Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fish Report 3/18/10

Fish Report 3/18/10
Going Fishing
Pins & Needles
Hi All,
We should have the inflatable life-raft back in its cradle by nightfall 3/18/10. Very confident of that.. barring calamity on the highway; we will.
The water temp at the weather buoy off the MD/DE line is at 41.9 as I write.
That's warm enough: But is it all the way down?
No one got out last weekend in that horrible weather. We'll have to go see if they're biting-----It Is Not A Sure Bet.
Just two trips with this email: Friday, March 19th & Saturday, March 20th.
Light winds forecasted - Boat sells out at 12 - Green crabs provided - Cabin heated - Leave at 7:00 for these trips (or a tad earlier) - Return no later than 3 - 3:30 (usually) - $100.00 buys a spot - Reservation a must, that phone number in signature - Email does not work for reservations - Call - Leave a good phone number--Cell--in case of cancellation. ( if the life-raft somehow fails to arrive!) Minimum Number Of People For These Trips Is Zero - I'm Going Fishing.
Sea Bass by Federal Regulation remains undecided. Maryland's summer flounder too.
Managers & Regulators spend much time now putting out fires, distracted.
The closer I get to all this, the more I see that the fire's fuel is data; Ignition in misrepresentation: That the Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistics Survey--MRFSS--and Data-Poor Stock Assessments are the fuel; Using the exact center of these statistical spreads to create a single, hard data point creates ignition.
The problem is the data - It really is.
Maryland rec fishers did not go over quota on flounder in 2008.
All the states fishing Long Island Sound should bloody well have a simple, reasonable creel limit---New York should not have to consider, say, a 2 fish limit at 22 inches. It's ludicrous.
The whole coast did not overharvest sea bass last year.
When Maryland is said to have caught 30+ thousand flounder in two months from shore in 2007 - Our guys, after deepest consideration, think 600 is more realistic for that period. Not 600,000 --Not the 36,017 official catch estimate-- Just 600. 
Years and Years of accumulated bad data.
Managers & Regulators in opposition to each other within the states and between states, combat at the federal level--These struggles can be as brutal as what we witness currently on Capitol Hill...
I picture ancient Mayan Priests arguing how many humans to sacrifice to appease their gods; To get the best result from multiple killings of humans in ritualistic fashion.. Perhaps lower priests were made to carry out the orders of the high priests. They believed, they really believed it was the best thing they could do.
Well documented. We can't guess how many died*.  
Most theologians today would argue that was using bad data..
*(OK, maybe MRFSS could.)
Here--Now--While managers argue the best way forward for fisheries restoration using these unsupportable MRFSS & Data-Poor stock estimates, the economic vitality of recreational fishing slips away; wasted upon the stone-carved gutters of useless sacrifice.
It could all change by order of a high-priest..
Red Snapper, Black Sea Bass, even Summer Flounder --where we seem to have selected for flounder that use robust reef-- are among the Data-Poor fisheries. Here data is collected knowing it is lacking, but is used as Hard-Data -- even though it's far more a "Best Guess."
Data-Poor is what the science & management communities call it, it's their term.
Fishers call it.. well, nevermind. I try to keep polite language here..
On a desk cluttered with papers these estimates seem more credible, more plausible while camouflaged amidst better science. On a fillet table that hasn't been used much recently, they find less traction.
I think this is rock-bottom of the fisheries--our nadir; That MRIP, the new federal registration where they can actually count participants, will bring substantially more truth to our catch estimates.
Many think I'm far too optimistic, that we'll never get a fair shake.
Time will tell..
..tell about the tog bite next couple days too.
Going Fishing!
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservation Line 410 520 2076

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