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Discussion Starter #1
That got you to click.

OK there is a major change on the table. The first of two meetings where it will be discussed is tomorrow night at 6pm. VMRC 4th floor conference room. The meeting is the VMRC Fisheries Management Advisory Committee meeting. Public comment is generally accepted during this meeting. The next meeting where the issue will be discussed and possibly enacted into regulation is the VMRC Commission meeting on Dec. 22 sometime after noon.

Two major topics. First is adjustments to the regulations concerning using Chesapeake Bay Commercial tags in the Coastal fishery. The coastal fishery was enacted just this past spring. During Feb/March timeframe there were several reports of individuals using bay tags on fish caught in coastal waters. The proposed regulation would make possession of fish with bay tags in coastal waters illegal. Exceptions would be made on a case by case bases for individuals who dock their boats in places like Rudee Inlet and who possess bay tags.

The second is changing from a tag based Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ) to a weight based ITQ. With a weight based ITQ system you would still get tags you just get more when you run out.

Currently the fishery is allocated by issuing tags that represent a share of the fishery. Each tag is good for one fish harvested. There is good and bad on both sides. These are my personal thoughts tonight.

Tag based system Good.

Easy to enforce. More than the recreational limit on the boat -- no tags and you are illegal.

Easy to transfer tags from individual to individual at any time during the season.

Quota is usually met as they estimate the number based on the previous years landings, which includes some number of unused tags.

Tagging system bad

Because each tag is worth one fish the smart business decision is to harvest the largest fish possible for each tag. This leads to high targeting and in the worst case culling dead smaller fish.

This targeting of larger fish means that the average weight goes up each year and the number of tags issued each year goes down. What used to be a share of 400 tags is now more like 200 tags.

The tagging system allows those that can move around or fish the lower part of the bay the advantage in large fish size. This is a disadvantage to the up river and pound net fishermen who generally catch smaller fish. (Grain of salt here. The pound net fishermen where historically issued about two or three times the number of tags as a gill net fisherman.)

Tagging system indifferent.

The tags have been transferred over the years either sold or rented for the season. This moved a large (?) fraction of the up river and pound net tags from to the lower bay where they catch larger fish.

By harvesting the larger fish they are generally targeting the coastal migratory stocks rater than the resident stocks thus more 18 inch fish live survive to make it into the coastal migratory stocks. (I have not figured out if this is good or bad yet. Also I do not know how it effects our quotas, etc.)

Poundage based system Good

It is fair to everyone a pound of quota in the up river areas is the same value as a pound in the lower bay areas.

Allows the watermen to spread the harvest out and not try to only harvest during the times of the year when there large fish are available.

All fish harvested are kept as they do not cost tags.

Poundage system BAD

Enforcement, enforcement, enforcement. How are they going to tell if they are over thier PERSONAL quotas.

Right now the number of tags (and thus their new poundage) issued to individuals is all over the map. People have transferred tags for a number of years. While some may have 1000 pounds of quota others may have 10,000 pounds of quota. I have no clue as to the distribution.

How/where/who is/are going to weigh in the fish. At the last Commission meeting Col. Bowman stated that in order to avoid conflict that the weigh masters should not profit by selling of fish. Who is going to pay them to do this.

To easy to avoid the weigh master system and sell direct to the consumers and restaurants. There are lots of places to land and sell fish. The way the system is currently set up they can get a ticket anywhere on the water for not having tagged fish.

I do not think that they can issue more poundage than they have overall quota. Thus those that choose or can not harvest their portion of the quota will cause the overall commercial quota to not be met.

So that is what I think at this moment. Show up tomorrow night and see what happens.

Tom
 

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See you there!!!

REmember the Devil is in the details.

If you go poundage you would need a limited point for weighing and transfering. Any place else your busted!!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
But what if they wanted to weigh the fish in on the south side of the river and take them to their truck on the north side of the river. Any weigh master that was at a waterfront location would most certainly have to allow the fish to be brought to and from via a boat.

Tom
 

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Tom -

Many thanks for sharing/posting this info, and your insights -- please keep us updated...

- Chris

[I cannot make it to the meeting from up here :( ]
 

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The only way that would work would be the fish are sold and removed from the boat(cutting out many wholesaler's).
I will try and be there a few minutes early.
 
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