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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Tuesday, December 05, 2017: Not a day for … anything LBIish, except maybe work. ... LEI dredge stuff ...

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Ever wonder how folks end up with trebles driven into the bone? 

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 The folly of placing reflective tape leading back to your stand …

South wind has sparked a beach bite: 

Tuesday, December 05, 2017: Not a day for … anything LBIish, except maybe work.

The ocean is fully riled, egged on by a medium period ground sell we first saw arrive yesterday, rather suddenly. The south winds to near SCA have added to the chop and side current. Oh, then there’s the rain, which really came down for a short while there.

As to seeing a surf cleanup … it’s moving in quickly, obviously out of the west.

Forecast:

Wed: Small craft advisory likely     25 mph  West

Thu: Windy conditions     16 mph  West

Fri: Windy conditions 16 mph  West-Southwest

Sat: Breezy conditions      11 mph  West

Sun: Windy conditions      17 mph  West

 

I have to think the beach bassing will still be in full swing when the waves lie down.

Boat bassing is going to be bumpy but doable after Thursday. Not to jinx it but the boat bassing might very well hang in longer than usual.

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The below press release regarding LEI dredging is merely a formal statement that it’s happening – along with the costs. Been there, knew that. What I still haven’t seen is a mapping of the layout of the channel, i.e. where it's going to lie -- the most important thing mariners need to do. Obviously, there will eventually be exact GPS readings, making things quite clear. I'd like to know sooner. 

As to the quality of the sand being pumped out of LEI, it’ll make what has been pumped in the past look like topsoil. By that I mean it’ll come in so pristine clean that no sun bleaching or rain washing will be needed to make it glow like sugar sand.

While I’m absolutely out of the debate over replenishing beaches – may the best man win that argument – I will suggest (and I did study geology) the arriving sand might be a tad – note: “a tad” – more resilient than the material from the off-Harvey Cedars borrow sites. That is based purely on the consistency of the sand granularity from LEI, which is more likely to integrate with existing sands. The gravel from the HC borrow area enhanced erosion by allowing the heavy materials to cluster together, via specific gravity. This created small but impactful blockages. Blockages equate to enhanced erosion, even on small scales.

Now to the treasurely side of things.

There has been a mapping of known wreck sites within the borrow areas of LEI. These are “avoid” zones. However, such a dynamic waterway surely spreads wreck material far and wide.

Remember, the LBI replen material up until now has been taken from ocean areas pretty much off the wreck map -- though the secretly jettisoned munitions dredged up and placed atop Surf City beaches were unwelcome buried “artifact” surprises. In fact, that SNAFU was ruinous for us treasure hunters. It led to a much finer meshed initial screening to be used, as sand is sucked off the ocean bottom. That screening blocks many artifacts from reaching land – good artifacts, that is.

It’s hard to say what bottom goodies might issue forth from the borrow areas of Little Egg Inlet. Considering how much of that sand is new, migrating there from the north, there could be a 50-foot deep layer of what I’ll call historically sterile sands. At the same time, such a sand coverage might have been said of the HC munitions, which were quite deep down but had no problem appearing.

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Please read this for some technical LEI dredging info, much of which I have placed in here earlier. I'm still no closer to knowing where, exactly the new channel will run. 

DEP AWARDS $18.4 MILLION CONTRACT TO REPAIR SOUTHERN LBI BEACHES AND DUNES USING SAND DREDGED FROM LITTLE EGG INLET PROJECT WILL ADDRESS SERIOUS INLET SHOALING THAT JEOPARDIZES SAFE BOATING WHILE PROVIDING SAND FOR STORM-DAMAGED BEACHES

(17/P115) TRENTON - The Department of Environmental Protection has awarded an $18.4 million contract for the replenishment of beaches and dunes on southern Long Beach Island using sand dredged from Little Egg Inlet, a major thoroughfare for boat traffic between southern LBI and Brigantine that has experienced serious shoaling, Commissioner Bob Martin announced today.

"This important project will provide additional protections to the southern LBI area by replenishing beaches and dunes that have lost sand due to erosion from storms since completion of a major U.S. Army Corps of Engineers beach fill project last year," Commissioner Martin said. "At the same time, it will greatly improve boating safety in the heavily used Little Egg Inlet, which has become virtually impassable for most boating traffic due to shoaling."

