Tag Archives: stock-assessments

“We live and die by stock assessments,” – Fishermen seek more responsive regulations

“We live and die by stock assessments,” said Jimmy Hull, a commercial fisherman from Ormond Beach, Fla. His statement during an informal question-and-answer period held by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is part of an overall grievance a significant number of fishermen have with the fishery management process — that it’s not responsive to current conditions in fish stocks, and instead responding to conditions months or years earlier. >click to read< 08:46

Fish Stocks And Our Balance Of Payments

Our balance of payments is overly burdened by our consumption of seafood: We import approximately 90% of the seafood that we eat. Given our natural resources, we should be net exporters of seafood. The total value of edible and non-edible fishery imports in the United States was $35.8 billion in 2016. The total value of edible and non-edible exports was $21.3 billion. The imbalance does not imply only a shipment of dollars abroad. It also implies a number of jobs exported, a number of jobs that could be created in this country, were we not to import that much more seafood than we export.,,, The reason for the imbalance in our accounts with other nations is not due to lack of fish in our waters. Not to put too fine a point on it, the imbalance is due to rules and regulations imposed by our National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) that prevent our fishermen from catching fish. click here to read the article by Carmine Gorga 09:21

Letter: Taking stock of cod stock assessments

In a Telegram letter published May 6, (“Perfectly good fisheries data being ignored,” click here ) Harvey Jarvis criticized the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ assessments of northern cod and 3Ps (i.e. south coast) cod. Based on my 20-plus years of experience with stock assessments in Newfoundland and Labrador and other regions (Canada, the U.S., and Europe), I think Jarvis is absolutely correct about the 3Ps cod assessment, but he is incorrect about the new northern cod assessment framework that DFO adopted in 2016. Jarvis suggested that the only information used in the northern cod assessment model to estimate stock biomass is the DFO research vessel survey index. He indicated that the commercial catch, the commercial logbook data and the cod sentinel catch rate indices are not used. This is not true. The 2016 northern cod stock assessment used a state-of-the-art model,,, click here to read the letter 17:23

Snapper silliness still has anglers seeing red

The bumper sticker on the white Ford pickup truck could not have been more clear: “National Marine Fisheries Service: Destroying Fishermen and Their Communities Since 1976!” Poignant. Harsh, even. But tame by today’s standards. The sticker made me think of an issue affecting offshore bottom fishermen who depart inlets between the Treasure Coast and South Carolina. I’m no mathematician, but something fishy is going on with red snapper statistics. Red snapper, a larger cousin of mutton snapper and mangrove snapper, resides in waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. It is presently off limits to harvest by east coast anglers, and has been since 2010. The reason? Because 10 years ago, fisheries statisticians determined that the red snapper fishery was “undergoing overfishing.” Along with “jumbo shrimp,” that expression is still one of my all-time favorite oxymorons. click to continue reading the story here 08:28

ITS HUGE! Grey Sole limits nearly doubled as scientists use ’empirical approach’ to set new specifications

Meeting in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the New England Fishery Management Council approved an acceptable biological catch of 878 metric tons of witch flounder, also known as grey sole, for 2017. When adjusted for management uncertainty, the move will result in a 2017 annual catch limit of 839 metric tons — nearly twice the 2016 annual catch limit of 441 metric tons. The unanimous vote by the council also underscored the escalating distrust commercial groundfishermen reserve for the science NOAA Fisheries uses to fuel its stock assessments. In December, NOAA Fisheries scientists were forced to concede that the model being used to develop the witch flounder stock assessment was irretrievably flawed after it failed the peer review phase of the process. Read the story here 07:51

