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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My View column: Science, not speculation, needed for fishing fairness

GDT wrote:
By Dave Ellenton and Billie Schofield
Special to the Times

The ocean's resources are renewable if they're managed well.

That demands science-based management ? but when there's not enough science, the door is wide open for manipulation by special interests.

That sort of manipulation is occurring right now, and it illustrates the need for continued research and additional federal fisheries observers.

Recently, two groups of groundfishermen filed suit against the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Marine Fisheries Service and the secretary of commerce. The suit seeks to ban another group of fishermen ? those who engage in midwater trawling for herring and mackerel ? from certain areas of the ocean.

The rationale? These areas are closed to commercial groundfishing by fisheries regulators in an attempt to ensure sufficient spawning stocks to rebuild roughly a dozen species depleted by overfishing.

Groundfish, as the name implies, are species that live on and near the bottom of the ocean ? species such as cod, haddock and flounder. Some groundfish species are in trouble. But herring and mackerel are pelagic fish, and fisheries scientists say that stocks of both are robust.

Herring and mackerel are often found in the areas closed to groundfishing. Because they usually swim higher in the water than groundfish, scientists and fisheries regulators have determined that fishing for pelagic species in these areas doesn't have a biologically significant impact on groundfish spawning stocks. Recreational groundfishing is permitted

in these areas for the same reason.

The lawsuit was filed after NOAA rejected a petition demanding closure of these areas to midwater trawlers. In rejecting the petition, NOAA noted that observer data indicate bycatch levels were within an acceptable range and that the plaintiffs had not provided new information to justify emergency action. Dockside catch inspections and other regulatory processes support this view.

Midwater trawlers have minimal contact with groundfish for several good reasons. Beside the fact that herring and mackerel are usually found higher in the water column, midwater trawl nets are not built to withstand sustained contact with the ocean floor.

The nets are also designed to exclude nontargeted species; at their outer edges, the mesh is large enough to let a city bus pass through sideways. Only the last segment of the net ? the brailer, which has an aperture about 25 feet in diameter ? has a mesh size small enough to keep most fish.

Bycatch is a fact of life in every commercial and recreational fishery, regardless of the type of gear used. Midwater trawlers do, in fact, take some groundfish such as haddock as bycatch.

The relevant question is not whether it occurs, but rather if the amount of bycatch is biologically significant. The available science indicates that it's not.

Regulations on the midwater trawl fleet already include specific protections for groundfish. For example, midwater trawlers are required to keep bycaught haddock and to report it. If as little as .02 percent of the total allowable catch for haddock is caught by midwater trawlers, the primary herring grounds ? 90 percent of the area north of Cape Cod ? are closed for the season.

The arguments made by special interests just don't add up when exposed to the best available science. But there's more to the story. Many of the most vocal opponents of midwater trawling are directly funded by multi-million-dollar environmental activist groups and aided by slickly produced "reports" which present emotionally compelling doom-and-gloom scenarios.

The reports claim to be science-based, but in fact rely mostly on anecdotes and non-peer-reviewed studies funded by the same activist groups ? which also fund the environmental litigation firms that bring the lawsuits.

It's an all-too-cozy cozy arrangement. It makes for snappy headlines, but it's bad policy and even worse science ? and objective science is what's needed to properly manage the ocean's resources.

To that end, the midwater trawl fleet has submitted a grant request for an objective, detailed study of bycatch resulting from midwater trawling activities. And although federal fisheries observers ride along on midwater boats more frequently than they do with many fisheries, midwater boat owners are attempting to get the federal government to fund more fisheries observers.

As more data are collected, fisheries managers will be able to make better decisions about how and where boats should fish. That requires action and commitment on the part of the

government.

Today, it's too easy for special interests with finely tuned public relations machines to manipulate the process.

Dave Ellenton is the general manager of Cape Seafoods in Gloucester; Billie Schofield is the general manager of Norpel in New Bedford.


This post edited by loligo 06:36 AM 02/08/2008
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Lie #1-
"Herring and mackerel are often found in the areas closed to groundfishing. Because they usually swim higher in the water than groundfish, scientists and fisheries regulators have determined that fishing for pelagic species in these areas doesn't have a biologically significant impact on groundfish spawning stocks. Recreational groundfishing is permitted in these areas for the same reason. "

All the areas (GOM) that are closed to com'l GF are closed to rec as well.

Look it up.

This post edited by loligo 07:44 AM 02/08/2008
 

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loligo wrote:
Lie #1-
"Herring and mackerel are often found in the areas closed to groundfishing. Because they usually swim higher in the water than groundfish, scientists and fisheries regulators have determined that fishing for pelagic species in these areas doesn't have a biologically significant impact on groundfish spawning stocks. Recreational groundfishing is permitted in these areas for the same reason. "

All the areas (GOM) that are closed to com'l GF are closed to rec as well.

