Dear Dr. Sullivan,
The recreational black sea bass fishery has been under constant assault from bad catch estimates for the last several years. NOAA & NMFS were supposed to repair recreational catch estimating methods and claims to have done so; yet the estimates grow worse – would be laughable were they not so painful.
Under the guise of “best available science” these estimates camouflage the true ills of our temperate reef fishery.
At the problem’s core is using a statistical spread incorrectly. Because the true and correct answer to “How Many Fish Did They Catch” is anywhere in a broad statistical spread, yet managers will use only the centerpoint; compliance with fish quota regulation becomes not a matter of fact, but a wild & random guess.
Once ‘overfishing’ or ‘overquota’ has been asserted by the estimating system, managers have no choice but to further restrict catch.
We know our fishery. This specific problem is MRIP’s assertion NY private boats caught 21.6 times what the party/charter skippers landed.
Yet fishers are more inclined to believe private boats would have landed fewer sea bass..
Use of bad estimates is destroying the recreational sea bass fishery & doing so with no benefit to the fish.
This situation is far deeper than a simple letter can detail. It will absolutely require a firm hand from the highest of levels.
I hope that’s you.