05.09.2012 Lady Luck, Reef Dinner May 16

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Fish Report 5/9/12 Lady Luck Help Wanted Reef Dinner May 16th Sea Bass Season *************** New Tog Trips: Friday - 5/11/12 - 6 AM to 4 PM - 10 Hour - $125.00 - Twelve Sells Out. Sunday - 5/13/12 - 7 AM to 3 PM - $100.00 - 8 Sells Out. ***************Reservations Required at 410 520 2076 - Leave Your Best Contact Number In Case Weather Forecasts Change. NEW SIZE LIMIT IS HARDER - 16 Inches.. Green Crabs Provided; You're Welcome To Bring Any Hard-Bait. This Is Tog Fishing - It's Possible Some Clients Will Be Skunked.Fishery Regulations Followed Or Exceeded - Yes, We Check Coolers & Fish. If You Want To Be A Commercial Fisherman And Sell Live Tog - Do It On Someone Else's Boat - No Live Fish Leave My Boat. *********************** Hi All, Weather gorgeous on Friday, May 4th. Neither current nor a steady wind speed/direction, it was a great day to be on two anchors. Conditions were so tough I even saw a charter boat 'drifting' for tautog.. Straddled stem to stern with 40 pound Danforths in light current, I was surprised by how well the tog bit. Took a couple limits & put back many large females. (Thanks Greg.) Our pool winner was just about 15 pounds, maybe a tad over. Anchoring conditions difficult again Saturday; made tougher still in dense fog. Saw another charter boat drifting for tog--all day. Only this guy seemed to know some really big pieces that I didn't realize were there.. Maybe he was sea bassing? Ignorance is bliss. Saturday we were treated to a display of Lady Luck such as I've never seen. Trisha was positively on fire -- the rest of the boat was not. Catching fish everywhere we went; Even snagged in the bottom she broke free and brought up a keeper cod. Though Ralph took the pool by length & Jim took the t-shirt prize for smallest fish; Trisha caught a new personal best tog of 26 1/4 inches and 15.7 pounds--a huge female that she tagged & released--Plus biggest cod, biggest cbass & heaviest tog.. And most tog--more keeper tog than the rest of the boat combined I think. We should all have such a day once in a while.. *************** Year Round Deckhand Wanted. Drug Testing Mandatory - Willing To Learn Required - Seamanship Beyond Tying A Rig - Sanding, Painting, Plumbing, Glassing, Cleaning & Fishing.. Email if interested - Do Not Call - Have some applicants. ******************Ocean City Reef Foundation Dinner May 16 at Hall's Restaurant - 60th Street, Ocean City, MD - No formal dinner this - 5 to 7 - tickets $15.00 at the door - please email if you have auction items - Its a fun evening. ****************** Its worth noting here that we did see a private boat Friday. It was the 3rd one I've seen tog fishing in the ocean this year. Fishery management doesn't get it: For every fishery there's a percentage of catch that's "For Hire" - that charter & party boats catch vs private boats. As a participant in the for-hire ocean tautog fishery I am certain their assertions of catch where private boats are said to hook more than 20% of what party/charter caught are horse-hockey -- especially when its 100s of times more tog than for-hire caught.. Then there's the fact that We Tell Them what we caught -- We Have To Fill Out A Form Everyday We Fish ..but that data is treated with more disdain than those little blue bags at the dogwalk. Species: TAUTOG - MD Private Boat - All Year - Ocean Only - MRFSS Data Only Year HARVEST (TYPE A + B1) PSE2007 20,082 75.32008 1,350 02009 1,451 93.32010 21,075 22.82011 957 0New MRIP Recreational Catch Estimates for Private Boats - Ocean Only, All Year. Rare Example - Here they have cut some estimates by 50% ..but they're still crazy-way-wrong. Estimate Status Year Common Name Total Harvest (A+B1) PSEFINAL 2007 TAUTOG 8,704 57.1FINAL 2008 TAUTOG 1,053 102.8FINAL 2009 TAUTOG 1,031 87.8FINAL 2010 TAUTOG 10,519 42.9FINAL 2011 TAUTOG 1,485 102.2Species: TAUTOG - ALL MD For-Hire/Party/Charter - All Year - Ocean Only Year HARVEST (TYPE A + B1) PSE2006 2,969 14.22007 9,417 25.62008 5,572 16.82009 1,580 14.82010 14,088 