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ASMFC Meeting- Weakfish

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Rick View Drop Down
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    Posted: 30 October 2019 at 8:52am

The ASMFC is holding it's annual meeting-




Here's a blog comment on the weakfish discussion-


Weakfish

Ugh… that’s the up



As you can see, weakfish are still abysmal. The call is actually still going on But, here are some takeaways. First, weakfish are still in the situation where they are decent numbers of 1 year old and under. However, natural mortality is still extremely high.


What does this mean? Well, little weakfish are disappearing at about 11 inches. During the discussion, some really off the wall comments came up and one really good point was FINALLY inserted into the discussion.

From the off the wall department, striped bass are eating juvenile weakfish. Well, that’s been going on for… I don’t know? Since the last ice age? It is just comical to blame a predatory fish that is in a steep decline on the demise of another fish it has shared space with for millennia

A good comment was made though! There is a rather robust shrimp fishery in North Carolina. This shrimp fishery has grown substantially over the last decade. The bycatch for shrimp fisheries is very high in some areas. A good chunk of the shrimp fishing activity in North Carolina occurs in estuarian waters. Small weakfish are one of the casualties of this bycatch. Estimates of over 10 million juvenile weakfish per year are shoveled off the deck of shrimp boats in North Carolina.

Of course, you have the issue of localized menhaden depletion in the Chesapeake as well. When menhaden aren’t around in the Maryland portion of the bay, small weakfish are going to be on the menu.

Maybe it would be a great idea to curtail the menhaden harvest in the Chesapeake while actually addressing the weakfish bycatch in North Carolina rather than blaming predators for being well, predators?




Edited by Rick - 30 October 2019 at 10:26am
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NC Fisheries Management- Motto: Too Little, Too Late, Too Bad   Slogan: Shrimp On! Mission Statement: Enable Commercial Fishing At Any and All Cost, Regardless of Impact to the Resource.
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chasintrout View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chasintrout Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 October 2019 at 9:50am
Cormorants be a good thing to look at.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bakesta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 October 2019 at 10:58am
Originally posted by chasintrout chasintrout wrote:

Cormorants be a good thing to look at.

Thanks DE - oops - i mean chasin.

Why don't you check bigfoot and aliens while you are at it.


This meeting is an absolute joke.  The scientists involved are worthless.  They spend time and money to pontificate and run models but completely refuse to address the absolute obvious problem that keeps jumping on their face.


I asked one many years ago if adding 20-30 million 3 inch weakfish back into the system would make a difference and he said it would be hard to imagine that things wouldn't get  a lot better.   And then he said "but shrimp trawling is a north carolina problem and we won't touch it".

Then STAY HOME!!

If these guys were asked to fight the California wildfires they would recommend using squirt guns.

What a joke!



"Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest." --- Mark Twain
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chriselk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 October 2019 at 4:41pm
You know, this is getting old.

What do successful fisheries agencies do when there is a question of bycatch?

They put independent observers on the boats, hopefully funded by Industry   We are after all talking about taking of a public resource.

If a robust observer program were on the Pamlico Sound shrimp trawl boats, not only would we acquire rock solid data on weakfish dead discards that would unequivocally determine the extent of the problem (or not), it would provide additional critical data on other depleted stocks and endangered species.  Moreover, if those new bycatch reduction devices are so damn good, then show us.   I want proof with independent observers stationed randomly on the boats.

I know the Division is not fond of bycatch ratios, well here is an opportunity to count the absolute numbers of bycatch per boat, tow time , head rope or whatever parameter desired.

On the other hand, if we wait long enough the bycatch of depleted species will amazingly vanish, but it wont be from bycatch reduction devices, it will be because there is no more bycatch species to be caught.

The NC commercial fishing Industry has a fund designated for observer programs already.  That fund was not designated for a media campaign to tell the public about NC "Sustainable" Commercial fishing.

Enough is enough.  Bycatch matters.


Edited by chriselk - 30 October 2019 at 5:49pm
The above comments are my personal opinion and do not represent those of any organizations or agencies I may be a member of.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TomM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 October 2019 at 6:45pm
Always has . It has been an eternity of denial blaming cycles/water quality/cormorants/ rec fishing and aliens. Like menhaden in Va controlled by legs. Jones Street holds the keys. Hopegkids get to see what once was. Just takes gov and legs leaders to face the reality. No inside trawling gills . Simple right.
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