Over the past few days I have been going back and forth with Dr. Doug Zemeckis (Ph.D) on this issue of discard mortality of hook and line BSB and the upcoming seminar to be held in the coming weeks in New Jersey. For those who are not familiar Doug or his work, for many years he (and his father) were fishermen/customers of both Captain Jeff Gutman and Captain Greg Mercurio and ended up as he stated to me:
I grew up fishing in NJ and was drawn to New England for grad school given the reputation and projects at UMass where they work so cooperatively with the fishing industry.
In the past I have posted links and relevant points he his made within his various studies of and on Atlantic, or to be more specific, New England region codfish, and he has been an incredible resource as far as trying to bridge and connect the science to the on the water catch behavior of fishermen who target the 'winter king.'
Recently he has been working on a project with the discard survivability of Black Sea Bass and is bringing findings to the fishing public seminar on:
At the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Ocean County
1623 Whitesville Road, Toms River, NJ 08755
The information for this seminar consists of:
The presentation will describe the results from a black sea bass tagging study that was conducted to estimate the discard mortality rate of black sea bass during the winter offshore recreational fishery, including recommended best capture and handling practices for reducing the discard mortality rate of black sea bass (e.g., swim bladder venting).
This seminar is open to all who are interested and will be a "HyFlex" seminar offering where you can participate live in-class or remotely via webinar.
Please register for in-class or webinar participation by:
Friday, September 21 by contacting Kelly Jurgensen - firstname.lastname@example.org @ 732-349-1152
$10 Program Fee, includes VENTAFISH™ venting tool
Checks can be made out to "Ocean County Board of Agriculture" and mailed in advance to the address above, or payment can also be made via cash or check at the event.
Webinar: Free, but must register in advance!
I also like to point out that Captain Jeff of the VOYAGER had tried to vent BSB on one December trip, and we saw first hand the troubling issues when trying to conduct proper fish handling with safe handling of a venting tool on a rolling party boat...pictures and story here:
Finally I would to pass along some information from Doug in comparing how fishermen in the South Atlantic and GOMex region go about venting in the snapper/grouper fishery:
I understand regarding the lower catch rates with the snapper and grouper fisheries down south. That does make it easier for the crews and anglers to either vent fish or use descending devices.
For our offshore black sea bass fishery, the catch rates are obviously higher which would make it more effective for anglers to be educated on proper venting techniques, but the mates can also make some progress on this by venting fish when possible or showing people how to do it.
Its certainly possible that venting tools will just end up in peoples' tackle bags or in the wheelhouse, but getting them into their hands would at least make them more likely to be used if they instead had to go buy them on their own.
Recent research shows that anglers are more likely to vent fish than use descending devices. So, there is a bit more of shift back towards venting and not just descending devices. But, an education component is needed for proper technique (that's where I come in!).
Thanks to Doug for his research in helping us to understand not only how to properly vent fish, but also how hand gear fishermen can go about in lessening the regulatory discard of BSB.
Finally, this was the venting tool kit I purchased a number of years back. I can tell you that even with a surgically sharpened needle, when you accidentally stick yourself, it hurts. Just be careful when using on your vessel.