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      Surfcaster's 2016 Reboot!   09/21/2016

      Howdy, folks. I know this is way overdue, and the damage is probably already done, but after weeks of working with the database I've finally wiped out all of the spam posts and topics. This was no easy task, considering there were three-quarters of a million bogus posts and nearly three hundred thousand bogus topics. Once a hacker/spammer network finds a vulnerability, they send out automated programs that basically destroy a database like this. Over the past couple weeks I've migrated all of the good data into a more current, secure platform with the hopes that we can somehow rebuild. New member registration is tightened way up, and a third-party spam monitoring service is in place. I've also invested in an awesome new gallery extension,  allowing members to create, manage, and share image galleries. Please give it a try, and let me know if there are any issues. I'm still testing and working out the bugs. Surfcaster's forums were once an amazing resource for everyone to enjoy, and we're hoping it can once again build back up. The main site (non-forums) is pretty banged up, but once the forums are complete my next task is to re-invent that as well. Spread the word. Hope to see a lot of you back! Cheers, Andrew


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About BMunson

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  1. Al can write what ever he needs to write. The Fisherman can publish it. I am pro-free speech! My personal point here is that the councils and NMFS act from a set of premises. They act CONSISTENTLY from these premises. Those of us who are passionate about recreational fishing need to understand what those premises are and how the politics work out during the council meetings and in the NMFS deliberations. This is a long running melodrama with the same voices heard over and over. I know this is true because I listen to all the council audio tapes. It's far more constructive to listen for the shifts in policy, inform recreational industry representatives (that's all recreational fishermen, (chuckle)), and present alternatives and action ideas. But then - I'm just a simple private vessel recreational industry supporter and I could be wrong.
  2. Concerning Al Ristori's column in the August 18th issue Of Fisherman Magazine. I've read the article carefully. It now appears to me that Al Ristori has begun using the same arguments that the commercial fleets have been useing to justify their own overfishing. Al Ristory says the abundance is high because everyone is telling him it is high. That's anecdotal evidence.The commercial industry consistently tries to get the NE Council to act upon anectdotal evidence. However, NMFS can NOT use fishermen's anecdotal evidence to manage any fishery. The courts won't accept fishermen's accounts, and it doesn't matter which sector is telling the stories, commercial or recreational. NMFS doesn't even like to use the electronic catch reporting systems on the commercial boats as accurate catch statistics. The trawl surveys, the NMFS observer reports, the licenses dealer reports, and the catch reports submitted by the party/charter boats are the only acceptable basis for species mortality figures. That's how the abundance, or lack of it, is calculated. Al Ristori doesn't recognize that NMFS must set the rebuilding targets for any species to "at least" the 50% probability level per year. If you follow the Council processes and the approved NMFS requirements for any fishery management plan, you will see clearly that the minimum probably of success which NMFS has ever been able to justify has been 50%. If there were any smaller success probability set, it would be an admission that a fishery management plan might not succeed. Any fishery plan set at less than 50% success WOULD be challenged in court. NMFS knows this and has been very clear about it consistently. There are sets of premises which stock rebuilding requires no matter what the regional councils like to ###### about. This is one of them. No one should be surprised at all when the regional NMFS administrator restates this premis for a council. There are several other statements in his article, which are the same arguments I have been hearing from the commercials for years. These arguments are just as ineffectual when made from the recreational sector so what's the point. Recreationals do have options rather than adopting the commercial's bs. We have to flex our political muscle, showing the Councils, NMFS, each states' elected officials that there are ten's of thousands of recreational fishermen in NE and maybe hundred's of thousands of recreational fisherman along the Atlantic seaboard who are damn tired of commercial bias in fisheries management. We outnumber commercials, we outcapitalize the commercial fleet, our 2 hooks do nowhere close to the habitat destruction of the bottom trawlers. We need to show the the value of recreational fisheries to the public PER POUND of our catch plus bycatch. The fact is that our economic activity goes far beyond recreational fishing - we are the recreational fishing industry. As "industry" seems to be the only important word to the regional councils so let's use it. If the Fisherman magazine wants to have a whining column, that's fine. But more useful to the recreational industry is a Conservation Corner which educates us on the premises of the current management plans where we need to apply pressure. There are some good actions the councils are trying to take, and some progressive actions NMFS is trying to use. We know to understand the good and the bad. I suscribe to the Fisherman, and read Al Ristori's columns, usually learning something along the way. This time I wanted to send him a set of al the NEFMC audio tapes since Amendment 13, and then ask him to be a bit more helpful to us than to adopt commercial arguments that haven't contributed to anything useful for our segment. Most of us know most of the fishery reports in the magazine are marketing hype anyway. Shall we have to put up with whining in the Conservation Corner also?
