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Longlines in the closed zone off East Coast

Wake up east coast fisherman.

A nova university scientist is proposing to let Day Boats LLC go fishing in the PLL closed zone for three years.

Here is the link to the notice:

Read it , comment on it.

This could significantly affect the sailfish, tuna, mahi, and marlin fishing in the NE and Central zones for the next three years and it is part of Day Boats promise to me that Scott Taylor would "Open up the closed zone for good"

I have asked for an extension of the comment period as well as two public meetings to discuss the issues.

Remember, the principal investigator, Dave Kerstetter did the last EFP in the closed zone. He was paid to do a certain number of sets, did half, and still got paid. The reason we may need some research in the zone is because of Dave's failure to perform the work he was hired to do.

Read the notice and comment. It may be very important to you non-bottom fishing efforts off the Florida Coast.

Ron Coddington
ICCAT Advisory Council member since 2008, representing Florida on the international level!


  • BubbaIIBubbaII Posts: 328 Deckhand
    Hi Ron,

    Like you, I find this proposed research to be a bit excessive. An EFP would/shoud be a small percentage of overall effort, which makes it less "intrusive", but what I don't see is a comparison of what that effort means in regard to total effort.

    There is no acronym list, so I have a question for you: In Table 4.1 of the EA, what is SAB, SAR, and SAT? I assume that is South Atlantic X, but what do the other letters mean? If the total sets normal effort is less than 2000 sets, then the 1080 for a limited group seems excessive for an EFP.

    Its obviously been vetted thru the SEFSC. There are several stipulations/restrictions regarding shark catches, however, this paragraph of the EA on page 48 is somewhat disturbing:
    Under Alternatives 2 and 3, overall swordfish catches would increase relative to otherwise authorized routine fishing operations (effect added by me) in the open area. The proposed research project could potentially result in a total of 12,492 swordfish kept, 2,622 swordfish discarded dead, and 1,085 swordfish discarded alive. There would be an increase, attributable to the research project, of 8,954 swordfish kept, 1,833 swordfish discarded dead, and 833 discarded alive. If it is assumed that most discarded swordfish are undersized, then the discard rate for undersized swordfish is higher in the closed areas as compared to the open area of the FEC (see Table 4.2). The overall increase in undersized swordfish dead discards could be as high as 1,883 per year (and 833 discarded alive) if the maximum amount of effort authorized by this EFP is fished (See Table 4.3). However, based on historical fishing rates for the vessels that would be authorized by this EFP, NMFS estimates that it would be more likely that 977 undersized swordfish would be discarded dead and 444 would be discarded alive (see Table 4.4 below).

    However, on page 50, this is somewhat discounted:
    In summary, the largest change in kept species would be for swordfish under the proposed EFP. Under the maximum authorized level of effort or “maximum difference” scenario, authorized EFP vessels are estimated to increase their swordfish landings by 8,954 individuals, if it is assumed that authorized EFP vessels would fish the maximum amount of effort authorized under this EFP (i.e., 1,080 sets with 750 hooks per set). However, it is more likely that the commercial vessels authorized under this EFP would fish similarly (i.e., same number of sets and hooks) to their past fishing practices in the PLL fishery (i.e, the “likely expected difference” scenario). From 2014 to 2015, the vessels proposed to participate in the EFP research project fished a median of 120 sets per year with 600 hooks per set based on logbook records. The likely expected difference scenario in Table 4.4 represents a more realistic portrayal of projected catches because it is based on historical fishing rates that factor in weather and vessel maintenance. The likely expected difference scenario estimates that authorized EFP vessels would actually fish 720 sets (120 sets multiplied by 6 vessels) with 600 hooks per set. At this level of effort, NMFS estimates 4,776 swordfish would be retained (720 sets) as compared to 8,954 swordfish under the maximum difference scenario (1,080 sets). Dead swordfish discards would be 977, as compared to the 1,833 under the maximum difference scenario.

    Nevertheless, they are authorized for 1080 sets.

    There is always a fine line with allowing specific vessels to fish in closed areas, and retain their catch, when all other vessels are prohibited from fishing there at the same time.

    I agree with your assessment that this EFP needs further vetting by the public. The EFP application itself does not meet Federal Register requirements for what is needed in an application; however, it appears HMS has their own form and it doesn't translate well for reading (its cut off) ........ Anyway, you need to tell the agency who, what, when, where, and why in an application, and I don't see those specifics in the online download of the application. Similarly, the EA is wanting for certain detail, and with recent changes in how NOAA reviews EAs, it will not be properly vetted by an outside non-NMFS government review. As you know, HMS is sort of its own entity in the system vs. the regional councils/NMFS offices.
  • hunterjwhunterjw Posts: 463 Deckhand
    CCA just released their email on this. Please send an email against the EFP.

    Longliners Seek Permit to Fish Conservation Area


    CCA fought long and hard to remove longlines from our waters but Longliners are trying once again to introduce industrial longline harvest operations in the conservation areas off of Florida.

    These conservation areas are responsible for bringing swordfish and billfish back to levels not seen in a generation. Unfortunately these fisheries are under assault again by the longliners trying to use an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) as a way to circumvent the rules and commercially harvest these fish with longlines once again.

    CCA has joined with other leaders in marine conservation to urge the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to reject this thinly veiled attempt to re-introduce industrial harvest in this conservation area. Please see the full letter to NMFS below.

    If this EFP is issued it will bring commercial long lining into Florida's East Coast Fishery.

    Have your voice heard, submit your comments by February 16. Email your comments to:

    [email protected]

    Please include "0648-XF086" in the subject line as an identifier.
    1.jpg 69.7K
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    "He who hoots with the owls at night will not soar with the eagles at dawn"

  • I have an email from NMFS that says they will extend the comment period and will have a webinar for additional info.

    Quite honestly this is a pure fishing effort by Day Boats LLC and its hidden under the vial of science. The principal investigator will do anything for some funding for grad students and my opinion of his "science" is not good.

    Day Boast bought some of the worst shape PLL vessels in the fleet and now he needs a short run to make them profitable .

    I personally had Scott Taylor warn me a few years ago that he would open up the closed zone! He has to be stopped.

    I could support a reduced effort under two conditions.
    1. multiple operators, including some from Bluewater.
    2. A different principal scientist. Most of us call Dave, "Dr. Longline" we need a different scientific perspective rather than the less than acceptable perspective that was gained last time Dave opened up the zone. Last time, he made a little more than half the proposed sets but got paid full price on his grant money! How in the world to you work for the government, supply half the products and get paid full price?

    I hate to make this about one person, but he has brought this on himself. Scrambling for grant money to keep students working while he produces cheap science.
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