fishcrat

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  1. A minimum of 50% of sportfishing license revenue is mandated to go toward public access. Fish piers, aquisition of fishing access sites, construction and improvement of launching ramps are some of the benefits of this dedicated fund. Some of the needs identified by previous posters are being addressed but it's going to take more funding than the 500-800K remaining after the revenue pie is divided.
  2. You're right Bob; flagyl brings it's own issues. Some years ago I developed a nasty internal abcess that required surgery and large dosages of antibiotics including flagyl which I had to take for a couple of weeks after getting out of the hospital. They warned me not to consume any alcohol and I remembered it was (is?) used to treat severe alcoholism. Feeling lousy from the aftereffects of the treatments was bad enough but I couldn't drink any beer for a month.
  3. The only salmon I've eaten since 1976 was a from afresh caught 11 1/2 lb. female coho caught along the west bar of Barnstable Harbor by my son on our broken down little skiff as we awaited a tow from a friend. He was casting into the outgoing tide and we thought initially he had a bluefish until getting a better look at it. We shared it with a neighbor and both of us declared it tasty. Prior to that I ate no salmon, having been biased by the horrible salmon served in our school in the 40's. I know I'm missing out on some good eats but other than that fresh caught exception, I can still taste that school lunch salmon whenever I think about trying some new.
  4. Bob, I don't know the relative importance of the various sizes of spawning bass in the population. The bigger females obviously produce more and larger eggs than a smaller female. I don't know if there are studies that measure the viability of eggs from different sized females. I recall some numbers the indicates a 28" fish produces around 250,000 eggs and a 34" female 1.2 million. I do know that Maryland and Virginia sample and monitor spawning activity and I'm going to check if they have a breakdown of the various year classes. As you, and the other old timers well remember, when the restoration effort began the coastal states were harvesting immature females @ 16" and up and the Bay states immature females and males @ 12". The biggest bass year class ever in 1970 was pretty much decimated by the mid 70's by gross overfishing. When we all came together under ASMFC to address the decline we agreed that protection of spawning females (and males) was a primary objective of the plan; hence the 28" coastal size limit and the 18" Bay limits. Additional key Plan components were a conservative rate of fishing mortality (quotas and bag limits) and maintaining a large spawning stock biomass. were also components of the first plan. At one of those early meetings quite a few fishermen from both regions attended and during a break there was a heated exchange between watermen and coastal fishers with the watermen accusing the coastal folks of catching all the mothers and the coastal folks responding that the Bay fisheries were taking all the babies. Talk about Democrats and Republicans.
  5. Around 50 % of the females spawn by 28"; that is/was one of the fundamental components of the Bass Plan.
  6. We bailed out of Boston just before it hit and made it to the house in Sagamore Beach spent the next few days powerless days enjoying our Tempwood stove. I think we only got a foot or so of snow before the rain. The storm allegedly passed over the upper Cape and I recall temps in the high 40's and bright sun the next day and very high tides. We got reports of huge windrows of lobsters along Hull Beach and our lobster biologist was able to take the Power Wagon up and confirm that and estimate the millions of small lobsters but a strange absence of larger ones. Further field observations of burn barrels and shellpiles and interviews quickly solved that mystery. At least the poor folks stuck in that mess had some consolation but the butter likely didn't last too long. We were concerned the Boston Harbor lobster fishery (the state's biggest) would be severely impacted but subsequent reported landing hardly missed a beat.
