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-   -   The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery (http://www.spearboard.com/showthread.php?t=200021)

fishkilla 03-09-2020 07:29 AM

The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fishkilla

i think there are multiple contributors to the collapse of the grouper fishery in the Gulf.

Red Tide

Overfishing

Loss of Habitat / Water Quality

i think the fisheries biologists and fishermen who have fished for years are willing to admit the gulf and for that matter the south atlantic grouper fishery is in a state of collapse. the gulf council and the NMFS do not want to admit how bad it is due to their incompetence. catch shares was suppose to keep our fisheries healthy but since 2015 it has been a steady and sharp decline in landings. i don't think the gulf can sustain such large scale recreational and commercial fishing any longer. at the current state of regulation there is no come back coming.


Originally Posted by Moose

When you say ďgrouper fisheryĒ you are painting with an extremely broad stroke and I couldnít disagree more. Gags have been on the upswing ever since the implementation of catch shares and TAC limits and aside from my extensive personal observations The NMFS agrees and has continued to expand recreational seasons even with the increase of the recreational fleet. Right now itís harder to find a piece of bottom without keeper gags than with so Iím not sure where you are coming from on this.

Red grouper on the other hand has been negatively impacted not by overfishing but by repetitive red tide events dating back to 2014. I would assume these may be landing numbers you are referring to. You also have to consider weather events like the multiple hurricanes that have impacted the GOM over the last five years during peak fishing seasons that also contribute to reduced landings for both recreational and commercial. I agree red grouper are in trouble and in need of additional restrictions but itís not a harvest issue but an environmental one.

Now letís talk about the east coast grouper fishery and how seasonal rally fishing has worked out. With only about 1/16th of the viable grouper habitat shelf the grouper stocks have plummeted to the point that trip limits have finally been implemented. Still, no limit of commercial trips taken and little to reliable catch data. Fishery managers have seriously dropped the ball on the east coast by not implementing a catch share program and the gag, red, and other shallow water grouper stocks have suffered from it. Catch shares brought the gag fishery back from the brink in the Gulf. It got rid of the part time sporty commercials that the South Atlantic fishery managers still allow.

The Gulf fishery management is certainly not perfect but is light years ahead of limited entry rally fishing and actually has a good record of protecting the fishery while still allowing reasonable access to both recreational and commercial users.


.

fishkilla 03-09-2020 08:16 AM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
Lets do the math. Arithmetic does not lie.

the only hard numbers we get are from the commercial industry the recreational estimates are at best disseminated from witch craft. :D


here is where i'm getting my data from https://portal.southeast.fisheries.n...wanceTable.pdf

let's start with gags

Commercial Landings

2010 - 35%
2011 - 74%
2012 - 92%
2013 - 81%
2014 - 70%
2015 - 57%
2016 - 97%
2017 - 52%
2018 - 52%
2019 - 56%

as of right now 2020 is on target to do about 50% of the TAC (total allowable catch)

when i get back from my trip i will go more into depth about these numbers and i will also share my catch decline and the decline of the lease price of Gag grouper allocation.

with the Gag grouper wholesale price around $6 to $7 a lb whole fish gutted, either there are not enough commercial fishermen catching Gag grouper or there are not enough Gag grouper to catch. i agree with the later.

Gary H 03-09-2020 09:46 AM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
Has the TAC been the same from 2010 - 2019? If not, the percentages don't paint an accurate picture.

fishkilla 03-09-2020 10:01 AM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
TAC has been the same since 2015

captadam123 03-09-2020 07:30 PM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
The gag fishery for us has been better and better every year. Hard to remember over the past 3 seasons when we didnt limit.

jfjf 03-09-2020 09:44 PM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
I don't really have an opinion, but you can't look at the percentage of the TAC landed without looking at the TAC Total allowable catch itself.

The TAC (in lbs) varied greatly over the time period tabulated. They would need to be examined in conjunction with each other to begin to understand the situation.

fishkilla 03-10-2020 07:16 AM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
i remember when we didn't have seasons and the daily bag limit was 5.

fishkilla 03-10-2020 07:31 AM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
Gag Commercial Landings Gutted Whole Weight in LBS

2010 - 496,826
2011 - 318,663
2012 - 523,138
2013 - 575,335
2014 - 586,362
2015 - 542,774
2016 - 910,996
2017 - 492,095
2018 - 492,934
2019 - 532,015

why would commercial fishermen leave half of the quota on the table for the past 3 years? we don't want to make a big paycheck? i can't shoot what i don't see.



