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if you have not already heard the atantic states marine fisheries commission is proposing 1 blackfish YEAR ROUND !!! that would more then likely include new youk and new jersey. you can thank anybody poacher with a live well and an illegal hook with the sushi markets. this is one story where the legal commercial fisherman have nothing to do with. i think that this is more of an enforcement problem then a poorly managed species. your views please.....BOB TUNA

one way to fix this problem 4 DEC boats one fixed to the jersey reef one on 17 fathoms and one each on the rockaway an AB reefs i believe this will keep the poachers off their stomping grounds !!



This message was edited by tuna bab on 1-26-02 @ 11:48 AM
 

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Should also make the party boat captains equally responsible for poaching by their fares and their crew. I also think 10 fish per day is a too high and the season should be closed during the spring spawn. Just my thoughts.

MC
 

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I read about this proposal and it about killed me. I love fishing for tog, but if we are only allowed one, there would be no point in targeting them. The system that is being used to determine recreational limits causes regulations to get more and more stringent while the populations get larger and healthier. Perfect examples are fluke and porgys. Meanwhile, flounder, whiting and cod are disappearing before our eyes and nothing is being done about it. This also leads to a viscious cycle. Think about it. If we can't keep tog, more guys will fish for sea bass. Sea bass landings will go way up which will lead to tighter regs on sea bass. Where does it end?

As for poachers, the lack of enforcement in our area is well known. DEC officers start out here, but move on to other locales (lower cost of living?) as soon as they can. And the demand for the poachers catch is huge (chinatown, flushing etc.) We need more enforcement officers, who are paid enough so they'll stick around and gain experience. And when poachers are caught, they need to have their gear confiscated so that they can't poach again. Poaching does happen on party boats as well. I was on a trip this year, on a north shore boat, where the captain caught a good 20 keeper tog, which were placed in a garbage pail that was set up as a crude livewell. I never did find out what happened to those fish, but my gut feeling is that they were sold. Now that it looks like were going to lose our tog fishery, I regret not calling the DEC on the little jerk.

Instead of just bitching about how the recreational fisherman is being regulated right off the water, do something. Join the RFA, CCA, NYFTTA. There are alot of groups out there who need fisherman funds, support and actions. Or at least write to your elected officials. That's free, and if enough of us do it, gets results.
 

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Just read in my CCA magazine that CCA and some commercial fishermen are getting together to try to come up with ways to stop blackfish poaching. They didn't have any specifics, but it sounds like a step in the right direction. As for my comments about the "little jerk", if these new regs do go through, he's going to lose out on alot of business next fall, and the first person he can blame is himself.
 

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Go after the retail establishments...just take a walk down chinatown in the city, tank after tank of Blackfish. These must be caught by clandistine means. To think that this fishery is damaged by a culture ( chinatown/and Japenese restaraunts ) The DEC should go down there, and ticket those guys who buy fish off of recreational fisherman. This is a illegal act, poaching is a crime.I have been fishing on charter boats with guys with elaborate battery operated live wells...these fisherman should be left at the dock, starting this weekend. One fish?, this is going to damage all charter boats, and bait and tackle shops who try hard to work year round.

Just an idea?, how about a registry on persons involved with catching blackfish, with a declaration on what they are doing with their fish.A bit complicated, the commercial guys work this way. I think that a select few have created this crisis. Fair, law abiding fisherman should not take the rap for some criminal fisherman.

Alberto..what is your take on this ?
 

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DEC Law Enforcement do all they can, but the fines imposed when cases go to court are so small that they do not deter further violations. The fines have become a "cost of doing business," and a minor cost at that. When the fines are large enough to be a deterrent, poaching will slow down. The only way fines will be raised is if we demand it. Quiknet is right; join an organization and become active.
 

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Before I give my thoughts I?d like to remind everyone that any name calling ridiculing or basic rude behavior will result your being banned from the site. This is truly an important issue as we witness the destruction of another one of our inshore fisheries so please let?s be civil.

With that out of the way . . .

The true killer of blackfish is the tens of thousands of pots that target them annually. This fishery was in great shape before potting was introduced, and that simply can?t be denied.

Tog were predominantly a recreational fish with 80% of the fishery being taken by recreational anglers up until the late 80?s early 90?s. At that time commercial pin hooking on open and charter boats was perfectly legal and had limited restrictions, lobstermen were keeping a small by-catch and the hook and line commercials were also fishing. And in spite of this, the fishery thrived. Now we have severe restrictions on commercial hook and line, commercial and recreational bag limits, limited seasons, size minimum increases, and yet the fishery still heads into decline.

Fishery?s managers need to stop the targeting of live blackfish by pots before we ever see any restoration of this once great bottom fishery. I honestly believe that as long as blackfish are targeted by hook and line they will be fine. When you set a trap inside their environment, an environment that they seek for shelter, and then you throw a female in there as an added attraction during the spawn, you have a combination for disaster.

