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MikeMc

ASMFC American Eel Board Approves Addendum I

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The following is a news release issued by the Atlantic States Marine

Fisheries Commission:

 

ASMFC American Eel Board Approves Addendum I

Addendum Aims to Improve Data Collection

 

The Commission's American Eel Management Board approved Addendum I to

the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for American Eel. The Addendum

establishes a mandatory trip-level catch and effort monitoring program

for American eel in order to collect much needed data on this species.

The Addendum provides states the option to collect the data through

either a commercial eel harvester permit and mandatory reporting system

or an eel dealer permit and reporting system.

 

The Addendum responds to concerns regarding the lack of accurate catch

and effort data and the critical need for these data for stock

assessment purposes. This need was identified in the recent Commission

benchmark stock assessment for American eel and in the peer review panel

report. The external Peer Review Panel recommended the completion of

additional

analyses prior to adoption of the American Eel Stock Assessment for

technical and management purposes.

 

Insufficient data prevented the American Eel Technical Committee from

developing reference points or quantifying stock status. Because of

this, the status of the stock is uncertain. The Technical Committee has

concerns that relative abundance will continue to decline unless

mortality decreases and/or recruitment increases. The peer review panel

concurs that eel abundance was likely much higher in the late 1970s to

mid-1980s. The panel report states that the abundance of yellow eel has

declined in the last two decades and the stock is at or near low levels.

 

 

Copies of the Addendum, Stock Assessment Report and Terms of Reference

& Advisory Report will be available by March 1 via the Commission's

website at www.asmfc.org under Breaking News or by contacting the

Commission at (202) 289-6400. For more information, please contact Lydia

Munger, Fisheries Management Plan Coordinator, at (202) 289-6400 or

lmunger@asmfc.org.

 

*************************

Tina Berger

Public Affairs Specialist

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission

1444 I Street. NW, Sixth Floor

Washington, DC 20005

Phone: (202)289-6400

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they are getting serious about reporting. i know first hand. i didn't get my renewal form for my commercial licences this year, they were about a month late before i called to find out why. they told me i never returned a catch report for my eel licence. i didn't fish on the licence this past year, but i guess i must have tossed it when i got it. so i told them i didn't fish it and only then did they send out my licence renewals. they were holding back all of my permits until they got my report for eels. its the only way they will get compliance. my bad on not returning the thing to begin with.

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So...basically...they are pretty sure eels are in trouble and at an all time low - but let's not change anything? Perfect - excellent management icon14.gif

 

But let's keep track from now on so we can be sure there's less and less every year redface.gif

 

TimS

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Tim,

Correcto mundo. They punted. Basically said let's just wait and see what USF&WS does. So now the ball is in their court and they probably won't do anything until sometime in the summer, at which poit I expect them to say that "there isn't enough data" so we won't list the eel, and then the ball will be back to the ASMFC.

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what a pathetic excuse for govt control of anything ,maybe the arab emerites would do a better job ,ya can't do any worse. Now we'll have lost herring ,bunker and eels perfect. Our country only reacts to disaster and then quickly forgets all about it . I don't know where this is going but I don't think its good.

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So...basically...they are pretty sure eels are in trouble and at an all time low - but let's not change anything? Perfect - excellent management icon14.gif

 

But let's keep track from now on so we can be sure there's less and less every year redface.gif

 

TimS

 

A good summary of what happened. crying.gif

 

Now if it was red knots we were talking about, I'm sure the outcome would have been much different

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So now the ball is in their court and they probably won't do anything until sometime in the summer, at which poit I expect them to say that "there isn't enough data" so we won't list the eel, and then the ball will be back to the ASMFC.

 

The ball/court analogy is perfect Mike - the people that make a living killing eels don't want to be told they have to kill fewer eels - so using their positions and influence on the management board, bat the ball over the net to USF&W - who probably looks at the same data and hears from the same folks as the ASMFC - they'll find nothing new and bat the ball back over the net. Before the ASMFC even pretends to start to examine this issue again, two years will probably have elapsed - the eels lose, the eel harvesters win.

 

As a pre-emptive strike to future problems, perhaps we need to stop all commercial exploitation of 100% of the species for which we do not have enough data to determine if we are friggin' pushing them towards extinction? The "not enough data" crap is an unforgivable excuse to use for ingorance in any commercial fishery...in my opinion anyway.

