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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
From today's NBST:

Mack story

"Norpel's fleet of four trawlers (the company owns three vessels and contracts one) hunts for the fish in pairs, towing a large net through the middle of the water column. During one tow, the 165-foot vessels catch between 450,000 to 650,000 pounds of mackerel, depending on the size of the net and the size of the school of fish, said Norpel general manager Billie Schofield.

The plant can process up to 700,000 pounds of mackerel in 24 hours, he said."
 

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Now you know why the mackeral fishing has been so poor and spotty up here in the past few years since these boats started operating.

When fish become scarce, you have to ask who is catching the majority of the fish.

"Today, mackerel is not subject to overfishing. The agency reports that the spawning stock biomass ? the weight of fish that are old enough to spawn ? has increased steadily since 1978." The fishery managers haven't got a clue.



This post edited by Capt. Marc 11:25 PM 01/14/2008
 

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I hear ya, Marc. We used to see school after school of mackerel up on top every night on the way in, for the majority of the season. You could count dozens of schools on the way in at night and often on the way out too. You couldnt get away from the things! Not anymore.

No joke, in recent years if we see even a couple schools on top all summer , that is a lot. We almost never see any macks anymore. Saw some tinker macks this fall for the first time in a bunch of years, but it didnt scratch the surface of what we used to have, not even close. I dont even remember the last time we saw mackerel of any size either on the surface, in the harbors, or in the stomachs of tuna we catch.

I am just looking at the landings over the last 20 or so years and there is a clear spike that came in around 2002. The US commercial fishery roughly averaged 14,000 metric tons (mt) from 1986-2001. Then, in 2002 the fleet caught 26,000mt; then caught 34,000mt in 2003; then 54,000mt in 2004; and finally 41,000mt in 2005. And at the same time, Canada's landing boomed up. They went from catching about 14,000mt in 2000, to getting over 50,000mt in 2004.

In the US, the large scale mack fishery has been around for a long time, with NJ and other Mid-Atl states doing it for decades and we still had macks. I think the problem came when the new herring trawlers started showing up not long ago. You now have all the big MW herring boats that came into the fishery within the last 10 years, hungrier than ever, trying to catch as many macks as they possibly can to keep their boats and their plants going. IMO, this result we see today is TBE given all the new effort.

I dont know much about the mack stuff really, just making some observations based on the data and what I see on the water.

This post edited by twofinbluna 01:22 AM 01/15/2008
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Incase your as bored as I am...

You can track the progress of the mack fleet on the NOAA IVR site (along with about 10 other fisheries). If its the same set up as herring, they will post the data for a week within 10 days of the end of that week. In other words, they will post the catches for January 1-7, for example, sometime between the 7th and the 17th.

*That NOAA site is at: IVR

Click on Mackerel or one of the other species on the left side of page to see the data.

So far it says that up through January 9th, there was around 2.6 million pounds caught, which is 1% of the quota. The quota is massive, but I don't know if they ever come close to filling the quota, last year it says they only got about 50 or 60 million pounds.

Nothing exciting, but gives you something else fishing-related to read about to kill time in these boring winter months!
 

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"Saw some tinker macks this fall for the first time in a bunch of years.." You won't seen them back since they have been processed.

If we can only swap out the scientists who set the dogfish quotas with the scientists who set the mackeral quota, the fishery would be much better off.



This post edited by Capt. Marc 09:28 PM 01/18/2008
 
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