Bottom's painted. Working on running gear: props, shafts, couplings. Even changing the heavy duty hose between the stuffing box and shaft log. (A stuffing box is where the propeller shaft enters the engine room - it allows free rotation while keeping out as much water as possible via 'packing.' Over-tighten and you'll create so much heat you could melt the hose; not enough packing/too loose--better hope your bilge pumps can keep up..) The hose was OK, but aging. If it were to fail there'd be a lot of paperwork.
I do need crew.. Like other great mates over almost 4 decades; one of the best deckhands I've had, Danny, is leaving for the tug boat industry. He won't have to worry with fisheries closures based on bad data anymore..
I'll show just how ridiculous that would be ..errr, Will Be if we don't stop it.
Party/Charter landings (the "For-Hire" trade, what my boat is) will remain as is. Because we surrender catch data for every trip, MRIP shouldn't need modification for Party/Charter. Do NOT, however, think NOAA's catch estimating program actually does have For-Hire catch right. The whole business of catch estimating is beyond sad..
I've also included a couple letters below. One from Capt. Dan Stauffer on the Fin Chaser, and my own. I sent mine to the addresses below. We have got to write -- as many anglers as possible -- to prevent this "Recalibration" from taking place. This recalibration affects fisheries from Maine to Texas.
There has never been anyone at either the top of Commerce (now Secretary Ross) or at the top of NOAA (now Under-Secretary Gallaudet) who has expressed such sincere interest in fishing, especially not recreational fishing.
The REASON those (and plenty more!) are/were needed is because NOAA's always held recreational catch estimates as infallible. If an MRIP estimate says guys freezing their butts off on New Jersey's jetties looking for the first tog of the year caught more Mar/April tog in 2010 than all Commercial & For-Hire combined, than that's bloody well what happened & quit your whining!
Sooooo.... MRIP sez NJ Shore caught nearly twice as many pounds of tog in a few weeks as ALL Commercial effort ALL YEAR, and did that amazing feat while experts in NJ's tog fishery (like Al Ristori) tell me folks are just trying for the first few tog of the year.
So.... Under recalibration All 2010 Commercial would stay the same. To recalibrate, MRIP must increase that late winter/early spring catch six times. Those shore anglers would have now caught (in a few weeks while no tog were actually biting) what is equal to a full decade of all commercial catch..
To say Private Boat lands 5X Party/Charter's catch is, to me, wholly out of touch with our fishery's reality. Off Maryland I'd question Private Boats even catching 20%.. I'd say instead: "Yes, Party/Charter catches 5X Private Boat."
While NOAA was cutting quota 30% across the board as Sandy's deadly decline on 2012's flounder spawn works its way though the flounder population; MRIP had Private Boat catch double.
MRIP's Logic: Party/Charter professional fishers having a harder time catching fluke? OK, let's double Private Boat catch.
Capt. T Daniel Stauffer
To: Secretary of Commerce Ross
1401 Constitution Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20230
Honorable Mr. Ross
I am writing you this morning urging your immediate involvement in an issue that, it left unchecked, will cost thousands of jobs and tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue. The issue I'm speaking of is the pending implementation of "recalibration" of NOAA's MRIP recreational catch estimates. If allowed to take place this action will surely close many fisheries and destroy jobs. For years the For Hire & Recreational fisheries have been hampered by horrible catch date produced by MuRFSS and now MRIP. The catch estimate numbers arrived at by these two methods are so preposterous that many, if not most, within the fisheries management community consider them to be a complete joke, but it's no laughing matter. Current law requires they be acted upon even if no one believes them to be in the least bit accurate. I urge you to take immediate action to confront this pending disastrous "recalibration" before it's too late for my industry, my livelihood, my family and thousands of others just like me.
Capt. T Daniel Stauffer
From: Capt. Monty Hawkins
Greetings Mr. Oliver,
Thank You for speaking at, and attending, the Recreational Saltwater Fishing Summit.
Of the times Secretary Ross has already interceded on recreational fishers' behalf, Commerce's intervention was only required because NOAA's recreational catch estimating program, MRIP, had created an illusion of already-tightly controlled recreational fishing being more dangerous to a population of fish today than even foreign factory trawl in the days before Magnuson & the 200 mile limit.
You were there. Three times at NOAA's rec-fish summit I had the whole room laughing. Fishers, all the NOAA people, all the Council & Commission folks too; everyone was laughing at bad catch estimates I quoted directly from the MRIP website.
Imagine.. These estimates have already been used to choke recreational fishing's commerce – yet are so bad even those at the top of our regulatory bodies laugh at them. Maybe you laughed too.
