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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
[q] posted on 27-Dec-2005 6:25:16 PM
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quote:
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Last spring we apparently took between 10,000 and 25,000 trophies more than allotted us during the season - a figure that still is being contested.

------Based on last years OVERAGE of fish, Charged to Maryland--Does anyone know if possibly the 8% mortality rate & 10% charged for poaching, were converted into the fish overharvested figure---If so did it start March 1st or April 15 th ----
[/q]----------------------------------------------------------------------

---Took the Liberty of moving my Question to this site , hoping for an answer----[grin]
 

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George,

Unless there is a fish by fish reporting program in MD, they probably use MRFSS for the number of fish.

I have a pretty good understanding of how MRFSS works. They use A + B1 fish when they count fish killed. Those ar fish kept and released dead. I would suspect that for striped bass that not many are reported as released dead when they do the dockside interviews. Also they would have a hard time justifying a size distribution of the released dead fish.

They do not charge any of the recreational quotas for release mortality fish, which is released alive times mortality rate.

In 2004 March/April MRFSS has MD as landing 33,364 fish and May/June it was 60,871 fish. Using the size distribution from their pages here is the distribution of harvest for those two waves. The third column is the sum of larger than fish. For instance if the cut off is 32 inches (fork length) then there were 14,500 fish in wave 2 and 20,300 fish in wave 3. I do not have access to the 2005 data.

Wave 2
Inches -- # fish -- # fish larger than
21 -- 1,221 -- 33,371
22 -- 137 -- 32,150
23 -- 761 -- 32,013
24 -- 897 -- 31,252
25 -- 881 -- 30,355
26 -- 1,268 -- 29,474
27 -- 824 -- 28,206
28 -- 2,773 -- 27,382
29 -- 3,123 -- 24,609
30 -- 2,335 -- 21,486
31 -- 4,638 -- 19,151
32 -- 3,777 -- 14,513
33 -- 1,101 -- 10,737
34 -- 4,548 -- 9,636
35 -- 340 -- 5,088
36 -- 587 -- 4,748
37 -- 1,011 -- 4,160
38 -- 911 -- 3,150
39 -- 1,325 -- 2,239
40 -- 440 -- 914
41 -- 414 -- 474
42 -- 30 -- 60
43 -- 0 -- 30
44 -- 30 -- 30

Wave 3
Inches -- # fish -- # fish larger than

15 -- 67 -- 60,877
16 -- 262 -- 60,810
17 -- 1,613 -- 60,548
18 -- 1,522 -- 58,935
19 -- 2,380 -- 57,414
20 -- 1,771 -- 55,033
21 -- 359 -- 53,262
22 -- 1,437 -- 52,903
23 -- 901 -- 51,466
24 -- 213 -- 50,566
25 -- 2,593 -- 50,352
26 -- 2,100 -- 47,759
27 -- 3,147 -- 45,659
28 -- 3,622 -- 42,512
29 -- 6,763 -- 38,890
30 -- 3,920 -- 32,128
31 -- 3,932 -- 28,208
32 -- 1,997 -- 24,275
33 -- 5,771 -- 22,279
34 -- 1,936 -- 16,508
35 -- 3,269 -- 14,573
36 -- 2,818 -- 11,304
37 -- 3,257 -- 8,485
38 -- 1,248 -- 5,229
39 -- 2,934 -- 3,981
40 -- 505 -- 1,047
41 -- 542 -- 542



The released alive fish were:

Wave 2 -- 87,028
Wave 3 -- 407,062

Multiplying that by 0.08 you get:

Wave 2 -- 6,962 fish
Wave 3 -- 32,564 fish

Again without any contractor measured fish they would have a difficult time coming up with a size distribution of dead fish.


Tom
 

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The bottom line is that way too many pre and post spawn fish were caught last year. Unless you want another moratorium, there needs to be cut backs. We can sit here and pretend to be Biologists, or we can accept that this is based on the best available science and studies.

Personally, I don't think spawning fish should be targeted for catch & kill.
 

