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SpearMax
06-27-2006, 01:34 PM
This article appeared today and quotes Dr. Jerry Ault extensively concerning a survey of the Tortugas Ecological Reserve on its fifth anniversary, and to determine a baseline for a proposed new 46-square-mile "Research Natural Area." Dr. Ault was the guy whose questionable Hogfish study helped launch the Fishing Rights Alliance (FRA) run by Denny O'Hearn. Apparently, this proposal is in its "Public Comment Stage." What does everyone think?



Miami Herald Tue, Jun. 27, 2006

Tortugas sea quest turns up surprises
Divers Are Conducting An Expanded Census Of Marine Life
By Cammy Clark

DRY TORTUGAS - At 112 feet below the Gulf of Mexico's surface, Rick Gomez
spied a four-inch, beige-colored fish with a long dorsal spine and a bright
blue spot as it moved atop an algae turf.

The University of Miami's diving safety officer couldn't believe his luck:
If he was right, he was looking at a quillfin blenny -- a fish that had
never been documented to live in Florida waters.

''I couldn't get close enough to get my diving buddy's attention, so I took
a video,'' Gomez said. ``The next thing you know, we found a new species of
fish that hadn't ever been reported before in the United States or Mexico.
That's pretty cool.''

Gomez is one of 41 research divers conducting an underwater 20-day census
to measure how well the protected status of the Tortugas Ecological Reserve
is helping the Florida Keys ecosystem rebound from decades of overfishing.

The collaborative $300,000 effort -- headquartered aboard the 100-foot M/V
Spree out of Houston -- teams divers and resources from UM's Rosenstiel
School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, NOAA Fisheries, the State of
Florida, the National Park Service and the National Undersea Research Center.

The team will make about 1,500 dives during this fifth census -- conducted
every other year -- of the 250 species of the reef fish community in the
Dry Tortugas, a remote area about 70 miles west of Key West. The area is
known for its coral reefs, lobsters, sharks and currents that catch fish
larvae from the Gulf of Mexico and carry them to the hatching grounds of
the Florida Keys.

But it's the first census in which divers have been able to explore deeper
than 100 feet thanks to advanced diving techniques that include using a new
mixture of gas called trimix.

It includes the addition of helium to the usual combination of oxygen and
nitrogen, alleviating the nitrogen narcosis at depths below 100 feet that
cause a person to feel intoxicated.

Gomez said it's possible they will find more species of fish outside their
known range. But that is a bonus. The main purpose of the census is twofold:

First, to take the data and analyze the effectiveness of the Tortugas
Ecological Reserve on its fifth anniversary, and second, to determine a
baseline for a proposed new 46-square-mile ``Research Natural Area, where
fishing will be prohibited but recreational snorkeling, scuba diving and
research would be allowed. Fifty-four square miles of the park would remain
open to recreational fishing.

In August 2005, Gov. Jeb Bush and the Cabinet approved a management plan
for the new no-take marine reserve. It's now in the public-comment stage.

There is some opposition to the reserve.

''We don't think that they need to have areas where they completely
prohibit fishing to accomplish what they want to do to improve grouper and
snapper stocks,'' Ted Forsgren, executive director of the Coastal
Conservation Association of Florida, said Monday. ``We're opposed to
closing half the park. There are a variety of different things that can be
done -- size limits, bag limits, changes in the fishing seasons.''

Dr. Jerry Ault, principal investigator and marine biology associate
professor at Rosenstiel, said that despite the opposition, he expects the
Research Natural Area will get final approval and go into effect in the fall.

The compilation and analysis of census data used to take years to compile.
But with new technologies, Ault said, the comprehensive report on the
current census will be completed by the end of the summer.

Divers also will be able to better select diving locations due to a new
high-tech, high-resolution laser-based topographic map.

Since the last survey in 2004, the area was hit by six major hurricanes
that damaged or destroyed reefs. That will be factored into the analysis.

Ault said trying to restore stocks that are overfished is not only good for
the environment, but ultimately a boon for recreational and commercial
fishermen and Florida's economy.

As he stood aboard the research vessel, Ault added his personal outlook.

