Monday, January 02, 2012

Fish Report 1/2/12

Fish Report 1/2/12
Poor Cbass/Nice Tog
New Year Firsts
Tovarishch MuRFSS  
Tog Trips 1/5/12 & 1/6/12 - Thursday & Friday - 7 to 3 - Twelve Sells Out - Green Crabs Provided - Will Check Weekend Forecasts As The Week Progresses..
Hi All,
Our New Year began fine & calm; We tied her loose while marina pilings reflected perfectly off mirror-like waters tinged in sunrise's orange hues..
After the thrashing we'd gotten the morning before, I was ready for some smooth sailing.
Although we'd caught 150 fish per-person, Saturday's sea bassing left much to be desired. Running further off, a lot further off, would have fixed it. Conditions too dicey; I sent 'em home with dinner, a partial trip credit and memories of an astronomical throwback ratio. A poor finish to a pretty good year of cbassing..
New Year's Day however, was great.
First sunrise at sea on the First day of toggin was splendid. 
First tog was a 23 inch dandy ..newcomer spoiled on his first drop. 
First limit went to Delaware Mike @ 9:16 AM. 
First broken rod - anonymous and wondering where his receipt is.
First serious tog went to John M with a 27 3/4 inch male.
First rod overboard went to, well, I don't want to mention Ol' Two Fingers by name -- He was also high-hook.
First snagged-it-back rod of 2012 goes to me, I Franked it (snagged with two hooks) and gave it back..
A well-paced bite with good flurries of action; We took a boat limit with no fish under 16 inches & tagged about 35 more up to 24 inches: Only 3 tags were sub-legal.
Happy New Year indeed..
If I could get management to see what I've seen with tog they'd understand "Reef Restoration Makes Fishery Restoration Simple" a lot better
..and grasp why I think chasing illusions of catch has been time wasted. Sensible regulation with a lot more oysters & coral will take us where we want to go; Fishery Restoration beyond what we now imagine made possible.
Listening to Shostakovich's 10th as I write; here the Venezuelan Youth Orchestra knocks it out of the park.. 
The Soviet composer survived Stalin's terrors while several times writing whole symphonies that would have landed him atop the 'purge' list had The Party understood his music's meaning..
Now US recreational fisheries have had their 'great purge' as well. Accusations of overfishing almost always baseless; Bankruptcies & divorces needless, Our runaway size & creel regulations created in vacuous, implausible catch estimate's need; Lopsided state to state laws seen as rational only to true MRFSS believers.. In two more weeks we MuRFSS survivors can celebrate as this great composer did after Stalin's funeral
..I think.
You see, new catch data Congressionally mandated by January 1st, 2009 is finally due out January 13, 2012 -- Friday the 13th.
"We're scared to death" one top scientist told me.
Good: That means management is establishing a real connection with the fishing community. We've lived in fear of every data set & management's response for almost 15 years.  
The fishery science community is worried they'll have to redo a large part of recreational catch impacts to fish population estimates, the stock assessments. Here the simple math of subtracting how many fish were caught from how many they think are out there will now become far more complex because no one would throw out the flyers--the ultra high catch estimates, nor raise the zeros--the far too low estimates: A great deal of fisheries work will soon be without scientific foundation.
Easy money gone, here come real estimates.
I think..
On January 13th the public gets to see what MRIP has come up with. Fishers of Red Snapper, Grouper, Black Sea Bass, Tautog, Flounder, Cod & Haddock have all had major season cutbacks & Emergency Closures where advance sales were suddenly vacuumed away because of MuRFSS "verified" overfishing; We've all had revenues shrink as size & creel limits ran away from reality. 
And that's just the partyboats..
If the new program, MRIP, is as accurate as I hope it is --based in part on license sales, a body-count of fishermen MuRFSS never had-- then many of the old catch estimating program's wildest overestimates are about to get exposed: All those times when "We Can't Change It" was management's refrain are about to get turned into a mountain of work.
Bayesian stops and considerations of statistical probability were never contemplated by the Marine Recreational Fishing Statistics Survey. (MuRFSS) No, even now the 2010 Massachusetts private boat estimate where private boats supposedly caught more cod in April, 2010 than in the previous 4 years combined; An estimate that "proves" these private boats caught more fish for the first time ever -and most of those just in April- than the region's incredibly skilled & knowledgeable commercial trawl fishers; An estimate that threatens every cod fisher, recreational & commercial, north of Cape Cod: An old-school estimate forcing huge changes in fishery management while new MRIP data is available for NOAA & NMFS internal review: Even Now Management Will Not Back Away From Bad Data.
"Its the best data available. We have to use it."
Yes, But of course Comrade. If this is what the Party has provided you - Pravda!
Shostakovich: "Those who have ears will hear."
In two weeks MuRFSS will be lying on the dacha floor, the Terrors nearly over..
Those who have eyes will then see.
Sensible regulation with a lot more oyster & coral habitat will take us where we want to go; Fishery Restoration beyond what we now imagine will be made possible by honest science & recognizing the Ecological Impossibility of re-creating yesteryear's fish populations with today's habitat: Reef Restoration Makes Fishery Restoration Simple.  
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservation Line 410 520 2076

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