Recreational fishermen can target cod starting Monday

charter, cod restrictions, yankee freedomAs of Monday, recreational anglers will get a chance to reacquaint themselves with the much-coveted Gulf of Maine cod when federal fishing restrictions for the species are lifted until the end of September. The bag limit for the iconic species, whose stock NOAA Fisheries maintains is in freefall, will be one cod per fisherman per day. (Anglers are mentioning the huge numbers of cod they have to throw back.) The anglers’ comments are representative of the overall narrative of local fishermen — commercial, recreational and lobstermen — who continue to insist they are seeing far more cod in the water than the scientists at NOAA Fisheries say are there. It is a disconnect that, in many ways, has come to define the plight of the commercial fishing industry and its lack of trust in the science that comes out of NOAA Fisheries. They hear one thing in the stock assessments. They see another with their eyes when they’re out on the water. Read the story here 09:16

CCA is telling fish tales about Omega Protein

0420%20biop%20Kenny%20HebertOn April 2, the Sun Herald published an op-ed from the spokesman of the Coastal Conservation Association — Mississippi, F.J. Eicke (“A most important fish raises need for public scrutiny”), that was filled with more holes than a fisherman’s net. Sadly, time and time again, Mr. Eicke has demonstrated dismissiveness toward sustainable fisheries and the hardworking men and women of Mississippi’s commercial fishing industry. A major contention offered by Mr. Eicke is that Mississippi’s resident menhaden stock is troubled. This statement is 100 percent incorrect and is little more than a scare tactic. There is no such thing as “Mississippi menhaden.” Due to their very nature — their biology and habitat — menhaden are a Coastwide migratory species, which is why menhaden stock assessments are conducted on a Coastwide basis. Read the rest here 21:47

Northeast Seafood Coalition skeptical of proposed new rules

966382_576848379002335_599159690_o-e1377780452306.htmThe Northeast Seafood Coalition has submitted public comments for the proposed rules for the Northeast Fishery Management Plan that reiterate its lack of confidence in NOAA’s current system of scientific assessments for groundfish. The comments from the Gloucester-based NSC, submitted to NOAA Fisheries before Tuesday’s deadline, question the reported status of the witch flounder stock and sets the fishing advocacy group in opposition to the proposed allowable biological catch limit of 460 metric tons or the 2016 fishing season. “NSC expressed concern with the reported status of witch flounder during the public process,” the coalition said in its comments, which also reference the group’s “expressed concern that catch rates within the fishery are completely inconsistent with the reported stock status from the assessment.”  Read the rest here 15:20

This is exciting! SMAST scientists improving cod counting technology

A new video system designed by UMass Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) scientists to assess the population of cod has passed its first major test, giving the researchers confidence that they can use this new approach to help improve the accuracy of future scientific assessments of this iconic species. Recent stock assessments indicate that the Gulf of Maine cod population is low and struggling to recover. Members of the fishing industry contest those results, suggesting the stock is much healthier than depicted in recent assessments. Video, Read the rest here 06:03

NOAA scientist says federal fish counts suffer from ‘perception issue’

NOAA ScientistIt’s not easy counting fish. Just ask the people who have to do it. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fisheries division is responsible for estimating the health and size of dozens of fish stocks in U.S. waters, measurements that help eight regional councils determine which fish commercial and recreational anglers are allowed to catch. The accuracy of NOAA’s counts is at the heart of a national debate over whether to loosen current catch limits. NOAA defends the data, obtained through a combination of sampling methods and statistical models. But recreational fishermen and their backers on Capitol Hill, who want to loosen the catch limits, claim they’re based on “flawed science.” Read the rest here 09:19

Are fishing conservation efforts helping or hurting?

If you put too many restrictions on the fishing industry, it could kill off a major part of the local economy. But if too few restrictions are in place, that could kill off the fish — in which case that economy would no longer exist. That was the crux of the dilemma being debated at a congressional natural resources committee hearing in Riverhead Monday morning. The title of the hearing, held at the Suffolk County Community College Culinary Arts Center, was “Restoring Atlantic Fisheries and Protecting the Regional Seafood Economy.” Read the article here 14:29