  3. Thanks for the reminder on the rules. Recreationals are NOT the problem with herring. This stock is not being managed according to the conservative measures recommended by the scientific advisors to the NEFMC. The commercial herring industry doesn't give a damn about the ecological function served by herring as a forage species. The commercial herring industry wants to be able to catch as many as they can and convert the herring into bank accounts. We are lucky there are some/enough herring around to swim up the Merrimac.
  4. Spiney Dogs, and Smooth Dogs I think, are now being managed by the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council. They are a federally managed species and MA doesn't have too much to say about the overall quota. The problem is that the stock assessment of the dogfish seems to show that the population contains very few females and those females are not breeding well. The commercials haven't been able to develop an all male fishery for dogfish. You bring the population down too low and you may reduce the levels of females so that the stock will not recover without shutting down all the habitat areas of the stock (pretty much temperature dependent). There is a commercial bycatch fishery of 600 lbs per day, I think, for spiney dogfish, with an overall quota of 4 million lbs. The NE Council wanted that bycatch level increased, but the NMFS believes that if that amount is raised, there will be a commercial directed fishery for dogfish, the stock will crash, and restrictions will have to be put on the fishing of more commercially important species. It's a management problem. Maybe the Mid-Atlantic Council can figure it out. I have an idea. How about we find a way to use dogs for lobster bait, and then we can trade that stock for the equivalent lbs of herring left in the ocean for forage fish.
  5. Part of the problem is in definition. The Initials MPA are coming to be equivalent to no fishing zones. Most recreationals are defining "MPA" as just that: An area where you can't fish, An area which excludes ALL fishing activities. If we use this definition, then what we have in our area are MMAs, Marine Managed Areas. In Amendment 13 the NEFMC put together a set of MMA levels. A Level 1 MMA is a no fishing zone, an MPA. I am against blanket MPA designations. I am in favor of certain fishing gear restrictions in marine areas where they may be scientifically shown to be necessary for habitat protections for species of particular concern or for spawning protections. As far as I have heard, 2 hooks (the recreational gear requirement in federal waters) have not proven to be more than minimally disruptive of either habitat or spawning. I'll be attending the MPA Workshop in Ogunquit this month. Bruce Munson Member of the Recreational Advisory Panel to the NEFMC
  6. I've just re-read this entire thread, including the links from Mike. I remain amazed that I had never picked-up on the extreme bias of "Stripers Forever." Admittedly, I am a meat fisherman. Fresh caught fish are a delicassy. My self image does not include being a troll or an orc. (chuckle) As my reappointment to the Recreational Advisory Panel for another 3 years has just come thru, I just want everyone to know that I am not a troll or an orc. All recreational styles are great. We gravitate toward the one which suits each of us best. My interest is in being sure that recreational fishing as an activity is regulated fairly and that the stocks of fish AND their habitats are managed properly. Thanks for all your comments on SF. What an eye-opener!
  7. The size of the striper stock and the age structure of the stock are very important to recreationals. If you see anyone who is taking sub-legal fish ot taking more than the bag limit, you should call the MA environmental police AND the local police, who often stand in for the environmental police. Some of the guys who fish the srtiper run on the Merrimac up in Lawrence get very mad when they see the problems you have seen, but these guys always advise us not to confront the "poachers" yourself because of some violent arguments others have gotten involve in with rule breakers. Better to try to get a photo or at least a license plate number. If you make the call and the police or enviros don't come, then write to MA DMF, and to the MA Enviromental Police and complain in no uncertain terms about their lack of support. Don't just sit there fuming and ruining your own day. If you place a call from your cell phone, even if the problem isn't immediately resolved, you should feel better knowing that at least you took some action. That always helps me get my mind back on the fishing, because I feel like I'm helping myself and my fellow anglers who are also concerned about the stocks.
  8. This is all incredible stuff.. Thanks gentlemen for writing it here. That's the great thing about a message board. I come away just a little more educated with each thread. (not necessarily more intelligent though LOL).