 

TimS

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Tim,

In the FWIW Dept. I and several other wrote to ASMFC management board urging them to take emergency action to ban all possession of eels until things could be sorted out. I hear from my contacts that the letter was brought up before the board and "hotly" debated. (How "hotly" we'll see when the minutes comeout.) But in the end they opted to do nothing. frown.gif FWIW, at the first worshop held nyt he USF&WS, there was no representation by anyone having any connection to eel harvesting. It was all biologist types debating the factors that influence eel popoulations. I also contacted the USF&WS about some of the more ridiculpos statements that were made in that workshop. One small step taken by the ASMFC was to advise all memeber states to comment on the eel mortality problem when any dams in their jurisdiction come up for renewal of their FERC licenses. Not much, but at least something.

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...the people that make a living killing eels don't want to be told they have to kill fewer eels - TimS

 

Tim, i understand your frustration and to some extent i agree with what you have to say. i do, however, take exception to your statement in the above quote. its not fair to lump all commercial fisherman together, just as its not fair to lump any group into one particular stereotype. i can only speak for myself, and when im not catching, im not fishing. i have the opinion that it is in no ones best interest to keep harvesting a species in which you aren't catching very many. all you are doing is taking away from the future.

 

i know not all comms. feel this way, but there are plenty of recs that probably are hoping there are no restrictions put on the eels as well. i know there were and still are a lot of people who are disappointed about the moratorium on herring. all im trying to say is that not all commercial fisherman are heartless killers, there are some of us who actually do care about the health of the species, and may infact impose our own restrictions on ourselves.

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I'm afraid we are about to watch the extreme case of what happens to a species when there is little data. Four independent panels of experts have all come to the same conclusion; that eels are in grave danger. And yet those opinions are not enough to make sustainable management happen.

 

We are all about to witness the extinction of a managed species. If we were talking about something warm and fuzzy this would never happen. But this is not the case with eels; they have less of a voice in either rec or green circles as dog fish.

 

Where is Oceana, Environmental Defense, or Green Peace? Perhaps they are too busy with other things that can garner more $$$$$

 

It's about indifference.

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So you want the feds to implement a management plan w/o a clue as to the stock status? confused.gif And how do you measure if you are being successful with your plan when you don't know where you started?

 

Even the outside peer review committee (usually seasoned fisheries folks w/o a vested interest in the outcome, often from other countries, that assess the merit of the assessment and/or plan) "recommended the completion of additional analyses prior to adoption of the American Eel Stock Assessment for technical and management purposes."

 

Anecdotal info that the stocks are depressed won't cut it if you try to implement drastic reductions in harvest. You open yourself up to lawsuits.

 

Given the fascinating and intricate life-cycle of the eel, best to hold off a bit, gather the data to get a reasonable stock assessment, and then move forward. Unlikely eels are going to vanish from the planet in the time to do it right or much better than you can do now.

 

In the meantime, don't use eels, back any initiative to remove un-need dams on rivers to open up habitat, push for water quality improvement, etc, etc.

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...the people that make a living killing eels don't want to be told they have to kill fewer eels - TimS

 

Tim, i understand your frustration and to some extent i agree with what you have to say. i do, however, take exception to your statement in the above quote. its not fair to lump all commercial fisherman together, just as its not fair to lump any group into one particular stereotype.

 

The only lumping I did was very clear certainly not intended towards all commercial fishermen smile.gif Just those that make their living by harvesting eels - can you disagree with what I said? Do commercial fishermen that earn their living harvesting eels want to be told they have to kill less? No...of course they don't - especially when a shortage in nature of any wild animal relates to an increase in market price. Fewer eels means more money per eel - which, yourself not included, means more reason to target eels. A guy that used to get $1/lb for eels and is now getting $2.50/lb is not going to want to be told he has to stop smile.gif

 

I admire your conservation ethics CC, I didn't mean to imply that all commercial fishermen were the same, I know from personal experience that they are as varied as any other group of folks smile.gif

 

TimS

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So...basically...they are pretty sure eels are in trouble and at an all time low - but let's not change anything? Perfect - excellent management icon14.gif

 

But let's keep track from now on so we can be sure there's less and less every year redface.gif

 

TimS

 

Makes perfect sense - They can track the decline right up to the point they go extinct.

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I suspect that once the USF&WS finds no reason to list them as endangered or threatened, one or more of the green groups will file a lawsuit. NRDC had an observer at the first workshop that USF&WS held.

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