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Scotty actually this is more of an allocation issue. A while back I did the numbers coast wide by age for 2003 based on an ASMFC report and came up with the following.

The total recreational harvest of age 8 and above (kinda 32 inches) was 948,600 fish.

The total commercial harvest of age 8 and above was 249,000 fish

So you are looking at a MD bay spring quota of 30,000 big fish as compared to a total harvest of about 1,200,000 fish coast wide annually. Something less than 3% of the harvest. Oh and these numbers do not count the recently "discovered" (by MRFSS) harvest off of NC in Jan and Feb. I don't remember how many but it was a goodly fraction of the 1,200,000 fish and it does not count discard mortality coast wide. A dead fish is a dead fish.

All that being said I agree with you that the spawning reaches should be protected in the spring.

Tom
 

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Don't agree its more of an allocation issue, nor should we put any faith in the MRFSS "data." Its not data. Its highly suspect guesswork that will not stand up to any kind of legitimate statistical test.

Scotty has it right. Anadromous fish should not be targeted for harvest during the spawn. Thats just good conservation. Unfortunately there are still too many people who really believe striped bass are fine
 

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Matt,

The MRFSS data on striped bass is probably pretty good when it is looked at coast wide. When I say pretty good I mean +/- 20 % maybe as good as +/- 10 %. Probably not much better.

For MD for 3 or 4 months in bay MAYBE it is as good as +/- 50%. It gets worse as you make the area or number of months smaller. The problem is a lack of intercepted fish. There are also issues regarding localized fisheries that are expanded to state wide effort, etc.

How many fish over 8 years old are harvested each year coast wide? My best guess is between 900,000 and 1,400,000 fish. In MD during the spring it is a whole other matter. But hey that is the data that the managers are looking at. If you don't like it try working within the system to get it changed.

Tom

BTW the best data in Virginia is probably croaker because there were several thousand intercepted fish each wave.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
[q] Personally, I don't think spawning fish should be targeted for catch & kill.
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Scotty
-------------------------------Scotty & Others, I must respectfully address this negetive thought in this manner ---WHEN is a female fish not a spawner?
----Unfortunatly Maryland, being the largest provider of replacement stock to the East Coast fishery, it is under constant pressure , & a Jaundiced eye from other states to save THIER fish from the Maryland spring season----
----In ANY given year's catch figures based on fish caught & fish Allowed---It stands to reason that Some of the fish in the 28"---35" class are resident MALES--Could we safely say 25% ?------OR more,-- as so many of Maryland anglers state they return roe laden fish-------------
------The April---May Spring season is a 30 day or less (weather loss) season when anglers get a well deserved shot at fish that return to our waters ---These SAME POST SPAWN fish are targeted by every TOM Dick & Harry, for the remaning 335 days of the year-----AND YES a percentage of these ARE potential spawners--
----As long as our young of the year studies, & our fishery management continues to provide positive results , Maryland's spring season should not be unjustly singled out as problem--

----If anything Maryland should be the subject of Praise & Achivement in it's role of "Nannie" to the east coast's success of this fishery----
----It should be obvious that with a state record of only 67#, that our BIG FISH reduction is limited in time & access----OH WELL-[wink]
 

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Maryland DNR’s contention is the MRFSS’ data is way out of whack.
In the past (2004 and back) the MRFSS’ data has always been close to the Charter Boat log books. Well in 2005 there was a great difference.

Well said capt.george.
 

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Tom, "grumbling" makes it sound unwarranted. I think it would be fair to say there's a desire for a more scientific approach, not grumbling.

Also, I would really appreciate it if you could support the statement: " MRFSS data on striped bass is probably pretty good when it is looked at coast wide. When I say pretty good I mean +/- 20 % maybe as good as +/- 10 %. Probably not much better."

I think the agency conducting the survey and politically appointed fishery managers want to believe the MRFSS findings are better than nothing, but I think the facts will show MRFSS was never intended to be an in-season assessment of quota, and survey itself does not attempt to generate an accurate assessment of landings.