The contract - awarded to Oak Brook, Illinois-based Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co. - is designed to dredge 700,000 cubic yards of sand, with an option to dredge an additional 300,000 cubic yards if needed. The DEP is paying for the project using funds from its Shore Protection Program.

The sand will be placed along beaches and on dunes from Ocean Street in Beach Haven and south through Long Beach Township, repairing areas that sustained erosion as the result of storms since the Army Corps completed a $128 million beach and dune construction project that encompassed much of LBI.

The contractor will focus on the area from the terminal groin to Pershing Avenue in Holgate and the areas just south of Nelson Avenue to Kentford Avenue and just north of Holyoke Avenue to Belvoir Avenue in Beach Haven.

The removal of the sand from Little Egg Inlet, in the meantime, will clear a navigable boat channel a mile long and 24 feet below mean sea level to accommodate the numerous commercial and recreational fishing vessels, private boats and other craft that use the inlet to access Barnegat Bay, Great Bay and the Intracoastal Waterway.

The contractor is immediately beginning to mobilize, with a goal of completing the project by March 1, 2018, in time for the next boating season and at a time of year that takes advantage of natural wave actions that will push additional sand onto the beaches.

One of the widest ocean inlets in New Jersey, Little Egg Inlet is extremely dynamic, with shoals constantly shifting with the seasons. The federally marked waterway has never been dredged.

Instead, the U.S. Coast Guard every year would use buoys to mark the deepest and safest natural route through the inlet. The marked channel in this area has at times extended as far as a mile into the ocean. In many places, the channel had become less than six feet below mean sea level, making navigation very difficult, especially when factoring in the rolling of waves in the ocean.

In March of this year, the Coast Guard pulled buoys marking the channel due to concerns that buildup of sand in the channel had become too severe for safe passage of boats. The Coast Guard warned boaters that use of the inlet would be at their own risk.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently issued a permit needed to dredge the channel, following an extensive environmental review conducted in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and DEP. The DEP has also issued required permits.

The DEP has designed the project to have negligible to no impact on the nearby Holgate section of the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge or migrations of fish, and will work closely with the Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the DEP's Division of Land Use Regulation and Division of Fish and Wildlife to ensure protection of natural resources.

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JCAA Action Alert
 
       The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) and the Mid-Atlantic   
Fishery
  

Management Council (MAFMC) will have a joint meeting in Annapolis, Maryland from December 11
 
th to December 14  
th to discuss a number of fisheries issues, especially fluke on December 12th and sea bass on December 13
 
th.
       Though JCAA initially considered chartering buses for anglers to attend these meetings, we have now decided not to do so. We had anticipated that the fluke and sea bass meetings would be on the same day but have now learned that there is quite a detailed agenda for these species over a two day period. We do not believe there are enough people willing or able to go to Annapolis for two days to warrant the hiring of a bus. However, JCAA will have representatives there and we are willing to assist in carpooling others who would like to attend.
 
        Regarding fluke we know that the coastwide recreational quota will increase from 3.77 million pounds in 2017 to 4.4 million pounds in 2018. That coupled with the fact that New Jersey as well as the entire coast collectively will have underfished their quota for this year is good news. However, the Council and Commission most likely will act conservatively due to the unreliability of the MRIP numbers. Still, this should result in some liberalization of our regulations for 2018. Modifications to the fluke addendum will be discussed at the joint meeting. The JCAA supports having an option that would allow New Jersey to remain in its own region rather than being forced back into the region with Connecticut and New York. We also support conservation equivalency that would allow the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council (NJMFC) to set regulations independently that would not be tied to what other regions are doing.
 
       The situation pertaining to sea bass is a little more complex. Sea bass will be discussed at length at the joint meeting on 12/13 from 9:00AM until 4:30 PM. Despite the fact that the spawning stock biomass is at 230% of the target, the recreational quota is currently set to be reduced from 4.29 million pounds in 2017 to 3.66 pounds in 2018. The JCAA intends to request a higher quota. Currently, MRIP numbers for this year are projected to be only slightly over the 2018 quota so that could result in status quo regulations for 2018. However, MRIP data for waves 5 and 6 are not yet available so things might have to be revised.
 
       Additionally, the new addendum that is being developed and discussed at this meeting will include options that would change the alignment of the regions. JCAA supports options that would allow New Jersey to become its own region or to be placed in the southern region as opposed to remaining in the region with states to our north. If we are allowed to do so, this could indeed allow us to liberalize our regulations. If in fact the regions are realigned in this fashion, the JCAA supports the quotas being established based on the last ten years or more of the harvest rather than just the past five years. This is due to the fact that in recent years New Jersey's share of the overall harvest has been reduced significantly due to harsh regulations.
 
