Friday, September 20, 2019

Fish Report 9/20/19

Fish Report 9/20/19 
Opening Sunday 9/22 
Cbass Chewing 
It Begins Anew: Grave Danger To Marine Recreational Fisheries..

Opening Sunday Sept 22 to a regular sea bass trip.. Catching! 

Reservations Now Open Through October 31, 2019.. Sundays Through Sept are closed/held in reserve for special trips. (Enclosed pic is from one of those Sundays - a dive monitoring reef trip - and here a 12 chimney reef block unit in a field of blocks..)

Sailing Daily For Sea Bass Weather Permitting (Sakes!) Flounder/Fluke should have been OK by now - they are not, Not Yet! (Ever?) Saturday's 6:30 to 3:30 - $125.00 –Otherwise 7 to 3 at $110.00.. 
Fishing's mostly been a matter of catching several nice fish fries' worth of cbass   ..

Reservations Required at 410 520 2076 - LEAVE YOUR BEST POSSIBLE CONTACT NUMBER - Weather Cancelations Are Common - I Make Every Attempt To Let Clients Sleep In If The Weather's Not Going Our Way..  

Be a half hour early! We always leave early! 
..except when someone shows up right on time. 
Clients arriving late will see the west end of an east bound boat. With a limited number of reserved spots, I do not refund because you over-slept or had a flat..

Bonine Is Cheap Insurance! "Natural Dramamine" Does NOT Work! 
It's Simple To Prevent Motion Sickness, Difficult To Cure.  If You Suffer Mal-de-Mer In A Car You Should Experiment On Shorter Half-Day Trips First..

Bring A Cooler With Ice For Your Fish – A 48 Quart Is Fine For A Few People. 
No Galley! BYO Sandwiches & Soft Drinks. A few beers in cans is fine. (bottles break at bad times)

If You Won't Measure & Count Your Fish The State Will Provide A Man With A Gun To Do It For You. We Measure & Count — ALWAYS — No Exceptions! 

We're Nowhere Near Reef Building's True Potential. 

If you have a few blocks in the backyard taking up space and just making snake reef, bring em. We'll toss em overboard with the rest.

26,999 Reef Blocks have been deployed at numerous sites as of 9/20/19..  
Here are sites currently being targeted: Capt. Jack Kaeufer's Reef 837 - Doug Ake's Reef 3,836 - St. Ann's 2,284 (+2 Reef Balls) - Sue's Block Drop 897 - TwoTanks Reef 910 - Capt. Bob's Inshore Block Drop 900 - Benelli Reef 994 - Rudy's Reef 209 - Capt. Bob's Bass Grounds Reef 2,018 (+2 reef balls)  - Wolf & Daughters Reef 713 - 352 at Al Berger's Reef - 383 Great Eastern Block Drop.... 

Greetings All, 
Sea bass, fussy as all get-out in summer, have had the feed bag on since Dorian passed offshore. 
Seeing a precious few flounder & triggers - very few.
Seeing a fair number of sea bass limits though. Man-Myth-Legend, our very own Prince of Portliness, Hurricane Murray sailed a stretch of days and limited first each trip. 
Will it stay like that? Derned if I know! Sailing every day weather allows! 

We're about to get cheated out of our sea bass fishery. With management literally doubling the 'overfishing limit' - and Commercial fishers getting (as they did with flounder/fluke earlier this year) a 60% increase in hard quota, the recreational community had best circle the wagons or we're going to have a 30% cut. 
Sorry. The voices in their computers tell them what to do.. I've written innumerable pieces on NOAA's MRIP/MRFSS Recreational Catch Estimates - have warned as best I can against their use by management. 
Working hard on disproving egregious estimates  by comparing them to Party/Charter landings to gauge their likelihood of accuracy. 
Ain't too likely. 

We saw this spring where Recreational anglers were forced to take a cut in Summer Flounder quota while our trawling brethren, who have a solid catch/landings value — their fish sold by the pound: Commercial quota shot UP 49%(!) while ours declined.. 
That's a huge jump. 
It owes entirely to MRIP catch estimates showing just unbelievable rec landings fisheries science and management conclude, therefore there MUST be a lot more fluke than previously thought. 

Oh man.. That's really messed up. 
Now they're coming after sea bass. 

If I read right, sea bass quota will take a massive cut on the Recreational side - while skyrocketing for Commercial fishers.
All based on recreational catch data no one any longer believes. 
Well, apparently someone thinks we've had it all wrong for 25 years; that now, suddenly, with the strictest regulation ever, Private Boats from one state can catch more sea bass than All Party/Charter from Hatteras N, and, ocaisionally, all that region's Trawl/Trap COMBINED as well. 
It's grown to way beyond dumb. We've long been hampered by statistic, now we're about to get full-on robbed. 

I wish I were exaggerating. 
I am not. 

Some of you wrote letters commenting on whether MRIP met the standards of the "Quality of Information Act." I doubt if anyone anywhere said "Sure! It's awesome!" 
But that's the letter we're getting back. Folks in charge of MRIP are quite proud of their monstrosity. 

I've been fighting bad rec catch data since 1998. There was a regulatory peace that lasted 5 years or so during the mid-2000s where I thought there were bad estimates, but not bad enough to trigger harsher management. 

Boy has that era passed. 