''Technically this is Florida's Yellowstone,'' he said. ``The reefs are
just beautiful, some of the most beautiful in the Caribbean. It's a
treasure you protect.

``I look at our mission as the process of taking care of today's needs, but
my eyeballs are also set 100 years out. In two or three generations, I want
them to have the opportunity to see what we see today.''

2006 MiamiHerald.com and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

Huh?
06-27-2006, 04:39 PM
They closed half of the good stuff in the Tortugas, and now Ault (Hogfish hoser) is trying his scientific BS once again.
Ault should have to pay back the $100,000 he received for the hogfish assessment. He deserves not a dime.
Hey, Ault- heads up. Looks like you are having a bullseye painted on all of your work. Heh heh.

Maybe that idiot from the keys (Les Sterling, I think his name was, is teaming up with Ault.

I'd like to serve Ault a steaming hot cup of "shut the F$%k up".

Screen Name
06-28-2006, 12:52 PM
Does anybody know if this area of the Tortugas is already closed to Spearfishing? Some areas are closed to Spearfishing already, thanks largely to these same people.

Not much of a coincidence that they found a "rare" species of fish there. Not possible that it was planted, is it?

kmoose
06-28-2006, 09:56 PM
Well, we can call Ault all the names we want, he is still the one in charge of doing the research. That said, there is problably little to nothing we will be able to change in that prospective but, with people like Denny and the FRA and CCA keeping the pressure on I feel Ault will have to work harder and possibly apply some more reasonable science and data collection to his conclusions.
My kids alwanys do a better job of raking the yard if I'm watching.......let's hope the same applies here.

Denny
06-29-2006, 06:11 AM
There are a few areas closed to spearing, most notably the Peoples Republic of Pennekamp park.

normanhghntr
06-29-2006, 12:31 PM
any of you ever read dr seuss the lorax

no im not going soft!!!

Summerland Key
07-01-2006, 04:00 PM
The area within the National park (approx. 110 sq miles) in Torutgas was already closed to spearfishing, all forms of commercial fishing, tropical fish collecting and lobstering (diving included). Basically, the only fishing you could do within the park was recreational hook and line fishing. The additional 46 sq miles closure to all fishing is within the park.
Riley's Hump, which is about 14 miles SW of Loggerhead Key, is a marine reserve. There are several different species (mutton snapper being the main one) that spawn here. Prior to the closure Riley's was fished heavily by fishtrappers and bottom longlines. I spearfished there years ago, but it was difficult to compete with traps and longlines. How the Gulf Council ever let it get to that point (traps and longlines) is another story.
The north part of Tortugas Bank is a reserve also and lies within state waters. Fish trapping and bottom longlines were banned there, but that did not stop the gear from being deployed as we found both before the area was closed to fishing.
Spearfishing on Riley's and Tortugas Bank was allowed prior to being designated a marine reserve. The National Park has not allowed spearfishing for many years (over 30 yrs).
Hope this answers some questions. I have been commercially spearfishing that area since 1977. It was, and may again be a really special area. Unfortunately, the damage done by fish trapping and bottom longlines may take years to recover from.
Don

SpearMax
07-01-2006, 04:52 PM
The area within the National park (approx. 110 sq miles) in Torutgas was already closed to spearfishing, all forms of commercial fishing, tropical fish collecting and lobstering (diving included). Basically, the only fishing you could do within the park was recreational hook and line fishing. The additional 46 sq miles closure to all fishing is within the park.
Don

Thanks Don, this helps me to understand it better. So,is it fair to say, we should not make any "Public Comment" at this stage of the process because the change has no new effect on where we can spearfish now anyway? Should we save our protests for future expansion of the no spearfishing areas when they propose that?

