GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Letters/My View

February 4, 2013

Letter: Clueless research drives NOAA's 'science'

To the editor:

I’m sure some people don’t have a clue how the science of fish stocks and all these decisions are mostly made of.

Here’s some input on how NOAA determines its so-called science, which has put thousands of fisherman out of work and ruined other jobs related jobs to the industry — probably thousands of jobs overall.

Years ago, NOAA actually had a well known Gloucester fishing captain go on a trip and observe what they do.

They picked spots via computer, to make 30-40 minute tows. But many times, they were trying spots that there was known not to be any fish to start with — areas that fisherman wouldn’t fish that time of year.

At one related point, they were along side of a fishing boat a quarter of the research vessel’s size and couldn’t even compete with that boat in catch. The fisherman on the research vessel found its cables to be 8 feet off, so the net was distorted to start with, and it had so many floats that the net wasn’t even tending bottom.

They were fishing for flounders with 15-inch rollers, with ground cable between the net and doors amounting to 10-fathoms total. For flounder, boats use anywhere from 30 to probably as high as 80 fathom ground cables between the net and doors, as this funnels the flounder in the middle and the net comes up and scoops them in. A net not tending bottom has next to no chance of catching flounder, which bury themselves in the sand and mud.

The crew’s demeanor to the fisherman’s input was an “I don’t care attitude.” as they were just sampling, and the faster they got off the deck, the better they liked it. They were getting paid by our tax dollars no matter what.

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