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I'm sure its the system.... I'd love to see a system where managers have the authority to set harvest levels at MSY for healthy fisheries. Stocks being rebuilt should be rebuilt as quickly as feasible without causing undue hardship to the various stakeholders if it would not put the recovery in danger. That would be a start....
 

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WaterAye wrote:
What would it take to renew your faith in fisheries management?

First, managers (and even scientists) need to use A LOT more common sense. That includes listening more to people on the water and not labelling what fishermen say as 'anecdotal' and somehow unimportant.

Second, if 'science' is going to be weighted so heavily in decision making, it needs to be reliable, and currently it is far from being reliable.

This post edited by twofinbluna 11:53 PM 02/02/2008
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I am asking you guys this question because it is a question I'm asking myself and having a hard time answering.

MakoMike, The system is what I'm referring to. I don't want to single out any one manager, as tempting as that is.

Reelfisher, reelfisher wrote:
I'd love to see a system where managers have the authority to set harvest levels at MSY for healthy fisheries. Stocks being rebuilt should be rebuilt as quickly as feasible without causing undue hardship to the various stakeholders if it would not put the recovery in danger.

I agree with what you are saying thought I would change MYS (maximum sustainable yield)to OSY (optimum sustainable yield). This small change in vernacular could provide managers more ability to do the "right thing". Which leads into your other point about undue hardship. FMP (fishery management plan) after FMP site little or slight economic impact to fishing communities. Economic Impacts are to be considered in each FMP by law. When each FMP states little or slight impact, which may or may not be true to begin with, they certainly add up to a huge impact when stacked together.

Twofinbluna,Twofinbluna wrote:
First, managers (and even scientists) need to use A LOT more common sense. That includes listening more to people on the water and not labelling what fishermen say as 'anecdotal' and somehow unimportant.

I couldn't agree more. I think this is where it must begin. You can know all the math in the world, but the guy spending 200 days a year, year after year at sea will have a much better idea on the overall (sometimes regional) stock condition. To dismiss this information as anecdotal is a total cop out. To quote a great Montauk Fishermen "it a crime against nature".


Thanks for your thoughts on this. I would need a solid action like addressing the spiny dogfish infestation or increasing fluke or scup limits to begin to renew my faith which has eroded over the years.
 

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How about if they try to rebuild the blackback flounder as aggressively as they are trying to rebuild the spiny dogfish population? I haven't caught flounder in years from the LI south shore bays.

I guess I am not up on all the issues. I still have no idea why no attention has been given to blackback flounder.
 

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If the councils would increase the probability that an FMP would succeed, say up to 75%, then I might rethink my opinion that the managers want to protect the fishing industry rather than meeting the stock rebuilding goals.

I have no faith that any plan built around the 50% probability of success can actually meet any goals consistently.

Anecdotal evidence can be made up by anyone, so I'd loose even more faith in the intensions of the Councils if they turned to anecdotes to set the plans.
 

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bmunson wrote:
If the councils would increase the probability that an FMP would succeed, say up to 75%, then I might rethink my opinion that the managers want to protect the fishing industry rather than meeting the stock rebuilding goals.

I have no faith that any plan built around the 50% probability of success can actually meet any goals consistently.

Anecdotal evidence can be made up by anyone, so I'd loose even more faith in the intensions of the Councils if they turned to anecdotes to set the plans.

So, you think that they should not only care less than they do now about the fishermen/communities when making plans, but also listen to what they have to say less too?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Aquarius wrote:
Howabout if they try to rebuild the blackback flounder as aggressively as they are trying to rebuild the spiny dogfish population? I haven't caught flounder in years from the LI south shore bays.

I guess I am not up on all the issues. I still have no idea why no attention has been given to blackback flounder.

Aquarius, I also question winter flounder management in NY. I believe there are healthy stocks of winter flounder in other areas to the north, but ours needs help. It's counter intuitive to have a ten fish limit of winter flounder for recreational fishermen in NY when their relative abundance is low and then to be looking at a two fish limit for summer flounder when their relative abundance is high. It is in part this lack of common sense which decreases my faith in managers.