      Written comments concerning fluke and sea bass may be submitted by going to the ASMFC/MAFMC on line at www.mafmc.org/public-comment . In addition to having a presence at the meeting the JCAA will send detailed comments on fluke and sea bass to the above web link. Briefly, the JCAA recommends the following:
  1. 1.    The option to have New Jersey be in its own region for fluke.
  2. 2.    The option to have New Jersey be in its own region or in the southern region for sea bass.
  3. 3.    The option to have quotas for sea bass based on the last ten years or more of harvest.
       Following the December meeting, the draft addendum for sea bass is expected to be released for public comment. Revisions to the fluke addendum may follow sometime thereafter.  Additional meetings of the ASMFC, MAFMC and NJMFC will then be scheduled at which time the public will have an opportunity to comment further.  The JCAA will send out Action Alerts when the dates and times of these meetings are known.
 
       For those planning on attending the December joint meeting of the ASMFC and the MAFMC, it will be held at the Westin Annapolis, 100 Westgate Circle, Annapolis, Maryland.
Paul Haertel
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EPIC! We caught big early, small mid day and then huge late! To many overs to count up to 35” caught on BassKandyDelights - BKDs and Hard Head Custom Baits 4 ounce jigging spoons. My best day of the fall/winter! Fly guy even got into it!

Today I had a great crew and one of those days I’m thankful to have chased my passion and skipped the “real job” thing after I retired from the Air Force.........life is good!

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l good things have to come to an end and today’s count was over 60 fish with 7 keepers and 1 Big Fluke on a diamond jig ALL FISH WERE RELEASED today. 
The fish are getting smaller and fewer and fewer so with that I’d like to end on a good note with Jason Michael and Zbigniew Sokolowski (Ziggy)

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Last trip of the year was a success. Time to make some striper and tog chowder for the winter!

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I was out fishing today and found a school of large fish....my nephews and I tried jigging but caught nothing....Maybe Blue fin Tuna ?.....IDK

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Yep! Found them this morning. Thanks to Captain Richard Southwick II. Daniel Williams

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Recreation Groups Push to Ban Commercial Striper Fishing in Massachusetts Through Legislature

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Gloucester Times] By Christian M. Wade - December 4, 2017                    

BOSTON — Striped bass are New England’s premier sport fish, sought by thousands of anglers who prize them for a fighting spirit and high quality fillets.

Stripers were pushed to the brink of extinction in the late 1970s but made a dramatic comeback. Now recreational anglers say the coveted fish again is struggling, and they’re lobbying Beacon Hill to implement new limits that include making the fish off-limits to commercial fishermen.

One proposal, filed by Rep. Walter Timilty, D-Milton, would limit commercial licenses to fishermen who can demonstrate they’ve caught and sold more than 1,000 pounds of striped bass annually over the last five years.

Another proposal, offered by Rep. Thomas Stanley, D-Waltham, would phase out commercial fishing for striped bass by 2025 and establish fines up to $500 per fish for violators of new regulations.

“We’re asking for only one saltwater species to be reserved for recreational purposes and protected as a gamefish,” said Fred Jennings of Ipswich, who is the Massachusetts co-chairman of Stripers Forever, a recreational angler advocacy group. “And it’s one of vital importance to the economy of our state.”

Mike Spinney, a Stripers Forever board member, said a black market for striped bass is “thriving” along the coast, with poachers hauling in fish under the cover of darkness.

Fisheries managers have become overwhelmed by the illegal striper market, he told members of the Legislature’s Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture on Wednesday.

“The lax commercial regulations and lack of enforcement is why so many people feel at liberty to break the law by selling to unscrupulous dealers, markets and restaurants,” he said. “In one case, a refrigerated truck was driving up and down the Cape Cod canal, taking striped bass from a network of poachers for sale, presumably to the black market.”

Recreational catch bigger

Commercial fishing groups, however, dispute claims that the stock is dwindling and say a ban would put hundreds of fishermen out of business.

“Striped bass is healthy and flourishing,” said Darren Saletta of Chatham, a founder of the Massachusetts Commercial Striped Bass Association. “The argument that commercial fishing is killing the striped bass fishery has been debunked over and over again.”

