Archive for May, 2012

Bizarro world

May 31, 2012

Don’t ever ask permission for anything.  Just do what you think should be right until they come and throw you in jail.  Because given the opportunity, everyone loves to say no to feel important.  This is the message that has been handed down to me from above and I will not forget or forgive. 

“Well Doug, why all the rage?”

Let me tell you, voice in my head.  This past week the boat I’ve been taking longlining has had trouble with the vms (that’s vessel monitoring system to you desk-jockeys).  I, wanting ever so much to be compliant with the law, have been calling the vms managers office in the mornings at departure time and when I finish my trip to give him the necessary information that would normally be submitted via email and vms (coincidentally enough the same information submitted by paper copy in my vessel trip report every day.  Redundant much?).  I have just been informed that this is no longer allowable and that I am grounded until we can get the machine fixed or a new one in place.  Scott, being the reliable owner that he is, has a new machine being overnighted for installment tom.  I have also been informed that the registration process can be daunting, and should the new machine not be registered by tom. afternoon I will be out of service until at least Tuesday because the folks that handle the vms registration don’t (or won’t) work on weekends.  All this coming with a new area opening tonight after a two month closure.  When you work for Swick, and consequently me, it’s almost always go time for something.  But right now is really go time.

Now, I’m going to try not to slit my own throat here.  We have to work with these people.  But are they that afraid that I’m looking to break the law?  After going out of my way all week to notify anyone who will listen about the ins and outs of my operation?  The vms managers dreams will be haunted by the sound of Scott’s voice in all of the messages he’s left him.  Not to mention, there is no problem with paying some recent college grad to puke all over the boat while counting fish we catch but the thought of paying someone to look up at the gps and ensure we are not in a closed area is just ludicrous.  And hey, maybe someone works a couple of extra hours to make sure we can get this thing done at such an important time?  I mean, I planned on working all weekend…and one of my days is longer than two of theirs. 

Just another shining example of how, despite the smiles and well-wishing; the slap on the backs and the “we want to help you’s”; and the claims that NOAA wants us to be viable small business’s the system and those it employs are here to take away.  They are not here to give back.   And the next person that informs us that “it’s not my fault, my hands are tied”  might just find themselves with their fucking hands tied. 

OOps.  Was that my out-loud voice? 

Northshorewaterman, signing off.

Bass prognosis

May 31, 2012

Every year there seems to be a push to close down commercial striped bass fishing.  Groups like Stripers Forever and many charter boat captains claim that commercial striped bass fishing will ruin the stocks and bring us back to the 80’s, when catching a striper of any size landed you on the front page of the local paper. 

In Massachusetts there is a commercial rod and reel fishery that is limited to a strictly monitored quota…once the quota is met, the fishery is shut down.  The recreational fishery in Mass brings in waaayyyy more money than is ever made selling bass, which is the major argument made by folks that want to see the fishery shut down.  But here is the flaw: recreational and charter fishermen kill a lot more fish than commercial fishermen ever will.  Now that the recreational limit is two fish per day over 28″, the number of bass taken by recs. will continue to grow.  How many fish are gut-hooked and thrown back or stuffed into freezers only to be dug out and thrown away who’s to guess. 

Now, I sell a few bass from time to time if the situation is right.  I don’t every year, and generally when I do it’s because I’m not making money elsewhere.  This fishery is not for me.  Sure, I’d be bummed if they took away the option, but it won’t be the end of the world. 

There are plenty of people who get a commercial license to sell a couple of fish a year and use all of the gear, boat stuff and dockage as a write off on their taxes.  This fishery is not for them.  Sure they’d be bummed if the option were removed, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world. 

This small commercial fishery is for the guys that dig clams; or fish a couple hundred lobster pots out of their skiff; or teach and need some summer income; or go to school and love working on the water when they are home; or were ‘removed’ from the groundfishery; or, basically, depend on the extra income yearly to add to the till.  Guys that generally know how to fish; how to target larger fish; and know how to properly release those which are too small.  These are not the guys that will be the downfall of the fishery.  But they will be effected by a shut-down in the commercial fishery.  A fishery, mind you, that never closed down even during the worst striper years. 

This all comes to mind as I just got off of the water having slayed fish up to 32″ (all released, for the record).  There seem to be plenty of dumb 28+” fish around this year to eat chunks of herring on the end of bluefish leader or swallow ten inch Rapala’s on the troll.  What I’m getting at here is stripers are retarded.  And fish under the 34″ commercial size limit are especially retarded.  People who pay for a piece of fish are not likely to throw it away.  People who keep two bass a day, more than they could ever eat and eventually stuff into freezers…well, not so much. 

If Stripers Forever and a handful of whiny charter captains want to help the population maintain the answer is simple: go back to one fish a day over 36″ for the recreational fishery.  The measure that helped restore the populations in the first place.   Make the size limit the same for the commercial guys.  Hell, if it will stop your bitching, make it 38″ for the commercial guys.  And stop making the argument that bass are often sold illegally.  Because when push comes to shove, there are way more short bass taken or over the limit trips in a recreational fishery that is hardly monitored at all (in twenty years of recreational striper fishing; guiding and commercial fishing I have never been checked by anyone for legal fish kept.  Really.)

