Though I about fell over when I got the hotel bill, I thought I found traction with some of my arguments at MONF3.
600 people - I'm really glad I went.
I chose my discussion-panel events not because they were my keenest interest, but because I felt those discussions would offer me a chance to spotlight either a weakening in management's resolve, or a sidelining of rational science by incomplete or ill-informed data..
For instance, "forage fish" on the east coast tend to be thought of as menhaden and, increasingly, shad & herring. These estuarine species are being driven into management with singular resolve by a large NGO. Many recreational fishing groups also plainly see a need for firmer management; yet sand eel and squid—incredibly important marine species—remain absent any "forage" consideration.
It was Dr. Jon Hare's presentation at a different venue that caused me to consider our situation in the Mid-Atlantic as unique. Because the Gulf Stream is guided offshore & away by Cape Hatteras, while the cold-water Labrador Current plies its way south and inshore, we actually have a measurably higher sea level in the MAB than on the other side of the Gulf current: It must be that the Gulf Stream actually dams the Chesapeake & Delaware Bay's outflows along with the Labrador current's end.
It stands to reason that because nutrient outflows of CBay & DBay are bottled-up: the southern Mid-Atlantic Bight really is turning green faster than anywhere else
..not that anyone's measuring.
Science will see it plain as day in fishing's history though.
The greening of our sea has had effects we don't comprehend. Where men fishing 40 & more years ago remember many white marlin regurgitating masses of sand eels; (they had to clean up the mess) fishers today have never seen sand eels in marlin.
I would suggest this must mean that today's habitat capacity, often expressed as "K" in the literature, is lower; That our carrying capacity must be diminished if where these billfish once fed no longer has blue water—if the inshore sand eel populations are no longer accessible due to diminished water quality.
Raising K, increasing habitat capacity for marlin, would mean restoring water quality to traditional billfish areas like Jackspot Shoal.
No small task, but doable.
Oyster reefs that maximize biofiltration are absolutely the best hope for restoring blue water.
Spawning as they do over hard-bottom reef, I believe yesteryear's nearshore squid fishery is also simply replaced with artificial reef; believe the habitat and squid are repairable.
Although the habitat repair won't be trawlable, I'm sure they'll find a way to catch those squid should they flourish again inshore.
I reckon there'd be some sea bass there too.
We don't know how far gone marine water quality is & we don't know how diminished the seabed's habitat ..but we could find out by collecting fishing's history.
I'm sure the repairs are going to be far beyond the scope of fisheries management.
See some of you at the reef dinner.