Saletta, who operates a charter fishing operation, Monomoy Sportfishing, said there’s no need to edge commercial fishermen out of the market.

“We believe this fishery is being well managed,” he said. “With any wild species you’re going to have natural, cyclical variations in the population mass.”

Stripers breed in fresh water and live most of their mature lives in salt water. They spawn in the brackish waters of the Chesapeake Bay and the mouths of the Delaware and Hudson rivers, before slowly migrating up the coast.

Locally they typically arrive off the mouth of the Merrimack River around mid-May, while making their way northward. They chase large schools of baitfish up the river and along the coast. Hundreds of fishermen line local beaches or go out in boats to catch them.

Striped bass are a hardy fish that live up to 40 years and grow to 100 pounds, though such catches are rare.

Though recreational anglers in Massachusetts can catch stripers year-round, the best months are May to November.

The commercial season begins in late June and ends when a statewide quota is reached. This season, the fishery was closed in early September.

Recreational fishermen catch 70 to 80 percent of the stripers from the chilly Atlantic Ocean, according to the state Division of Marine Fisheries. This year commercial fisherman landed 822,945 pounds of stripers, compared to an estimated 4 million pounds caught by recreational fishermen.

“Our recreational fishery kills a hell of a lot more fish than the commercial,” Saletta said. “They’re going after the wrong guys.”

Some limits in place

Under Timilty’s bill, commercial fishermen who meet that standard would be allowed to keep their striped bass licenses until 2025, when commercial licenses for the fish would no longer be issued.

Those commercial fishermen who demonstrate a “legitimate” reason for failing to reach the required 1,000 pounds in a year could seek a hardship relief from the Division of Marine Fisheries.

Stripers Forever has pushed similar bans in 2010 and 2015, but lawmakers didn’t approve those measures.

Two years ago, the Division of Marine Fisheries approved new rules cutting catch limits for recreational fishermen from two fish per day to one, and reducing the commercial take by 25 percent. Its rules kept the minimum catch size at 28 inches for recreational and commercial fishermen.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which manages fish stocks south of New England, has also tightened regulations for stripers in recent years. Maine, Connecticut and New Hampshire ban commercial fishing of striped bass.              

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Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Charter/Headboat Permit Commercial Sale Endorsement

NOAA Fisheries creates a separate provision for the commercial sale of Atlantic HMS by Charter/Headboat permit holders.
Bulletin 
12/05/2017
Recreational fishing boats in a marina

Action Being Taken and Important Dates

Starting on January 5, 2018, Atlantic highly migratory species (HMS) Charter/Headboat permitted vessels are prohibited from selling any catch of highly migratory species (HMS) unless they obtain a “commercial sale” endorsement as part of the permit. Interested permit holders can obtain the commercial sale endorsement for no additional cost when renewing or obtaining their 2018 HMS Charter/Headboat permit on the HMS Permits page.

NOAA Fisheries is creating a separate provision for the commercial sale of Atlantic HMS by HMS Charter/Headboat permit holders. Currently, HMS Charter/Headboat permit holders are able to sell Atlantic tunas and swordfish as a condition of the HMS Charter/Headboat permit. Additionally, HMS Charter/Headboat permit holders can also sell Atlantic sharks if they hold a federal commercial shark permit. Consequently, individuals that hold an HMS Charter/Headboat permit could have their vessels categorized as commercial fishing vessels which are subject to United States Coast Guard (USCG) commercial fishing vessel safety requirements, regardless of whether the permit holder engages or intends to engage in commercial fishing.

Under this final rule, NOAA Fisheries has created a “commercial sale” endorsement for the HMS Charter/Headboat permit. Only HMS Charter/Headboat permit holders with the endorsement are permitted to sell Atlantic tunas and swordfish. Individuals with a federal commercial shark permit and Charter/Headboat permit would also need the endorsement. Those individuals that hold an HMS Charter/Headboat permit with a “commercial sale” endorsement may be categorized as commercial vessels for the purposes of USCG commercial fishing vessel safety requirements. Those vessels holding an HMS Charter/Headboat permit without a “commercial sale” endorsement would not be categorized as commercial fishing vessels and would not be subject to the USCG commercial fishing vessel safety requirements.

