Mortality

The science behind fisheries management is taking a pretty hard hit as of late, what with the most recent cod assessment and all.  Now, not only are there rumors that the Georges bank cod assessments will be even more shocking, but it seems that the yellowtail flounder that have been more and more prevalent in recent years have not arrived on schedule.  I would like to think that if the yellowtail assessments come in shockingly lower the next time around, people will finally have no choice but to point fingers at sector management. 

It will be a hard sell for the pro-sector crowd, who is becoming more and more desperate to validate their actions.  But there is something in the science that I think people might be ignoring…something that gave Days at Sea management a bad rap: bycatch mortality.

For some reason, the science considers everything a fisherman catches, whether it is kept or not, to be dead.  These numbers were figured into the science that led to allocations.  Now, fishermen (and scientists) know that not everything that goes overboard dies.  Are there people much smahtah than me that should be looking at the possibility that the discrepancy in mortality rate may have led to allocations that re-introduced overfishing into a fishery on the mend?  Perhaps by-catch in the Days at sea fishery wasn’t the 100% waste that they thought it was?  And if you consider everything that comes aboard a fishing boat to immediately be dead, how do you justify the tagging programs that have been successful for years?

personally, I have about twenty of the T-shirts they send out as rewards.  I always lie and tell them that I release the fish.  Maybe that’s the reason the numbers are off.  

And for the record, the T-shirts are starting to get a little cheap.  And while I love writing about all this regulatory stuff, I still have to please the masses:

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