  9. Hi TBob, You know that I respect everybody's opinion on the message boards. If we all thought the same way this would simply be an "information board". I also belong to Stripers Forever. I also belong to RFA, and NCMC. I'm considering joining CCA. I've reapplied to be on the Recreational Advisory Panel to the NEFMC and served "my time" on the Ecosystem Alteration Working Group for Stellwagen Sanctuary. It took me several years of daily involvement with recreational fishing management issues to realize just how political the processes have become. That is the portion which I really detest. I admit it, I simply want to go fishing. We are confronted with so many political issues during our daily lives that sometimes when we perceive that a group is using political processes to gain their stated goals, it get's us mad. I've been there and am still there. Unfortunately this is all about the politics rather than the science. Maybe that will change someday. RFA is a lobbying group which has made it clear that they are fighting within the halls of Congress. It seems that NCMC, thru their president Ken Hinman, tries to work thru the Fisheries Management Councils and other management entities by presenting the science and then trying to line up majority support for conservation approaches to fisheries management. CCA, as I understand it, was a big force behind the constitutational amendment in Florida for the inshore net ban, that waas quite political. Right now I believe CCA is pushing a "boat limit" for permit and pampano in the Keys. (I'm struggling with this one because I'm not sure how I feel yet about recreational boat limits vs angler bag limits.) I too have perceived a problem with Stripers Forever. Personally I think it is because we are not really sure whether they are simply so pro recreational that they want commercial fishing on stripers to stop completely, OR whether they are so concerned about the stocks of stripers that they think gamefish status is the only tool which will allow proper management of that species. They seem to be using every political and economic tool they can think of, including a study of the economic value of each lb of striped bass to each state on the seacoast. That may make Stripers Forever a bit "cagey" or "shady" as you say. During the Amendment 13 process, I was on the RAP and I voted for a recommendation that would have fostered a "free" (nothing is really free, chuckle) recreational saltwater permit. I did this for two reasons: First I hoped it would tighten up on the accuracy of the MRFSS data because we are being managed by the incredibly sloppy data from the MRFSS system. Second, and most important, I believed, and still do, that recreational fisherman "out capitalize" and represent more "votes at the polls" than the commercial fishing industry. The only way to prove this is to get a real list and then to use the totals to bend a few political ears. The commercial men have consistently opposed a recreational fishing permit not because they give a damn about us and our freedom, but because (I think) they don't want the politicians to know, nor do they want US to know, the political power we could exert if we are really feel pushed against the wall by the commercial dominance of fisheries management. During the recreational public hearings on Amendment 13, I saw that the power of emotions against having a recreational permit were stronger than the perception of a permit's use as a political tool. In fact, recreationals want to fish and not to bring the politics into their ventures onto the salt. Lord knows we deal with business politics all week. So I appreciate your comments about Stripers Forever. Their goal sounds good, but we can't quite get a handle on how they are trying to do it. Makes it all seem shady. Too bad eh? I'm hoping the ocean water temperature up here increases so the baitfish will come in and I can concentrate on filleting fish, making chowder, and getting ready to go out fishing again, rather than ranting on the message boards. Bruce fishing ..... fishing .... fishing .... eat.... sleep.... fishing....fishing.... fishing... fishing
  10. I have a non-commercial set of 10 traps also. I agree with most all the comments I've read in this thread. The only way I have found to keep my boat relatively clean after checking the traps is to keep a pressure-washer in my dock box. With fresh water and electricity at the slip, a pressure washer cleans everything up pretty well. Buy a good set of Grundens overalls and boots, otherwise you get covered in various slimes and sea weeds which grow all over the setups. I estimate about $50 per complete trap setup (all new parts) including lines and buoys. I always plan to lose 10% of my traps every year, so have an extra ready if you want to keep 10 in the water. If you have a back problem as I do: Set up with 2 brick weighted traps, rather than 3 brick weighted traps; Set up with a davit which will work in your rear rod holder; Set up a rope style anchor hauler which will go into a forward rod holder to haul up your traps; or keep a 16 year old kid around to do the hauling, lobstering is great fun. Put black zip ties on the opening of your traps to make it a bit harder for the divers to open. Rather than trying to cut your traps open, they will generally move to another nearby trap. Certainly not all lobster divers open traps, but some do. There was a dive boat near my trap set last year so I sent my video camera sliding down my trap line that day and saw divers fins. before the tie wrap technique, I'd pull up open traps occasionally. Remember that you need to store the traps at the end of the lobstering year. I soak each trap and lines in Clorox at the end of the season in my back yard, but for several days the wind will carry "the perfume of decaying sealife" around the neighboorhood (chuckle). Oh yes I almost forgot - the Environmental Police love to board non-commercial lobster fishermen when the commercials report you or when the EnPols have nothingbetter to do. So you better follow the letter and intent of the rules. I used to be a big fan of the EnPols until they came speeding (and I do mean speeding) up to my boat and insisted on boarding us to do their search mission. I was doing everything right and had only legal crustaceans aboard, but those bruisers scared the crap out of the young kids I had aboard. Talk about having an attitude that I was guilty until proven innocent...... I'll add two other positive considerations - lobster traps are a great place to put the racks of the fish you catch for table fare, and ground up lobster shells from your feast make a great addition to your chum (they'll sink slowly carrying the fish oil scent along with them.) My traps have actually given me more days on the water. I'll cook up the catch and present lobster tails (de-shelled with just a touch of butter) to my wife for dinner. She is now fond of asking me, "when you plan to go fishing again, could you please check the traps also?" To which I am known to reply, " I was thinking about going out fishing this evening for a bit. Sure, I'll check the traps." I've gotten more extra fishing trips in because of the traps. Lobstering is great fun especially with kids aboard. Lobsters, urchins, crabs, sometimes a small cod, lots of stuff come up with the traps. It's very active which kids love. It's also very good boat handling practice. You want to teach a kid to manoever a boat, get him/her to consistently glide to a stop with a trap buoy so you can reach down and pick it up without a boat hook.
