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Jason

Commercial Propaganda but A Good Read!

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That was a good read, thanks. Kinda sad, some of those quotes about how commercial fishermen truly don't believe they can affect the entire ocean - nothing could be further from the truth frown.gif

 

TimS

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.....agreed to haul seine for the bodies, and landed parts of more than one: "Supposed to get paid for 'em, too," he says today. "Ain't paid me yet!")

 

SHOWS YA RIGHT WHERE THEIR THOUGHTS ARE AT.

 

THIEVN BASTAGES

 

[This message has been edited by crash (edited 12-28-2001).]

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Good reading but this essay carries an

undertone of hatred for the surfcaster.

Jason

 

I went to that site once- I will NEVER go back there again.

 

 

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On Thanksgiving Day, 1923, the keeper of the Montauk Light noticed a big school of striped bass off the rocks; in just over an hour, with fifty-seven casts, he horsed in fifty-six bass up to twelve pounds each.

 

Sorry stopped after this first line. I don't consider something which starts with what I consider to be a lie and is most charitably a dubious tale, to be "required reading". Kinda taints anything further the author has to say.

 

56 fish in 57 casts in little over an hour?

 

Lets say 1 hour fifteen minutes. That's 1 minute 20 seconds per fish. Rock to 12 pounds? Can't be done.

 

I've pinfished for weaks. Anchored boat, around 15' of water. No cast. Straight drop with a bucktail and porkrind. One or two short lifts and you had a fish. Crank hard to the surface, hold the jig and sling the fish off into the 23 cu. ft. chest freezer that was our box. We didn't even bother closing the lid.

 

These were 3 pound weakfish and no way did we average a fish every minute and twenty.

 

Here's a guy casting, from the rocks, for stripers up to 12 pounds. Gimme a break. More deceitful propoganda.

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OK, so what do we know about the author, Peter Matthiessen? Or his book "Men's Lives?" Personally, I know nothing about him and feel reticent to judge him so quickly.

 

Mike

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The author is a noted outdoor/nature writer, who wrote such other works as Blue Meridian (a search for the great white shark), The Snow Leopard (both a journey in the Himalayas and a spiritual journey engaged in after the death of his wife) and Far Tortuga (a novel, written in semi-poetic style, revolving around artisinal turtle fishermen in the Caribbean at a time when turtles were becoming scarce). There were also a number of others that I can't recall offhand.

 

Earlier in his life, he lived on eastern Long Island, and worked as a part of a haul seine crew.

 

He is strongly pro-commercial in his sympathies. His book, Men's Lives, should be required reading for anyone interested in striped bass conservation, for it is an intriguing window in how "the other side" perceives the issue. Most telling is their description of New York crews travelling to North Carolina, killing more fish than they can use (which they left on the beach for the locals if they wanted them), then bragging about how they more-or-less pushed the locals off the beach and proceeded to decimate the bass.

 

Also, because the book was written during the moratorium years when few thought that commercial bass fishing would ever return, there is a certain degree of honesty in the destruction that the haul seines caused.

 

As a matter of interest, the author's son is now the "Riverkeeper" on the Hudson.

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yes, there is some honesty in that book. Unfortunately, the author seemed to tie much of the deminse of the baymen to the striped bass. Stroll down Main Street in East Hampton, and take a look at prices in the windows of Cook Pony Farm, Delvin Mcniff, Allan Schneider, or Dunemere, Real Estate. Its sad, but no amount of fish will change things back.

 

 

Anyway, here are a few passages from that same book, passages that you might not find being quoted on that web site...

 

 

"In spring as many as 40 species may appear at one time or another in the nets...Many strand on the beach or wash ashore again, killed by the nets...Fishermen are blamed for this sad waste that is caused by a fussy American market" pp77-78

________________

 

"Despite the crews' efforts, the shore was littered with thousands of bluefish killed in the nets; in the hot calm sun they were there day after day...disgusted anglers and sunbathers cursed the netters" p 315

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"All the crews from up here went the first time (to haul seine in North Carolina), and we took over the whole stretch of beach; didn't know we was doin' it, you know, but we put them local boys out of business. We done so good that the fella that run the packin' house come down and told us that he wasn't goin' to take no more of our fish...(the following year) we was thirty six hours nonstop on that one haul. A lot of them was eighty pounds or better, had to be, it took a man on both ends to heave 'em up into the truck. And they was full of roe; the roe was runnin' out of all them fish, I got sick of the smell of it. Them fish must have been goin' up into all them rivers! That is the home of the bass down here, the home of bass! We landed two thousand boxes in three days. And not long after that them Rebels got the federal government to outlaw haul-seine rigs from out of state in the ******* Carolina fishery." - Baymen Bill Havens p 261

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"Once again, tons of wasted fish killed in trawls and traps and nets were dumped over the side by the commercial men, who were finding it more and more difficult to make ends meet." (Following the close of a Fish Protein Concentrate Factory on Greenport Long Island, which was used to process skates, sea robins, dogfish, etc.) p 149

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"I had three fine stripers on the beach (author Peter Matthiessen surfcasting after he left the commercial fishery) when Bobby Lester's Southampton seine crew came along and set around me...The old cotton nets, once six hundred fathoms long, had been replaced by nylon nets three times that length." p 159

 

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"In 1968 Bill Lester's crew made the biggest haul ever recorded on the south fork, and bass landings in 1973 were the highest ever. The next year the striped bass began a long decline, but demand for these fish kept the price so high that the diminishing fishery maintained its value." p 161

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"Resourceful men such as the oyster poachers took to rum running with flair and dedication, some of them later found ways to evade size limits and other regulations that the sportsmen were sponsoring in the state legislature." p 188

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"An ornery opportunistic attitude is the destructive side of the (commercial) fishermen's hard nosed independence." p 192

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"But most of the Baymen never helped... Them fellas seem to think it rained clams every time it rained, they'd just cull out the small clams, dump 'em on their driveway for gravel. There was always a-plenty in the old days, so the older generation didn't care, and some of the younger ones still think that way, they just don't give a damn..." Bayman Milt Miller discussing early attempts to get the area Baymen to be more conservation-minded. p 190

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"Used to leave them dogfish on the beach, long with daylights (windowpane flounder) and skates; now dressed dogs get twenty-five cents a pound." Bayman Bill Lester p 242

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"...many of these otherwise conservative, religious men feel entitled to ignore laws imposed upon them by outsiders. Some take short lobsters or scrape the berries (roe) off female lobsters and toss them into the tank after the rest; some take bug scallops and short bass. Even in the days of the sixteen inch limit, marked boxes of undersized fish were sometimes shipped to the Fulton Fish Market and shunted quickly into other trucks for illegal sale. Like their precious independence, their traditional right to use anything in the natural world that they may need are hard to relinquish." p 268

 

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