The National MarineFisheries Service has responded to the ICCAT determination that mako sharks re overfished and that overfishing is occurring by tightening both commercial and recreation regulations in Amendment 11 to the management plan for that species.
Commercial shark fishermen will still be able to keep makos of any size, but only if they come in dead on the longline and gill net gear that’s allowed. When I started the shark management plan as a member of the first Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Plan, longliners were reluctant to accept any minimum size no matter how small, and insisted on retaining dead makos in any plan. Of course, that would mean that every mako big enough to bother with would be dead. However, the new rule only applies to commercials with an Electronic Monitoring System which automatically provides photographic evidence as the gear is retrieved. The total catch is restrained only by the quota.
Recreational fishermen face much tougher regulations as the minimum goes up from 54 inches fork length to 71 inches for male makos — and to 83 inches for females. There is no separate quota as the catch is restrained by the restriction of only one legal-sized shark per boat. Makos have to be very large before giving live birth to a few pups. That’s a prescription for disaster with all the pressure on them now, but pregnant females seem to have found a way to avoid contact with fishermen as their capture would be so unusual that scientists would fly anywhere to inspect one. That may be the reason why small makos have been relatively common in recent years.
Fishing conditions were fine today, and Saturday continues to look good with an east breeze of 5-10 knots and 2-foot seas as there’s only a chance of rain when the wind shifts to southeast in the afternoon, Unfortunately, that doesn’t last into Sunday when southeast winds of 15-20 knots shift to northwest with gusts to 25 in the afternoon.
The Big Jamaica sails at 1 a.m. from Brielle for it’s weekly Saturday trip to offshore wrecks loaded with big porgies. They’re also scheduled to do the same thing Sunday. Call 732 528-5014 for reservations.
The Ocean Explorer from Belmar was scheduled to fish for blackfish today, but there was no report or any plans for the weekend posted by 5 p.m.
The Philadelphia Fishing Show runs through Sunday in the Greater Philadelphia Expo at Oaks. .Weekend openings are at 10 a.m., with Saturday’s closing at 6 p.m. and Sunday’s at 5. Admission $10 for adults, $5 for kids 5-12 — and free for those younger. There’s free parking, and seminars by such pros as Nick Honachefsky who has one on surfcasting for sharks. For details visit phillyfishingshow.com — or call 732 330-5674.
Tomorrow’s Canyon Runner Seminar in the Huntington Hilton at Melville, N.Y. is almost sold out. Be sure to call Adam La Rosa at 732 842-6825 before driving out there.