I hope I have been kind enough here.
Fish Report 7/22/18
It really is that simple..
Much more below..
Sailing Daily For Flounder & Sea Bass - Weather Permitting - Saturday'
Far Worse than estimates prior to 2012 under the MRFSS program (which I lobbied against for 15 years!), I am 100% certain NOAA's new MRIP recreational catch estimates are simply garbage.
Not at State Level, Not At Management-Unit Level (Hatteras to Maine), And Not At The Coastwide Level. For Many-Many Catch Estimates - It Cannot Be Done. MRIP's catch estimates are now SO BAD, they cannot be accurately averaged..
Trouble Lies Ahead.
Since my 7/11/18 Report I've had the Best Flounder Bite This Year, and one of my WORST trips in years.
While that hot flounder bite was happening, two anglers standing side-by-side had wholly different results. One bagged out - plus shared a few. The other practiced all day hooking 25 or more shorts.
Had a very nice sea bass bite on a previous trip. Fellow in the 12 spot limits-out, while the guy next to him does NOT catch a keeper.
Grandad, Dad, & Uncle suffer while Grandson (11yo?) outfishes them all with NICE flounders & sea bass..
July is usually a settled month--weather calm and steaming hot.
Not this year! We've had more summer weather cancellations than I can ever recall. (save one year in the 1990s when a hurricane & NEster duked it out for two straight weeks off the coast. Had 50 knots of NE wind for a LONG time..)
A simple truth in my business -- you cannot get days back. Lost is lost.
Reef/fisheries advocacy has had to take a rest while fishing hard as able & keeping equipment up. Fuel issues especially have been a bear. Have had two instances where rough seas stirred enough gunk from fuel tanks to stop fine fuel filters completely. Just did have both tanks 'polished' with $pecialized equipment that filter everything from tanks.
On Maryland's Wind Energy: Capt. Monty Hawkins, 7/22/18
(What do you see when the smog lifts over Los Angeles? UCLA..)
The ocean collects acidified air pollution from everywhere.
Automobiles certainly, but big power generation is the main producer of marine acidification - especially coal.
If I were paid to just do fisheries habitat work, for instance, I could not begin to read all there is. Still, basic truths remain..
How curiously uninformed for someone whose industry is so utterly dependent on ocean health - Or, in way of making Niccolo Machiavelli blush with pride, perhaps simply framing a few tidbits of science to suit her anti-wind power argument.
After all, there are important commercial fisheries - scalloping, surf clamming, & quahoging - that, today, take place in sandy areas
Thing is, what habitat could be destroyed - was. It's rarely something I witness today. I did witness and film a few habitat impacts to regrowing hardbottoms in the early 2000s. Made several videos about it. (*see below) But these are minuscule compared to what must have taken place as diesel engines became available en-masse post WWII.
It remains that we have no Fed/State/Council/Commission guidance, no regulation; not even scientific discovery of our nearshore reef habitats. I've been working on hardbottom habitats' discovery since 2001 when I borrowed an underwater video camera and plugged it into a $99.00 WalMart TV and saw what it was that made our reef fisheries work -- the habitat that made our reef fisheries even possible.
Not clams & quahogs (though certainly scallops sometimes) - but fish.
Every slough with natural hardbottoms has lost trawl gear also. Some wrecks have a net stuck on each end. Some of it may be 50 years old, but it's still there.
Trawl effort/bottom time has decreased significantly off MD's coast as extraction of our quotas has shifted north.
You'd think such increases in habitat of interest to NOAA, management, & fisheries scientists. But, so far at least, no study has occurred save one where a Fifty Million Dollar Research Vessel, the Bigelow, pronounced an area of hardbottom I'd informed them of as 'sand waves' ..yet when I lowered a video camera after the Bigelow's 'research cruise' with interested scientists while aboard the Morning Star, an abundance of slab rock was plainly visible. Sadly, this once vibrant sea whip colony (a soft coral) had been shaved clean. Corals only remained where protected by rocky overlap -- a giant whip meadow lost to one crew's catch, very likely in one day. I wish they'd targeted sand instead.. Ten years later there is some growth evident on sounders again. Haven't lowered a camera there lately though.
The inconvenience caused to some fisheries, (especially stern towed gears,) should coral reef be 'discovered' off our coast is, I believe, what keeps the sciences of habitat ecology and fisheries productions at a distance.
It really is that simple..
Measure after measure of reef productivity has a large proportion of the ocean's fish living in and atop what is less than 1% of the worlds seabed -- reef.
"Coral reefs are the most diverse of all marine ecosystems. They teem with life, with perhaps one-quarter of all ocean species depending on reef for food and shelter. This is a remarkable statistic when you consider that reefs cover just a tiny fraction (less than one percent) of the earth's surface and less than two percent of the ocean bottom. Because they are so diverse, coral reefs are often called the rainforests of the sea.
Coral reefs are also very important to people. The value of coral reefs has been estimated at 30 billion US dollars and perhaps as much as 172 billion US dollars each year, providing food, protection of shorelines, jobs based on tourism, and even medicines." From https://ocean.si.edu/ocean-lif
Wind energy surveys raised my blood pressure through the roof into 2015. Their 'sub-bottom profiler' equipment scared sea bass & flounder from every bit of reef within 3 or 4 miles of the MD WEA - an area of approximately 500 square miles was evacuated by fish. I had a video made in Januray 2016 with video we'd shot on the last day of August 2015 & compared it to video of the exact same bottoms from 2004. Government said: 'Oh No, that equipment is as quiet as a ship's propeller.' And I don't doubt that. But is scared the fish away -- big time.
They moved though. Didn't kill 'em. No one else complained. Fishing was GREAT where they were fish were artificially knotted up. Survey impact video https://www.youtube.com/watch?
Fish haven't the least concept of the origination of where they are feeding, growing to maturity, & spawning. Reef is Reef.
Where today we are on the brink of re-enlivening estuarine oyster populations using rock substrates that create vertical surfaces, (and NOT shell!) we might again see blue waters as they witnessed three generations ago -- might again see billfish just 5 miles off the beach.
Acidification continued means we'll have no chance at oyster reef restoration. They'll not be able to form shells at their earliest life stages.
Corals too - kaput.
Scallops? Uh hu..
Will Maryland's Marine Wind Energy component resolve threat of ocean acidification? Heck No.
But it's a start.
Wind towers are a whole lot less ugly than a dead sea.
(See habitat videos at https://www.youtube.com/