Skylar

12.05.211 Sea Bass, A few Cod

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FishReport 12/5/11 <o:p></o:p>

SeaBass, Blues, A Few Cod <o:p></o:p>

Capt.Bob's Service <o:p></o:p>

FocusGroup <o:p></o:p>

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Wednesday-- 12/7/11 -- Regular Sea Bass Trip -- 7 to 3 -- $100.00 -- Switching WindLooks OK.<o:p></o:p>

Andanother longcbasstrip Monday -- 12/12/11 -- 5:30 to 4 -- $125.00 -- ForecastedCalm...<o:p></o:p>

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HiAll,<o:p></o:p>

Hadvery fine fishing Sunday. Couple folks close to a limit of sea bass, justenough big blues to satiate those who wanted them; a couple decent cod to teaseus into winter-thinking. <o:p></o:p>

Thoughcalm and warm, the bite was tapered slightly from recent trips; a sign watertemps continue to drop. <o:p></o:p>

Lookedlike the jig was marginally better -- 6 or 8 oz hammered jigs in goldor silver with a smallish Tony or Clarke spoon above -- bait workedvery well too.<o:p></o:p>

Iwant to try again this Wednesday -- 12/7/11 -- Regular Sea BassTrip -- 7 to 3 -- $100.00 <o:p></o:p>

Andanother long cbass trip next Monday -- 12/12/11 -- 5:30 to 4-- $125.00 -- Forecasted Calm...<o:p></o:p>

....................<o:p></o:p>

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Myold friend Capt. Bob Gowar passed away Saturday. It was my very great fortuneto have had 30 years of his company on the dock, on the radio --fishing with him; We worked together building the OC Princess.. Bob ranthe Bay Bee in later years, had spent many decadesbillfishing--especially with the Nichol's family; He began fishing onthe Doris Mae out of Barnegat 60-some years ago. <o:p></o:p>

Believeme, when it came to fishing he'd been there and done that; scrapedbarnacles from between his toes; had perfected the fisherman's vernacular..<o:p></o:p>

Leaving witha bag of cbass last week, he said "If I took what they know andstuffed it in a gnat's ear, it would rattle around like a BB in a boxcar!"<o:p></o:p>

"Yougot a better chance of seeing Christ on a unicycle..." <o:p></o:p>

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Ahhh,We'll miss Bobby around the docks. <o:p></o:p>

Heloved to hunt too. Died in his stand; Friends he left behind dressed his lastdeer. <o:p></o:p>

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Therewill be a service at the Marlin Club, Friday, December 9th, at 11:00AM <o:p></o:p>

...................<o:p></o:p>

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Capt.Bob was one of the skippers I hoped would be interviewed in depth to helpcreate better fishery restoration plans; A look at what-was to bettercreate a future. <o:p></o:p>

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Towardthat end, I was just in Baltimore at the Mid-Atlantic Fishery ManagementCouncil's focus-group meeting on re-engaging recreational fishers. <o:p></o:p>

Seemsthey don't hear from us like they used to. I think they want tofix it by "outreach." <o:p></o:p>

Thoughat times I may have taken it too close to the edge by saying thefishing public trusts fishery management less than used car sales;That their constant refrain, "We use the data because we have to. We can'tchange it." is a precise example of the Nuremburg defense: I sincerelyhope management knows this -- All the modern & Facebook-styleoutreach in the world will only be temporary; Nothing is more central toeffective communication than trust. <o:p></o:p>

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WhereMRFSS catch estimates still haven't been replaced with a bettersystem as was called for in federal law by 2009, Where we still have profoundlywrong catch-estimates wrecking the human side of fisheries; Where emergencyclosures have far more to do with the house's rigged slot machines than what'sactually happening at sea; Where Science and Statistical Committees havesuperseded manager's ability to manage--have taken their right to override BadScience; Where every fisheries meeting now offers three cups of hemlock --Choose Your Size Increase & Closure Please: Don't Waste Our TimeComplaining About Data. <o:p></o:p>

