Fishery Science and Analysis
by
Eugene P. Macri Jr.

Wild Brown Trout From The Yellowstone River at Fishery Science and Analysis at www.riverscientist.com

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.

Yellowstone River Cutthroat from Fishery Science and Analysis at www.riverscientist.com

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.

Western Brook Trout from Fishery Science and Analysis at www.riverscientist.com

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.

  

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