  7. I'd just about finished up responses to MakoMike and robc22 and my post vanished. So here goes again. Mike: when I was involved in the fishery management game and we were developing the striped bass plan to address the gross overfishing and removals of immature male fish (Chesapeake) and females (coastal states), the Chesapeake block (Maryland, Virginia, Potomac River Fisheries Commission and later Washington DC) requested flexibility from the proposed restrictions so long as these options accomplished equivalent reductions. I recall significant reservations among the then Striper Board but after assurances from the Scientists that they could evaluate alternatives and continues reservations from the law enforcement folks and some public participants, equivalency was allowed in the plan. It was assumed that any equivalency had to be fully justified and definitely not be the norm. I could be wrong, but I believe those early concerns continue in the present Board but there are circumstances under which equivalency is justifiable. In the case of New Jersey, whom you said would be severely impacted by the 28-35 slot, with their history of plan non- compliance, their messed up management system, bordering two spawning areas, etc., I hope a rigorous examination of their proposal is in order. robc22: you said "it's every state's resident's right to have a commercial bass license". I'm going to assume you meant every Massachusetts resident's right because every other state either prohibits commercial fishing or has limited entry in their bass fishery. By the way, commercial fishing isn't a right, it's a privilege I believe. As I stated in my earlier post, the Massachusetts open access commercial bass fishery is in need of a significant overhaul, a situation I'll be glad to discuss in far more detail in a subsequent thread. Lastly, the late Cape Cod Times outdoor and fisheries writer, Molly Benjamin, coined the word fishcrat as a tag for fishery management bureaucrats. She identified good and bad fishcrats and she felt I was one of the former. When I retired, I have employed the term in a number of activities and agree with Ba Ba Bouy. You mentioned the two previous DMF Directors and hopefully the third in your post. All three of these hard working gentlemen have worked with me. Keep the faith
  8. Couple of points, if I may. Regarding the status of the 28-35", that slot limit has been approved by the ASMFC so it will be mandatory in 2020. The states were responsible for submitting their individual plans as to how they will implement the commercial and recreational requirements by November 30th. The ASMFC has allowed so-called conservation equivalency which means a state can come up with a difference in the 28-35 in. slot provided it's of equal or less mortality impact, as analyzed and approved by the ASMFC bass technical people. This has been used by some states, particularly NJ, under the old 28", one fish rules and was controversial then and will likely be now. It has also been used in the commercial fishery in some of the coastal states to allow continuation of retaining bycatch of smaller bass or continuation of some of the traditional net fisheries which take smaller than 28" fish but it's a lot easier to analyze the equivalency in a quota based, limited permit net fishery than the open access recreational fishery, the impacts of which are measured mostly after the fact. I believe RI has conservation equivalency for their trap/weir fishery which allows those fishers a small amount of smaller bass. Put simply, conservation equivalency is a numbers game. If a state wants smaller fish then they pay with smaller quotas. Regarding the likelihood of more folks seeking commercial bass permits so they can circumvent the slot restriction, this has been going on for a long time by some to circumvent the one fish bag limit. In my opinion, it is absolutely necessary to rein in the current open access commercial striped bass fishery, something that should have been done year's ago. In addition to the problem mentioned above, the 18% quota reduction means fewer fish for the current population of commercial permit holders, some 4000 +. Former DMF Director Paul Diodati was a supporter of the continued open access in a white paper he proposed. Most recent Director, Dr. David Pierce in his 5 year stint, never got around to addressing the problems inherent in this relatively small fishery although actions under his watch to address limited access in another fishery, now in place for tautog, should pave the way for limited striped bass permits. DMF has used a control date and qualifying criteria to limit access to this small multi gear fishery. Perhaps some of you who held tautog permits in 2018 or 2019 and sold 120 lbs. of tautog between in any year between 2010 to 2016 will be eligible to receive a 2020 tautog endorsement. Everyone else has received a goodbye letter. It's time to address applying the same concept to the commercial bass fishery.
  9. Couple of points, if I may. The 36" size limit was implemented in the 80's as a recovery tool when the Atlantic striped bass population was in a lot worse shape than it is now. It gave coastal fishermen an opportunity to still fish for stripers, recognizing this size would likely discourage fishermen and hopefully divert them to fish for other species like the more abundant bluefish. In addition, I suspect the numbers of fishermen were less than they are now and, most importantly, the extent of catch and release then with it's attendant 9% release mortality rate is certainly much less then now. Regarding the slot length as a management tool, striped bass jeff's thoughtful comments regarding the Fla. redfish recovery extolls the virtue of this tool but I wonder to what degree the other measures in this recovery suite, the closed season and the 1 fish bag, contributed to this recovery. Lastly, as some of you know, this round of ASMFC hearings is the first step of an accelerated process to implement regulations in 2020. Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina maybe Delaware and the two political entities, the Potomac River Fisheries Commission and the District of Columbia (don't ask) begin their fisheries early in the year so ASMFC staff and striped bass technical committee will summarize the hearings and provide input to the Bass Management Board chaired, interestingly enough, by Mike Armstrong and the Board will decide on the final regs. The coastal states will have a little breathing room to implement regs for 2020 although New Jersey always seems to have problems and I'm not sure if New York has earlier fisheries in the Hudson, the second largest production area. In Massachusetts, DMF will hold hearing to implement the final regs probably in late winter.
