"A down tick was seen with the biomass..."
Really, and what happened with that bumper 2015 year class, or 2016 year class?
Can one ask about "regulatory discards," and the other on the water harvesting realities within the scup fishery? Just asking....
From what I was told, and to no surprise, the stock is over fished and NO over fishing occurring (at least in the GOMaine). Also in the SNE-MA. management area, "recruitment has increased from a historic low in 2013 (pg.6)."
But there is something more ominous and the reason why you see the term "cryptic biomass" being mentioned (the model does not accurately align and account to the current condition, harvesting mortality and BRPs of the stock).
To put it bluntly, the WF stock began a precipitous decline starting in the mid 1980s (though it actually started earlier, though this is from relevant time series) with extremely poor recruitment into the SSB. The overall population or more important, the spawning stock biomass, reached such low levels that there was not enough larvae and those that reach the juvenile stage to survive and be recruited, and then for themselves to re-produce/spawn. What survived was being eaten within the environment, either from various mammals, birds and of course other marine species.
Strangely enough, this afternoon Captain Jason Colby contacted me on the situation within MA. state waters as he is now writing and on the horn to the noted "movers and shakers" in GARFO, NEFMC and of course the state fishery director.
Not good news, and I do wish I would have listened to this discussion from earlier this morning, but the relevant document can be found here (and which I have to read myself):
"It's Déjà vu all over again!"
Folks..... I am at a loss for words at this point as I thought I somehow was transported back to 2013...2014...2015....2016.... 2017....2018 dog chasing their tail discussions over the BLACK SEA BASS population, and what I heard pouring out of the mouths of certain individuals at this meeting.
Now, do you want a clue..... Those on the COMMISSION, please look at the chart provided at this meeting, and mind you that this is without the bumper 2015 BSB year class now aging in...and which should of been captured on the update assessment that was due for 2018 (we should know the outcome within the next few months).
It became much worse though as the technical people started to "speak in tongues" with words such as "cobble, smoothing and uncertainty." Yes, and so much for the grad school resume and Ph.D after the names of the individuals who enjoy tossing these phrases around at each and every Council and Commission meeting.
Of course, let us not forget the government shutdown and all the time these non-essential workers with the time they (okay, some) must of been enjoying Porn Hub during the middle of their day and not doing some fishery work at home (don't believe me, go here and look at the charts: https://www.washingtonian.com/2019/01/1 ... -shutdown/ ) Yes it's a dig at them as the world and the rest of the daily lives of Americans, did not come to a sudden halt over the last month.
Once again they cannot make any decisions, even with the chart seen below on the amount and the availability of the most robust finfish stock from North Carolina to Massachusetts.
Then we had that very moment where we just "jumped the proverbial shark"....and we really shouldn't be surprised as this happens at every darn fishery meeting when the words, "BLACK SEA BASS MANAGEMENT" is uttered.
Golly - goodness...time to evacuate the room and run back to the safe space behind their computer as we once again will hear at the following meeting, "someone trying to come up with a conclusion in search of a model."
Ah, then what do these fishcrats do......I am waiting for an answer from those raising their hands, and we hear the magic three letters as we begin the Tommy Lee drum roll....
PDT.....the Plan Development Team!
That's it, "we will now take the BSB Working Group to the next level" in government speak as that is a "blue ribbon panel combined with all the goodies of a wellness retreat!"
"But EC, aren't we talking about black sea bass?"
Yes I thought so too, but the over-worked, under payed and busy fishery beavers have to do something, and then maybe wipe out half the trees in the Catskills by producing a......
White paper....for Black Sea Bass?
Now if I am being overly sarcastic, rude, and borderline nasty on what my ears heard less than two hours before, you will understand that anyone who can see the computer screen can clearly look at the ASFMC chart posted below and say, "let's make the quota 11 million pounds to be split between the commercial and recreational sector (for 2018 it was 3.52 million pound commercial quota and a 3.66 million pound RHL fishing season) and then have Jim Gilmore pay for a round of drinks at the bar......"
It also makes us wonder about that BSB update assessment and the powerball M-RIP-off estimator may be causing some worries as the re-calibration is really tossing a screw-'gee' into the recreational mix...and not surprising, either from what we have seen from the latest MRIP data query charts. How do you disguise very bad estimates, other then to send it up to NOAAs own 'Bernie Madoff' secret 17th floor to have it all worked out?
To wrap this up, it does seem we are hearing the continued "status quo" being mentioned for a number of species for the 2019 fishing season. The fishcrats are now scrambling to find different approaches to pitch at the fishery meetings, and of course the PDT is seen as the magic elixir at the Commission meeting to build upon all the brilliance from the BSB Working Group.
Folks, that is the straight talk if you are wondering on what is going on for the upcoming season with BSB...and hold on a minute, didn't Emerson Hasbrouck ask at the end of this session about the summer flounder benchmark assessment.
The short answer....
Wait until the next meeting in the coming weeks.....
Steve EC Newellman