Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Thursday, January 07, 2010: Here’s some fisheries news: A significant striped bass survey related to the Chesapeake Bay stocks indicated a slight downturn in the young-of-year count for 2009, though not nearly enough to cause any alarm. The annual Maryland Department of Natural Resources netting effort captured 7.9 bass per haul, down from the long-term average of 11.7. "These numbers may be slightly below the average, but it's well within the normal range of expectations," DNR Fisheries Service Director Tom O'Connell told the publication Chesapeake Bay Journal. "The 2001 super year class, followed by a robust year class in 2003, should project for a healthy, sustainable population." The Maryland study is super significant not only because of its read on the Chesapeake Bay stock of stripers but because the state has been collecting from the seine data at the same 22 sites for 50 years. I don’t know of any such research dating back even remotely that far. DNR samples from the same 22 locations every year. By the by, this seining effort is not just for stripers. This year’s survey netted 35,000 fish of 49 species, including 1,039 young-of-year striped bass. That 49 species thing is very impressive, though many species were just token showings of rarer tropical fish that got washed in as larvae last spring, much the way we get them in places like Barnegat Bay. One year, during what had been an annual seine effort on my part, I came across young-of-year of 28 tropical species, including four types of butterfly fish along with three types of grouper. The overall population of striped bass is through the ceiling. I cannot conceive that our keeping a smaller slot fish could even put a dent in the striper numbers. ((((((((((((((((((()))))))))))))) I did my civic duty and signed up for National Saltwater Angler Registry online at www.CountMyFish.noaa.gov. It took maybe three or four minutes to complete. I then got this email: “You are now one of our 12 million angler partners in the National Saltwater Angler Registry. “Here is your temporary Angler Registry card that can be printed and used as proof of registration until the official registration card is delivered. The official registration card will be waterproof and tear resistant and should be delivered within 30 days of registration to the address entered during registration. “If you do not have immediate access to a printer, you can simply write down your registration number to use while fishing. You will need to present this to law enforcement should they ask. PLEASE NOTE: If a state license or registration is required for your fishing activity, you will need to have that license or registration in addition to this federal registration card.” I then went back to the site and took in the tons of information the feds offer regarding the program. It was actually a very interesting read, though nothing therein boded very well for anglers. I do want to forward this significant read from the website: “HOW WE COUNT FISH AND FISHERMEN “While it’s impossible to ask each and every one of America’s 13 million anglers about their fishing habits, NOAA Fisheries and state agencies can survey enough anglers to gather the needed information to make sound fisheries conservation policy. Just like polls that predict such things as Presidential elections within a few percentage points, NOAA Fisheries has developed a survey program that can determine total catch by surveying a few thousand saltwater anglers. “Sampling is based on mathematical probability theory, which may sound complex, but the basic concept really isn’t. George Gallup, founder of the famous Gallup Poll, once described sampling with this simple analogy: he said sampling a population was like taste-testing soup; one spoonful can reflect the taste of the whole bowl, if the soup is well stirred. In other words, a sample can accurately reflect a much larger population so long as the sample is representative of the whole. “When it comes to surveying saltwater anglers, NOAA Fisheries selects sites in proportion to the expected fishing activity at those sites. This broad representation is what “stirs the soup.” In addition to being representative, the sample size also has to be large enough to derive the most statistically accurate estimates. “Because we’re not counting each angler and every fish, it is inevitable that there will be some margin of error associated with estimates (as is the case with all surveys). The key is to keep it within a statistically acceptable percentage range to ensure the most accurate conclusions possible.” (((((((((((((())))))))))) Insider info – don’t read if you’re not an insider: There is currently a very well-organized effort to minimize the pain anglers will have when the New Jersey registry comes down to dollars and cents. No, the state will NEVER allow the feds to be the lead agency, getting any and all registry funds. A new – soon to be legislative -- effort will keep the price of saltwater angling rock bottom. Such thinking aligns with my belief that a NJ “saltwater license” does not have to be $25 or $15 or even $10. Those bandied about amounts make it a big moneymaking “tax” on fishing. This new push by a top angling organization may ferret out a way to get the annual license amount down to a couple bucks – or even completely cover the cost (via a lottery – though I’m not supposed to let that cat out just yet). Keep it on the QY but just stay ready for just such a concerted effort to not only save us from a nasty pay-to-fish fee but could even lead to major bucks for fish, wildlife and conservation (of all sorts). (((((((((((((((()))))))))) Kill dumb people instead??? New story off the wires: Dolphins have proven so intelligent that it is morally repugnant to kill them for food or hold them captive in aquariums, U.S. researchers said. Dolphins 'are 'non-human persons' who qualify for moral standing as individuals,' said Thomas White, who teaches ethics at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Research suggests dolphins are smarter than chimpanzees and second only to humans in terms of intelligence, said White and other dolphin advocates, including zoologist Lori Marino of Emory University in Atlanta. 'Many dolphin brains are larger than our own and second in mass only to the human brain when corrected for body size,' Marino told The Times of London in a story published Wednesday. It's unacceptable to kill such intelligent animals for food or to keep them in amusement park aquariums, which is akin to mistreating them, Marino said. estimating about 300,000 dolphins, whales and porpoises are killed each year for food or die in captivity.