Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Fish Report 12/07/11

Fish Report 12/07/11
Sorry Bobby, Going Fishing
NE Regional Action Items
Friday, December 9th -- Long Sea Bass -- Calm & Warm(er) -- 6 to 4 -- $125.00 -- Bait Provided -- Jigs Are Not -- (but jigs are hot!) 
Hi All,
A calm has opened for Friday, December 9th.
Winds 5 to 10 -- Waves 1 to 2 -- Air Temp 50 -- Might be the last of that this winter.
Long Sea Bass -- 6 to 4 -- $125.00 -- Bait Provided -- Jigs Are Not. 
Try to get another cbass trip Monday -- 12/12/11 -- 5:30 to 4 --  $125.00 -- But the forecasted calm isn't as sound--Maybe; there don't appear to be many windows coming..
Capt. Bob's service is Friday at 11:00 -- My obligations are too many not to fish if I can.. He, of all people, would have understood..
Will be thinking of him though. Have been. A friend sent this very curious classical/bluegrass hybrid tune with Yo-Yo Ma, Aoife O'Donovan, Chris Thile -- Haunting -- Track is Here and Heaven 
Lot of good stuff falling into place from the rec-fish summit a while back 
I was so glad to see Essential Fish Habitat -EFH- in the Summit Action Plan
..then I read on.
"In the Mid-Atlantic, the Northeast Regional Office will provide technical assistance in development of the EFH provisions of the Bluefish Fishery Management Plan........ "
Dang, well, blues do use reefs for about two months in fall when they're eating the heck out of sea bass -- there is an ecosystem connection.
Pretty disheartening though.
Ah well, its one thing in an ocean of ills.
There is a lot in that plan -- worth reading.
Then Dr. Chris Moore, Executive Director of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, sends out a letter to participants in last week's conference. He concludes by stating our fear the data we send in, the Vessel Trip Report data -- a catch form we fill out every day ..that our fears are unfounded because It Is Used to fact-check recreational catch estimates, at least for party/charter.
Um, well, No.
The Official Estimate for Maryland Party/Charter sea bass in May/June 2010 is Zero. I officially reported --and WOULD NOT have received fishing permits the following year had I not-- 2,026 cbass in just the first week of season. 
In 2011 I reported 848 cbass for the first 4 days I fished in May. The official estimate for all Maryland party/charter sea bass for all of May/June is 713.
There are other boats sending this data in.
"Can't change it."  
"Not Our Fault."
"Just Following Orders."
The single most important aspect of VTR truthing --just a concept of mine-- is the ability to determine percentages or, via participant research, "mode-share" of catch based off VTR-verified data...
For instance, there's NO WAY that Maryland private boats (here the 'private boat mode') EVER took more sea bass than MD partyboats -- EVER.
Unless you use the official estimates.
There's NO WAY that NJ's shore anglers caught ALL the mid-Atlantic's shore-based tog in March/April 2010 -- There's NO WAY those same NJ shore anglers caught 67,376 more tog that spring than ALL the party & charter boats in ALL the Mid-Atlantic..
But managers, who mostly don't fish, shrug their shoulders, "Angler effort sure is hard to predict."
I can show numerous examples where just my own VTR reported catch exceeds the MRFSS estimate in a given period or year - and I can show where catches fantastically higher than my real percentage of MD catch are represented..

However hard it is to push with rope--to show an estimate is too high, I can absolutely demonstrate many of MRFSS' underestimates.  
I'm telling you, MRFSS is a cancer eating fisheries science from the inside.

Hey Management -- NY, NJ, VA & DE -- everyone has different percentages -- Find out what they are and use the VTRs to calculate if MRFSS is even in the ballpark.
I could go on & on.
Believe I have, actually. 
Finding the truth of catch is vital to righting our restoration strategies..
From a knowledge of habitat we could base a true picture of where our restoration lies based on present-day holding capacity. With knowledge of spawning-biology, philopatry (homing/natal fidelity) & engineered/protected habitat expansion we can take the Mid-Atlantic's reef fish populations higher than any historical number.
I believe we are in marine science's darkest hour, a time when fishery restoration was thought to be simply a matter of catch restriction. Regulation will always be central, but so too is leaning how to make more fish..
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservation Line 410 520 2076

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