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Monty Hawkins Fishing Report
Friday, April 5, 2019

Greetings All,
Went on up to DC a couple days. Had some fishy business on my mind—Thoughts I needed to share with my Senators and Congressman. Also spent a day touring with guide extraordinaire Tracy Dunaway—She’s seriously good at what she does.
The meetings with DC staffers went very well also. Those folks are professional.
Not many people get it, but we are getting hammered by MRIP’s catch estimates.
I see NY had close to 2 million pounds of cod recently ..but only a couple thousand pounds were caught by Party/Charter. What’s the chance 1.6 M lbs of cod crossed recreational docks from Private Boats in hearty winter weather, and their Partyboat fleet didn’t get in on it..
Zero. There’s no chance that happened. NY’s For-Hire guys TOLD NOAA how many cod they caught. The entirety of that 1.7 million pounds of Private Boat catch is 99.9% statistical illusion - a farce actually.
Then too there’s the recent hub-bub over striped bass. Teeny-tiny tip of that iceberg.. In 2017 MRIP has MA & CT at nearly a million pounds of shore catch while Rhode Island’s shore landings were only 3/4 of a million - but get this - here’s the “Average Size” of those shore-caught stripers.. CT 19.6 lbs - MA 33.4 lbs - RI 33.8 lbs..
And the grand prize for “Average” Shore caught stripers is RI in 2018 at 45.1 lbs!
Or how about when Maryland Shore anglers caught more than 3 years worth of MD Party/Charter sea bass, and they “Averaged” 1.4 lbs apiece — From Shore!
In Delaware last year sea bass caught from Shore ‘averaged’ 1.9 lbs!
All these ‘estimates’ turn into pounds counted against our recreational quotas. That’s always been the case.
Now MRIP’s Recreational Catch Estimates have grown so bad, they’re influencing species population estimates. “Well” sez Mr Fisheries Scientist, “If they caught THAT many fish, then our population estimate number here needs to be a LOT BIGGER.”
That’s why commercial fishers just had a 49% increase in their summer Flounder (Fluke) quota - and we recreationals got nothing. We’re already catching ours, you see....
Maybe you don’t see.
A lot of people don’t.
It’s going to take a heck of a lot more than just me going to Congress to complain.
There is No Recreational Marine Species that’s not affected by MRIP’s estimates.
Management has quite nearly completely lost faith in the data. If we will not write & call our State Fisheries and Congressional Representatives, NOAA will never change them.
At the rate they’re increasing our catch, we’ll soon have 90+% of our quota caught only on a computer, and Commercial interests mopping up all their increased quotas.
It’s been happening a long time. Now it’s getting worse every year.
For more info read Fish Report 3/27/19 at Morningstarfishing.com
We forced change with the 2007 re-write of Magnuson Stevens. NOAA made a change alright - a sharp smelly stick right in our eye.
Needs fixing.
Letters to Congress only thing I see that might work.
Tell Congress MRIP needs a way to TEST their data. A way to truth it.
And soon!

Capt. Monty Hawkins
Partyboat Morning Star

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