Most serious recreational fishermen share concerns about the accuracy and reliability of the information MRFSS is reporting, because most of us have not been surveyed. DNR suggests that some of us will not be surveyed ever, and some of us will get surveyed two or three times a year. I don't think that argument will hold up in the court of public opinion, but thats just my opinion.

Based on the questions asked in the survey, I don't think there is a reasonable argument that MRFSS has a scientific basis of assessing recreational landings. Plus or minus 20% is as much a guess as the landings "data" presented earlier in this thread. It could be plus or minus 100%, or 1000%. First of all, the actual survey relies heavily on uses cold calling techniques, dialing phone numbers randomly. There is a relatively small amount of "intercept" data that is used to assess effort and landings, but I don't think the sample sizes are adequate to make generalizations about the entire recreational fishing community, in terms of landings or effort.

Questions asked in the surveys tend to be wordy and leading, which appears to skew the findings. NMFS openly admits the survey was designed to assess economic data and fishing effort, but not specific landings by species. If you've ever participated in the survey, you will recognize many of the questions here:

http://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/st1/recreational/documents/MRFSS%20Telephone/Appendix_D_CHTS_Questionnaire.pdf

Tom wrote: "If you don't like it try working within the system to get it changed."

I appreciate that sentiment, but one thing is certain: the "system" doesn't reward freethinking. The system rewards dogmatic rhetoric more than critical thinking. Right or wrong, marine fishery management is designed for economic sustainment more than wildlife management. I do not begrudge our politicians for using marine fishery management to do constituent service, and I don't really care if the fishery people choose to be political pawns. Just don't tell me we're using the best available science to conserve the bay. Thats not true.

With regards to George's question: WHEN is a female fish not a spawner? Its a good question. I guess the answer is never. Once she's part of the spawning stock, she's a spawner. My point, and support for Scotty's statement relates to timing. Harvesting spawners during migration constitues an "intercept fishery." Intercept fisheries tend to cause overfishing at an unacceptably high rate. Maryland's spring trophy season is an intercept fishery.
 

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Capt G,
[q] WHEN is a female fish not a spawner?[/q] With all due respect, that is not a fair analogy of my statement. To use that analogy, male SB should also be off limits because they also play a crucial role in reproduction...

My point is that based on the best available science, the Trophy season can harvest X number of fish. We went way over X last year. The tone of your initial post suggests to me that you want more fish than allocated. The laws were bent in the past due to political pressure. Moratorium was the outcome. I just don't want to ever see that happen again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
[q]My point is that based on the best available science, the Trophy season can harvest X number of fish. We went way over X last year. The tone of your initial post suggests to me that you want more fish than allocated. The laws were bent in the past due to political pressure. Moratorium was the outcome. I just don't want to ever see that happen again.
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[/q]-----------------------------------------------------
------- The tone of your initial post suggests to me that you want more fish than allocated. ----------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------Scotty----You will NEVER hear this Ole Dog Bark, for more than the Fishery Managers say is needed to continue what Maryland's --Delaware's & D.C.'s Sacrifice Started-----A Lopsided 5 years to Recovery-----Where was the so called Do Gooders & Enforcers from Maine to N.C.---During the 5 years of Moratorium ?------They All became Mile or More birds with thier Heads in the Sand----Thanks, Things Are better for US, Etc. the fish are more plentiful & the size is increasing ---Come on , fish for Stripers in our waters , No restrictions Here----Am I bitter on this point ? Somewhat---I'M proud to have been a Participting part of of the Recovery story, proud to have worked in the hatcheries, caught fish for blood tests, caught fish for studies as to the progress of the endervor ----My only Perpetuating bitterness was the lack of Co-Operation from the rest of the Coastal states---OH Well--
----Scotty, what I do question, is How in the world did these Overwheming catch figures come about?---Tom Powers assures me that mortality & poaching % Don't count during the trophy season ---So based on this, the fish count is on fish LANDED ONLY-
--------The only Formal fish count is the Charter Fleets Weekly log book reports---
------As I have Questioned before, where did the additional FISH LANDED reports come From?----
---The Overage is mind boggleing!!---Were talking FEMALES now, Migratory Females----Should we consider A Conservative Pecentage for Resident males caught----Probably not, but a thought----
--To set the record straight, I only want, is what every angler wants , & that is how did the Fish landed figure come about & is it reasonably accurate----[grin]
 

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Unless there is a formal reporting process the total harvest came from the MRFSS data.

