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ROCKFISH DILEMMA: Answering a few most asked questions in the ongoing debate over trophy season penalty paybacks:

Why can't we go along with status quo in the regulations, then shut the season down when we've reached the 30,000 cap?

Answer: There are no provisions for that currently. Charterboats keep weekly reports, but in the recreational fishery random survey data isn't available for ages.

How do fisheries managers figure which is a migrant rockfish, seeing our quota is based not on just fish that are caught and kept, but on migrant fish?

Answer: Surveys have been made to distinguish truly migrant fish by size, and statisticians are able to determine what percentage of fish of given sizes are migrants. In trophy season of 2006 our catch was about 120,000 fish, more than half of them were resident stripers. It's not until they reach 38 to 40 inches that all fish are considered migrants.

OTHER CURTAILMENTS: To more than a few fishermen, Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is beginning to shape up as the Grinch who stole Christmas. Wrong impression. Pause to consider what fish stocks and fishing would be like without a coastal fisheries management commission - with each state deciding what to do about managing all fisheries within their jurisdiction.

I think ASMFC should be more aggressive in policing states from Maine to North Carolina. Example: One wonders why it has taken so long to face up to obvious vanishing stocks of sea trout, or the outrageous winter catches of big cow rockfish within the jurisdictions of Virginia and North Carolina - and what about the deteriorating billfish situation?

Sure, we're ticked off about the trophy rockfish situation, but back following the moratorium we chose the quota system, which we now want to junk. ASMFC is obliged to act on such matters, that's why it came about.

We can argue all we want about the raw deal we're getting in paybacks and flawed recreational surveys, but the bottom line is inaccurate data is all there is to go on with the recreational fishery. Charterboats keep records that are not difficult to track, but getting accurate info from private fishermen is another matter.

The same applies to flounder, but we tend to forget that it was ASMFC that came to the rescue when flounder stocks were in a precarious state. Fisheries science works slowly and deliberately as it should. The bottom line is we're better off with what we got than we'd be without it - and as I write efforts are being made to take the flaws out of NMFS surveys. The latest action by ASMFC:

Sea Trout: The problem is recognized. States from North Carolina to Massachusetts will be required to cap limits at six a day. The coastwide commercial limit will be 3.7 million pounds.

Tautog: A fish that isn't bounding back as it should. Effective next year states must come up with a plan to reduce catches by 28 percent. Expect decreased bag limits and periods of closure.

American (Silver) Eels: The past two decades eel numbers have declined appreciably. Under way are plans to facilitate management techniques to increase numbers of adults in this fishery so important in the food chain. Gear and size limits are on the drawing board.

In closing, too many fishermen demand science-based management - but only until it impacts them adversely. Then, they want management based on their personal observations.


----No Pirateing ,prove Brandon MAY be wrong --Then again , we'll see---geo
 

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"In closing, too many fishermen demand science-based management - but only until it impacts them adversely. Then, they want management based on their personal observations."

Nice quote! I was about to quibble with the fgure of 120,000 Rock caught during the trophy season (seems way too high), but of course I have no "science" to refute that figure, nor did I participate in a survey. Does MSSA, CCA, or even we at SRRKC have any plans this Spring to keep accurate records and at least volunteer this info to DNR? I the alternative, are we volunteering to pay higher taxes in order to properly fund DNR? If neither, then we should not complain about the sketchy numbers.

Looking at the rundown of species in trouble (basically, everything), is there a single marine species that, once becoming widely popular either commercially or recreationally, has not collapsed or at least come close to it? Bluefish, Billfish, Bluefin, Redfish, Black Drum, Weakfish, Flounder, Rockfish and now Tautog? All of these fisheries collapsed legally, too. And each time, we seem to leave any lessons behind us.
 

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We should just issue X number of tags for trophy stripers when the license is purchased. Allocate some percentage to charter industry and some to recs. Maybe a few bucks per tag.