.

SEATUX 03-10-2020 08:01 AM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by fishkilla (Post 2195843)
Gag Commercial Landings Gutted Whole Weight in LBS

2010 - 496,826
2011 - 318,663
2012 - 523,138
2013 - 575,335
2014 - 586,362
2015 - 542,774
2016 - 910,996
2017 - 492,095
2018 - 492,934
2019 - 532,015

why would commercial fishermen leave half of the quota on the table for the past 3 years? we don't want to make a big paycheck? i can't shoot what i don't see.



.

Come On now...You believe all commercial fisherman accurately report there catch? :rolleyes:
But we wont go there!

Gary H 03-10-2020 08:33 AM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by fishkilla (Post 2195843)
Gag Commercial Landings Gutted Whole Weight in LBS

2010 - 496,826
2011 - 318,663
2012 - 523,138
2013 - 575,335
2014 - 586,362
2015 - 542,774
2016 - 910,996
2017 - 492,095
2018 - 492,934
2019 - 532,015

why would commercial fishermen leave half of the quota on the table for the past 3 years? we don't want to make a big paycheck? i can't shoot what i don't see.



.

The Gag Grouper numbers look consistent other than 2016.

I am not a commercial fisherman in the Gulf, so don't know the basic regulations, but what species are included in the TAC? Also, are Gag the primary species taken?

kwyoungspear 03-10-2020 11:56 PM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by fishkilla (Post 2195843)
Gag Commercial Landings Gutted Whole Weight in LBS

2010 - 496,826
2011 - 318,663
2012 - 523,138
2013 - 575,335
2014 - 586,362
2015 - 542,774
2016 - 910,996
2017 - 492,095
2018 - 492,934
2019 - 532,015

why would commercial fishermen leave half of the quota on the table for the past 3 years? we don't want to make a big paycheck? i can't shoot what i don't see.



.

I don’t get it. You said in your original post that the grouper fisheries in collapsing and in a steady and sharp decline. The data your postings doesn’t support that.

I think there is a pretty simple answer to your question on why fisherman are only catching 50% of the TAC. as you stated, the TAC was raised in 2015, TAC is a made up number derived from a formula. Obviously the TAC is set too high.

100days-a-year 03-11-2020 05:17 AM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
Catch shares only concentrate the profits , they have nothing to do with the health of a fishery.Fisheries are best managed with spawning closures and TAC adjustments. Thankfully the commercial guys here on the Atlantic side are mostly not stupid enough to buy that catch shares line. There are fewer boats actually fishing on this side as well, hard to find anyone under 40 with a work ethic.

sharpshooter 03-11-2020 06:33 AM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
Ben, you remember the gag limit of 5 per person per day. When, I started spearing it was 10 per person per day. Everything was open year round. Even back in The Holy- Spear It days we never thought of a trigger fish closed season. Thru the years its been less fish catch allowed and longer fish lengths with closed seasons. Back when I started. Everyone thought we'd never exhaust the fish supply. I had a Sitex paper machine and Loran C had recently come out after Loran A. Now a days you can just about see a shrimp walking on the bottom with the modern electronics. No fishing chip maps either. You burned the fuel and your time to find spots. We could fillet our fish on the boat and dump the guts on the last fishing spot to feed the reef fish. I'm just wondering when we'll have a limit and season on grunts.

kmoose 03-11-2020 06:41 AM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by fishkilla (Post 2195804)
with the Gag grouper wholesale price around $6 to $7 a lb whole fish gutted, either there are not enough commercial fishermen catching Gag grouper or there are not enough Gag grouper to catch. i agree with the later.

The math is simple. The number of commercial fishermen is steadily declining causing fewer trips. Less trips = less catch = quota price drops. With TAC remaining the same due to healthy stocks = less percentage caught due to less fishing.

