Saturday, December 01, 2012

Fish Report 12/1/12

Fish Report 12/1/12
U/W Video
Ake's Reef
About That Math..
Tog Trip - Scientific Collection Permit - One Day Only - Leave Monday 12/3/12 @ 6 AM - Return Before Dark - $125.00 - 14 Sells Out - Reservations A Must - Call 410 520 2076 - My Fishery Science Friends Will Not Be There 1/2 Hour Early..
Hi All,
Just in from a video monitoring trip. Went to see that flounder-trawl impact to natural reef from early October, and also looked over a couple artificial reef sites.
The good news is at least some sea whip remains on the east side of that natural reef bottom; the west side appears shaved clean.
Bottom visibility was about awful though, I'll have to revisit the project.
Looked at a pair of our oyster castle reefs too. One had decent vis and was covered-over by Sandy pretty bad. Many reef blocks were flat with the bottom, others partially. None appeared to have moved, just scoured in. We'll put another layer on 'em.
Another spot, Jimmy's, where we focused a lot of effort last year, was standing tall on the fathometer. I could plainly see tog condos & block units. When we anchored, however, it didn't go so well. About 50 feet down the water turned black, you could see nothing. I hear some of the guys toggin off DE a a bad time of it, bet that's why. I've never seen vis that bad..
We'll get good video before Christmas.
(see website for previous u/w video work - very low budget, but its real coral about 120 miles from Washington DC)
Friday we sank Ake's Reef, the steel boat we've been working on. Went down picture perfect. By 2015 it will be a very toggy place. You could positively refer to it as an increase in that reef-site's habitat carrying capacity..
Mid-week I was immersed in a three day fisheries science course in Baltimore. Marine fisheries restoration a very young science, here men were lecturing who'd been involved since day one. Schooled like we work; spent 8 AM to 8 PM with Council members, commercial fishers, environmental reps, rec fishers & top scientists in the field.
I enjoyed all of it.
Every stock assessment computation seemed to involve "habitat carrying capacity" or "K" in their scientific notation.
What to them was a hypothetical, this K idea, is to me the most real part of it: K is where I drift, where I anchor -- what we build.
Where carrying capacity has been radically reduced, where K is now k, full fishery restoration is impossible.
Because science & management fail to grasp our real ability to Raise K --to increase habitat-- their task is made more difficult and our regulatory burden nearly unbearable.
Sea bass remain closed by emergency regulation because we're "Over Quota."
Beautiful days pass without a client in sight.
Checkbook resembles a bathtub's swirl.
Need Air.
To clarify the quality of the data used to close sea bass by emergency, here's what MRIP's November 19 "Update" newsletter stated about another catch estimate:

"..Both statistically and anecdotally, it is equally unlikely that zero fish were caught during any given year as it is that there was a 35-fold increase in catch in 2010 over 2009. Therefore, what these numbers indicate more than anything is that our samplers encounter very few individuals catching tautog from the shore in New Jersey during Wave 2.

To improve precision we would need to substantially increase the size of our intercept sample, which would mean talking to significantly greater numbers of anglers. That, in turn, would significantly increase the cost of the surveys."

That's in reference to my oft-made criticism of the 174,000 Tautog Mar/Apr NJ Shore 2010 estimate.

Capt. Al Ristori has sent a few emails of late. Besides chartering, he's been writing NJ fish reports for many, many years & was an early (original?) member of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council. A big part of his world has been getting word out when fish are biting.

Capt Al tells me there is no tog catch from NJ's shores in March & April.

That makes our "New & Improved" MRIP catch estimate pretty smelly. Zeros perfectly plausible and at least close; 174,000 tog, however, probably represents a couple centuries of Mar/Apr catch..

If numbers this far wrong can not only slip through but be staunchly defended, I'd say its "equally unlikely.." our other estimates are correct.

Dr. John Boreman was a principal architect of the striped bass recovery; he's easily as Kepler or Messier were to astronomy in fisheries science. During one of our sometimes heated recreational catch-data exchanges at the conference this week a wise-guy hollered, "Breath!"

Our new catch estimating program that was supposed to use salt-water license sales to create a head-count, MRIP has Massachusetts private boats catching half of our entire sea bass quota in May/June with 275,000 fish. Their limit this spring was 10 fish per-person.

When their creel limit doubled to 20 fish per-person in July/Aug they caught 7,600..

267,400 fewer fish when the creel limit doubled.

That's An Amazing Pair Of Statistics.


Oh No.

Oh No You Don't!

Some are saying the fish "Became Available" in May and were fished down so hard catch declined come summer - a plausible explanation for a damnable statistic: Yet Massachusetts's For-Hire summer estimate is 4X higher than in June/July 2011..

In fact, at 106,000 sea bass, its their 2cnd biggest two-month catch-estimate ever.

For a couple years private boats have been crushing the for-hire fleet's catch of sea bass. Now they can't catch 10%?
Or was 10% all they really caught all along..

We may not know the truth, but we know we're closed because we don't know the truth.

Catch estimates are keeping an awful lot of good science off the table. Random; there's no credibility in them, no truth.

K? Who needs habitat? That's just a hypothetical..

MRIP needs more money so they can data themselves to a logical conclusion: "Hey, could NJ shore fishers really catch more fish in two cold-water months than the whole coast's commercial fleet catches all year?"
Apparently, there's a strong statistical probability they can.


Fisheries science has enough trouble without input of false data.


What's real is going broke because management's forced to use bad data. That's what's true in the recreational fisheries.




Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservation Line 410 520 2076

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