A few years back, while President of the New York Chapter of the CCA, I was involved in blackfish legislation that restricted commercial possession limits from 50 fish to 25 fish, and the bill outlawed the practice of storing fish in a pot for future use. Unfortunately commercial pin-hookers, one of the traditional users of the fishery, caught the brunt of this law, but it was necessary. While working on that bill we tried hard to get the number of blackfish pots restricted but there was a number of obstacles so they decided to first get a count of them, which has still yet to be done! It has been reported that a few individuals have thousands of these pots

This is not a commercial/recreational issue; this is fish pots against everyone. The devastation on the population caused by this fishery has left recreational anglers looking at a one-fish bag limit, the possibility of lobstermen not being able to keep their traditional catch, and hook and line fishermen facing a serious reduction. Yet fish potters will probably see little reduction if any at all as we don?t even know how many of them there are, or how many fish they?re killing!

So please try not to fight amongst ourselves, because until we address the fish pot issue the blackfish has little if any chance at all of recovery.

Respectfully,
George R. Scocca
Publisher, Nor'east Saltwater
 

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George is correct in regard to fish traps. I have seen first hand, the destruction that they can inflict on fish populations. You can toss a fish trap on sand bottom and fish will come from far away to hide in it. They are banned for the harvest of all reef fish in the Southeast, and blackfish need this protection also.

Gamakatsu
 

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I apologize for my delay... but I've been fishing for the past few days. :)

OK? Here is my ?personal? tautog opinion? All in all, I am very disappointed with today?s ?fishery? management, especially the latest sought out blackfish fishery. The past few years before the live market was in place, this fishery was healthy. Unfortunately, like any other fishery, as soon as a strong dollar sign is placed, we run into big issues! Suddenly it becomes a commercial vs. recreational allocation /premature over harvest / magical data introduction / mass poaching / ill scrutiny and political horseplay!

I?ve been an avid tautog fisher for the past two decades because it?s a very challenging fish to catch and a great table fare. I?ve been keeping a close eye on this fishery and it sickens me! We?ve witnessed the north shores? lobster downfall? and then came the creation of blackfish pots and special lobster pots (that traps blackfish as by-catch). Afterwards the ?live? Asian market came to play! It became the #1 fish to sell and the demand was high! Suddenly everyone started to target blackfish and the DEC noticed this phenomenon and imposed stricter laws and a bag limit. Needless to say? it created many poachers and because of the big $$$$, the creation of the commercial rollers was also heavily used. This method was so destructive that not only did it do it?s job? it destroyed the blackfish habitat (wrecks, rocks, holes, mussel beds etc). This is totally appalling and yet? it is allowed!

And just when you thought things could not get worse? Now we have the recommendation of a 63% reduction! Why I asked? It?s not only due to over-harvesting? What used to be a North-East fishery - Rumor has it - it?s because North Carolina suddenly found a blackfish fishery and we must allocate our quota to N.C. as well.

What I really need to know is? which parties are actually (behind) imposing the laws and what kind of data are they using to support such drastic measures? Where this scientific reporting coming from and which party funded such program? In addition, what are they doing to prevent the said Asian ?Live-Markets? Plus - Where are they getting their fish? Also, what?s stored for the future enforcement? How about stricter fines, equipment confiscation and accountability?

I also need to know? if they are recommending a 63% reduction (which is estimated 1fish per trip) ? Does it also reflect the ?commercial sectors??

I am sensing something very fishy going on because there are many unanswered questioned! Does anybody want to give this a try? Or do we just let them take yet another important fishery away from us?

"Crazy" Alberto
[email protected]
 

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Once again the hook&line fisherman is the scapegoat. Unrealistic fluke ,possible seabass and porgy and pending blackfish restrictions are the result of the ordinary angler having no clout with the higher ups who make unscientific decisions based on flawed data and inaccurate studies. A fishery is not going to really be affected by the hook&line fisherman but it makes the committees look like they are doing something even thogh we are not the problem. Recreational fisherman vote and spend alot of money in order to catch our meager allotment of fish. If enough people write to their representatives and complain maybe we can make a differnce but just crying about the unfair treatment the recreational fisherman gets will get us nowhere. We are not the cause of the problem how can we be the solution.
 

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I'm wondering if decline also had something to do with an effort shift, at least in the NY Bight Throughout the 70s and at least part of the 80s, by December, the NY Bight recreational fleet had switched to whiting. "Bottom Fishing" as it was commonly known, was a mixed bag of porgies, seabass, blackfish and ling. In the Bight, I recall Tog was more of a transitional fishery that got anglers through the fall until the whiting arrived (and cod).
Oldtimers out there...what kind of fleet was on 17 fathoms in Dec-Jan soaking crabs? Anything like what we saw build in the late 80s and 90s? Other aspects of effort shift, you'll note that the long range seabass trips didnt exist years ago. The thought of going 75 miles for seabass would have been idiotic...you had all the fish you wanted at Ambrose or Scotland. Well. I'm suer some folks think I'm making this up, I might as well be telling you that you could get a bucket of whiting by just walking the beaches at night to pick up fish that got beached.

