A little story about my day at sea yesterday

So we leave to go fishing at 0330 with an observer that the government forces us to take. Now the young man is a likable enough guy who I have no problem with. The problem is we are forced to take these people with no exception. When they tell you they are going to put one on your boat you either take them or you deal with the wrath of NOAA law enforcement.

So we go out with the plan of going to catch some scup, fluke and sea bass to unload in Connecticut. We had some nice scup the day before and figured we would get CT’s allowance which is a whopping 1200 pounds of scup, 75 lbs. of fluke and 10 sea bass in count. So we make a couple of tows and come up a bit light on the scup but have the fluke and sea bass.

We go and unload ion CT. and on the way there, which happens to be a 2 hour+ steam each way I am informed that the scup that we landed the previous day which had been paying around 60 cents per pound had dropped to 10 to 15 cents per pound. Not even worth the fuel to catch. WONDERFUL. So we go all the way to CT. , unload our catch and head back another 2+ hours for home.

After we get back to our dock, I and my crewman are cleaning up the boat and we notice someone on the dock with a camera taking pictures of us as he walks by. No big deal. Tourist season is here. So as we are cleaning the net this dude comes back to where the boat is and looks down at us working and says to me, “Are you Joel”? To which I answer yes. Then he tells me he is the boss of the young lady who I have to coordinate the observer coverage with. I’m thinking, why does she need a boss and just how many of these people are there making a living off the backs of fishermen. I’m starting to get pissed. First for the fact that he walked by, took pictures and never introduced himself until after walking back down the dock. See what I’m saying? This guy is a sneak. I don’t like sneaks.

So then he proceeds to ask me how everything went, to which I reply “Just great”. We caught worthless scup, were forced to throw away hundreds of pounds of sea bass which are actually worth something and worked from 0330 until after 4PM for peanuts. Now I’m starting to rev up. So I tell this guy, I guess you must be happy now as your observers are now making more money than we are. Now I’m heating up even more. I ask this twenty something year old, Just what exactly have you observers been observing for the past twenty years? Because obviously your reports must be not be getting to the proper people or as I suspect, it’s all a scam to create wealth for others at the expense of the fishing industry. Now I’m steaming mad.

So I ask this lad, where are your observations going as we now see more fish than anyone can ever remember and we are dealing with cut backs, year after year after year. I ask why are we throwing away literally tons of sea bass and why is it that someone from your company isn’t going to fisheries meetings and asking the regulators why these cutbacks continue in spite of what these people are observing? Oh and did I mention we are allowed zero sea bass in RI, and 50 lbs. of fluke 4 days a week. Hardly worth starting the engine for.

His reply is, YOU need to take it up with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Council. WRONG ANSWER! That’s it, now I’m in total nuclear meltdown. I’m literally ready to stroke out with this a-hole.

I tell him NO, YOU need to go to these council meetings and start asking questions as to why after all that’s being observed, fishermen are still dealing with these idiotic cutbacks and explain to the council why fishermen hate your sorry asses and the hostility you have to deal with and start demanding answers because your fed up with screaming fishermen who have a legitimate gripe with this scam of a system that is destroying their profession! And it’s true. The kids they send with us are not at fault. They are just trying to make a few bucks. But these higher ups need to start getting the wrath from ALL OF US! We all need to start getting out of control with these bastards and put the fear of God into them until they start getting the picture that we are sick and tired of their answers and they had better start doing something to help the situation.

It was dead low water when this guy was there yesterday and I’m thankful for that because if we were eye to eye it would have been to easy to get on the dock and be in his face. As it was, I told him he had better leave immediately.

I guess what I’m trying to say to my fellow fishermen is when dealing with this stuff, it’s not the kid on decks fault, it’s the fault of these so called “bosses” who profit at our expense and feel way to comfortable doing NOTHING to fix this horrible situation.


Captain Joel Hovanesian