This notice is a courtesy to permit holders to help keep you informed about the Atlantic tuna and swordfish fisheries. For further information, contact the HMS Management Division at (301) 427-8503, or visit our websiteOfficial notice of federal fishery actions is made through filing such notice with the Office of the Federal Register.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Snowy Owl Etiquette

Snowy owls, coming down from the Arctic, can be remarkably approachable, especially young birds early in the winter. But because they are often so naive around humans, it’s easy for birders, photographers and the general public to approach them too closely. What is an exciting encounter for people can be continual — and at times even dangerous — harassment for the owl. The bird may be chased into traffic (something snowies don’t understand) and a flushed owl is liable to be attacked by another raptor like an eagle, or mobbed by crows.

Our tracking data confirms that these owls are primarily nocturnal, and when undisturbed by humans they rarely move much in the daytime. An owl flying from spot to spot in daylight usually isn’t “just moving around” like a lot of people assume, but responding to pressure and harassment, even if it’s not immediately evident to observers.

Here’s how to be a good observer:

Keep your distance.
Respect private property.
Do not feed an owl, ever.

Keep your distance.

This is the first and most important rule. Just because the owl may tolerate a fairly close approach doesn’t mean you should push the envelope. If the owl is visibly reacting to your presence — fidgeting, repeatedly staring at you, head-bobbing or changing position — you’re too close, and need to back off immediately.

Needless to say, if you’ve flushed the owl you were far too close — and you need to seriously reconsider your behavior next time.

Fortunately, a vehicle makes a terrific blind, so stay in your car whenever possible. (It’s also a lot warmer on a frigid day). Use a spotting scope and a telephoto lens, and be content to watch from a safe distance. Be patient, and if you can time your visit late in the day, when the owl typically will become more active, it may approach you, especially if you’re positioned near a favorite perch.

And watching from a distance — when you’re not interfering with the owl’s natural behavior — has its own particular rewards. Researchers spend countless hours watching owls, picking up clues to the surroundings from the owl’s behavior. Is it staring off in one direction consistently? Perhaps there is a red-tailed hawk, bald eagle or another snowy owl hidden over a rise in that direction. Has it raised itself up almost vertically, and is focused with laser intensity on one place? Get ready for it to make a lighting attack on prey.

Respect private property.

Many landowners who host snowy owls report problems with visitors ignoring common courtesy (and sometimes even obvious “No Trespassing” signs) to get close to owls. Do not cross private property without permission. And in coastal environments, snowy owls often roost in fragile dune habitat that is generally closed to foot traffic. Obey all closure or off-limits signs.

Do not feed an owl, ever.

One of the most damaging things anyone can do (usually to attract the bird for a close-up photo, but sometimes out of a misplaced belief that the owl is starving) is to feed a snowy owl. Because they have little innate fear of humans, snowy owls can very quickly become very habituated to people tossing them mice. Once they associate people with food, the owls are drawn into dangerous situations, such as swooping close to roads. They may also approach people who may harm them, either from fear and ignorance, or from malice.

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Bruce Clark to Remember When Long Beach Island ( LBI ) ...

Prior to the railroad bridge linking the mainland to LBI, this spot in Beach Haven was one of the main locations for people to reach the island. Steam boats would come to the end of Dock Road, bringing vacationers. Here is a rare photo of that wharf, which also shows the amazing sailboat activity on the bay!
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Japanese Group Calls out Government's Failure to Protect Bluefin Tuna

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Tokyo Foundation] by Masayuki Komatsu - December 5, 2017

Pacific bluefin tuna stocks have plunged to dangerously low levels, and Japanese overfishing and overconsumption are the main culprits. Yet the Japanese government seems far more concerned with the short-sighted demands of the domestic fishing industry than with sustainable management of this resource. It is time for us to take responsibility for the bluefin’s survival.

Japan’s Bluefin Binge
Tuna and tuna-like species encompass the Pacific, Atlantic, and southern bluefin, as well as the albacore, skipjack, yellowfin, and bigeye. Pacific bluefin, beloved of sushi aficionados, are known to migrate from the seas around the Philippines and Taiwan all the way to the coast of Baja California in Mexico, passing through the waters off Japan on both the Pacific and Sea of Japan sides. Because they migrate through cold water, the large bluefin accumulate considerable fat, and the fatty portions, known as o-toro and chu-toro, are especially prized by Japanese diners.

