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Discussion Starter #1
Apparently North Carolina informed the council that it was not going to enforce the closure, so the boundry moved south to the North Caroilna/South Carolina border. South Carolina weighed in and theborder moved further south to theSouth Carolina/Georgia border.

http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2010/mar/05/ban-may-be-heading-south/<H1>Bottom fishing ban may be heading south</H1><H2>Feds aim to move closed area to Georgia-S.C. border</H2><H6 class=storybyline sizcache="1" sizset="143">By Bo Petersen </H6><DIV id=byline_source>The Post and Courier</DIV><DIV class=pubdate>Originally published 12:00 a.m., March 5, 2010
Updated 09:27 a.m., March 5, 2010
Snapper and grouper fishing might have just opened up again. </DIV><DIV class=story_body sizcache="1" sizset="144" jQuery1268083850150="6">

On Thursday, federal regulators moved farther south their preferred option for closing an offshore bottom-fishing area. If adopted, the closed area would end at roughly the Georgia-South Carolina border. The former preferred option ran the closure all the way to North Carolina. It would have closed off any bottom fishing in the prime grounds off South Carolina. <DIV class="inline inline_photo inline-left " sizcache="1" sizset="144"><P class=thumbnail sizcache="1" sizset="144"></DIV>

The alternative will be reviewed for its impact on restoring red snapper and could get a final vote in June. But a decision might not come before a new stock assessment is finished in December. A temporary bottom- fishing ban remains in place for the winter spawning season.

"I'm not happy about it. We are where we are," said Duane Harris, a Georgia charter boat captain who is chairman of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, the group that voted for the option change.

"I think it's simply a matter that the folks in South Carolina and North Carolina didn't believe the area needed to be that large. I think we'll revisit the matter (in June)," he said.

"Clearly the public outcry from the South Carolina General Assembly, coastal town and counties, fishermen, and businesses had a significant effect on the outcome of the council vote. The unanimity of the S.C. Fishery Council members was vital to the outcome," said council member Tom Swatzel, a Murrells Inlet deep-sea charter fisherman.

The snapper, and its fellow bottom-dwelling grouper, are the prize restaurant entrees in the Lowcountry and a sought-after catch by commercial, charter and recreational anglers. The earlier closure threatened to remove the fresh catches and decimate saltwater fishing, which is championed as $600 million per year industry in the state. The actions come after several thousand anglers rallied in Washington last week to oppose the closure, and federal and South Carolina legislators are moving to stop it. <DIV class="inline text_inline inline-left " sizcache="1" sizset="145"><H4 class=title>Council scientists say the closure is needed to restore a depleted fishery. Anglers dispute the fish count data as an incomplete, spotty sampling of a fishery that spans from North Carolina to the Florida Keys. </H4></DIV>

They say the laws are putting people out of business and keeping pleasure boats off the water for no good reason.

The new option doesn't resolve their dilemma. The boats tend to fish south in warmer waters when winter slows fishing offshore. Anglers frankly say the new closure will push Georgia anglers into South Carolina waters, putting more pressure on the fishery here.

But it's one heavy chain pulled off their boats.

"At least now they realize the impact of what they proposed to do, not just to the fishermen, but the economy of the state," said Wes Covington, of Norway, a recreational bottom fisherman.

"If we can get that, that's wonderful," said Mark Marhefka, a Shem Creek captain who is one of the last commercial fishermen operating out of the Charleston area, who spoke while taking a break from removing a blown engine from the Amy Marie.

"Any little thing is better than (the alternative) they had up there. But whatever they close, the boats in that area will be coming to your town soon," he said.

Harris agreed that was likely.

"The guys up in Savannah who fish off head boats and charter boats can fish off South Carolina," he said. But he doesn't expect charter boats farther south to make the trip.

Council regulators are turning from years of catch limits and season restrictions as they grapple for ways to enforce a revision of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act that says that within one year of determining a fish stock is depleted, overfishing must be stopped in that region of the ocean.

The red snapper population is estimated to be only 3 percent of what it was in 1945; the red grouper is about 21 percent of previous levels.

But the decisions are being made as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration proposes new guidances for assessing fish stocks. A new, somewhat more rigorous stock assessment of the snapper-grouper fishery is due to be finished by December. That might give regulators more to work with.

"Hopefully it will paint a much more realistic picture. We won't have to have such a dire closure," Covington said.


Reach Bo Petersen at 937-5744 or [email protected].</DIV>
 

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Hey Mark,

"The red snapper population is estimated to be only 3 percent of what it was in 1945..."

Question: How do they know what the size of the stock was in 1945? I don't believe there were any assessments until 1978 or later - correct?

Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Mr. Hilton,

The 3% of the 1945 populations sounds like an Environmental group propaganda number to me.

Mark
 

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Nice, once again anyone who reads that propaganda will be mislead. I do hope that folks realize that what they see on the news or read in the paper isnt always the real story.

On a lighter note its nice to see that we arent the only ones getting the shaft.
 

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Well, that took about 5 minutes to debunk.....

Information derived from otoliths can be misleading if the otoliths that serve as the basis for an age study do not accurately represent the population that is being assessed. For SEDAR 15-SAR 1, otoliths were collected from snapper captured by both recreation al and commercial anglers, as well as from a fishery-independent study. The otolith sample size is large (7,324), but the question of whether it is representative of the red snapper population remains unanswered. No information is provided in the assessment on where the samples were taken, either geographically or in terms of fishing habitat (reefs vs. sandy bottoms, etc.). Additionally, the earliest otolith samples came from fish caught in 1977, whereas SEDAR 15-SAR 1 shows the population age structure of red snapper going back to 1945. How is this possible?

The SEDAR team took recent data and extrapolated backward:banghead, thereby estimating what they believe the population's age distribution looked like in earlier years. In other words<SPAN id=Tp6 class=hint> Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently , questionable data were used as the basis for estimating population age structure at earlier times, and the snapper age structure given in SEDAR 15-SAR 1 may have no basis in reality.

Still, the SEDAR 15-SAR 1 age calculations are used as if they are accurate population statistics and, since these estimates suggest a population containing much older red snapper than exist in recent times, the current population structure appears to indicate a reason for considerable concern. However, anecdotal information suggests that this conclusion may well be incorrect. Individual fish, which, based on their sizes, are older than ten years are present in the current red snapper population, and are taken on a frequent basis by some anglers--but these fish do not occur everywhere. If one samples the wrong areas, the likelihood of catching an older, large red snapper is slim. The SEDAR assessment does not adequately cover the origins of the otoliths studied.

Well, no kidding......:hoppingmad
 

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This is what I got back from the reporter.<SPAN class=550401019-09032010>Hey, sir.</DIV><SPAN class=550401019-09032010></DIV><SPAN class=550401019-09032010>The numbers came from <SPAN id=lw_1268186623_0 class=yshortcuts>National Marine Fisheries Service stock assessments under various heading, including SEDAR. I'm not sure of the dates.</DIV><SPAN class=550401019-09032010></DIV><SPAN class=550401019-09032010><SPAN style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #0066cc 1px dashed; CURSOR: hand" id=lw_1268186623_1 class=yshortcuts>Bo Petersen</DIV></DIV>




Reporter
The Post and Courier
Charleston, SC
843 937 5744

I sent him back what I posted above about the SEDAR, and provided him a source.
 
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