Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fish Report 12/11/10

Fish Report 12/11/10
Summer Flounder & Tucker
Sacrifice to Statistical Deity
MD Reps Push Back
Call & Email About The Sea Bass Options Below
Still Time: Tell your shoppers about Morning Star Gift Certificates. Always Honored. Reservation Line's 24/7..
A list of each State's ASMFC Representatives 
A list of each State's MAFMC Representatives   
At a meeting the other night I heard a new word association with a MRFSS catch estimate -- IF.
Hi All,
My rig is hauled out. Working on Jimmy Jackson's Reef - Working on habitat video - Sailed through a CG hull inspection - Now working on getting her ready for the reopening of tog January 1st. 
Found "Hooked on OC" episode #78. I hadn't seen it despite featuring the World's Greatest Flounder Fisherman -- Tucker -- Who, and probably just that one time, got out-fished by everyone aboard; Who struggled with anchors... It was fun to watch after a bottom-paint dust off..
Also saw this Monty Python clip. It is absolutely the closest video metaphor to the actual goings on of MRFSS - our recreational fishing catch estimate statistics.. 
And I've relocated Nick & Clarita's wonderful stills and video of our Non-Habitat Forming corals. Still shots in the first segment are of a reef that's coming back to life--Again. The video in the second part is a supremely graphic statement of why I think the marine science that claims our corals do not form 'habitat' might be a tad premature. Yes, our corals are officially "non-habitat forming." That great leap of science, That conclusion..
"Non-Habitat Forming" is the emphasis of the new video I'll show at the upcoming Habitat Workshop.....
You know; Black sea bass fishers to our north have done it again.
Scoundrels all.
They have, according to official catch estimates--And don't you dare argue sacred data--caught the whole coast's quota.
Managers' present day use of Official catch-estimates compares with ancient Shamans acting with indisputable infallibility.
Human sacrifice quite common in history; Imagine a medicine-man in communication with great deities, Immersed in ritualistic trance & ceremony: And, now Certain--Absolutely Positive--that a human's death -or a dozen- would be needed to appease their 'all powerful'..
That a child's death would bring rain..
That a young woman's death would bring a King an heir, a son..
That a clever young man's death would bring less competition for the Shaman's job.
And, now in modern-era, that conjured statistic might restore fish. 
Indisputable Infallibility is where many managers have held our marine recreational fisheries statistics survey -MRFSS- over the last decade, Have held that catch-estimate's statistical perfection need not be questioned: Only responded too.
Modern-day Fisheries Shamans meet in ceremonial worship of sacred numbers; Celebrate with Great Certainty that Maryland's private boat fleet caught 353,419 sea bass in July & August 2008; Know that of those almost-half-million fish caught, only 2,251 were keepers: But, sadly, 25% of those 1/2 million fish released were lost to release mortality--died when thrown back--while just over two thousand fish actually suffered the indignity of seasoned-flour & hot oil: Almost a hundred thousand died of barotrauma, by hook removal, by deep-hooking or baking in the sun while recreational fishers took pictures - then fed them to rotund gulls gleefully cawing approval of management's policy.
The Sacred Data reveals these same MD private-boats the following July & August -in 2009- caught only 19,629 sea bass altogether - Just 330,000 less than the same two month period the year before. No cause for statistical nor fishery concern that. It should also be noted that none of those twenty thousand fish were served on a plate because none were keepers. And, since only five thousand died in 25% release mortality calculation, Famished gulls then berated Thrashers French Fry customers and caused mothers of young children to carry tennis rackets.. 
Our Shamans nod sagely when the Great Giver of Statistics tells them during the same period our outboards caught 353,419 sea bass, that all of MD's partyboats & charter boats caught 31,904 sea bass. This in a time of high-summer when 1/2 day trips are selling well. 320,000  less fish despite far greater effort & experience.  
In 2010 The Statistic is No Keepers for private boats out of 103,969 sea bass caught, And 3,590 keepers for charter/party out of 21,475 caught. (Hmmm, I know one boat that can prove those estimates wrong.)
Oh Great and Sacred Statistic!
No need of old-fashioned scientific contemplation; Theirs a special Transcendence, a Certainty: Yes! The Great Statistic Has Spoken! That is what Maryland Private Boats Caught  ..while party and charter boats struggled to find clients a fish. 
Soon gathered again in dream-time trance; Managers in whirling frenzy will drone and gabble, murmur their sacred incantations over indisputable & infallible catch-estimate data.
Statistical gift given, the Way now firm and sure: Throw Recreational Reef-Fishers Off an Economic Cliff & Into the Sea, For they have Overcaught The Great Quota Again!'s always been the case in human history that conjurings of the powerful can take brutal form. If this year's official MRFSS catch estimate is indeed held as perfect & infallible - Stakeholders will be sacrificed - Our fishery virtually closed.
Perfect statistics aside, Some have had the audacity to make fishing better with various forms of habitat improvement. Because NJ, NY & MA may have actually increased reef-fish production in their realm, we'll all be punished with coastal closure.
Presently our reef-fish management has no concept, no science & no idea of mid-Atlantic reef habitat: A perfectly true statement.
Now ceremonial pipe passed --though perhaps with new & trendy conjuring additives-- the Grand Fellowship of Statistical Perfection knows stakeholder economic sacrifice is needed to make more fish, That habitat concerns are a true waste of tax-payer money, That unearned business income tax will scarcely be missed in our Nation's darkest fiscal hour, That no plan would lie upon sacred paper -wrought of sacred statistic- were it not perfect..
(Louie Leg-Breaker, a NY, NY voice) "Ay Skipper, yeah, um, say.. You got some folding money? Yeah? That's great! You don't have to go off the cliff with the rest, See? I'm from the guvmint and here to help, See? I got this research set-aside quota I can sell ya. You can fish while those other dopes wrestle for Fishery Disaster Funds."
There's no amount of evil-overfishing that can't be overcome with a little coin. Quota purchased; No need to be too fussy, just tell Louie here how many pounds your clients caught, how much of your purchased quota you used. Be sure to tell the truth now.  
At a meeting the other night I heard a new word association with a MRFSS catch-estimate -- IF.
A not-quite, but almost, high-priest said IF.
If a MRFSS estimate is too high, If MRFSS' centerpoint needs adjustment.
There are some that have had enough of this stink.
Maryland has.
I think.
Ask your State's reps if they think MRFSS is perfect.
If they think a reef-fish rebuilding plan that hasn't a whisper of reef-habitat can be suitable.. 
If they think mindless acceptance of data that no one likes is acceptable governance.
Acceptance of data: That's really what the fed has made Council & Commission do to streamline the process, To move the agenda along, To use The Great Statistic so that fish are well and truly rebuilt in short order.
"No bickering over data fellows; its the best we have."
Our current reef-fish restoration plans have no concern for habitat & holding capacity theory. This implies that regulators believe habitat is in stasis, that nothing is increasing or diminishing habitat.
Far from a correct belief; The amount of fishing pressure reef-fish can take in a given location is absolutely relative to the amount of reef: There is no more important aspect, There must be reef before there can be any need of reef-fish catch restriction.
Our sea bass plan still has many fish spawning at 7 1/2 inches.. Ah, Nope.
What happened in Massachusetts stays in Massachusetts. Their sea bass use their reefs. Habitat fidelity is our greatest unused management tool; Aside, that is, from not having discovered Essential Fish Habitat for the species most in need of Essential Habitat..
We'll be economically sacrificed in ignorance just as human sacrifice of old. 
This is beyond poor governance. It very much needs to change. 
Any reef fish restoration target can be exceeded with an understanding of habitat holding capacity's importance. Some effort must be made to estimate how much seafloor habitat was lost to unregulated fisheries.
Rebuilding natural reef ecologies--including fish--around artificially sited substrates is a far more sensible plan than choking commerce in hopes fish populations will restore themselves to an unknown habitat value.
Reef Restoration Makes Fishery Restoration Simple.
We're spending all this money to make fisheries data better, yet remain mired in it.
If you don't complain to government, You oughtn't complain about government.
Hmmm.. Reef Restoration Makes Fishery Restoration Simple.
Might even hear that in a video; See it on a pen..
Current cbass options & contact links below.
A list of each State's ASMFC Representatives 
A list of each State's MAFMC Representatives   
Here are the Black Sea Bass Options (our upcoming Fiasco) as they stand now. My comment in bold below each.