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(Speakingof which -- I found an illustrative data set wherein September/October 1997 New Jersey For-Hire boats are MRFSSestimated to have caught 1,823,000 Sea Bass - A year later during thesame period they caught less than 7,000 -- "Bad Data? We Can't ChangeIt. We Have To Use It.") <o:p></o:p>

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Iexpect there were more recreational fishers at Jim Donafrio's RFAprotest rally in DC a couple years back than are attending council meetings.. <o:p></o:p>

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Thefoundation of communication is trust. The "disengaged recreationalcommunity" management finds itself with is from recreational catchdata: We don't trust it.. <o:p></o:p>

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Here'sanother sample. <o:p></o:p>

[TABLE=class: MsoNormalTable]

<tbody>[TR]

[TD=bgcolor: transparent, colspan: 3]

Species: TAUTOG - NJ - Shore Fishing Only - March & April Only - All Years From 2004 to 2011 (omitted years are zero) Ignore PSE, No One Can Use It<o:p></o:p>

[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD=bgcolor: transparent]

Year<o:p></o:p>

[/TD]

[TD=bgcolor: transparent]

HARVEST (TYPE A + B1)<o:p></o:p>

[/TD]

[TD=bgcolor: transparent]

PSE<o:p></o:p>

[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD=bgcolor: transparent] 2005<o:p></o:p>

[/TD]

[TD=bgcolor: transparent]

0<o:p></o:p>

[/TD]

[TD=bgcolor: transparent]

0<o:p></o:p>

[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD=bgcolor: transparent] 2009<o:p></o:p>

[/TD]

[TD=bgcolor: transparent]

6,835<o:p></o:p>

[/TD]

[TD=bgcolor: transparent]

100<o:p></o:p>

[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD=bgcolor: transparent] 2010<o:p></o:p>

[/TD]

[TD=bgcolor: transparent]

71,756<o:p></o:p>

[/TD]

[TD=bgcolor: transparent]

70.2<o:p></o:p>

[/TD]

[/TR]

</tbody>[/TABLE]

<o:p></o:p>

WeDon't Just Think: We Know They're Lying. <o:p></o:p>

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Butthere we were, At a meeting sounding off about the good and bad. Not a regularCouncil meeting -- A Focus Group. <o:p></o:p>

Ihave never seen a more vigorous & energetic effort to seek new & refinedapproaches than what Rick Robbins -current MAFMC chairman- and the new XO,Chris Moore, are doing. I am 100% certain that their intention is to do thisbetter: That if they find a better course they will strike it. I can only hopethey're able to Find Truthful Catch Data & Find Habitat -- that eachis funded & utilized. <o:p></o:p>

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Inmy research before & during the meeting I was looking at larger data sets,fields for all of the Mid-Atlantic. Prior to 1997 weaveraged roughly 4 million sea bass a year with no size limit and nocreel limit. Despite my own boat's management beginning in 92, Back then veryfew Mid-Atlantic cbass EVER saw their 3rd birthday, Many were taken beforethey'd even had a birthday -- but we still caught4 million a year in the lowest point of fishing's history -- before cbassmanagement had even begun. <o:p></o:p>

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Since2004 I believe we have factually averaged under a million fish landed peryear in the Mid-Atlantic States, all of which were at least 3 or 4years old. <o:p></o:p>

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Ifhabitat, winter trawl & spawning had remained constant, or--farbetter--were actively managed for productivity, we'd conservatively be2.5 million fish to the good every year just from recreational measures. <o:p></o:p>

Theother 50% of cbass quota goes commercial and their catch too is measurabledeclined -- Now we're 5 million cbass to the good annually.<o:p></o:p>

Seabass live about 12 years.. Hmm.. <o:p></o:p>

Thatwould be 35 million cbass having escaped harvest just since 2004. <o:p></o:p>

Furthermore,fish escaping harvest via management should offer an incredible increasein spawning capacity.. Why, Its a wonder waves can even make it ashore for allthe fish. <o:p></o:p>