If you are going to post your catch history as proof of declined gag stocks, make sure you include the number of trips Per year to divide it by as well as the number of working crew per trip and the number of days per trip. Accurate mathematical assumptions require all the factors of the equation.;)

kwyoungspear 03-11-2020 02:26 PM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by 100days-a-year (Post 2195878)
Catch shares only concentrate the profits , they have nothing to do with the health of a fishery.Fisheries are best managed with spawning closures and TAC adjustments. Thankfully the commercial guys here on the Atlantic side are mostly not stupid enough to buy that catch shares line. There are fewer boats actually fishing on this side as well, hard to find anyone under 40 with a work ethic.

Agreed with the spawning closures.

I'm RIGHT HERE!!! lol how is the diving up there in July, September-early November? Those are the months I need to find somewhere else in the SA to dive.

gcracker89 03-16-2020 06:29 PM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
Question
Have there not been length increases in this time period, would that not reduce poundage?
>>One year it a legal fish and the next its not and you have to throw it back???

Spear One 03-17-2020 07:25 AM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by gcracker89 (Post 2196106)
Question
Have there not been length increases in this time period, would that not reduce poundage?
>>One year it a legal fish and the next its not and you have to throw it back???

I think the Gag limit has been 24” for commercial guys for quite some time. However, I believe there has been several adjustments to Red Grouper in the recent past.

kwyoungspear 03-21-2020 09:42 AM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by fishkilla (Post 2195804)
Lets do the math. Arithmetic does not lie.

the only hard numbers we get are from the commercial industry the recreational estimates are at best disseminated from witch craft. :D


here is where i'm getting my data from https://portal.southeast.fisheries.n...wanceTable.pdf

let's start with gags

Commercial Landings

2010 - 35%
2011 - 74%
2012 - 92%
2013 - 81%
2014 - 70%
2015 - 57%
2016 - 97%
2017 - 52%
2018 - 52%
2019 - 56%

as of right now 2020 is on target to do about 50% of the TAC (total allowable catch)

when i get back from my trip i will go more into depth about these numbers and i will also share my catch decline and the decline of the lease price of Gag grouper allocation.

with the Gag grouper wholesale price around $6 to $7 a lb whole fish gutted, either there are not enough commercial fishermen catching Gag grouper or there are not enough Gag grouper to catch. i agree with the later.


Are you going to go more in depth and defend your claim? Iím really bored and vaguely interested in what you see that other apparently arenít.

kywestfreediver 03-23-2020 03:03 PM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
Does the lease price play into it all in your minds? I used to commercial dive the gulf a lot on my dad's boat, more to pay for the trips not make a business. But it was more profitable to fill the boat with mangrove snapper than it was to target gag grouper, plus a lot easier in the dirty gulf water in the keys.

salvor6 04-07-2020 08:34 PM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
One reason you see less gag grouper is because of the goliath grouper. They eat all the gags. There are so many of them out in the Gulf and they are HUGE! We need a fishing season on goliath grouper to thin the heard.

grey2112 04-08-2020 07:54 AM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by salvor6 (Post 2196986)
One reason you see less gag grouper is because of the goliath grouper. They eat all the gags. There are so many of them out in the Gulf and they are HUGE! We need a fishing season on goliath grouper to thin the heard.

Heard of what?

fishkilla 11-25-2020 07:39 AM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
1 Attachment(s)
thoughts on lack of landings? price for fish is still high.







.

sharpshooter 11-25-2020 06:26 PM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
Weather for 2020 hasn't been the greatest either for going offshore. For lots of people 2020 hasn't been a great year at all.

CuzzA 11-25-2020 06:40 PM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
Well when the government shuts down all the restaurants due to the Chinese Virus there's not going to be a whole lot of demand.

I see lots of gags often, if we rolled back father time to when an 18" gag was legal no one would be complaining there aren't any gags.

Nevertheless, until we have a recreational reporting system no one knows what's being harvested, but recreational harvest is likely far more than commercial.

sharpshooter 11-26-2020 07:07 AM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
I'm aging myself here. I can remember gags being open all year and the per person limit was 10. I think the size limit was either 16" or even after it was raised to 18". I'd go on the Grounds Creeper aka Grounds Keeper out of Johns Pass on 2 day MG spearing trips with Jimmy Fentress of Jim's Dive Shop. Everybody had 2 or 3 of the 150 quart coolers in their vehicles to put their harvest in upon return. People thought the ocean was an endless supply.

fishkilla 11-26-2020 07:51 AM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
jose you and i ran plenty of charters to the Grounds in the early 2000's and put a pretty big dent into that 1000 lb box almost every time with a bunch of rec shooters.

sharpshooter 11-26-2020 08:04 AM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
Ben, that's true. We even had some guys from the other coast complain on one trip after we returned and docked. That they didn't shoot enough fish after filling their coolers. One of their guys drove to Walmart to buy another 150 qt. cooler. To put the rest of the fish in. I miss those days on the Holy Spear It.

kmoose 11-30-2020 03:48 PM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by fishkilla (Post 2201412)
thoughts on lack of landings? price for fish is still high.
.