1) maintain the current minimum fish size and possession limit, and adjust the season only;
regulations would include a 12.5 inch TL minimum fish size, 25 fish possession limit, and an
open season from September 1 through October 19 (majority of peak wave 5); [reduction by
wave; 0+0.0214+0.2705+0.1768+0.0829+0.1100] = total reduction* = 66.2 percent
Here we're offered 7 1/2 weeks where we rebuilt the fish from scratch with rarely ever a few weeks of the year closed.

2) maintain the current minimum fish size and possession limit, and adjust the season only; regulations would include a 12.5 inch TL minimum fish size, 25 fish possession limit, and an
open season from May 19 through August 22 (partial waves 3 and 4); [reduction by wave;
0+0.0214+0.0798+0.0258+0.4213+0.1100] = total reduction* = 65.8 percent
Gee, go dolphin watching the rest of the year? be nice..

3) adjust the minimum fish size, possession limit, and season; regulations would include a 13.0
inch TL minimum fish size (+ 0.5 inch TL), 10 fish possession limit (-15 fish), and an open
season from September 17 through December 31
(partial wave 5 and full wave 6);
[(0.1847+0.5792)-0.1070] = reduction* = 65.7 percent
Super Fiasco..

4) maintain the current minimum fish size and adjust the possession limit and season;regulations would include a 12.5 inch TL minimum fish size, 1 fish possession limit (-24 fish),
and an open season from September 1 through December 31 (full wave 5 and 6);
[(0.4179+0.4687)-0.1959] = reduction* = 69.1 percent
Complete & total super fiasco..

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