Fishery Science and Analysis
Eugene P. Macri Jr.
I almost did not to call this
article fishery science. Why? Because there isn't much science left in fishery science. I have witnessed this
from the Chesapeake Bay to the trout streams of America. Most fishery science consists of fish population
studies that appear to be isolated from the aquatic ecosystems that the fish live in and influenced by fishermen
instead of scientists. I have talked to leading experts who were the heads or assistant heads of
fisheries in state agencies throughout the U.S. and what they tell me is all the same. It's just one fad after
another and a search for magic bullets instead of long term productive studies and policies that work. Instead,
I've heard the same story on how these agencies bend to political pressures, and the whining of anglers that have
long term detrimental affects on fish and the systems they live in.
Let's say you are going to have heart
surgery. Do you want everyone who thinks they want to do heart surgery in the operating room
with your doctors with no quantifications? Often times suggesting and demanding that you do what they want?
Then why do you think that fishermen and politicians understand aquatic and fishery science? Well
that's what we are getting when every little group gets their input and demands that it be incorporated into the
fishery policy. This is what is destroying our waters. If the waters are managed in the best
scientific manner that we have then we have a chance. I'm not saying that this is an exact science but what we have
now is the antithesis of science.
There is little hope when fishermen run
the fishery science of a state or municipality. It's now reached the point where some scientists are getting
out of these agencies or taking early retirement because they just have had enough. As an example of this
would be the indiscriminate stocking of brook trout in Western waters. For some reason many fishermen wanted
this and so called fishery professionals (whatever that is) went along with it. The problem is that they
didn't understand the complex structure of aquatic ecosystems and how brook trout would impact them. Brook
trout contrary to the myth that most anglers have are very tough fish. Furthermore, they have
a built in evolutionary advantage. It's often called Darwin's Advantage after the famed naturalist,
Charles Darwin. This advantage is that brook trout reproduce at a much earlier age than brown, rainbow or
cutthroat trout. To put it bluntly they reproduce like rats. If you give brook trout cold water, and
especially upwellings and downwellings (which they will find naturally in a stream or lake) their populations will
just explode. What happened in Western Rivers and streams is that they were stocked without regard to the
native species. Many Western rivers and streams have miles and miles of what many anglers call waste
water. This water level is right below the knees. However, this is not waste water for brook
trout. It is prime spawning and they have taken advantage of it. Brook trout love such waters and they
found fertile ground to feed, reproduce, and take over many native species out West.
Fishermen just want to catch fish at any
cost. One only needs to look at the limits that were tried in the Chesapeake Bay and what the
response was from both commercial and sport fishermen. Some anglers truly understand limits and have at
least a basic understanding but most don't really care. Now two new influences have entered the game. First,
is Domination Theology.....the Religious Nuts! They believe the Lord is coming and we should use
everything up. The second is the Dark Cloud of Political Groups working for industry which buy off so called
"sportsmen's groups." I've watched this at work in Pennsylvania over fracturing and other industrial
enterprises. These so called fishing and hunting groups are nothing but fronts funded by the likes of the Koch
Brothers and other interests.
Unfortunately, the main stream media
give these lunatics space and time in which they do a great job of "clouding" the issue. I will repeat what I've
said elsewhere on this site. If you allow fishermen too much input they will destroy your system. This
is not fishery or aquatic science. It is amazing what fishermen expect for the $30 or $40 dollars they spend
for a fishing license and how they wish to control the program. Go golfing for a day at a decent club. You'll
easily pay $60 to $70 for 18 holes. Do you think the club will let you tell them how to run it for that
amount of money? Then why do you think that if you spend $40 for a fishing license you and your group
should be able to control policy which affects science throughout the state. When the policy shift occurred
many years ago allowing control of the state fisheries by fishermen the nation's water have declined in my
estimation. In Pennsylvania it has literally reached the point of insanity!
I also blame the "the so called fishery
science" and the administrators above them. This has gone way too far and if it continues we'll lose more
waters, native populations, and our resources so people who care little about the overall experience just want to
keep as many fish as they can.