  10. bob_G, after you started the lack of signage thread in early May which contained many posts with good suggestions about sign locations and comments, I checked the land side East End and only found the license requirement sign similar to what you described near at the access path to the jetty and access road. I also checked the Sagamore Bridge parking lot and the Scusset Beach State Fishing pier and found no DMF fishing signs. I couldn't believe there were no signs at the fish pier and Emailed DMF Director Dave Pierce and Assistant Director Mike Armstrong Emailed me back and aid his recreational fisheries staff was addressing this ASAP. There was still nothing up when I checked recently so I'm going to contact Director Pierce again and strongly urge the staff address this deficiency before he retires. I know it's getting late in the season but I'd rather see durable signs up now than go through this again next Spring. There's no excuse in this lack of signs given that the recreational fisheries license revenue is dedicated for recreational fisheries improvement and they use it for lots of positive projects including significant public access acquisition and fish pie construction. Go on the DMF website and look up the 2019 1st and 2nd quarter DMF Newsletter for more info. Secondly, the Cape Cod Salties have been cleaning up the Cape side of the Canal for at least 20 years and a cleanup is scheduled for Sept 21. Unfortunately, like many fishing clubs, the Salties are getting long in the teeth and might welcome younger more agile members of this forum to help out and tackle the riprap. Sat morning Sept 21, if you're interested . Also, he Office of Coastal Zone Management also scheduled a clean up in the fall but I don't know if that's still going on.
  11. When I worked in the field many years ago, we used to bring alive the "exotics" we collected from south Cape estuaries to the curator of the NOAA Fisheries (then National Marine Fisheries Service) Aquarium in Woods Hole and he was always enthused with species from "away". Some of those exotics are becoming commonplace here now. With warming waters in the Northeast and elsewhere, "The times they are a-changing"(Bob Dylan). One of the DMF senior scientists, and doubtless others, has been publicly stating that the waters of the Gulf of Maine are increasing more rapidly than anywhere else.
  12. Some of the EPOs I know are more than willing to share their cell #'s which would give one a pic and texting site. I've been walking the Canal on morning breaking tides and I carry a compact point and shoot camera that records hi def video. I'm primarily interested in how people handle and release their fish. I've talked to a few and pointed out that taking the fish up the bank to measure the fish and take a pic does bode well for the fish. The majority I've seen are relatively careful about handling their fish. Of course I'm not around at night when a lot of the s--t occurs. This camera is about the size of a pack of butts but it does a better job than a cell with a 25X zoom.
  13. Back in the 60's "Pogo" a comic book character created by cartoonist Walt Kelly stated: " We have met the enemy and they are us." a comment very applicable to the current striped bass situation. Since this thread (and forum) seems to have a predominately recreational focus, as evidenced by the majority of posters, I'd like to provide you with some information and sources that you can use to clarify some of the misinformation that has been posted and built upon here. I realize that some of you are already well versed on what's coming up. Addendum VI, the latest finalized addendum to the Atlantic Striped Bass management plan, will be available on the ASMFC homepage early next week. This is the addendum that proposes reductions in the 2020 recreational and commercial fisheries. The various alternatives hover around the 18% reduction mark. The draft addendum VI can be Googled or Binged now and it's essentially the same as the finalized one. As part of the striped bass plan, all harvesting states have to contribute information and verifiable data about their fisheries to ASMFC. The 2017 "Massachusetts Striped Bass Monitoring Report" is an example and provides information on the Mass commercial and recreational fisheries and monitoring program data. The 2017 Mass recreational fishery, one of the biggest, obviously reflects the recent and disturbing trend of high discard mortality in the recreational fishery. This report is available through the DMF website. The current problems facing the striped bass resource were brought into focus as a result of the revision and upgrading of the recreational fishing survey -Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP). The increase in recreational fishing release mortality, equal to the total recreational bass harvest, came to light through MRIP. The mortality rate assigned to released recreationally caught striped bass of 9% came from a study conducted by then DMF biologist Paul Diodati. There have been other studies done for fresh water stripers but this study remains the go to estimate of release mortality. As Eagles Dare posted, The Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission (MFAC) voted to support Director Pierce's recommendation to remain with the current fishing days (Monday and Thursday) unless catch rates decline below the recent higher rates whereupon DMF might recommend additional days to catch a reduced quota from the original 869,813 lbs to 713,000. This 2019 quota revision reflects the Addendum VI 18% reduction in anticipation of a likely quota decreases for 2020. Director Pierce's