Fishermen want better fish counts for black sea bass – MRIP is not available during January and February???

Fishermen are looking for better management of sea bass by fishery regulators after another winter closure of the fishery. “We have no way of knowing how much fish are being caught. We need to know so we can count them, and when we can’t do that we can’t open the season,” said Moira Kelly, a fishery policy analyst for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Read the rest here 11:29

  • Ec Newell Man

    Fact is, MRIP is not collected for any species in this region during Wave 1. Nonetheless, black sea bass is the poster child fishery for the fraud being committed against both fishermen and the fishing industry. The biomass is still over the threshold, and is neither over fished, nor over fishing is occurring (no matter what they claim at NMFS).

    The problem for the for-hire and recreational fishermen have an extremely small RHL (recreational harvest limit) with a biomass that not only is the most robust since WWII, but with proven east and northward stock shifting. MRIP reporting is so wildly inaccurate (this is why they are called ‘estimates’) especially with the state of Massachusetts, which is always guaranteed to have outrageous reported landings numbers by private vessel fishermen. Thing is, up in that area of the Cape, few if any private boats are fishing for BSB, and MRIP samples are barely a handful of fish….yes, believe it or not.

    The MRIP program under Gordon Colvin has been shown to be one of the worst taxpayer funded programs, costing businesses multi-millions of dollars in lost revenue directly from the fishing boats but also from businesses that rely upon fishing related activities. It has drastically failed in their collecting of sampling data (miniscule in fact the number of samples used) through the phone query (no longer used), and dock intercept.

    Thing is that going into 2015, and at the MRAC meeting which I attended the other day, NY and other northern states are facing a 32.8% cut….where we have the lowest possession limit EVER for most states. We are facing a 1/3rd cut to our fishery, after 20 or more percent cuts over the past years. Essentially for most states like NY, it will now be a bycatch fishery, not a directed one.

    Much will hinge upon the work currently being done up in Rhode Island with Black Sea Bass specialist Jason McNamee who is trying to develop a new way for the SSC to set catch limits based upon current data and historical biomass and harvest.

    For the commercial sector, this is also important….The SSC sets catch limits that become the ABC (Allowable Biological Catch) and eventually result in recreational RHL (Recreational Harvest Limits) and the commercial quota. A positive outcome here, and all sectors will have some breathing room until 2016 when the next stock assessment will be done…and hopefully BSB will not be a data poor stock anymore…unbelievable right, at this time in 2015?

    They, being those at MRIP, and I like to point out that I was part of the NY workgroup for MRIP, are not listening to us fishermen. We have tried to explain and show them that their collected data does not correlate against VTR data from the fishing fleet. MRIP data is essentially the basis for what we are allowed to harvest, and we bring up an old axiom, “bad data in, horrible data out” and this is where we are with a fully rebuilt stock, but yet NMFS continues to place the most restrictive catch restrictions upon fishermen!

    My question is, when is someone going to lose their job there with the MRIP program, because fishing businesses as noted in the article with the sea bass closure, are putting both captains and crews out of work.

    This is exactly why we have to continue holding politicians feet to the fire, and tell them directly, “you don’t work in the best interest of the people, you will be looking for a new line of employment come the next election.”

    Get this damn MRIP program fixed…better yet, get rid of it!