Lobster fishers asked to relocate gear as Inshore Trawl Survey approaches Maine

trawler2lowThe fall inshore trawl survey is now underway in New Hampshire waters, working its way east to finish up about Oct. 30 near Machias Bay.  The survey is being carried out this year aboard the F/V Robert Michael of Portland, Captained by Rob Tetrault, a white fiberglass Northeast 54’. The survey vessel will fish the first five good days each week, using the weekend to make up for bad weather or equipment problems. This should enable the survey to maintain a predictable schedule as it moves up the coast.  Read the rest here 10:36

Our View: Fishery management needs balance

bullard karpThe requirement for consistency, above, might explain why Greater Atlantic Regional Administrator John Bullard told Rep. Ayotte that “eliminating overfishing” supersedes all other priorities. The Standard-Times is having a very difficult time trying to understand why a policy that will have such a clear negative impact on fishermen is being instituted when the beneficial impact on the resource — the fishery — is so unclear. Stock assessments are still determined by limited statistical sampling, which in addition to providing disputed results on stock health,,, Read the rest here 11:31

Are fisheries overfished or not

NOAA ScientistOf the 469 stocks managed by the eight regional fishery management councils, the status of 161 stocks is unknown for lack of stock assessments. In the South Atlantic, of the 59 species in the snapper-grouper fishery, the stock status is unknown for 76 percent or 45 species. Additionally, the status is unknown for important top-water species like dolphin (mahi) and wahoo. For stocks with an unknown status, the only way to set an annual catch limit is to use historical landings, which has no real scientific basis, and can unfairly penalize fishermen with artificially low catch limits. Instead of devoting adequate financial resources into stock assessments, NOAA has spent about $160 million over the last six years pushing its National Catch Share Program,,,  Read the rest here 09:13

New England Stock Assessments – If it’s the same, it will never be different, Don Cuddy

We are having a serious problem in New England with the performance of the models used in fishery management. To remedy a situation that, along with some other factors, has led to the current crisis in the groundfish industry, we need new data … and maybe we need new models.,, Getting better data is a theme familiar to anyone with connections to the fishing industry in New England. It is central to the mission at the Center for Sustainable Fisheries and was the focus of the forum CSF sponsored at the New Bedford Whaling Museum in May. Read the rest here 09:03

PUTNAM: Slow government action hurts fisheries

Christian Putnam is a Scituate resident and board member of Friends of South Shore Fisheries. This is his take on administrative bureaucrats, stock assessments, cod behavior, and the Canadian cod fishery, which by some unknown to our regulators reason, is experiencing an ongoing cod renaissance for as long as Gulf of Maine cod have been missing! Read the rest here 16:59

Better Science Means More Fish

States should apply the precautionary approach widely to conservation, management and exploitation of living aquatic resources in order to protect them and preserve the aquatic environment. The absence of adequate scientific information should not be used as a reason for postponing or failing to take conservation and management measures (from the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries).”  Or in fewer words, if you aren’t completely sure of the outcome, don’t take an action. It’s called the “precautionary principle”,,,Read more here onlinefisherman.com 14:16

Review of fishery stock assessments set to begin

Federal officials are poised to begin a review of fishery stock assessments, a multi-step process used to estimate fish populations that then serve as the basis for catch limits and season end dates. continue

Gulf Coast senators ask for investigation of National Marine Fisheries Service

Eight senators from coastal states asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate the way the National Marine Fisheries estimates the size of fish populations in U.S. waters. Called stock assessments by the fisheries service, those estimates are used to set annual catch limits for recreational and commercial fisheries.  Read more here

Editorial: Letter backing ‘aid’ plan misleads fishermen, taxpayers GDT

But our independent fishermen do not need — and, for the most part, do not want — bailouts, buyouts and more unsubstantiated rhetoric about declining stocks.

http://www.gloucestertimes.com/opinion/x1884283610/Editorial-Letter-backing-aid-plan-misleads-fishermen-taxpayers

http://bore-head007.newsvine.com/_news/2012/09/03/13640775-editorial-letter-backing-aid-plan-misleads-fishermen-taxpayers-opinion-gloucestertimescom-gloucester-ma?threadId=3556583&commentId=69606413