rational for this action is summarized in a memo to the MFAC which is available by contacting DMF. Lastly, regarding the Environmental Police and enforcement, particularly in the Canal, there are some promising developments. Many here have commented on the apparent lack of enforcement, which in my opinion are due to two primary problems, lack of direction and leadership at the top and low staffing levels. I've posted before about the former, particularly about the two previous colonels, both political appointees who did little to direct and support the agency. After the latest one was fired, a professional, well respected EPO Captain was appointed Acting Director, but he unfortunately retired. Allegedly there has been a job search but the likely hire turned the job down when he found there was no job security. The Colonel position is what they call co-terminous, like the Gov. and the higher Mass Gov echelon, and that's why the two previous duds, qualfied by virtue of being former campaign drivers, were hired. Hopefully, this situation will change but presently the EPOs are leaderless and coastal and inland majors are filling in. On the positive side, $500,000, is in the 2020 EPO budget with the proviso that the funds can only be used to hire additional officers. Last year 12 new officers were going to be added, but I heard that was reduced by Academy washouts so I don't know the final #'s added. I've been told that staffing levels before last year's additions were at 50% of authorized levels. Many of you are aware and commented on the recent EPO enforcement in the Canal resulting in fines and arrests. This action was posted on the Environmental Police Facebook page and similar to their June 21st bust, received almost 1000 comments, adding to the many comments from of you posters about your concerns and observations of the degradation of the Canal fishery. Sorry I'm not more adept on the computer but some of you folks can doubtless find and post the links to these reports and save those interested some time.
  14. Couple of points, if I may, in response to Tims's initial concern about the fate of significant poachers. Non criminal fines as well as other statutory penalties under the authority of the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF)were increased by law last year. Although doubled, the increased fines likely don't deter the dedicated poachers but hopefully make the casual poachers think twice. Also criminal marine fisheries violators can now be fined up to $10,000. More importantly, DMF has increased the use of an old administrative enforcement tool to deal with egregious violators. This process requires accused violators to come before an administrative law judge who conducts a hearing to hear the evidence and then renders a decision regarding the disposition of the violator's permit(s). Two notable examples of this process involving striper fishermen come to mind. Many of you are aware of the plug maker and canal fisherman who was caught by EPOs a couple of year's ago with excess bass on a non commercial day. The case went to court and during the trial the case was inexplicitly dismissed and the violator's seized high end tackle was returned to him, further rubbing salt into the wounds. DMF brought this individual in for an adjudicatory hearing resulting in the loss of both his recreational and commercial permits for three years. The second case involved a Connecticut resident with a Massachusetts Commercial bass permit who was running fish in from Block Island to New Bedford. A joint RI, Mass and Federal effort brought this poacher down and he has permanently lost his Massachusetts fishing privileges. Other violators of other Mass fisheries laws have also suffered severe penalties under this process. The biggest problem with the DMF hearing process is that it's very labor intensive. There is only one hearing officer to conduct these hearings so DMF has to be selective. The other problem, which I've complained about to DMF and other officials is inadequate publicity of positive outcomes. Fishermen greatly fear loss of fishing privileges and some might be deterred by knowledge of the afore mentioned outcomes. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has a section at the end of their periodic reports summarizing the outcomes of all their actions. Some local and regional fishing mags used to publish the results of actions against poachers. Lastly, enforcement is obviously critical. I'm optimistic enforcement is/ will improve through more officers, more whistle blowing, more dissemination of information, etc. This thread's full of ideas how to get the word to the EPOs and other enforcers. I personally think that at the end of this fishing year, all the involved regulatory agencies, COE, DMF, Enforcement, etc should get together, hold some meetings and allow the public to comment on what's going on in the Canal and then lay out a course of action. Some of you real old timers like Bob G and Carl might recall the notice that was posted throughout each edition of a national hunting and fishing magazine- THE FISH AND GAME VIOLATOR IS A THIEF! Amen.
  15. Fitzy, thanks for answering Mike's question. There is always concern about contaminated shellfish entering the market so controls are strict at both the state and local levels. The turd that got selling contaminated stolen oysters to Joe's Lobster Mart a few years back would have been a real problem if he had the ability to direct market plus they would not have nabbed Joe. E coli is a bad thing, along with other shellfish borne diseases like Vibrio and red tide (paralytic shellfish poisoning).