Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Friday, February 25, 2011:
The wind was once again toying with 60 mph. This latest gustiness was pushing rain horizontally. I suffered a modest loss as one of my backyard clotheslines, loaded with my finest work clothes, gave up its grip and not only bit the dust but offered a couple of my better shirts to a piece of mud near the neighbor’s fenceline. I guess I should have gone the electrical dryer route last night, pre-soaker. Then, this afternoon, as the sun came glaring out of nowhere, I went out to see if I could retie the rope, when, like some black sky-beast, this squall came out of the west and not only extinguished the sun but soaked me before I could reach the back door. Quite freaky. A rumble of thunder joined the downpour.
I don’t want to piss-off even one of the many fine folks who stop in here but I have do have to scream – in a fatherly way.
Since I wrote that NJ now offers a free angler registry, I’ve already had three (three too many) emails essentially asking if this means we don’t need a license, i.e. we don’t need to register. Just shoot me now. (That’s just figurative speech --- I know there are a few folks who would take the shot if offered.) The thing is I already know there will be loads more asking that same question.
I have damn near endlessly written that the entire registry program is based on NOAA needing to know what anglers are catching. That’s what the registry is all about. New Jersey’s freeness only means it won’t cost money to register. It in no way means you don’t have to register. That would be in defiance of the Magnuson Act. It can’t be made any clearer: You must register with the angler registry to legally fish in NJ. It doesn’t matter what state you’re registered in. NJ accepts them all.
A more sensible question is: What if I’m already registered with the feds for 2011, do I have also register with NJ? Absolutely not? In fact, the feds have repeatedly said they don’t care where an angler is registered or what is paid to a state requiring payment for registering. That isn’t the business they’re in. They simply need to know everyone who is out there angling and what they’re catching.
So, they’ll be calling every angler? Yet another dumb question, though I threw it out there myself. There is an existing monitoring and data collecting system in place, per NOASA, that works pretty much on the law of averages. By contacting a scant few anglers, researchers can extrapolate the bigger-picture catch. I know it sound implausible, however, a perfect comparison is the way data collectors can ascertain almost exactly how many Americans are watching a certain TV show, even though the surveyors might only chat with a minuscule number of TV viewers. No, I’m not overly sold on NOAA being spot-on with the first few years of registry surveying but odds are pretty good it’ll home in on the best way to figure out the hooking numbers.
I’ll also repeat something many folks don’t – or are unwilling to – realize. It is actually best to report exactly what you’re catching. I attended a seminar where an expert explained it all in very understandable layman terms. Mainly, he showed what happens if you give faulty information. (I know I wrote about this recently but it’s worth a repeat.) Say you allege you caught nothing when you had a good day. That would indicate the fish weren’t there. Now red flags go up the fish stocks are low. Now, say you allege you didn’t catch anything but (for whatever reason) you claim to have had a great day. So the data (falsified) indicates the stocks are just fine. But, what if the fish really aren’t there -- and both recreational and commercial fishermen are taking too many? You just played into the hands of over-harvesters. I assure you that will quickly come back to haunt you. By the by, researchers are very adept at picking out who is BS’ing when surveyed. Again, I assure you, it is best to be spot-on honest when you are surveyed.
The last time I wrote about the registry, someone asked what about the scofflaw, the guy who goes above and beyond all limits? The answer to that is simple: He’s not breaking the data collecting flow, he’s breaking the law. Poachers and scofflaws are one of the true banes of our sport -- and related industry. They are thieves and recent responses by judges indicate the days of hand slaps to fish and wildlife violators are over. In fact, I’m researching ways to improve the methods used to notify the state of illegal fishing and hunting activities. The “Hotline” is not working – at least not in real time. I’m seeing if there is a way to utilize local law enforcement to detain – and even cite – fish and wildlife violators. A law is a law. Local police are dedicated to upholding the same. I’ve even heard from a couple officers saying they have no problem with responding to “flagrant” violators.
Here’s a recent release form NOAA’s head honcho:
[Saving Seafood] - February 25, 2011 - “The money that millions of recreational anglers spend on fishing trips each year produces tens of thousands of jobs and billions in sales revenue,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D, under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.
“This year's survey is a chance for saltwater anglers to help NOAA get an updated, accurate picture of how recreational fishing translates into economic vitality and jobs for Americans.”
NOAA and the saltwater angling community need timely economic data to help evaluate the economic importance of recreational fishing activities. The data give a more accurate look at the economic effects of fishing regulations and changes in the ecosystem caused by natural or manmade events. The information gathered in the survey will contribute to more informed decisions on a variety of recreational fishing issues.
Economists from NOAA's Fisheries Service throughout the country as well as regional and state partners are assisting with the 2011 survey. Once the economic data are collected, they will be analyzed and released as a NOAA report.
The most recent economic study in 2009 showed that anglers' expenditures generated $59 billion in sales and supported more than 385,000 jobs.
[Associated Press] - February 25, 2011 - ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Organizers say thousands of commercial and recreational fishermen are expected to rally in St. Petersburg against a federal ban on grouper fishing.
The Fishing Rights Alliance has planned the rally for 9 a.m. today at the regional headquarters of the National Marine Fisheries Service.
The group says it is calling for congressional action to protect fishermen from what they call unnecessary regulations. It claims the six-month grouper ban will cost economies of the U.S. southeast billions in lost revenue.
The federal agency charged with managing fisheries says the ban is necessary to bolster the population of the gag grouper, which is valued for its white, flaky meat.