the island. Last night it was brutal to say the least to commute back to the city during rush hour.
5- Those opposed....Neil Delanoy from Captree....of course...and Rick Etzel who represented the Montauks Boatmans Assoc... So be it....
It should be noted since there has been a written public comment on the MAFMC record against the opening of the Feb. Wave 1 fishery by the owner of the Osprey Fleet, his sentiment, and I know this viewpoint since I have heard it from personally speaking to a number of other operators, It seems to fall along the same line of "why benefit a few, when what little we do have, should be shared among the majority of for-operators and as much, private vessel fishermen."
I get it...really do, but the battle should be directed against the M-RIP-off harvest estimate program and how they have created the regulatory death spiral. We should all be on the same page here in supporting fishing access to not only those on Long Island, but as much in neighboring New Jersey. This should not come down to a "east end vs west end or inshore vs offshore" fight over what little we are allowed to harvest during a season. Fragmenting into even smaller groups on fishery issues, will lead to even less access in the coming year(s).
6- I wish some people would have read the documents to understand what is at stake....ACCESS and open days if you do choose to fish for BSB.
Just remember, it is PRIVATE VESSEL harvest, based upon the formula of a 50/50 landings split put into this document from BSB fishery specialist Brandon Muffley. As many of us know who have been out there for decades fishing near or along the canyons after December, there is rarely any boats seen at this time of the year in the Hudson or Block, and the only area where I would venture to see a handful of private vessels on a blue-bird winter day at this time of the year would be off the Cape May Rocks area.
One also has to remember a few comments upon socialized media about the "crying game" which occurred when New Jersey was closed to fluke fishing in early September and losing 24 OPEN DAYS of ACCESS to the fishery.
One would think OPEN DAYS is the key to help get a fishing boat, whether for-hire or private to get off the dock and target a particular species. Please correct me if I am wrong here........
7- The reduction is unknown at this time....again, I repeat, UNKNOWN because they have no landings to get an idea of what would be taken away during the other open time periods of the year.
The last time when the BSB - Wave 1 fishery was opened for recreational fishing, was post Super Storm Sandy.
In this region we have no Wave 1 reporting (this can be checked if running a MRIP Data Query program, where one will clearly NOT SEE a recent estimate of either effort or catch attributed to PRIVATE VESSEL harvest for Wave 1 BSB in this region. In this management area, the only state with MRIP data collection in Wave 1 is done by North Carolina (as far as I know).
8 -Right now a minimum of 1 day to at worse, 4 days with the screwy MRIP - PRIVATE VESSEL numbers added in...and here folks is what YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND in how this works in removing days from other Waves during a calendar year.
Once again, refer to the document to see what the possible reduction would be to the individual states which open up the fishery during the Feb. time period. I and many others do realize the value in a warm weather fishing day as compared to one during the winter.
"How many days do you think you will get out" is one of the questions or comments I have heard. But how many times during May-June, the summer or in Sept-Oct have you been tied to the dock when the temperature is much more enjoyable to go out fishing?
9 - IT IS THE PRIVATE VESSEL MODE THAT IS PUTTING THE FOR-HIRE INDUSTRY OUT OF BUSINESS. THEIR NUMBERS are the result of a 53% haircut coming in 2018 due to Wave 3 in New Jersey estimates. It did not happen, but that is a story for another day and a clear head.
When you have the new Chief here at the NYS DEC now stating that "there are problems with MRIP," I know it is sinking in that M-RIP-off has little if any credibility in, and with a overwhelming vast majority of their estimates. Apply their catch expansion factor to the small samples that are collected, and you have the New Jersey 2017 Wave 3 numbers which you currently see (average weight for NJ anglers is roughly 1.4 lbs for BSB in the spring both in 2016 and 2017).
If you do a little easy math, you can find that you would need a small fleet of private boats fishing each and every day last May and June, and please the weather we had during that time!!!!!! It wasn't all bluebird just thinking back to the weather just a few months ago.
10- For those who will not support this access, just remember the fishing boot will be on the other foot when the cuts come, and decisions have to be made on what little is left to give out as far as season length....
I should of written 'could' in reference to other fisheries such as....and in reference to TAUTOG in the coming years or whatever shakes out with BSB in 2018. It is hard to agree on a workable season for vessels fishing in the noticeably diverse waters of the NY-NJ BIGHT, Long Island Sound, South Shore or East End of Long Island. You try and as best to accommodate for the various fishing seasons we have here. As we have come to see, sometimes it just does not work out as well as it should for a number of fishing operators.
11- MRIP is our enemy and I would of hoped by now that most in the for-hire industry would have figured out that their catch expansion of the private vessel sector is the cause in creating a regulatory death spiral.
Again, refer to the chart posted on NJ Wave 3. Everyone who follows M-RIP-off is holding their breaths when the Wave 4 BSB numbers come out for New York. Down the road a few months will be Wave 5 BSB in New York, and how that plays out in comparing Catch from 2016 to this season.
Wave 6 in NY could indicate a pattern of higher landings numbers during the calendar year as we saw just last year in 2016 ...and one wonders if we have those who will demand, "cut Wave 6 too...." - if we see another outrageous landings spike being reported (due to of course, PRIVATE VESSELS).
12- Last point, as Captain Paul Forsberg Sr. pointed out, if the BSB fishery was closed for the whole year - thus no harvest, the fishery would be shut down due to the amount of regulatory discards for the recreational sector....
Of yes, regulatory discards do count and that was the point Captain Paul F. was making when he spoke with his public comment. The legitimacy on the management of just one stock, BSB, has so undermined the whole concept of "a little pain now, for much greater benefits later when a stock is rebuilt" or now known as the "Fisherman's Lie."
Folks understand what is going on here.....1) you want to create greater access for fishermen and 2) you want to open door in allowing recreational access to winter BSB fishing. More so, we need accurate harvest data for this fishery and at has to start at some time and some place in our region.
In just speaking with a for-hire captain who has a winter business, I was reminded of "what do they want then when you have a fishery that is open during the winter such as cod or scup (only in New Jersey), and you catch BSB.If the fishery is closed, all BSB, no matter the size become a regulatory discard. Is this conservation or the best most responsible use of a valuable fish resource?"
For now we will have to wait and see how those on the ASMFC vote on Consideration of Potential 2018 Wave 1 Opening of the Black Sea Bass Recreational Fishery. It should be very interesting if this fishery will be open for one month come next February in 2018.