I followed the link that Sortie provided to a different thread about banning commercial draggers in the sound. Aside from the basis of the ban being a complete crock of sh!t, I read the whole thread and found it quite interesting. As pertains to that thread, there is an article in this week's Fisherman entitled "Surveying the Data, A look inside the NEAMAP project" which should be of interest to those in the industry as it addresses one of the overwhelming complaints that I heard on that thread and on others, being BAD (best available data).
The short version is that there is now a commercial captain named Jimmy Rhule running the trawls for this program and the reason he got involved is that he feels the silver spoon boys lack the experience and talent to gather accurate data. He has basically echoed the sentiments I've heard from the comms on this site regarding the Fluke regs and the state of "over fished" species.
He goes on to relate how he has attempted to help out with the new NMFS vessel, the Bigelow, in defining settings that would make an improper net design at least function for them, but "they changed them right after I left". Ruhle and other commercial fishermen on the NEAMAP panel sent a letter to Vice Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher (love that name) of their concerns regarding the improper gear settings. "They think they know everything. They think that because they have a Pd.D that they know more than some dumb fisherman. They need to realize we're the experts."
The other thing I got out of that thread involves perception. Perception can be a *****. Perception can distort the facts and cause those that make the regs to make bad judgment calls. It can also misdirect the cause of some of our problems and saddle the blame for them on commercial fishermen. I'm a "sporty" and I don't have all the facts, so I can't say who is right or wrong. But I do have an open mind and I think it is important, because of perception, that guys like tourneyboat continue to "speak" to the other sector. Disregard the idiots and talk to those that want to listen, that want to understand.
I think many, including myself have confused the small independent dragger with the large "corporation" draggers. This is the stuff we have been feed in the media and has fueled out "perception" of the commercial fishing industry. It is what you are up against. But the apparent truth is that on Long Island, the commercial fleet consists of smaller independent draggers who for the most part abide by the rules and attempt to eek out a living, all the while maintaining an interest in conserving the resource that provides their income. This seems to be what I am hearing, and I wish to hear more.
In that thread I also found the concept of restoring fisheries from the bottom up to be another sound approach that should be pursued. Among other things, this spoke to the belief that BAD data has led to the protection of species such as the spiny dogfish, which in their apparent current massive numbers are capable of devouring the food chain from the bottom up. Despite my dim view of our governmental agencies, how the dogfish became the poster fish for an endangered species remains, for me, the high water mark for resource mis-management and a source of absolute amazement.
Also of note in my perusal of that thread was the mention of the rape of the foreign fleet upon our waters. This was a true travesty and another example of how our democrats and republicans were so busy bending each other over the pork barrels that they once again forgot to protect the American people that elected them. You want to know where our fish went, look no further. This is where a lot of our initial perception of "commercial" fishing comes from. Here's a personal story from the day.
This incident happened somewhere around the mid 70's. I was living in CT at the time, Milford to be exact, and it was late summer, maybe early fall. A Russian factory boat and several trawlers came right up the middle of the LI Sound. With the 3-mile coastal limit, there was a corridor right up the middle of the sound that was considered "international" waters. You should have seen the size of the factory boat, it was huge. Many boats proceeded to blockade the factory ship and trawlers, and there were even shots fired. It received a lot of coverage on the news at the time. This is where a lot of the perception of "commercial" fishing comes from.
So you guys like tourneyboat, keep talking. Ignore the idiots, every public forum will have them, just ignore them. If we are ever to get honest stock assessments and reasonable resource conservation, then both sides need to be on the same side. And kudos to the Fisherman for presenting all sides. JMO. -Rich
This post edited by RichTrox 01:54 AM 07/25/2008