23.12011 61 94.1New MRIP Recreational Catch Estimates - Here For Party/Charter Ocean Only. (Note: In Early 2011 I Interviewed All Party/Charter Participants and Used Their Mandatory Daily Data Sheets To Calculate We Actually Caught 3,628 Tautog in ALL of 2010 ..but are assigned a much higher catch of 14,398 with an "ultra-precise" PSE of +- 7.9 -- I think this serves to illustrate how fantastically imprecise even our "best" estimates are ) Estimate Status Year Common Name Total Harvest (A+B1) PSEFINAL 2006 TAUTOG 3,182 19.2FINAL 2007 TAUTOG 10,347 49.5FINAL 2008 TAUTOG 3,995 20.5FINAL 2009 TAUTOG 1,602 18.4FINAL 2010 TAUTOG 14,398 7.9FINAL 2011 TAUTOG 1,564 68.5The beauty of the new MRIP catch estimate model--and precisely why there is a mandatory fishing license/registry now--is catch estimates should now be compared against a head-count: There's an answer for, "How Many People Went Fishing?" Not only that, but catch-estimators can phone these licensed anglers and ask, "What Did You Fish For?" Its clear from the above estimates that no one is asking those questions, nor are party/charter's mandatory daily catch logs being input, nor is a Catch Per Unit of Effort--CPUE--being derived from for-hire reports and compared to MRIP estimates.. Here, for instance, if party/charter averages 2 keeper and 3 throwback tog per angler per 8 hour day, But private boats are (and here's where the head-count comes in) ..are estimated to catch & keep 724 tog per angler per 8 hour day -- then there's a problem with the estimate: Is There Ever! ************************* Below I have several sets of sea bass catch data that are much worse than these tog estimates. Captains laugh when I show them these 2 month by 2 month guestimates. No one laughs at the closures they have created though. Just these 5 data sets, with RI thrown in for example, have created our closures. They are wildly divergent from the mean & are incredibly divergent from the historical trend of for-hire fishers catching more sea bass than the private boat fleet. These few sets alone account 812,000 fish above average, a substantial part of the modern recreational quota. Just this difference is more than twice as many sea bass as the entire Mid-Atlantic party/charter fleet is said to have caught in all of 2010.. With discrepancies in the sea bass data big enough to float an aircraft carrier through - Sea Bass Are Closed. A species said to be more than entirely rebuilt with far more lax regulation; Now illusions of catch, Multiple mirages of landings found in fantasy-based data demand managers' caution - Fishery Closed. But when will they reopen? Capt. Adam Nowalski's foresight brought a motion and vote before the MAFMC - they voted to open sea bass on Saturday, May 19th - instead of Tuesday, May 22. Though months ago (December? November?) under NOAA's "Rule Making Procedures" it will be mid-May before they can officially open our sea bass. Meant to protect fish & fishers, the delayed time period allows comment from all parties concerning new regulation. It may even be May 18th before they announce cbass open on the 19th -- or don't.. I have faith. Faith that non-fishing management had no idea the importance of another weekend to businesses; Faith that the many job transitions in NOAA/NMFS' upper reaches have allowed small oversights; Faith that NOAA will announce sea bass open on May 19th - but I don't know when. As in Mel Gibson's portrayal of William Wallace while King Edward's English heavy cavalry charged toward Scottish lines; I'm telling For-Hire skippers to "Hold, HOLD" - Telling Them The System Is Not Heartless.. That if the weather's good we might make our spring boat payments. I believe NOAA will open. Damned if it ain't gonna be close though..