Look it up.

I suggest you go look it up, there is no area in the GOM that is closed to recreational fishermen during the season. There are plenty of closed areas where commercials can't fish but recreatioanls can.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
MakoMike wrote:




I suggest you go look it up, there is no area in the GOM that is closed to recreational fishermen during the season. There are plenty of closed areas where commercials can't fish but recreatioanls can.


Ok mr adviser....

"GOM cod prohibition for party/charter and private recreational vessels from November 1 ? March 31"


gee, I am a dummy, aren't I??
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So...this closure of rec fishing is in addition to the areas closed to comm'l not just inclusive of.

It's OK to set 10 miles of 6 1/2" mesh but drop a single hook with the intention of catching dinner and.....:mad:
 

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You really can be a jerk. what part of "during the season" didn't you understand? The recreational season runs from April 1st through October 30th and during that period the recreational fishermen can fish anywhere they like.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
MakoMike wrote:
You really can be a jerk. what part of "during the season" didn't you understand? The recreational season runs from April 1st through October 30th and during that period the recreational fishermen can fish anywhere they like.

The "season" part Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I think it's time for an ES listing for ALEWIVES.....

That will effectively end all MW trawling anywhere near the beaches, forever- or at least until the alewives are taken back off the list.

I think a petition is in order....

This post edited by loligo 12:08 PM 02/08/2008
 

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Go for it. You may as well include blueback herring as well, you have a better chance at and ESA for the herring, since alewives are pretty plentyful in the great lakes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
MakoMike wrote:
Go for it. You may as well include blueback herring as well, you have a better chance at and ESA for the herring, since alewives are pretty plentyful in the great lakes.

hey aren't the alewives in the GL's a different species than ours??

But yep- put bluebacks in there too, I haven't seen one in years and I've looked too.:rolleyes:
 

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loligo wrote:
[hey aren't the alewives in the GL's a different species than ours??


I'm not positive, but I think they are the same fish that's just been transplanted to the lake, like the coho salmon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
MakoMike wrote:
loligo wrote:
[hey aren't the alewives in the GL's a different species than ours??

I'm not positive, but I think they are the same fish that's just been transplanted to the lake, like the coho salmon.

I looked it up- they are an invasive species
 

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loligo wrote:
MakoMike wrote:
loligo wrote:
[hey aren't the alewives in the GL's a different species than ours??

I'm not positive, but I think they are the same fish that's just been transplanted to the lake, like the coho salmon.

I looked it up- they are an invasive species


H'mm, not sure if that's the right term. As I said, they're like the coho salmon in that they were deliberately introduced to the lakes. Ar coho an invasive species? I agree that neither is native to the lakes, maybe we should call them non-native species?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Nope- they invaded

From-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alewife

Alewives are perhaps best known for their invasion of the Great Lakes by using the Welland Canal to bypass Niagara Falls. Alewives colonized the Great Lakes and became abundant mostly in lakes Erie, Huron and Michigan. They reached their peak abundance by the 1950s and 1960s. Alewives grew in number unchecked because of the lack of a top predator in the lakes (lake trout were essentially wiped out around the same time by overfishing and the invasion of the exotic sea lamprey). For a time, alewives, which often exhibit seasonal die offs, washed up in windrows on the shorelines of the Great Lakes. Their control was the impetus for the introduction of various Pacific Salmon species (first coho, and later the chinook salmon) to act as predators on them. This caused the development of a salmon/alewife fish community, popular with many sport anglers. Alewives, however, have been implicated in the decline of many native Great Lakes species through competition and predation.
 

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It is funny to hear ANYONE from the midwater trawl industry trying to say that they have tried hard to get observer coverage. That is such a load of crap. Last year a bunch of us tried hard to get Congress to give NMFS money for MW observers. That money would have allowed for their to be 20% coverage and would have solved the problem.

But, unfortunately, some of the MW people fought very hard and were able to STOP that money from being allocated. Now they say they are all for the coverage. They have fought having more observers for a long time now. Do not believe their PR spin....they have been the primary reason that there is not better coverage already.

There is no shortage of BS in that letter, but that is the point that ticks me off the most. How can they possibly say that they are all for observer coverage given everything they have done over the last few years?

Oh yeah, and as we have discussed here before, everyone knows that they not only can fish near bottom, but they often do. Even Amendment 1 made that point clearly. As did the whole FW 43 issue. But then you see articles like this saying that they dont. I guess they think that they can lie enough times that people will eventually belie them. (In other words, I guess they think everyone is stupid.)

This post edited by twofinbluna 02:01 AM 02/09/2008
 
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