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Fish Report 2/25/10

After The Rally

Uncertainty

Write!

Toggin'

Try to sneak a few more days of fishing in;

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Hi All,

That was a sight to behold. Lot of fishers in DC yesterday. Thousands! Googles easy..

Message: Management is messing up real bad, destroying livelihoods & coastal economies when fish are in abundance.

Senators/Congressmen-Women there from NY, MA, NC, Florida. They spoke well to our plight: As though they understood.. Honestly understood.

We have politicians in Maryland too..

But they weren't there.

My parents hosted a fund raiser for a young politician seeking his first term in Delaware - long time ago though. I was a kid. Guy's name was Joe Biden. There are fishers in his state deeply affected by Magnuson's present interpretation too.

Crowd was yelling fairly loud at times, maybe they heard up inside the Capitol.

I hope so.

We've been telling Senator Mikulski, Senator Cardin & Congressman Kratovil.. Maybe their offices faced the Rally.. Maybe they heard.

If they did, I'm not at all sure they understand.

Our fisheries are being stolen. We need help.

I think Fisheries Regulators and many of our Political Representatives are now trapped within a culture that accepts basic fallacies as truth; That since we are fishers nothing we say or write is to be trusted; That since we fishers have, historically, created this need of governance through our overfishing actions then we are as Prisoners and deserve, at best, only bread and water; That any Science laid freely upon the table is unworthy if it came from the Prisoners, yet is welcomed with open arms if it came from outside--unrequested.

And, if paid for by the prison system--by NOAA or NMFS--then that science lays beyond any refute.

That is how the data's claim that Maryland shore anglers targeting flounder caught in two months what the state's party/charter fleet will catch in 15 years came to be accepted; That's how that data remains unquestioned by fisheries regulators/managers.

Here, where any acceptance of any proof from the prisoners--from the fishers--would be enough to overturn this terrible catch estimate; Here we see bias writ plain -- Since Fishers in the past tried to exterminate all the fish in the sea & Fisheries Regulators are now tasked with preventing that from ever happening again, Then Fishers can never be trusted by Regulators--not even for the simplest of catch data.

Even law suffers: "The Best Scientific Information Available" shall guide management.

I don't think the drafters of this legislation had any grasp of what rubbish might come to be called science.

They could never have imagined that regulators would call science, would believe, that MA's private boats caught more black sea bass in two months last year than all the data--all together--for that state's party boat history combined.

No, management is messing-up real bad believing some of this data; It's destroying livelihoods & coastal economies while fish are in abundance.

"Precautionary" fish quotas.. "Uncertainty" in the fisheries.. The Uncertainty Principle came from physics. The numbers a physicist might work with -- such as 'ten to the minus twenty sixth power'-- are as to hitting a target on the moon with a .22 caliber bullet with one miss in a trillion tries: That's uncertainty to them, a shot might miss eventually..

Fisheries uncertainty falls a little shorter, perhaps precisely opposite. It's very-much tainted by the bias against fishers..

If fishers profess that no .22 bullet will ever hit the moon, let alone a specific target -- but there's a 'scientific' data set that demonstrates it might..

Managers are going to shoot the moon.

We're toast.

Speaking of physics, which I really shouldn't be..

Von Jolly did great work in his time; However, he is best remembered for telling a student to shift the focus of his studies away from physics because the science was virtually all discovered, there could be nothing new to contribute: The year was 1878, the student Max Planck. He went on to become known as the father of quantum physics. Albert Einstein spoke at his funeral. (The Discoveries - Alan Lightman)

Certain of his assessment, von Jolly spoke with firm belief. The student, Planck, must have thought the advice shallow and turned away from it.. Now we have nuclear bombs and cell phones.

I saw a press release statement by the new National Marine Fisheries Service--NMFS--Administrator, Eric Schwaab, concerning the DC Rally. It developed into the familiar refrain about rebuilt fisheries being a great economic driver if we could just clear these hurdles; But it began with..."Today, however, more than 20 percent of the nation's fish stocks are overfished and need to be rebuilt to larger, healthier populations so that they can produce their full economic potential for fishermen, coastal communities and the nation."

Our Point Exactly - We were there about the other 80%.. The ones that are rebuilt.

Brand new to the job--been there a week--our new head of NMFS is hardly new to fisheries..

We are at a real crossroads, Mr. Schwaab, a turning point. I offer the Rally offered as evidence. NMFS & NOAA must recognize that we have been on the same team; That together we have rebuilt many species; That we are not the enemy: That management must not follow bad data to where no legislator could have ever foreseen; That regulating economic collapse of fisheries where species are known to be in great abundance was never anyone's intent.

As von Jolly 'knew' it had all been discovered; We are now ready to divide our resources permanently through catch shares, We are now ready to close almost a thousand miles of coast so that red snapper might 'rebuild'-- And We are now ready to choke the recreational sea bass industry to death with data worse than von Jolly's advice..

We have yet to use habitat fidelity in the management of species where it has been well demonstrated: We still manage sea bass on a Coastwide basis.

We have yet to begin restoration--even recognition--of important seafloor habitat, coral reef, in the mid-Atlantic.

We have yet to look for ways to maximize the spawning potential of these regional sub-stocks..

Taken together I assert these preceding sentences place our fishery management of sea bass where physics was in 1878.

We must now decide whether we know it all..

Or will new leaders toss these several decades of mistrust aside, allow the 'precautionary' & 'uncertainty' to fall the other way.. Where since it is known that fish species DID rebuild from an incredibly overfished state with X & Y restrictions, then stricter restrictions are only to be used with the greatest of bioeconomic care.

That would be different.

Might even come to trust that government.

Pressure eased; There's a bunch of new fisheries theories that could be tried small-scale and ramped up. Meanwhile, we've come a long way already. We can demonstrate that what worked previously will prevent fishers from ever catching their way into catastrophic overfishing again.

I wonder what von Jolly would give to be the Professor that brought us Max Planck instead.

History is occurring in the fisheries, of that I'm sure.

I just don't know how it will get written.

I am fairly sure that Fisheries Restoration is among the youngest of sciences; that the good Professor von Jolly has much company in those who believe this is as far as the science will come.

And I am positive that fisher's influence in all this will be found in many of us writing, emailing, faxing, calling and meeting our Representatives.

We need the Flexibility Act. We need--desperately need--a simple test for fisheries data.

Fishers need the regulatory community to apply their uncertainty tests to our businesses, to our communities, to our families & homes..

Things are getting pretty rough out here in this great recession; We don't want government handouts, We don't want the species still in trouble--if they are in trouble; We just want our rebuilt fisheries back: Let us go back to work.

Regards,

Monty

Capt. Monty Hawkins

mhawkins@siteone.net

Party Boat "Morning Star"

Reservation Line 410 520 2076

http://www.morningstarfishing.com/

226628517773535761462407651lwwwmorningst-1.jpg

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