It's precisely because I don't have a business that depends on it. It's precisely because I don't have an offshore boat I've invested in.
That gives me the freedom to decide for myself what's right. A freedom, I would argue, that many around here do not possess.
I also enjoy a healthy, rational debate. I think it helps all of us become more educated and thoughtful on the topic -- but only if your mind is open.
And things like businesses that depend on offshore fisheries, large investments in offshore boats, or even working for a magazine that caters to fishermen makes keeping an open mind difficult.
Difficult, but not impossible.
limits along with Circle Hook requirements is what led to this. Nothing to do with ENGo's catch Share
In the Southeast region where we fish, independant data has from multiple sources has shown much the
same, and was even used in the arguements against the ARS closure here, but in the end, data paid for
in part by Pew was chosen to be used. They tried to close ALL bottom fishing with that data! The NMFS bag
and size limit changes has brought tremendous growth in our two most abundant and vibrant fish stocks
over here, Black Sea Bass, and red Snapper. Both are Closed! BSB has 11 year old data from before size
and bag limit changes were made and alowed a great growth to occur, being used to close the fishery, and
ARS has more recent data, but data that even the court has ordered NMFS to fix, being used to close it!
So yes, the bag and size limits along with seasonal spawning closures, and other traditional management
tools such as Circle Hooks and Venting Tools, has allowed the nice rebuilding of our stocks. However, we
now find that what is working, is not good enough for some, and in a classic case of trying to 'fix what is
not broken', attempts to bring 'new and novel' schemes into fishery management is occuring. DESPITE
NOSS failing to provide the data as required under their legal charter, the stocks have returned nicely,
without Catch Shares, IFQ's, LAPP's, TURF's.etc.
UNTIL NOAA and its NMFS decides to put Science Based Data for landings and Biomass as a priority in
its spending and budget policies, there will not be a science based management plan possible. Unless
NMFS collects Biomass data, and landing data brought to them will be reconciled against what?
Guestimates, which are certainly subject to extreme bias.
The value as I have said, is in the purchasing of the brand of the Snook Foundation. Which doesn't really mean all that much on the cache scale other than a much needed foot in the door by the ENGOs.
CCA, FRA, RFA, FGA, MOUSE, aren't in the science business, they are in the advocacy business and demand that the science be done in a defensible manner by those responsible for doing it. CCA has in the past and only because of its stature and means commissioned independent studies by credentialed scientists to refute the quality of federal and state studies . The lesson learned was that despite those arguments, which were ignored, the rulemaking proceeded without consideration and on schedule. The feds do not recognise any science but that it performs under its own supervision and direction. Excepting maybe that supporting their policy direction.
As Sade sang, this is no place for beginners or sensitive hearts.
Last edited by Gary S. Colecchio; 04-13-2012 at 09:05 AM.
"If I can't win, I won't play." - Doris Colecchio.
"Well Gary, the easiest way to look tall is to stand in a room full of short people." - Curtis Bostick
On another note, this isn't the Politics section, the name calling isn't needed.
America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.
A system relying on voluntary catch reports could provide somewhat interesting anecdotal info but never hard science I'm afraid. This has been known by fishery scientists and veteran observers for many decades.
To get an idea of trending, and some hard info, nothing can compare to getting really good CPUE studies (catch per unit of effort) where all the variables are considered to the extent possible.
I fish primarily the South Atlantic region, though I have fished the Gulf, and have seen a snapshot
of it in different era's. In my region, we too have shrimp boats with their 95% biomass of dead
discards, much of which is juvinelle finfish, such as snappers and groupers. Despite this ongoing
fishery here, our Red Snapper and Black Sea Bass have had tremendous growth in the last decade.
There is another factor, that added to the impact, but was not in itself the main reason, namely the
combination of high fuel prices and a declining economy, which has led to diminished fishng pressure.
The primary impact to the growth, which occured previous to the recent closures, is adjsutments
to size and bag limits, as well as seasonal closures for spawning.
My comparison with what has indeed worked for us, was to Tarponator's claim that ENGO's were
responsable for the rebuilding we see in our fisheries with their policies. This simply is false. The NMFS
has in our region adjusted min ARS size to 20" and 2 pp limit. BSB are now 12" and 15 pp limit. Compared
to a decade ago, that is a significant change, and a significant growth was seen even before the
economic downturn. Since then Circle hook requirement here as with the GOM has greatly lessened the
mortality rate of released fish.
Our fisheries, like the GOM were IMPROVING under bag and size limits, but in an attempt to 'fix what aint
broken' some special interest have been pushing 'New and Novel' management schemes. If there is one
measure that could greatly improve the new and future stock levels of some finfish, it is the shrimp industry
and their bycatch problem. Despite claims of making this better or limiting bycatch, if this level of waste
took place in any other fishery, it would be shut down on site! But then the political big-whigs would shut off
their supply of $50 shrimp cocktails!
As you guys already acknowledge, catch per unit effort is relatively easy to collect for the commercial sector. The data are usually quite robust. That's because the number of participants are much less than the recreationals and hard numbers are available from on board observers and trip tickets.
CPUE data for recreationals is currently collected from dockside surveys and a limited random phone survey program. Both systems suffer from small sample size and a dependence upon anglers to be truthful and accurate. Larger web based survey systems, while having the same inherent problems, would present a much larger sample size. Inaccurate reports, whether deliberate or just careless, are just noise in the system. Useful information can still be teased out of these type of data if the sample size is large enough and duration of the study is sufficient.
More data is better than less data when trying to make any kind of assessment.
I won't enter an argument over how such data might be used for management decisions.