Sunday, December 26, 2010

Fish Report 12/26/10

Fish Report 12/26/10
I didn't realize until recently that management would consider itself quite succesful even while businesses fail & fish populations remain stagnant..
There are no tog trips scheduled - Yet.
Soon though.
My crew & I may have to dig out the travel lift in order to get launched. We will try very hard to be ready for Tog's reopening on January 1st.
I will announce all winter trips via this medium.
When we can go - We will. 
Greetings All,
Blizzard's havoc on daily routine & travel plan a huge inconvenience: Surely some will perish in coming days.
At sea there are storms no fishermen can weather.
Ashore there are economic conditions no business can withstand.  
In the the reef fisheries, in our Data-Poor Fisheries, a paper-storm is creating deadly vortices; Overwhelming, overpowering, devastating whirlpools which some fishing businesses may not survive.
The storm is real--Though it is not a result of actual fish-removals, Nor is it crucial to restoring a fishery: The business-coroner's report will read 'Death By Bad Data..' a file-cabinet might collect another "Restored Fishery" trophy.
I didn't realize until recently that management could consider itself quite succesful even while businesses fail & fish populations remain stagnant....  
Things are not looking good for sea bass. We were "saved" last year by an increase in quota. That save still cost Ocean City businesses some prime fishing season; and that atop the year before's loss.
Now they might reduce our sea bass season by 90 more days.. that a file-cabinet may retain it's honor. 
Catch regulations are the only tool in use. Their effect weakens dramatically -to nothing really- while economic consequences mount. If catch restriction were all that was needed, weakfish would be damming the Potomac.
I think our lost fisheries --including red hake, atlantic mackerel, scup & even weakfish-- can be restored with regional management.
I think by utilizing habitat fidelity sea bass can taken to any given area's habitat holding capacity; That with habitat engineering they can be taken to far higher populations..
It will never happen with our present plan.
I don't know what can be done with it.
I'm still trying to convince the Government that reef-fish need reef to flourish; That our "non-reef forming corals" do form reef; That age at spawning shifts according to regulation; That their sea bass management hasn't worked at all except by luck..
Sure is a pretty trophy, A nice thing to tell the press: "Sea Bass Are Restored."
Recreational catch-estimates are known to be foul and should only be used as a loose guide.
Sea bass management that does not have a habitat component is a farce, a convenience. Ditto management in broad coastal form.
Write these folks below and tell them: Ask them why NOAA has not discovered our inshore corals and their importance to the reef & lobster fisheries; Why habitat production is unrecognized in a reef-fish management plan; Why MRFSS catch estimates are still driving all regulation--So much so that an entire industry would be threatened in order to collect a meaningless gold star for a "Restored Fishery."
Our official (MRFSS) catch estimates have private boats catching almost all of the cbass quota while the party and charter fleets' more accurate catch estimates remain flatlined.
That's wrong.
Data's wrong.
Plan's wrong.
The whole concept of 'restoring a fishery' needs evaluation if the human side is so easily discarded and the habitat side roundly ignored. 
Needs fixing.
Secretary Locke
U.S. Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20230
Secretary Lubchenco
1401 Constitution Avenue, NW - Room 5128
Washington, DC 20230
CINC NMFS Eric Schwaab
NOAA Fisheries Service
1315 East West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Economic injury & distress heightened in the Great Recession for a management plan that can't work.
If you vote send them a New Year's card too.
Our country can ill-afford fishery disaster relief now..
Especially for a disaster wrought of poor data.
Reef video or YouTube search Maryland Coral 
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservation Line 410 520 2076

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