Record number of tropical storms, covid crushing market demand, Bull shark population explosion. Is this a trick question?:rolleyes:

Go take a look at rec trip reports on THT and Fakebook. Sportys finally got a weather break last weekend and clobbered gags in 20' to 150'.

A good friend of mine always said "everyone has an agenda that usually equates to $$$$ when they proclaim to know the current state of the fisheries and what should be done."

CuzzA 12-01-2020 06:49 PM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by kmoose (Post 2201453)
Record number of tropical storms, covid crushing market demand, Bull shark population explosion. Is this a trick question?:rolleyes:

Go take a look at rec trip reports on THT and Fakebook. Sportys finally got a weather break last weekend and clobbered gags in 20' to 150'.

A good friend of mine always said "everyone has an agenda that usually equates to $$$$ when they proclaim to know the current state of the fisheries and what should be done."

I wonder how many reef permits aren't even being fished and just held as an investment knowing that with no new permits being issued time and population will drive demand and continue to make them more valuable.

kwyoungspear 12-01-2020 08:59 PM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by CuzzA (Post 2201467)
I wonder how many reef permits aren't even being fished and just held as an investment knowing that with no new permits being issued time and population will drive demand and continue to make them more valuable.

https://portal.southeast.fisheries.n..._SEROFinal.pdf

This link has all the data to answer your question

kwyoungspear 12-01-2020 09:18 PM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by kmoose (Post 2201453)
Record number of tropical storms, covid crushing market demand, Bull shark population explosion. Is this a trick question?:rolleyes:

Just a few minor things

CuzzA 12-02-2020 08:46 PM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
2 Attachment(s)
A lot of data to look at.

A couple that stood out.

fishkilla 12-03-2020 08:36 AM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
i've caught about half of my Gag allocation for the year and 1/10th of the Red Grouper allocation. either i've lost my ability to find and shoot fish or there aren't near the amount of fish to shoot as used to be.

i remember just 10 years ago the entire bottom around the rock piles i dive swarming with mostly undersized gags. i haven't seen anything like that for a long time.

kwyoungspear 12-03-2020 04:34 PM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by fishkilla (Post 2201487)
i've caught about half of my Gag allocation for the year and 1/10th of the Red Grouper allocation. either i've lost my ability to find and shoot fish or there aren't near the amount of fish to shoot as used to be.

i remember just 10 years ago the entire bottom around the rock piles i dive swarming with mostly undersized gags. i haven't seen anything like that for a long time.

I’m sorry to hear that, I don’t know where you dive and don’t dive there so
I can’t say otherwise.

However the numbers you posted about total gag poundage don’t really support your claim of a sharp and steady decline over a 10 year period. The numbers don’t really shock me at all and make complete sense when you add in factors like less commercial fisherman, active storm seasons, red tide, and this years economic downturn due to COVID.

kwyoungspear 12-03-2020 04:38 PM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
Where do you dive and what depths normally? I know red tide has put a hurting on inshore fisheries. The guys I know that dive in the deeper waters of SWFL seem to be constantly killing it and make me feel like diving in a kitty pool down here in the keys, and I’ve had the best year of diving in my life.

kmoose 12-10-2020 07:57 AM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by kwyoungspear (Post 2201490)
Iím sorry to hear that, I donít know where you dive and donít dive there so
I canít say otherwise.

However the numbers you posted about total gag poundage donít really support your claim of a sharp and steady decline over a 10 year period. The numbers donít really shock me at all and make complete sense when you add in factors like less commercial fisherman, active storm seasons, red tide, and this years economic downturn due to COVID.

I dive hatch to Homosassa and the only different thing I have been seeing in grouper population is where they have been concentrating. The last two years have been bumper populations in much shallower water with the largest concentration in the 35-40' even throughout the summer when I specifically hunt 70-100'.

