Author Topic: Bob Steinberg NC (R) - Goes Postal on Boy Scout Leader  (Read 4581 times)

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Bob Steinberg NC (R) - Goes Postal on Boy Scout Leader
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2016, 12:41:57 AM »

Well, it’s been 4 years (wow!) since I last calculated bycatch numbers and aside from a few faces, nothing has changed in the North Carolina shrimp trawl industry.  A well-rigged shrimp advisory committee and ongoing studies have managed to securely preserve the status quo for shrimpers.  So just as a reminder, I figured I’d update our old bycatch numbers (this is basically a repeat post from 2012  – which is really sad when you think about it).
First, here is the overall bycatch from the DMF’s Pamlico and nearshore studies.
These studies took samples from commercial trawlers and these samples added up to 283,223 pounds of total catch.  In these samples, there was 61,630 pounds of shrimp and 221,593 pounds of bycatch.  3465 pounds of this was “rubbish” so we can say that there was 218,128 pounds of living bycatch (which was dead by the time it was “released”).
218,128  pounds bycatch divided by 61,630 pounds shrimp  = 3.54 pounds bycatch/pound shrimp
Is 3.54 a good ratio?   From what I can tell, it’s pretty standard.
Now from the DMF website, you can get the shrimp harvest for the last 5 years and do some multiplying (also known as extrapolation – which is only considered legal in North Carolina when the extrapolations are favorable to commercial fishing).
         pounds of shrimp
2011   5,140,360      x 3.54 =       18,196,874 pounds of bycatch in 2011
2012   6,141,489      x 3.54 =       21,740,871 pounds of bycatch in 2012
2013   4,859,840      x 3.54 =       17,203,833 pounds of bycatch in 2013
2014   4,691,073      x 3.54 =       16,606,398 pounds of bycatch in 2014
2015   9,097,684      x 3.54 =       32,205,801 pounds of bycatch in 2015
  That’s  105,953,777  pounds of bycatch in last the 5 years!!
Divide by 5 to get an average of  21,190,755 pounds of bycatch per year for the last 5 years.


So what is in that bycatch?  Well the DMF studies identified ALL of the species and counted them!  These fish are all pretty small and you could get a rough guess of about 20 per pound and that would be close enough for what we are doing here.  At that rate were talking about 424 million fish wasted EVERY year.  Cut it in half if you don’t like 20 per pound (10 per pound is really too low)  and we still have 212 million wasted fish each year.


Now what are the main fish being wasted?   That’s easy – they are croaker, spot, and weakfish.


Here is what you will come up with if you figure out how many of each of these fish are killed by our shrimpers.


Estimates of Cumulative North Carolina Shrimp Trawl Bycatch for Three Important Species
(The individual fish numbers were extrapolated using North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries bycatch data and reported shrimp harvest.)
                            Number of Fish                                        _                                       
Year                       Weakfish                              Croaker                                   Spot_______         
2011                       30,842,160                           130,565,144                        57,057,996
2012                       36,848,934                           155,993,382                        68,170,528
2013                       29,159,040                           123,439,936                        53,944,224
2014                       28,146,438                           119,153,254                        52,070,910
2015                       54,586,104                           231,081,174                     100,984,292__
Total                     179,582,676                            760,232,890                     332,227,950
Reported North Carolina shrimp harvests for the last 5 years:
       2011   5,140,360 pounds
2012   6,141,489 pounds
2013   4,859,840 pounds
2014   4,691,073 pounds
2015   9,097,684 pounds
The following ratios, which were used to make the table presented above, were determined using North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries bycatch data:
Weakfish – 6.0 weakfish were caught per pound of shrimp that was harvested.
Croaker – 25.4 croakers were caught per pound of shrimp that was harvested.
Spot – 11.1 spots were caught per pound of shrimp that was harvested.
Approximately 180 million weakfish, 760 million croakers, and 332 million spot killed by shrimp trawlers in the last 5 years.   And there are those who still say – we can’t be sure it’s having an effect.


Weakfish are depleted and have basically collapsed.

Plentiful spot runs are a thing of yesteryear.

Croaker harvest numbers have plummeted.

And the trawlers just keep right on trawling while the MFC watches and the DMF studies it all.

« Last Edit: July 14, 2016, 03:29:15 AM by citizensscience »
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