Japanese consumption of tuna goes back at least 6,000 years, as evidenced by the presence of tuna bones in shell mounds dating from the prehistoric Jomon period. Tuna and negi (green onion) soup was a popular dish in the Edo period (1603–1868). But the widespread consumption of raw tuna is a relatively recent phenomenon, going back only 30–40 years, despite the fact that it is frequently portrayed as an integral part of Japanese food culture. Until then, it was difficult to maintain the color and freshness of tuna (particularly the fatty portions, which spoil quickly) from boat to market. With the advent of quick-freezing and other cold-chain technology in the 1970s and 1980s, this hurdle was overcome, and Japanese consumers went on a binge that continues today.

The total Pacific bluefin stock is now estimated at a mere 2.6% of the unfished level. Under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), such a drop in population would ordinarily be sufficient to qualify a marine species as endangered. Yet almost no one in the Japanese government, let alone the fishing and seafood industries, seems overly concerned about the Pacific bluefin’s plight. Instead, they continue to dream up ways of evading regulation and boosting the catch further.

Blocking Scientific Debate
Multiple international organizations have called for the imposition of scientifically sound limits, such as an acceptable biological catch (ABC) or total acceptable catch (TAC), based on quantitative targets for long-term population recovery. However, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, which sets international rules for the harvesting of Pacific bluefin and other tuna species, has been slow to adopt such limits. This is largely because Japan has packed the commission’s Scientific Committee with its own scientists and chairs the Northern Committee, charged with drawing up concrete measures to manage Pacific bluefin stocks.

When it comes to bigeye, skipjack, and yellowfin, the members of the WCPFC have agreed to entrust the scientific evaluation of stock levels to an independent body—the scientific divison of the Pacific Community—and have used that data as the basis for objective deliberation of long-term management and conservation measures. Unfortunately, the management of Pacific bluefin has yet to be placed on such an independent scientific footing, and Japan has thus far obstructed the formulation of sound conservation measures.

The quotas that were instituted in 2015 based on Japan’s unilateral interpretation take as their baseline the average catch for the 2002–4 period, when the Pacific bluefin population was much larger. For young bluefin (that is, fish lighter than 30 kilograms), the quota is 4,007 tons, a 50% reduction from the 2002–4 level. For mature tuna, the catch is to remain under the 2002–4 level, 4,882 tons. Unfortunately, these quotas have no relationship to scientific reference points, a failing remarked on at a regular session of the WCPFC.

Failure of the Fisheries Agency
During the December 2016 regular session, the commission concluded that the Pacific bluefin stock had been severely depleted by fishery exploitation and that commercial fishers continued to overfish the remaining stock. It called on the Northern Committee to develop management measures for the long-term management of Pacific bluefin tuna at its 2017 meeting. That meeting was held in Busan from August 28 through September 1 this year.

Unfortunately, the proposal that Japan brought to the table (authored by the Fisheries Agency) was not merely inadequate but irresponsible. Under the plan, the catch level would be reduced only if resource surveys indicated that the probability of increasing the stock to 7% of unfished levels (up from 2.6%) by 2024 was 60% or lower. If, on the other hand, the probability of reaching that modest target was estimated at 65% or higher, catches could be expanded. Even assuming the validity of such estimates, this meant that the plan had a 35% chance of failure built into it. And even in the best case, the Pacific bluefin stock would be permitted to recover to only 7% of its original population. (By contrast, the United States proposed 20% as the rebuilding target.)

Under intense international pressure, Japan compromised slightly, agreeing to set the probability threshold at 75% instead of 65% and accepting a longer-term target of 20% recovery by 2034. Even so, Japanese negotiators succeeded in paving the way for bigger catches at a time when we really should be imposing a three-to-five-year fishing moratorium to ensure the species’ survival. This highlights the misguided priorities of the Fisheries Agency, which seems to believe that its mission is protecting the short-term profits of the fishing industry.

Commercial fishers are much the same everywhere; they want higher quotas when fish stocks are plentiful, and they want even higher quotas when fish stocks are depleted. We look to the government to take the long view and marshal science and logic to resist such short-sighted demands. The Fisheries Agency has shown itself woefully inadequate to the task.

Within the United States, environmental groups have been urging consumers and restaurants to boycott Pacific bluefin tuna and have called for the protection of the Pacific bluefin under the federal Endangered Species Act. Japanese citizens, too, need to join the chorus. There are many other varieties of tuna-like fish to choose from. It is time to remove Pacific bluefin from the menu.

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