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Nope.<o:p></o:p>

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Wehave nicer fish, but far less of them than straightforward math wouldhave. <o:p></o:p>

In2003 --the second year of 12 inch management-- we had lots & lots& lots of nicer fish ..but, and this was a new development, very fewsmalls. <o:p></o:p>

Nowwe're at 12 1/2 inches -- fight hard to keep a lid on that.<o:p></o:p>

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Counter-intuitivethough it may seem, management has turned spawning activity down to simmerwith larger & larger size limits--are using natural biology to reduce thestock size. They remain unaware their actions are steadily eroding therecreational cbass fishery. <o:p></o:p>

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Somehistorians believe Dr. Martin Luther King's last speech, where he said, "Ihave been to the mountaintop....And I've seen the promised land"was a reference to his time in Connecticut where racial values werealready what he hoped to achieve in the south. <o:p></o:p>

I'mno Dr. King, but I did witness sea bass increase fantastically fromthe mid-80s to 2003 ..then it Stopped, Went suddenly backward in astrong pulse of winter trawl effort; Restabilized at a lower place. <o:p></o:p>

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NoCorals, No Essential Fish Habitat provisions from Magnuson; We aren't evenchecking to see if Magnuson's "Full Potential of Fishery Resources"is being achieved. No Biology; Just MRFSS Catch Estimates and their rote valuesplugged in to 'ComputerRegs.Com' and out come 3 new choices so rec-fisherscan "participate" -- may chose their own poison.. <o:p></o:p>

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Baddata in, collapsing recreational industries out. <o:p></o:p>

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Becauseage at maturity, when fish join the spawning stock, changes asa population matures; management must begin lowering the size limit on seabass to rekindle a greater spawning stock.. <o:p></o:p>

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Halfan inch per year until we're at 11 inches would createincredibly many more fish than closures.. <o:p></o:p>

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Barerock/no rock where there was Caribbean-looking reef is also part ofthe problem - a far larger part than we know; I saw patches of reef growback, tried to document it, made video, Jumped up & down shouting,"Hey, You guys in charge of Essential Fish Habitat, Here's some." <o:p></o:p>

Muchof it is now lost again; a couple baskets of flounder traded for adecade's worth of reef growth and production.. <o:p></o:p>

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OurAbility to Destroy Habitat Always Precedes Learning Its Value & How toRestore It.<o:p></o:p>

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Tighterfocus on our most industrial extractions in winter--exploring what regionalhabitat fidelity offers management, will benefit fish populationstoo.<o:p></o:p>

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Havinggotten this far in one of my fish reports, You ought to go to http://www.mafmc.org/vision/ andtake the survey -- In 15 minutes you can help steer the future. <o:p></o:p>

Wheremany say fishing will neverbe as good as itonce was, I say we can make it better than ever.<o:p></o:p>

I'mpositive of that, Already saw some of it. I have indeed seen management'spromised land.<o:p></o:p>

Nowto get them to see it. <o:p></o:p>

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Doesn'tmatter if you're from California or Canada, Recreational or Commercial,Environmentalist or Eradicationist: If you take the Visioning survey pleasemention our corals make great fish habitat; That fish spawningyoung makes them much better at it after a year ortwo--while fish starting later get caught before they get it right; Tell'em what you think about giant spikes in landings when most boats aresitting in their slips.. <o:p></o:p>

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Tell'em once the cloudcover of poor data has past, clear paths of moving beyondrestoration will emerge; That fishing can be made better than ever. <o:p></o:p>

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Thatwhen management engages the recreational community from a foundation oftrust, we'll be headed in the right direction. <o:p></o:p>

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Regards,<o:p></o:p>

Monty<o:p></o:p>

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Capt.Monty Hawkins

mhawkins@siteone.net

Party Boat "Morning Star"

Reservation Line 410 520 2076

http://www.morningstarfishing.com/<o:p></o:p>

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