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Me and Freedom headed on down to Galloway bright and early this morning for the weakfish portion of the ASMFC meeting at the Seaview Mariott. As many know, Addendum 1 to Amendment 4 was on the table for discussion. Anything from a complete moratorium to status quo was a possibility.

Addendum 1 was adopted, but the crucial portion, re stricter regs, was deferred to a later date pending a review of the stock assessment. Apparently enough uncertainty exists that such a move was able to muster enough votes. Also, a motion passed to begin taking biological samples, stomach contents etc to establish species interactions. Of course, it won't happen right away, but sources of funding etc. will begin to be looked at.

Additionally, some good questions arose ( and are being pondered) regarding the management process;

1. Are the biomass reference threshholds valid? In other words, how many (or who knows) weakfish should exist at any given time? For instance, how do we establish the number of say, croakers, that should be in a population at any given time??

2. What should managers do when a specie is in a cyclical decline? ie mortality is non-fishing related.

3. How far do regulations go when it's certain that regulations won't restore a biomass alone?
There are a good many people who will bear a severe financial burden for essentially no benefit.

Interesting meeting. Saw a bunch of NJ reps there, RFA, JCAA, Russ Allen, and of course the rest of our reps to the ASMFC. Doc Kray, good seeing you again
 

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Thanks For That Update Phil,Appreciated...
 

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Originally posted by TWIN D'S:
Also, a motion passed to begin taking biological samples, stomach contents etc to establish species interactions. Of course, it won't happen right away, but sources of funding etc. will begin to be looked at.
Most States, including NJ already have alot of that data. Of course they'd rather make a new wheel.
 

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Bob, NJ doesn't have that data, wish we did! One of the things that we were concerned about was that data from VA was substituted for NJ's data.
 

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Seabear is right; NJ (and many other states don?t have the data. Anytime a state has data it makes the whole conservation equivalency process go much better for that state. If NJ had that data maybe the assessment would have gone a lot differently.

I?m just not sure how it?s going to be peer reviewed by Feb?
 

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Huh?

I believe it was Russ Allen, I'll double check, who gave the RFAPA an hour long presentation on the NJ's data on weakfish feeding and growth patterns for the last 20+ years. Basically 20 years ago the fish were much bigger for their age and feed 80% on bunker. Now the fish are much smaller for their age and only consume 20% bunker. Hmmmm, I wonder if that means something?

Let me know and I'll see if the State of NJ can give the same presentation to the ASMFC. Maybe the Tec committee could learn something about weakfish
It was very informative.

[ 11-02-2005, 11:54 PM: Message edited by: Bob ECT ]
 

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Humm? a reduction in both growth rates and weight at age by 20% is pretty substantial. It would be great if age data from NJ was also included. And gut contents data would be more then welcome. Pass the data along when you get it. I?m sure ASMFC can and will be learning many things the next few months!

[ 11-03-2005, 12:57 AM: Message edited by: MDC ]
 

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20% refers to their bunker diet.

When comparing age scales with weight and length data, today's weakfish are noticably smaller. Just might have to do with the large change in their diet patterns.

NJ did an hour long presentation for us, I'm sure they could do the same for the ASMFC. I'm also sure other States have the same if not more data. I guess that would put some people out of work though. Gov't at it's best.

[ 11-03-2005, 11:03 AM: Message edited by: Bob ECT ]
 

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I'm not positive, but I think he might have been referring to stomach content analysis done in CB. The diet of weakfish has shifted. The younger weakfish (1 & 2 year old) diet consists mostley of crustaceans and the older fish diet consists mainly of fish, bay anchovy is one of the big ones. Now we are seeing older fish with a diet mainly of crustaceans, which might indicate a forage problem.
 

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You guys are making me hungry.

Phil, it was good to see you and Freedom at the meeting. I thought we would have more.

Ed, great job of hosting the ASMFC. I hope to use the ARC dehooker to good use on stripers.At the banquet on Tuesday, Gil Ewing sat with us. I first met Gil about 20 years ago when he mated for Eddie Roach on a shark trip we took out of Bree Zee Lee. After catching about 6 or 7 blue sharks, it was my turn in the chair when a 272 lb. Mako hooked up. I got it to the boat, Gil grabbed the leader and it took off. I was out of gas and tried to hand the rod off to one of my two buddies, but they refused, so Gil brought it in for the second time. That is the biggest fish I have ever caught....Gene
 

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Gene, glad to hear you enjoyed yourself. I'm sure there were a lot of fish stories flying around the room that night! Looks like we still have a big job ahead of us with Weakfish and fluke.
 
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