why catch/size limits aren't enough...


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Posted by John M. on January 13, 2004 at 10:06:31:

In Reply to: NEWS: DFG to stop all new MPAs and disband working groups posted by Chris on January 13, 2004 at 09:44:37:

So today those who have opposed the creation of marine protected areas are rejoicing... while continuing their claim that all we need is traditional fisheries management and all will be well in the end. (Traditional fisheries management means things like catch and size limits.)

Here's an example of why they're full of it:

California DFG is currently considering implementing a seasonal catch limit on market squid (yes, there's that theme of mine again!). This fishery has never been managed... even though it's the #1 cash value fishery in the state. Makes sense not to manage that one, right?

There's an interim seasonal limit while they consider whether/how to manage the fishery long term. The interim limit is 125,000 short tons. In the history of the California market squid fishery*, they've exceeded 125,000 short tons only once, and that by less than 2,000 additional short tons. (*Data beginning 1927)

What does this mean? No effective limit.

So they've been studying this for several years now and the F&G Commission has been presented several alternatives for a first ever official seasonal catch limit on market squid, including one alternative preferred by the Department. These alternatives are

125,000 short tons
118,000 short tons
80,000 short tons
(and a variable by year limit)

The Department's preferred alternative is 118,000 short tons. This limit has been passed only three times in the history of the California market squid fishery. Darn close to no limit.

During the last complete market squid season (2002-2003), just under 47,000 short tons were landed in California. Do you think that a catch limit of 118,000 short tons sounds very meaningful?

The current (2003-2004) market squid season is 3/4th complete. Looking back over the past 20 years of catch data, on average about 2/3rd of the squid caught in a season are caught by the end of December. So far this season, some 34,000 short tons of market squid have been landed. Do you think that a catch limit of 118,000 short tons sounds very meaningful?

As long as the traditional fisheries management exercised in this State remains so abominably bad, we will not be OK in the long run...

Finally, why do you -- as divers -- care? Seen a good squid run lately?

As always, just a little data to think about...

John



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