Monday, October 19, 2009

Fish Report 10/19/09

Fish Report 10/19/09
Goin' Fishin'
Another Letter to Dr. Lubchenco
Hi All,
Dogoned-no-good-stinking-nasty weather... (That's the Hallmark version)
Have not fished since before the last report. West at 10 Tuesday & Wednesday - forecast like that, ought to be able to do something with it.
Sea bass remain closed. Great big water temp drop, anticipate a tog bite - should snap. Go see. Two fish limit - practice/dinner/tagging.. Some fun. 
Rail sells out at 15 for tog trips.
Sell a ticket, weather's good, we're going.
That's it for the "what's biting" part of the report.
Below you'll find a couple other things on my mind..
That's how I titled a recent letter to Senator Mikulski, Senator Cardin, Congressman Kratovil, Dr. Lubchenco and others. 
Tried to convey the sense & reaction of hearing a real mayday call, the spine-chilling, survival instinct-activating response that is the mariner's.
Sometimes an engine overheat is mistaken for fire, a live-well pump's hose--disconnected--has only to be turned off, a diabetic need only eat, a child playing on the radio - false alarm.
But when its real, even when its not, responders get going. DNR Police, volunteers, Coast Guard assets---moving---boats, ships, helicopters, airplanes, satellites - unrelenting action - rescue.
Mayday response from Congressman Kratovil - yes. Good thing too or I'd have thought my 'radio' broken.
The rest ain't pickin' up what I'm putting out.
Or, maybe they are.. yawn..
What is occurring in our fisheries is as if the Coast Guard's electronic data stream, the radio transmitting weather buoys, were broken. Showing impossibly dangerous sea conditions: their only correct response would be closing ports & inlets to traffic, halting all commerce at sea.
Unwilling to check the data, they scoff at mariners' observations of calm conditions.
Now years later, knowing full-well the buoy data is rotten and bearing the scars of a flogging by the National Research Council, they still close off traffic when these monitors light-up - without ever checking actual conditions.
That is exactly where we are with the Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistics Survey - MRFSS. Sea Bass, summer flounder, and many others fishery plans depend on MRFSS to estimate catch..
Well, it isn't exactly that, its management having to use MRFSS' center, a huge statistical spread, a spread which well may contain the correct estimate of the number of fish caught--somehow statistically valid--but only rarely in its center.
Irregardless: the coastal buoy data, these recreational fish catch estimates, are as rotten as a one of those 'cooler surprises' when, a week or two after your last fishing trip, you open that Coleman and--instantly overcome--gag-retch-spit, odor foul enough to make a skunk blush.
Like the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock, fishers now starve next to a sea full of bounty. They in need of knowledge to catch them, we the skills to prod a system into action; neither wanting more than to eat.
This MRFSS data is causing economic pain to fishing crews, bait sellers, sinker makers, tow-boat operators, .....the restaurants in which fishers might dine, the hotels where they might stay and, indeed, the very people that would enjoy use of these services.
From Cape Hatteras to Cape Cod, all this fiscal pain to all these people can be reduced--not eliminated-but lessened--by reopening sea bass & flounder to recreational fishers that have done nothing more than cooperate in their restoration.
The sea bass "Emergency Closure" is not fisheries restoration. I have no idea how to convince the higher-ups that reef-dwelling fish need reef: that the obvious effects of stern towed gears used decade upon decade have diminished these reefs: the fact sea bass return 'home' to spawn each summer leaves the idea of a 'coastal stock' untenable, that they must be managed regionally: and that in their unique physiology, that they change sex in response to population rise and fall, is the greatest means of population increase if we can but grasp it...
No, this 'emergency closure' is only causing crisis, not fixing one.
Catch restriction but a handy wrench; the tools for real restoration remain unused.
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservation Line 410 520 2076

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