It is broken into two basic parts. The first part is the dockside interview data. It provides several things.

1. Catch per angler trip by fishing mode (private boat, charter boat, shore based, etc.) They take the total number of harvested fish for each species and divide it by the total number of participating fishermen. Call this CPUE.

2. The size distribution of the landed fish which is normally turned into an average size per wave.

3. The percentage of fishermen who do not live in coastal counties within MD (or VA, etc.) Call this "Fx"

The second part is the random telephone interviews of coastal counties. This gives you the number of angler trips per household during each two month wave. Call this TPA.

The thrid part is the number of households in each county. Ncounty

So the total effort, TE, equals

TE = Sum{Ncounty * TPA * (1+Fx)}

where you sum across all of the counties.

So the total catch, TC, is

TC = TE*CPUE

Clear as mud, huh??

So let's talk about what can make MRFSS bad.

First and foremost. It is a statistical model. That means that you need lots of interviews, lots of interviews with individuals who fish and a reasonably lot of intercepted fish for it to be valid.

Second an anomoly in the data can skew things especially during times of relatively low effort. For example. One of the intercept calls in VA in spring of 2004 went to a household in a high population county where a family of 4 spent a month at their waterfront cottage (or campground or rental) for a month. They went fishing every day. That added something like 90,000 angler trips during that wave.

Third, is the concept of regional fisheries where a lot of fish are harvested in a limited geographical region. An example of that is the speckled trout fishery in VA. During the fall 60% of the intercepted fish come from Rudee Inlet. Those fish are expanded by all of the recreational fishermen state wide, even though they were probably caught by less than 150 people who actually fish there.

Regional fisheries also have problems which can skew the average size of the fish.

Private docks are never interviewed. Thus areas with limited public marinas or boat ramps get few intercepts. If they are areas of low CPUE or smaller fish. The data gets skewed towards larger fish.

Lots of things can go wrong with it. Last summer I did extensive work with the Virginia data trying to understand the issues of regionalisim (sp?). I worked with guidance from folks from NMFS, VMRC, VIMS and ODU. Also I was looking at the numbers of fish intercepted per wave, the distribution of interviews as related to fishing effort, etc. The reason that I said that Croaker were a good example is that about 15,000 fish where intercepted on any given year and during the waves 3 and 4, 30% of the intercepted trips left the dock targeting croaker. Speckled trout, for example, had about 400 intercepted fish, most coming from Rudee inlet during wave 5.

On a wave by wave basis, which is what you are talking about for striped bass trophy season it gets way worse. Number of itercepts of 100 or less is not unusal. Heck some species which are tightly managed have way fewer intercepts. In VA tautog only had 152 intercepted fish during all of 2004.

The more numbers the better the estimates. But like Matt said the system was never designed to manage quotas, especially real time.

You asked for an explaination there you have it.

Tom
 

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I'm not sure how many statistical problems this survey has, relative to how it is being used, but I'm fairly certain it is not surveying an adequate sample of the fishing population to assess landings accurately
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
---Thank you again Tom----As I said before I'm too slow to to understand the XY&Z's of fish calucation----in the 80's when I was a rep. from Maryland, Active in the Management of Bluefish, Id sit through Hours of Xy & Z's on the first day--I found that the second day devoted to Disscusion & Practical Knowledge, made the meeting Productive----Tho I fully understand the Importance of the Formulas & Written Reports

--Now back to the subject at hand----Contracted Fish Counters, & thier impact on Specific Landing reports-----
----Being a Pack Rat--I went to my old briefcase that I carried in the days I served as Pres. of MCBA-----
----OCT. 31 1991--Wash. Post.--Rec. Season Continues---115,000 #'s still ava. to Rec. anglers--Charterboat Operators who caught thier Ouota of 161,000 were Shut down Sunday-----ETC.