I am in favor of stock augmentation programs for certain species and winter flounder is a prime candidate. If we had half a dozen hatcheries in the NJ,NY,CT area pumping in hundreds of thousands of juvenile winter flounder annually, I think it could only help. Fishermen have contributed to knocking down their relative abundance, but so has bulk heading and other habitat loss as well as pollution and other man made problems. If we can help mother nature get the fragile baby fish through the larval stage and release them as juveniles they will have a better chance of making it to sexual maturity.

Bmunson wrote:
Anecdotal evidence can be made up by anyone, so I'd loose even more faith in the intensions of the Councils if they turned to anecdotes to set the plans.

Bmunson, You are correct, anecdotal information can be provided by anyone with two cents. Just because you have anecdotal information doesn't mean what you say is correct or honest. To dismiss all the good information because you will get some bad is not going to increase our understanding of stocks and their health.

There are statistical means in which anecdotal information can be compiled and filtered to help managers see a clearer picture of what is really going on. The collection of meta data is also sorely needed. Metadata is data which surrounds data.

For example; if you look at landings data for barn door skates. Prior to May of 2004 there were very low landings of barn door skate, then you begin to see large increase in landings of barn door skates. If you have no metadata which is case now, managers say wow, we need to do something to curb the landings of this rare skate before they are too heavily impacted. In reality in May of 2004 NMFS changed landing data collection to DER (dealer electronic reporting)this is where fish dealers now enter the landings electronically. When dealers entered skates they must do so by species and what is the first skate species to choose from? Barn Door Skate. Lets face it, the dealers who know what they are buying are not the ones toiling over the computer doing data entry. Most times it's the bookkeeper or the dealers kids who enter their reports and they do it as fast as possible just to get it over with, but I digress.

Garbage in - Garbage out.
 

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I don't know about the south shore, but in LIS the biggest source of flounder mortality (based on numbers of fish) are the powerplants. The Mill Stone facility in CT is the biggest offender, but all them suck in and kill baby flounder. I for get what the estimates were for the number of fish killed, but it was truly an astounding number.
 

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MakoMike-
Good morning, new guy here, I just wanted to add that I've heard that too about LIS flounder, though I don't recall exactly where I heard it. As for the sorry state of South Shore flounder, well we've all heard the theories (overfishing, pollution, excessive development, a combination of several things). I did lurk about for a while before registering as a member here, you seem to be well versed in fishery management. I can't help but think that if a "glamorus" fish like stripers, or trout, or salmon, was in trouble, and no one could figure out exactly why, the powers that be would have no problem spening millions of dollars on studies to determine the problem, and find a solution. Yet, after well over a decade of , to be polite, dismal South Shore flounder fishing, all NYS has done is reduce the bag from 15 to 10 and shorten the season. Any opinions as to why it seems (to me at least) flounder seem to never appear on the manager's radar screen? Thanks !
 

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JC30967 wrote:
MakoMike-
Good morning, new guy here, I just wanted to add that I've heard that too about LIS flounder, though I don't recall exactly where I heard it. As for the sorry state of South Shore flounder, well we've all heard the theories (overfishing, pollution, excessive development, a combination of several things). I did lurk about for a while before registering as a member here, you seem to be well versed in fishery management. I can't help but think that if a "glamorus" fish like stripers, or trout, or salmon, was in trouble, and no one could figure out exactly why, the powers that be would have no problem spening millions of dollars on studies to determine the problem, and find a solution. Yet, after well over a decade of , to be polite, dismal South Shore flounder fishing, all NYS has done is reduce the bag from 15 to 10 and shorten the season. Any opinions as to why it seems (to me at least) flounder seem to never appear on the manager's radar screen? Thanks !