Something's gone badly wrong. Top managers laugh at how dumb these catch assertions are; yet these statistics are used against us. It is here, in truly putrid data, where recreational "Over Fishing" & "Over Quota" come from. It's NOT REAL – just statistics.
For instance: MRIP holds NY's small private boats targeting sea bass outfished the entire Party/Charter fleet along the whole Atlantic Coast in 2016 – by two times! While all Atlantic Coast Party/Charter landed 828,000 lbs, (and all commercial trawl/trap landed 1,390,000 pounds) - NY's small private boats landed, according to official MRIP estimate, 1,842,000 pounds of sea bass. This could never be true. Shoot, private boaters in NY complain about NY's own For-Hire Party/Charter boats "catching all the fish." If MRIP's assertion were vaguely proximate, it would be Party/Charter complaining bitterly about NY Private Boats
..and, if MRIP were right, NY's Private Boats caught 450,000 more pounds of sea bass than ALL commercial trawl & trap north of Cape Hatteras.
That's just preposterous.
All the regulators gathered in that room you spoke to twice thought it was funny.
I assure you: Bad regulation owing only unbelievably bad data isn't funny.
Fishing for a living 38 years now. I have fought recreational catch data's flaws since 1998. Our wins have been few. The biggest win was supposed to be the switch to MRIP from the old MRFSS system.
I promise you Admiral, this 'new & improved' MRIP recreational catch data program is more out of touch with reality than any that's ever come before --- seriously. Recreational catch data is worse now than ever before.
Another 'for instance:' MRIP has almost 50,000 pounds of sea bass caught from shore in MD in 2016.
I absolutely guarantee: from MD's one seaport, Ocean City Inlet, where a single keeper sea bass might be caught, we have been unable to find anyone claiming to have caught a keeper. Not One!
MRIP also claims Shore caught sea bass averaged 1.3 lbs. I can't 'average' that for my clients 30 miles offshore!
Actually? Those Shore anglers caught none..
These shenanigans are EVERYWHERE in MRIP's data. Insanely impossible assertions of catch that COULD NOT POSSIBLY BE TRUE are used against us to "prove" we've gone over-quota and must be punished with more closed season – more lost trips – more clients lost.
I am 100% certain: From Texas to Maine, Catch Estimates Are At The Root Of Recreational Fishing's Regulatory Troubles.
Now NOAA wants to make MRIP far worse. NOAA intends to allow MRIP to "recalibrate" their data 3.3X up in Private Boat mode & 6X up in Shore.
That'll mean NY Private Boats caught 7X more than ALL Atlantic Coast Party/Charter professional businesses caught in 2016 – Those small boats in NY will have even outfished all Commercial effort in the entire management unit by nearly 4X..
Similarly, under "recalibration" Maryland Shore anglers will have landed very nearly half what all Party/Charter landed along the entire Atlantic coast & almost half what all Commercial fishers landed in the Mid-Atlantic that year.
Does it matter that it's laugh out loud stupid?
No. It's always the case that NOAA's "Best Available Science" counts against us, no matter whether a living soul believes it or not.
I promise you, this is lunacy.
And, as evidenced by an entire conference room of NOAA/NMFS/Council/Commission's best & brightest breaking out in laughter – they already know the numbers are garbage.
Sure doesn't mean they won't use them.
Please send them back to the drawing board with this "recalibration." In fact, take the whole bunch behind the woodshed for having EVER using this garbage in the first place! The West Coast put this data to bed a long time ago. Ours is getting WORSE!
Please ALLOW Council & Commission to use common sense where data is, literally, laugh out loud dumb. Right now they HAVE to use data no one believes. No one!
That data crushes recreational fishing's industry.
Always and forever arm-wrestling some impossible data, we leave our best tools for fisheries restorations in the tool box. Marine reef building has always been of no concern to NOAA. What? Why? Have we too much coral?
When in DC you're only 110 miles from Maryland's corals. Yet the US spends it's coral habitat money in distant lands ..while recreational businesses are forever fending off accusations of "over-fishing" that could not possibly be true.
The Mid-Atlantic ocean has turned green. It's LOADED with algae. Since the demise of our region's natural biofilter, the oyster, marine water quality has slid steadily downward.
Building new reef-fish spawning habitat & biofilters, whether estuarine oyster or marine coral reef, is as simple as rolling rocks off a barge.
Instead, we focus on how to regulate based on MRIP catch data no one trusts – at all.
I beg your aid.
Secretary of Commerce Ross - TheSec@doc.gov (Might work.. Writing's better)