I've only begun work on it. Here's the first letter I fired off.
I've not done the math yet—will. What's going to happen, owing so much Recreational Catch being attributed solely by computer, Commercial fishers will end up with +-80% of the sea bass (as opposed to 49% as is their allotment) while our quota is statistically vaporized. 
This is already happening big-time in Summer Flounder. 
Soon in all shared species.. 

See letter below. Just the beginning of regulatory season. We'd better land punches now or kiss sea bass goodbye. 


Sent 9/18/19 to upper management..
..Have had several folks write me of late informing me they'd gotten a response from Dave VanVorhees at MRIP. 
He claims, (blah blah blah) "..ensure our statistics meet Information Quality Act requirements." Everything he notes indicates MRIP's meeting the standard was preconceived—our comments a waste of time. 
I do not know how to express it statistically, but our catch is being cooked. 
Worse & worse & worse.. Wholly impossible estimates are now the norm. 
What's always happened—and now increasingly so, is Recreational harvest levels being vaporized on computer (catch assigned as landings that didn't come close to happening) while ever-increasing commercial quota turns into hard landings. Summer flounder already,  and soon Black Sea Bass, are experiencing huge leaps in 'safe fishing levels' as MRIP's numbers send stock analysts back to the drawing board. "Well, if rec caught THAT many, there MUST be xxx many more.."
So they raise the population estimate - and commercial quota. Recreational? Not So Much. 'They're already catching theirs.'
I continue to assert this is a statistical theft of recreational quota. I fully anticipate it will lead to serious overfishing. We recs are being robbed while commercial fishers are richly rewarded. (Example: 2019's 49% increase in commercial fluke while most recs saw regulation tighten.)
I'm NOT anti-commercial!! Far from it. It's what's happening to Recreational access through statistical theft that's my concern. 

Really. Theft. It's that bad. 

A super-small example — in May/June of this year MRIP has Maryland Partyboat at about 8,000 lbs landings - while Private Boat is shown at 60,000.. (and Charterboat is at zero? Sheesh! — We tell NOAA what we caught - and it wasn't zero!) 
I make my living by KNOWING where sea bass have been pressured. A reef must rest before it can be fished again.  I NEVER have to worry about Private Boat Fishing pressure. Partyboat & Charterboat are another matter. If I take clients where a competitor was yesterday, or frequently in the last few weeks, my fares will not enjoy their day... 
As I've tried to explain, a much more precise estimate can be derived with a 'percentage of the catch' method. Here MD Party/Charter will land 80% or better of our state's total cbass catch. 
MRIP is, in this estimate, quite literally, an order of magnitude too high. 
It very often is!  
MRIP often has Private Boats north of Hatteras landing 3 or 4 times what all Commercial & Party/Charter combined landed. 
That's just nuts. Crazy nuts.

The heads of Councils & Commissions are stuck with MRIP as their only tool to gauge recreational catch. Professionals' faith in these estimates has vanished.
You can PLAINLY see how tightening regulation lowers For-Hire catch. Yet MRIP almost always increases Private Boat landings at the same time! By a LOT! 
It's really wrong. 

Well, if the 'Quality of Information Act' comment period didn't do any good, it's back to the keyboard. 
I'm not only fighting for honestly robust restorations; with MRIP's insanity I'm fighting for my life.


...The Fisheries Management community seems to be embracing MRIP's new numbers wholeheartedly. 
Last year we saw commercial quota for summer flounder rise 49% while recreational was cut. And suddenly what had been pretty good fishing was, this year, no more. A million different things might have played a role - but that absolutely huge rise in trawl quota sure smells funny. 
Now I'm seeing --owing 100% to MRIP recreational catch estimates-- where commercial black sea bass quota is being suggested to rise up to 71%(!!) - while recreational is cut up to 41%(?!?!)... 

Something stinks to high heaven. 

I'm always working on ways to illustrate MRIP's inanities and affect its repair: Looking at NY black sea bass in 2010 (because I can only pull up 2004 thorough 2011 MRIP/MRFSS comparisons) you'll see the original 2012 MRIP release (when MRIP first replaced the MRFSS data) had decreased the awful 2010 MRFSS estimate by 16.6% to 975,600 lbs of NY sea bass. After 2 "recalibrations" however, now MRIP has increased NY's sea bass estimate by 100.5% to 1,956,500 lbs. 
Looking at today's breakdown of modes, that gives Party/Charter just 8.08% of NY's catch. The rest was Private Boat while (laughably) giving a bit (+24,000 lbs) to Shore mode also. 
If instead we use the far firmer Party/Charter estimate with my "Percentage of the Catch" method to calculate Private Boat catch (and eliminate the shore catch - just dumb) we come to a total NY 2010 sea bass catch of 395,000 lbs. 
You see, NY's For-Hire skippers doubt Private Boat catches 1/2 their state's sea bass. For this illustration I've generously given Private Boat fully 60% of the catch. Even then it results in a 77.74% decrease in MRIP's nearly 2 million lb crazy assertion. 
I'm going to crunch a bunch of numbers, but that's how they're all going to go. 

I absolutely guarantee you -- using MRIP to alter stock assessments and reissue quota is a sure recipe for fisheries disasters. 
Ghost catch that never happened isn't harmless at all when it transmutes into vastly increased commercial quota. 

Blog Archive