---THis shut down was based on CB logs & the Daily ESTIMATE of Contracted fish counters as to date poundage Quota would be reached----Right?----WRONG--

---The Maryland Charterboat Industry lost 5 days of fishing based on a Counter's estimate ----Our loss was about $151,000 in lost trips & returned Deposits----
----It came to light after audits Etc. that this shutdown was a result of improper calclutations Etc-----Apoligies etc. were recieved in Feb.---I relize this was our first season, in 5 years & the c b & rec. anglers at that time were seperate---OH WELL--
-----I took the time to Hunt & Peck this to show support on the counting process as you see it in VA.
--I whole heartley aggree, with your obsevations---There much the same here---What scares me is the fact in my neck of the woods is when rec. fishermen are scarce, at boat ramps, docking areas etc. they migrate to the charter fleet landings --Measure,weigh,record etc., as well as interview my anglers---

---As most Capt. co-operate,& make these visits Welcome, I am also always worried that THESE fish may show up as Double Counts----My log book report will show no. caught--Could thier report show the same fish & the count be Doubled?----What is your opinion on this ?----
 

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George,

There is good news with respect to your theory. I simplfied the description by one step. All of the CPUE and effort data is calculated for each mode of fishing. Charter, private/rental boat, shore, and head boats. The harvest by species is calculated for each mode and added together.

I do not think that they spilt the modes when determining the average size which is what they use to convert from number of fish to pounds.

Any way that you cut it the NMFS MRFSS data and analysis can not be used for real time fisheries management. There is usually a 3 or 4 month lag between the end of the wave and the preliminary results.

Tom
 

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Matt, Tom, and Capt G, all have good points. In my opinion the only way to semi-accurately count fish killed, is to have each fish checked in at a station. That is obviously unreasonable so we have to resort to some system of surveys, estimates, etc. There are probably a thousand + ways to do this and none are 100% accurate or popular. We could discuss the different ways forever.

I'll be the first to admit that I don't understand all of Tom's posts regarding studies. I am only starting to understand some of the ways the catch is counted.

Since the inception of the Spring trophy catch & kill season I believe this is the first year of a major overage ? I know there was overage in 04 as well but it was written off due to 'a fully recovered SB stock'. Since the same methods of reporting exist and the fact that the fish were approx a month late this year, isn't it reasonable to assume that there was in fact a substantial overage ? What else has changed ? Nothing except the timing of the spawning run.

Best to all in 06' !
 

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As a professional operations research analyst and certified estimator, I also didn't understand Tom's explanation, but I'm not sure that was his point.

The MRFSS data is collected in two month intervals which I believe Tom is referring to as "waves." Even though we're technically always behind by two months, the sample sizes of survey data within any two month interval are still not representative of the fishing population. Also, the data collection techniques aren't consistent from period to period, leaving us with too many open questions.

I looked closely at the survey after I was surveyed for my first and only time in 25 years of soltwater fishing, and concluded that NMFS couldn't possibly be gathering adequate data to know how many fish are being removed from the water. I think the survey was only ever intended to generate an idea of what species the recreational community spends most of its time targeting.

If we really wanted to know we wouldn't have to check in every fish. We could go back to a system of tags. Every angler gets x number of tags at the beginning of the season, and can use those tags throughout the season, or use'em all up in one day. That strategy would encourage the harvest of mature fish, which is the only strategy that has ever been sucessful. But if some guy really wanted to put all their tags in 12" fish, maybe that would be fine too, if you believe a dead fish is a dead fish.

By using tags, each state would have a good idea of how many fish were harvested, and could simply count sales. Meathogs could buy additional tags in a pay-as-you-go system, where each tag over the initial allotment would be more expensive, and the revenues would pay into funding for the infrastructure necessary to count accurately.
 
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