  11. I generally don't take the time to re-enter items from publications unless I think there is a major point to be illustrated. Some of us have continually argued that there is large differential value to our regional economies in favor of recreational fisheries. I believe "Stripers Forever" is conducting a study of the recreational value of striped bass. Herring, as a important forage fish to many recreational target species here in the NE, continues to be managed by Mass. fisheries managers and federal managers as if herring are more valuable as a single species commercial harvest. Here is an article from Sport Fishing magazine which illustrates that recreational anglers in Australia are confronting the same problems. ------------------------------------------- Sport Fishing Magazine, April 2005, p.12 Economic Study Justifies Game-Fish Status for Marlin (picture caption: Stripes’ commercial-to-recreational value economic value comes in at a 1-26 ration) In Australia, New South Wales’ Fishery Minister Iam Macdonald “has caved in to commercial fishing pressure by not acting to fully protect striped marlin,” according to Jim Harnwell, editor of “Fishing World” magazine (www.yaffa.com.au/fw). That must mean that striped marlin are much more valuable commercially than recreationally (the latter of course releasing most of the marlin caught; the former killing most). Well, not exactly. A recent economic study titled “The Economic Impact of the Striped Marlin Fishery,” by the respected, independent, international accounting firm Ernst and Young, estimated the commercial value of the species to the state’s economy at less than $7 million and the recreational value at more than $183 million. Put another way, for each dollar a striped marlin brings commercially, it’s worth $26 recreationally. That disparity hardly came as a shock to those in the recreational fishing community, especially since similar studies of the value of major gamefish in the United States and elsewhere generally draw similar results. But with the Ernst and Young confirmation, says Harnwell, “Anglers are pushing for a total ban on the commercial sales of all billfish in New South Wales ports.”
  12. Paul Diodati is not the big problem at MA DMF - David Pierce is. David Pierce is so pro MA Commercial that he is willing to "shaft" all the other states in NE and even commercial fishermen working with federal permits in federal waters. David Pierce pays no attention to recreational fishing value in MA and will cut back on recreational bag and size limits without blinking an eye if we get in the way of the commercial interests in this state. Our problem with Paul Diodati is that he will not "rein in David Pierce".
  13. Recreational fishing is just that - recreational fishing. Any sale of fish becomes commercial fishing. Right now charter/party fishing is also regulated as recreational fishing. What you are asking is if there should be a new category which recognizes party/charter as a commercial activity and then allows the sale of fish caught by the fishermen or captain/crew. I'm not necessarily against that sort of reclassification. But it will carry a new set of rules, probably boat catch limits rather than angler bag limits. You sell the fish and you are a commercial fisherman. It is not a question of subsidizing anything. In my humble opinion though, recreational fishing should remain just that - recreational fishing.