(Yeah the pots are to blame for a big part of it, but this fishery has had to deal with that, plus the effort shift, plus a glowing clan of legal and illegal pinhookers chasing bigger and bigger bucks)



This message was edited by johnP on 1-30-02 @ 10:58 PM
 

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JohnP wrote:
I'm wondering if decline also had something to do with an effort shift, ...

(Yeah the pots are to blame for a big part of it, but this fishery has had to deal with that, plus the effort shift, plus a glowing clan of legal and illegal pinhookers chasing bigger and bigger bucks)...

___________________________________________________

JohnP,
You are absolutely right! I remember it well when the old Pilot from Sheepshead bay use to sail for Whiting during the winter... and I also used to fish the Coney Island pier / Jetties for whitings. Winter cod fishing used to be hot too...

Blackfish was not popular and ling was just considered a trash fish...

Look where we are at now!
There is a bergal and dogfish market...and what's next?
Who are we to blame?
Have we learned from the past?
Most importantly, how do we prevent this from happening again?

"Crazy" Alberto
[email protected]
 

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I?m sorry John but I respectfully disagree with effort shift, in fact I believe recreational and commercial hook and line effort has reduced drastically in the past decade.

In the late 70?s early 80?s there were approximately 30%-40% more recreational anglers fishing, this according to NMFS numbers, and at that time there were NO limits on blackfish. And it was very common in those days for commercial hook and line fishermen to fish along side recreational anglers on those trips, which is now outlawed in New York.

In addition the number of open boats in the region was over 300, today it has been reduced to about 10% of that. Sheepshead Bay held over 45 open boats, today there are under 10, City Island had 25, today there?s three. You have a choice of just three open boats to choose from if you?re targeting blackfish in the mid-sound from the LI side, and that?s in the fall as one refuses to sail during the spawn. When you combine this with the virtual elimination of over 90% of the boat rental stations on the Island, it?s obvious pressure from the hook and line category has been reduced.

On the commercial side you had an unlimited amount of pin-hookers that didn?t require a license, nor were there any limits on their take. They basically had whatever they wanted, and the fishery was stayed healthy. Today there are permits required and regulations that make it tough to make any money in this fishery. Think about it, a commercial boat with 5- pin hookers on it is allowed to take back 25-fish, yet the same amount of people on a recreational boat is allowed 50 fish! Now I?m not suggesting that?s a bad thing, but I just can?t see any of the blame being put on them.

These hook and line fisheries are not, were not and never will be the problem with blackfish and you could limit us all you want, even cut us out all together, and that will not do a thing to help rebuild the fishery as long as the pot fishery is allowed to continue.

Respectfully,
George R. Scocca
Publisher, Nor'east Saltwater
 

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I agee that the pots destroy the blackfish stocks but believe that the problem is not the limits imposed upon recreational or commercial rod and reel fisherman. First of all, there are no commercial licenses available for years and there was plenty of blackfish when there were no limits. Instead of blaming recreational or commercial interests, legal challenges in court need to be made to the arbitrary laws imposed by ASMFC. They know that the recreational and even commercial interests rarely challenge these laws, so they do whatever they want. As an attorney of l8 years, I know that the silent majority allows unfair laws to go on the books. I have often wanted to challenge various laws, But was amazed to find that no one wanted to put up anything to protect their interests. As a result, the only choice would be for me to utlize hundreds of hours of time for the benefit of everyone at the expense of my family and law practice. Just don't believe everything the ASMFC tells you as to what is appropriate. Look at the limits on striped bass -- I am still catching them at 17 while blackfishing (and releasing them)
 

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We've seen this so many times already, yet we continue to argue amongst ourselves to lay blame.

Where's the whiting? Where's the cod? Heck where's the flounder? These fish are practically gone. The recreational fisherman is almost completely gone from targeting these species yet there is still no sign of a recovery? Obviously it wasn't us that destroyed their numbers and habitat. Obviously a great wrong will be done by the Blackfish also.

$$$=GREED=Whatever is being served for dinner gets hammered until severe cut backs are warranted. And god help it if a species ever does make a partial comeback, cause it will do nothing but start the cycle all over again. Yea, there?s a shift in interest, by the commercials.

I still would like to know how ANYBODY could claim to know the numbers when NO ONE is counting the numbers? Almost every important factor is guesswork of phantom input and wizard like clairvoyance when it comes too who's actually catching and killing. I'm tired of hearing numbers produced from crystal balls. There are way too many different groups out there that are killing fish for different reasons with different intentions; market, recreation, bycatch, habitat destruction. It all counts and I am absolutely 100% sure that recreational cannot be held responsible to a tune of a 63% share reduction of any species. I am also 100% sure that not every single factor is being creditably or accurately counted. Their blaming over half the problem on the Recreational side when the recs. Are no way responsible for that many fish! Nation wide recreational fishermen numbers are plummeting, our catch rates overall are being reduced in wide scale fashion. I'm taking it in the rear and I only took a total of maybe 20 fish all of last year. How many Blackfish did one single commercial kill on average, for market or as bycatch? HA! We'll never know will we?
 
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