Fish have fins and they go where they are happy for whatever reason. The sharks in 60+' have exploded in population which could have an affect in the depths where most commercial divers fish. The ones I know have definitely been complaining how sharks have impacted their ability to harvest.

We also have to consider the big bend is still recovering from the last red tide event. The Hatch was especially hard hit and is taking the longest to recover. The good news is that hogs are in good numbers as well as juvenile red grouper. I am even taking keeper scamp in as shallow as 55'.

While I have certainly seen gags in worst shape over the past 20 years up here, I have seen them better too. The current fishery management seems to be working in for most species well enough to sustain a viable fishery even with the exponential growth of the recreational sector but may need adjustment as soon as a better method of recording actual recreational harvest is mandated and achieved.

If you are not finding fish at the same old spots..... well it's time to dust off #s you haven't been to in a couple of years or spend the evenings searching for new spots. I had great luck this year doing so on spots I haven't visited in years as they were not big producers at the time. I was super surprised when my bottom screen lit up and found during the dive the spot had evolved and was holding good fish. Everything in the GOM is constantly changing and if you want to stay productive you have to make some changes at the helm.

fishkilla 12-13-2020 11:48 AM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by kmoose (Post 2201587)
If you are not finding fish at the same old spots..... well it's time to dust off #s you haven't been to in a couple of years or spend the evenings searching for new spots. I had great luck this year doing so on spots I haven't visited in years as they were not big producers at the time. I was super surprised when my bottom screen lit up and found during the dive the spot had evolved and was holding good fish. Everything in the GOM is constantly changing and if you want to stay productive you have to make some changes at the helm.

I do appreciate your optomism about the gulf of mexico fishery. as far as numbers i'm willing to bet $1,000 that i have 95% of the numbers in the NE gulf. there aren't any super secret wrecks, ledges, or rock piles that pop up on my sidescan machine. i've been running it non stop for 4 years now. i do find old loran numbers that i have acquired from old timers but i have never found a ledge or rock that i didn't have some sort of gps mark for. i have one wreck that i found 2 years ago that looks like a casualty from the hurricane that hit the panhandle. it's a big cat sail boat sitting in 90ft that was either intentionally sunk or got pulled off a dock and sunk. it still has it's bottom paint on it, rigging and some teak. my first dive 2 summers ago i shot 6 gags off of it and the amount of mature 10+ lb red snapper on it was staggering. there even was a jewfish that had made a home in one of the cracked hulls. i figured next year it would be amazing for gags. we dove it in May this year, traditionally where i dive the best month for gags for me. that dive this year the amount of red snappers was almost too much to visually handle. i shot 4 gags.

from 40 ft to 90 ft it's the same story. very few mature fish and hardly any undersized gags. nothing compared to 10 years ago. the story is the same at the fish house where there full time grouper boats are landing mostly 18 inch red groupers and targeting beelines. (i remember when we used to use beeliners for big red grouper bait) the amount of gags being landed might be the same over the last 4 years but i know on my end the effort has gone way up. longer trips and more dive locations. places that we used to shoot a dozen gags we shoot 2. we used to dive 25 spots on a trip now we dive 50. the price for fish is still high and there is no reason for a good fisherman to leave money on the table.

there is still 499,000 lbs of the allotted 939,000 lbs of gag to catch for this year and 850,000 lbs of the allowed 3,000,000 lbs of red grouper to catch for the year. if this grouper fishery is still healthy why aren't they being caught? we can all agree the red snapper fishery is strong. even with covid the red snapper guys have landed 6.4 millions lbs and only have 500,000 left for the year. i bet by Dec 31 that number will be down to about 200,000. gag and red won't move much in the same amount of time.

fishkilla 12-15-2020 07:06 AM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
looks like FWC and Gulf Council might share my same view point.

https://content.govdelivery.com/acco...letins/2b0915b


what will the next stock assessment reveal? will they do the same thing with red grouper and say the stock is not overfished or undergoing overfishing but will cut the TAC by 55%?



.

Spear One 12-15-2020 07:12 AM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
I have received a few of those “is something fishy” survey requests for several different species over the past couple years.

kwyoungspear 12-17-2020 07:53 AM

Re: The Collapse of the Gulf of Mexico Grouper Fishery
 
So are you trying to sell your gulf reef permit? Because I’ll buy it


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