  14. Going thru some of my piled-up reading tonight, I came across two articles, one entitled "License for Hawaiian Anglers", in Saltwater Sportsman this month, and another article entitled "North Carolina Saltwater-License Bill Passes House", in Sport Fishing this month. In your advisory panel recommendations to the NEFMC for Amendment 13, we suggested that a federal permit would be a logical way to tighten up the recreational statistical gathering process. I know that I underestimated the amount of distrust recreationals had for any governments pledge to use the permit fees for saltwater recreational fishing projects. Let me say that I "got it" during the public comment period, as did other RAP members, and we dropped our support for that measure. There is, however, another side to the arguments for licenses which each of the articles I read tonight recognizes. The Saltwater Sportsman article on the Hawaiian license contains the following: "A number of anglers welcomed licensing as a means to shore up the political clout of salt water sportsmen, and to help halt the continuing decline of nearshore fishery resources in the Hawaiian Islands." The Sport Fishing article on the N. Carolina license contains: "Some commercial-fishing groups have expressed opposition to the bill because they fear that a licensing program will give anglers more clout." Do we need as much clout as we can get? I think we do. Consider this: If the congressional bill which will separate Science and Management becomes law, the NE council will have a scientifically set amount of each species that can be "extracted". Council time will then be spent on allocations between sectors, and then allocations within sector categories. There are many ways to show our participation in the fishery and in the process of fisheries managment. Political clout is one tool, and if you listen to the tapes of the council meetings, I'm confident you too will recognize that the council's allocation decisions are political decisions. Bruce P.S. While considering this post I recalled a favorite axiom concerning issues with many different perspectives: "On the other hand, you have different fingers."
  15. Some of us were following the enforcement actions on some midwater trawls which had fished their nets so that they caught some haddock. I just received a copy of the press release. Is this important to recreationals? I think so, and my reason is that the seizures proved that midwater trawl nets used to catch herring can be fished in a manner that will catch groundfish. Midwater pair trawling had been allowed inside the Western Gulf of Maine habitat closed area because the commercial industry had always said midwater trawls don't go to bottomfish habitats and thus should be allowed in the habitat closed areas. NMFS is trying to meet the rebuilding requirements for groundfish and had previously made regulations to kept "mobile gear capable of catching groundfish" out of the closed area, but continued to let the pair midwater trawlers in there. I believe that the NEFMC, during it's Sept meeting, decided that now there is proof that these trawls could catch groundfish, the midwater trawls would no longer be allowed in the WGOM closed area. NOAA enforcement has acted quickly to serve as a warning to the "industry" that groundfish rebuilding is a serious matter. ------------------------------------------------- On October 26, 2004 NOAA issued the following press release on two herring pair midwater trawl vessels and one herring pair trawl vessel announcing $85,000.00 in assessed fines for illegally catching haddock and hake: THREE FISHING VESSELS PENALIZED $85,000 FOR ILLEGAL CATCH The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued Notices of Violation and Assessment (NOVA), with penalties ranging between $10,000 and $50,000 to three fishing vessels (FVs), for violations of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSFCMA). The NOVAs issued on October 12, 2004 cited each vessel for landing and possessing northeast multispecies in violation of federal fisheries regulations promulgated under the MSFCMA. NOAA is an agency of the Department of Commerce. On or about Aug. 10, 2004, Law Enforcement Officers from the Maine Marine Patrol boarded a commercial fishing boat and found unlawfully landed and possessed northeast multispecies caught by means of pair trawling near Rockland, Maine. NOAA issued a $50,000 NOVA to the owner. On or about Aug. 10, 2004, officers from the NOAA Fisheries Office for Law Enforcement and the Maine Marine Patrol boarded a commercial fishing boat in Portland, Maine. They found unlawfully landed and possessed northeast multispecies harvested by mid-water trawl gear in violation of the vessel's mid-water trawl exemption certificate. NOAA issued a $25,000 NOVA to the owner and operator of the boat. On or about July 16 and 17, 2004, personnel from the NOAA Fisheries Office for Law Enforcement, Massachusetts Environmental Police and US Coast Guard boarded a commercial fishing boat and found unlawfully landed and possessed northeast multispecies caught by means of pair trawling near Gloucester, MA. NOAA issued a $10,000 NOVA to the owner and operator. -more- -2- While fishing for herring, these vessels unlawfully landed and possessed various amounts of northeast multispecies, including haddock and hake. Herring vessels are prohibited from possessing and landing any amount of northeast multispecies. "Because these cases were being so closely watched by both the herring and groundfish industries, we asked NOAA General Counsel to expedite their review of our investigations," said Special Agent-in-Charge Andy Cohen, Office for Law Enforcement - Northeast Division. NOAA Fisheries is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation's living marine resources through scientific research, management, law enforcement, and the conservation of marine mammals and other protected marine species and their habitat. The Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the predication and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. end of press release The breakdown of the fines by vessels/owners are as follows: A $10,000 NOVA was issued to FV Challenger, Inc and James Gallagher re: FV Challenger A $25,000 NOVA was issued to the Ocean Spray Partnership and Palle Davidson re: FV Providian. A $50,000 NOVA was issued to the O'Hara Corp. and Joseph Martin re: FV Sunlight. The F/V Sunlight is the herring midwater vessel from which two illegal bluefins were recently siezed. -------------------------------------------------