Just my two cents.

Nice flounda

May 31, 2012

May 21, 2012

Ray LaMontagne’s ‘Crazy’ written about fishermen?

May 18, 2012

I remember when
I remember, when I lost my mind
There was something so pleasant about that  phase
Even your emotions had an echo
In so much space

And when you’re out there
Without care
I was out of touch
It wasn’t because I didn’t know enough
I just knew too much

Does that make me crazy
Does that make me crazy
Does that make me crazy
Probably

An I hope that you are having the time of your life
Oh but think twice
That’s my only advice

Come on now
Who do you
Who do you think you are
Woah Woah
Bless your soul
Do you really think that you’re in control

Well I think you’re crazy
I think you’re crazy
I think you’re crazy
Just like me, yeah

My heroes have the heart
To lose their lives out on a limb
And all I remember
Is thinking I wanna be like them

Ever since I was little it looked like fun
It was no coincidence that I’ve come
I can die when I’m done

Maybe I’m crazy
Maybe you’re crazy
Maybe we’re crazy
Probably

Background noise

May 18, 2012

It seems that everyone has an opinion about fish stocks and sustainability lately.  Naturally, in a desperate effort to hide whats actually happening, Noaa is releasing quite a bit of press on how well catch shares are working (Hate to have anyone important look foolish).  Then there are the Engo’s that have supported Janie’s work implementing catch shares.  They’ll certainly promote all of the fabulous ‘work’ they’ve done (meanwhile fill their pockets with any ol’ strip miners or do-gooders hard-earned penny).  Then of course there are the douche-bags who just love to sit around at meal-time pontificating on what one should or shouldn’t eat (this changes daily.  “don’t eat cod, its overfished.  Eat cod: it’s overfished but managed properly”.  I still can’t believe I read that last week).  You’ve got the fishermen, which are really about ten different groups, all fighting with each other over who is responsible for fishing the best under a horse-shit management plan.  And then you’ve got the general public: They just want to do the kinda right thing with as little insight as possible.  They don’t care about draft amendments to the management plan; they don’t care about possible corruption on the management council; they don’t care about projected biomass models; All they know is this: If the fish populations are in trouble there is only one group to blame: the fisherman who are cleaning out our oceans. 

There is one group of people intimately involved in the fisheries whose voice is never heard (by design): the observers.  The people who have to speak both languages: fisherman talk and management talk. 

Let me tell you why. 

90% of observers these days are recent college grads with less than two years on the job (all of the ‘tenured’ observers have been weeded out for having opinions).    Many of them where marine biology majors and have been groomed for a long time to think a certain way about the harvesting of wild seafood.  This continued in their training, where they are told things like: ‘don’t become friends with these guys’ or ‘we will want your data, not your opinions’. 

Now that there is just a small fraction of the fleet actively fishing, and a huge number of observers to cover the fleet that was fishing it seems that we have observers every day.  Talking to these young boys and girls  on a daily basis, I’m noticing some recurring themes:

1)Noaa had no idea how fast they could destroy a fleet that three years ago was thriving.  There are way too many observers and it has become a job where you could very easily only work six days a month. 

2)While data collected on a daily basis is processed quickly, it is used only to detract from the fisherman’s allocations.  There is no determining why who may be catching what where. 

3)Noaa does not care about what an observer thinks about his/her own observations.  There opinions are just background noise and if it becomes too loud, well…

And this is a shame, because the observers (as green and as young as they are most of the time) are the only ones in the management end of things out there every day witnessing what is going on.  Do fishermen alter their day-to-day operations to accommodate what an observer might see?  Absolutely.  Information that could also be useful if  anyone were to take the time to go through the data and maybe compare it to some VMS data.  That’s vessel monitoring system to the mouth-breathers. 

Now, I may regret saying this, but I’ve had some pretty good observers lately.  Young people who are cracking their brain-washed shell and making some insightful observations about not only the fishing but the management.  At the same time they are becoming more and more bitter towards the system that has, in many ways, failed them too.  Unfortunate  no one seems to care. 

Don’t get me wrong: if you puke on the boat chances are I will film you and put you on this stupid blog.

Why should you care about any of my silly ramblings? 

Don’t ask me.  Here, watch this for an hour and forget I said anything.

Been digging around in the camera.

May 15, 2012

Found some stuff.

Shore captain

May 15, 2012

I would enjoy this video a lot more if I didn’t sound like Barney from the Simpsons.  But alas, it is my cross to bear.

not bad

May 14, 2012

lmfao cover

Who ya got?

May 12, 2012

And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon all the fishes of the sea.  Into your hand they are delivered.  Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you.

                                                            Genesis 9:2

“Well the sun shines on a dogs ass every once in a while so I guess its my turn”

                                                           Capt. Phil Harris

I have got to go with Phil on this one.  Man I hope the sun stays out.