Well some organizations have looked at winter flounder. I think the numbers I read about the power plant kills came from a CT sutdy on winter flounder. The RI DEP has done a lot of work to determine the problems of flounder in narragansett bay. I suspect that their findings on increased water temp and grass shrimp predation on juvenial flounder, might well apply in New York as well. The ASMFC and NEFMS have been working on winter flounder. Believe it or not the winter flounder has recovered in the gulf of maine. The larger commercial mesh sizes that went into effect last year was meant to try and allow more flounder to migrate back intot he coastal ponds and bays, but it doen't seem to have happened yet, unless you count Raritan bay.
 

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One interesting effect that they found in RI was that a lot of the mortality was not direct, i.e. fish killed by the powerplant. Rather a good deal of the mortality was caused by the power plant raiseing the water temps by 1-2 degrees in the bay. Now the FERC has issued an order and the owners have agreed to install a closed loop cooling system at the Brayton Point power plant. It will be very interesting to see how much a difference what makes over the next few years.
 

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Mike-
Thanks for that info, it's much appreciated, as I , like God knows how many others here on L.I., cut my saltwater fishing teeth on flounder. It's sad that kids today can't enjoy this fishing, and may be one of many reasons we don't see as many youngsters fishing as there once was. Based upon my own uneducated observations, the lack of flounder in our south shore bays has got to be a result of something other than simple overfishing. Quick example. For the last several years, there have been few, if any, partyboats fishing for flounder inside Jones Inlet. Moreover, at one time, you'd be practically able to walk on the boats fishing in areas like Massapequa cove on any nice weekend day in March or April. Nowadays, you hardly see any private boats flounder fishing, it's just not worth the effort (not to mention expense) to many people anymore. Point is, for probably close to a decade, the pressure on flounder (at least in the JI area) has been greatly reduced. You'd think we would see at least a slight improvement, but it seems that each year, south shore flounder get a bit closer to going the way of the passenger pigeon. I really hope that a solution is found before we reach the point of no return, if that point hasn't already been reached!

Wateraye- thanks for the link to that article, interesting stuff there!
 

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twofinbluna wrote:
First, managers (and even scientists) need to use A LOT more common sense. That includes listening more to people on the water and not labelling what fishermen say as 'anecdotal' and somehow unimportant.

2fin and others:

First, let me state unequivocally that I agree with your wish list...given that, here is my assessment as to why we are where we are today...

The original 1976 Magnuson Act originally was designed by Congress to consider anecdotal industry input...the Regional Councils consist in part of industry participants. Congress recognized that fisheries science was (and still is) nothing more than an educated guess, so they created a mechanism (the Councils) whereby anecdotal knowledge could be integrated into management decisions, hopefully filling out the gaps in the statistical and empirical analyses. Unfortunately, self-interested industry participants on one particular Council abused the advisory position they occupied by downplaying fears of overfishing on certain stocks under its authority and allowing short-term economic concerns to override the restorative goals of Magnuson. The resulting continued downward spiral in the stocks of concern under that Council's purview gave the anti-fishing groups the ammunition they needed to push Congress to essentially castrate the anecdotal input of the Council members in favor of science alone, which, as bad as it is, is at least arguably unbiased. In other words, we had our shot in the early years of Magnuson at getting fishery managers to take anecdotal information seriously - unfortunately the short-sighted actions of one particular Council have resulted in the situation we have now, and the fishing community at large has lost its credibility (seemingly permanently).

Our only hope at this point is the two-pronged approach we are taking now, which is: 1) get the law changed to allow for flexibility in rebuilding schedules; 2) engage independent fisheries scientists through groups like PMAFS and SSFFF to challenge the abysmally deficient stock assessments and ridiculous rebuilding objectives currently being used by NMFS.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks for the informative synopsis Sealaw.

I am not a fan of the Council System. Seems like most everyone on it uses the opportunity to lobby their own personal interest. In my mind the cross section of user group representatives is far too small and to make the council bigger would also be self defeating.

I would like to see anecdotal data collected from everyone who has it. It was never possible before, but with technology the way it is now...

The Magnuson Stevens Act (MSA) is the gun which the enviro-business groups use to shoot common sense out of the picture.

I think your two pronged approach has great merit. I hope we are all not just shoveling $hit against the tide.
 
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