Then we'll know exactly how many were taken (legally).
 

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How do fisheries managers figure which is a migrant rockfish, seeing our quota is based not on just fish that are caught and kept, but on migrant fish?

Answer: Surveys have been made to distinguish truly migrant fish by size, and statisticians are able to determine what percentage of fish of given sizes are migrants. In trophy season of 2006 our catch was about 120,000 fish, more than half of them were resident stripers. It's not until they reach 38 to 40 inches that all fish are considered migrants.
I'm not going to argue cause its in our favor, but exactly where do all these 38" and under non-migrant (resident) fish hide the rest of year? They sure do a pretty good disappearing act toward the end of May.
 

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We should just issue X number of tags for trophy stripers when the license is purchased. Allocate some percentage to charter industry and some to recs. Maybe a few bucks per tag.

Then we'll know exactly how many were taken (legally).
Wasn't that done with all stripers caught when the fishery was reopened after the moratorium?
 

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Wasn't that done with all stripers caught when the fishery was reopened after the moratorium?
Yes, but it's not cheap for DNR to administer it. I don't think that DNR has the funding to do that this year. That's why it's really up to us, if anything close to an accurate count is to be achieved. The numbers currently say that 4,000 fish per day are caught, on average, each and every day during Spring season. That number is true until we prove otherwise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
tags

We should just issue X number of tags for trophy stripers when the license is purchased. Allocate some percentage to charter industry and some to recs. Maybe a few bucks per tag.

Then we'll know exactly how many were taken (legally).
---To do that All the tags issued & NOT used would have to be returned for Credit on that particular licence---If tag holders disregarded this & failed to do it , Would it be considered a Caught & Killed fish ?
 

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Only way to get a real count is to do it like BFT, where you are required by law to phone in your catch within 24 hours.

Lance
 

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Why can't we use the sytem MD DNR uses for deer and turkey. It is a tagging system that you can use to either call in or use the internet to register your kill. You are given a tag number and it has to stay with the critter until you take it to a butcher or you butcher it yourself. It would be a easy way to get a half way accurate count of the trophy rockfish caught and kept. It also marries up to your hunting lisence so there is easy tracking for DNR.
 

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Yes, but it's not cheap for DNR to administer it. I don't think that DNR has the funding to do that this year. That's why it's really up to us, if anything close to an accurate count is to be achieved. The numbers currently say that 4,000 fish per day are caught, on average, each and every day during Spring season. That number is true until we prove otherwise.
Does that mean that the fishing will close after 7 or 8 days of fishing??? If Md is capped at 30,000 fish this spring and we catch 4000 fish a day ????
 

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We should just issue X number of tags for trophy stripers when the license is purchased. Allocate some percentage to charter industry and some to recs. Maybe a few bucks per tag.

Then we'll know exactly how many were taken (legally).
Pax that idea was put forth, it wasn't money (tag costs, less then 90 cents, monitering the tag program less then what they are going to spend to collect creel info) it was how the tags would be spilt up between rec and charters.
 

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If that's the case, then it's really a shame that such squabbling is gettig in the way of a more accurate count/management system. I guess we're all more concerned about our own piece of the pie than we are about allowing our kids and grandkids to enjoy tomorrow what we're enjoying today. Nothing new, but sad nonetheless.
 

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One should point out that "charter boats" are part of the recreational fishery as far as numbers are concerned, We are not considered commercial fisherman as many would believe. There is no seperate division between the groups ..by law we have to send in our reports( although I hear of several captains that don't ever turn in a report). I allways questions this because in my dilemna the past two seasons (motors caused me to be down more than running) I always got a reminder letter from DNR that my reports were late.
It is tough to send when you are not sure if your season is over or not( both years it was even though my mechanic promised me repairs being completed during the season) In 2005 , I went on land storage in August ( motor was installed April 16th,2006) In 2006, same motor blew up after just 59 hours run time (May 11th).
 
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