********************If you're a Writer, a Commenter--a Participant in Fisheries Governance: My personal recommendation is to make no official comment on the proposed rule, but to encourage sea bass be open through a casual email or phone call to state & NOAA fisheries personnel. If they have a lot of official comments to respond to, you see, that would delay the regulatory procedure. ********************Dependence on bad MRFSS/MRIP data is blinding management to other avenues of science. I hope NOAA/NMFS/Council & Commission will one day consider arguments for habitat, habitat fidelity & age at maturity as management's key considerations. Used as restoration tools there should be no problem maintaining very high populations of sea bass & very high catches. In fact, I see no reason we couldn't make these fish more numerous than ever: Its as simple as rolling rocks off a barge, paying attention to industrial effort within distinct regions & maintaining high spawning populations. For now, however, we have months of season stolen by bad data; We're on-edge over Four Days-- an extra weekend. Anxiety levels will be through the roof if announced on May 18th.. already are. Of all the skippers I've asked, only in NY is there any sense that, maybe, private boats catch almost as many sea bass as party/charter/for-hire. Yet since 2004 private boat estimates have climbed through the roof while party/charter catches have steeply declined. (see private boat estimates below) I'm telling all who will read, MRFSS & MRIP have this fishery dead-wrong. Overfishing Did Not & Has Not Occurred: Its Safe To Let Us Go Fishing. Regards,MontyCapt. Monty Hawkinsmhawkins@siteone.netParty Boat "Morning Star"Reservation Line 410 520 2076 Species: BLACK SEA BASS - NY - Private Boat Only - Sept/OctYear HARVEST (TYPE A + B1) PSE2005 MRIP - 5,220 -- -- 7,749 50.32006 56,347 -- -- 58,398 32.72007 43,960 -- -- 42,352 25.72008 81,601 -- -- 54,352 34.72009 107,321 -- -- 105,256 45.12010 308,862 -- -- 325,074 24.42011 57,128 -- -- 52,918 48.2Species: BLACK SEA BASS - Rhode Island - Private Boat Only - May & June Year HARVEST (TYPE A + B1) PSE2005 MRIP - 3,884 -- -- 6,160 57.22006 604 -- -- 1,975 70.42007 1,432 -- -- 3,601 432008 0 -- -- 0 02009 885 -- -- 989 90.42010 29,353 -- -- 36,182 50.72011 0 -- -- 0 0Species: BLACK SEA BASS - Wave 3 - May & June - Private Boat - All Waters - MASSYear HARVEST (TYPE A + B1) PSE2000 MRIP Same - - 3,748 72.52001 Same - - 27,773 43.42002 Same - - 52,891 55.42003 Same - - 16,282 36.62004 Same - - 17,177 46.72005 103,635 - - 53,349 32.32007 30,335 - - 28,281 85.32008 54,678 - - 65,376 29.12009 34,493 - - 26,827 38.92010 448, 181 - - 218,790 31.3Species: BLACK SEA BASS - Massachusetts - Wave 4 - July/Aug - Private BoatYear HARVEST (TYPE A + B1) PSE2003 39,289 36.72004 33,003 35.52005 43,478 42.62006 27,518 44.12007 13,062 71.32008 13,548 69.42009 164,483 25.62010 138,748 35.12011 31,565 29.3Species: BLACK SEA BASS - New York - Wave 5 - Sept/Oct - Private Boat Year HARVEST (TYPE A + B1) PSE2003 101,350 31.72004 29,863 49.22005 7,749 50.32006 58,398 32.72007 42,352 25.72008 54,352 34.72009 105,256 45.12010 325,074 24.4Species: BLACK SEA BASS - New Jersey - Wave 5 - Sept/Oct - Private Boat Year HARVEST (TYPE A + B1) PSE2003 238,830 22.12004 350,981 28.32005 73,860 43.62006 97,767 442007 18,116 69.42008 160,799 35.82009 32,815 34.62010 234,150 44All Mid-Atlantic For-Hire/Party/Charter - NY to VA - All Year/Annual CatchEstimate Status Year Common Name Total Harvest (A+B1) PSEFINAL 2006 BLACK SEA BASS 636,451 11.6FINAL 2007 BLACK SEA BASS 856,834 11.2FINAL 2008 BLACK SEA BASS 341,751 11.1FINAL 2009 BLACK SEA BASS 343,831 13.2FINAL 2010 BLACK SEA BASS 358,704 15.6FINAL 2011 BLACK SEA BASS 218,460 20.2Just these 5 data private boat sets, with RI thrown in for example, are wildly divergent from the mean & incredibly divergent from the historical trend of for-hire fishers catching more sea bass than the private boat fleet; These few sets alone account 812,000 fish above the mean, a substantial part of the modern recreational quota. Just this difference is more than twice as many sea bass as the entire Mid-Atlantic party/charter fleet is said to have caught in all of 2010. MRIP even has Massachusetts Private Boats catching more sea bass in two months of 2010 than all of the Mid-Atlantic's For-Hire fleet caught in all of 2010....

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