Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Monday, December 20, 2010:
If you didn’t read the Dec. 22 weekly blog:
You still have time to do an end-around and grab a free 2011 Saltwater Registry card, via the feds. Get your reg number off this year’s (2010) freebie card, go to https://www.countmyfish.noaa.gov/register/ and registered by Dec 31.
No, this will in no way send the wrong message to the feds, i.e. you agree with and support the saltwater fishing license – which the registry becomes. And it could be mute if the effort to make Jersey a “free” saltwater angling state gets through the Legislature. It’s essentially covering all the bases. HOWEVER (!), as I’ve been pontificating about: By 2012, you will most likely have to be onboard the NJ registry – and off the federal sign-up list. And it might well be free. BUT, you’re going to have to be signed up somewhere
UNLESS (whew this is frickin complicated), the RFA somehow succeeds with getting the entire Magnuson Act “reviewed,” i.e. modified. That way-radical action could remove the registry mandate.
Of all the above-mentioned possibilities – free in NJ and such -- I personally think the re-exploration – or wholesale changing -- of the Magnuson Act will run into a firestorm of protest from radical green and conservation groups. In fact, a move like that made by fishermen (recreational and commercial) could unite heretofore somewhat fragmented green groups. Fortunately, all a NJ angler needs to do, singularly, at this point is pressure Trenton for a free saltwater license – be it 2011, or in the future. I think the big Magnuson battle in D.C. might best be rallied at a club and organization level.
Off the wires: While no one was looking, many fish stocks have been rapidly improving (editorial) --
SEAFOOD.COM NEWS by John Sackton - (editorial comment) - Dec 20, 2010 - I have been struck this fall by how many of our headlines have been about stock increases or returns of biomass to historical levels, or measurements of fish stocks at record levels.
The latest in this string is Sitka Sound herring, now forecast to have the largest biomass since the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game began keeping records in 1964.
We also saw record salmon runs on the Fraser river.
Norwegian Barents sea cod quotas will be over 700,000 tons for 2011, and haddock will be over 300,000.
In New England and Eastern Canada, lobster landings are at an all time high.
Even the New England groundfish mess is a fight over how to deal with increasing stock levels, not scarcity.
The Alaska pollock stocks have rebounded, so much so that in 2012, the forecast allowable biological catch would be 1.6 million metric tons, although it is extremely unlikely fishery managers will authorize such a catch level due to the demands of other species.
Finally, last week one of our top stories was the tons of cod swarming around the Pier at Ocean Choice's Triton plant - again something that had not been seen for years in Newfoundland.
Also we see Thailand increasing its shrimp production, Vietnam increasing pangasius production, China increasing their tilapia production, and Norway increasing their salmon production.
Do you detect a trend here?
If so, it is not the doom and gloom that fisheries and aquaculture are unsustainable, and destined as ecological and commercial failures.
That has been the unrelenting message of environmental activists regarding ocean resources since the 1990's. It is also the belief that is still driving significant research and advocacy - including the demands for large scale marine reserves, which are justified on the grounds that without them, fish stocks will disappear.
Where is the disconnect? I think it is in the failure of many activists to recognize the power of good fisheries management. Studies done by Hilborn and others have shown that the quality of fisheries management is likely the key factor in determining long term sustainability of fish stocks.
And, in a number of countries - notably the U.S., Russia, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, and Chile the fishery management and quota setting process has gotten stronger and more robust since the early 1990's.
And we are now seeing some of the effects. This should lead to a paradigm shift in how we talk about the oceans and marine resources, away from the false choice of total disaster or total preservation, and towards the idea that good management is a powerful environmental, ecological and social benefit.
During the last twenty years, another key fact is that the industry has embraced these good management practices wholeheartedly, often being the primary enforcers of the management goals.
This bodes well for the long term sustainability of seafood. Over the weekend, I heard a Christmas song, the Sussex Mummer's Carol, that ends with 'May the lord increase you day by day and bring you more and more', and for once, I think this is becoming a new paradigm for global seafood sustainability.
These increases we are talking about are not the result of blind greed chasing the last fish, but the fruits of long term sustainable management.
This certainly bodes well for the new year and the future.