Summerland Key
07-01-2006, 05:46 PM
I have a problem with spearfishermen being prohibited in areas while still allowing recreational hook and line fishing to continue as the National Park Service did with the Tortugas National park. I watched (numerous times) as head boats with 50 or so anglers on board fished inside the park (allowed to catch their bag limit) while I was prohibited from even putting a line overboard to catch a yellowtail to eat since I was a commercial vessel. I definitely could not take a speargun in the water either. I also watched as these same head boats landed in Key West and sold their catch. This was definitely illegal, but no one paid any attention for years. Managers finally realized that between the commercial gear (fish traps and longlines) in waters surrounding the park and the recreational hook and line pressure inside the park not much was really being done to protect the resource.
I honestly do not have a problem with closing areas of Tortugas to all fishing, especially areas like Riley's, where many species spawn and few of us spearfished. I think you have to look at the history of areas that are proposed to be closed, find out what management measures were tried and why they failed before you make a decision to support or reject them. Often, whenever you create a void in a fishery, like the park service did when they prohibited spearfishing and all commercial fishing within the 110 sq mile park, eventually some other sector will move in to catch the surplus. In the case of Tortugas National Park it was the head boats and it was a horrible abuse. Don

Ed Walker
07-31-2006, 11:37 PM
Not that Im opposing this move but I am very skeptical of anything Dr Rubberstamp is involved in. He is the guy you hire (grant money to) when you need "scientific evidence", aka a bundle of papers signed by a PHD, to say that the fish of your choice is "severely overfished and facing possible extinction" and should therefore be taken away from fishermen, spearfishermen, ect..
Every study of his that I ever read (more than I cared to really) while looking into his history had this exact same conclusion regardless of species. Mangrove snappers, grouper, and pretty much anything that lives in the Keys. Now he has also been hired (against my reccomendation) by the recreational sportfishing group; Tarpon and Bonefish Unlimited, to study tarpon and bonefish. And his preliminary findings for both of these species that are not harvested by anyone? Yep, you guessed it: Severely over fished and in dire need of protection. Shocker.
82 pages of hogfish assessment? Yep, facing extinction due to overfishing, much of it from hook and liners. (?) Reccomendation: Shut it down.
Not one study done by him, that I have seen anyway, has ever had a different conclusion or findings.
If you look hard enough at only one possible outcome you will eventually see what you want to see.

SpearMax
08-01-2006, 07:48 AM
Not one study done by him, that I have seen anyway, has ever had a different conclusion or findings.

Maybe he should be hired to study the Goliath Grouper population and see what the conclusion is. :D

normanhghntr
08-02-2006, 12:06 PM
the problem with dr fault and his impressions, and this whole systym is the info is not from the people who are in the water the most, ed , rich ,kevin, even the keys divers, if they want accurate facts fill my boat with gas and ill be happy to count some fish! fill all our boats for a summer and you would have some serios data at a tenth of the cost for a study minus a few fish of course :D

Christof
09-11-2007, 10:48 AM
Well, we can call Ault all the names we want, he is still the one in charge of doing the research. That said, there is problably little to nothing we will be able to change in that prospective but, with people like Denny and the FRA and CCA keeping the pressure on I feel Ault will have to work harder and possibly apply some more reasonable science and data collection to his conclusions.
My kids alwanys do a better job of raking the yard if I'm watching.......let's hope the same applies here.

No doubt Moose, and even though it brings out the feeling to call him every name in the book, it will not make a difference.
What we really need in this day and age, is for these "scientists" to be expected to sign legal documents that they will not allow personal feelings, whether pro fishing or pro Peta, to affect their summations, and if caught using their position to further a political agenda, be prosecuted and sent to jail... If this were the case, Crabtree and the likes would be facing some form of prosecution I would think... They need to start holding these folks that are forming law and regulations accountable for skewing the information to suit what they think is right or wrong, which often has nothing to do with the science they are purportedly trying to research.

Christof
09-11-2007, 10:57 AM
Not that Im opposing this move but I am very skeptical of anything Dr Rubberstamp is involved in. He is the guy you hire (grant money to) when you need "scientific evidence", aka a bundle of papers signed by a PHD, to say that the fish of your choice is "severely overfished and facing possible extinction" and should therefore be taken away from fishermen, spearfishermen, ect..
Every study of his that I ever read (more than I cared to really) while looking into his history had this exact same conclusion regardless of species. Mangrove snappers, grouper, and pretty much anything that lives in the Keys. Now he has also been hired (against my reccomendation) by the recreational sportfishing group; Tarpon and Bonefish Unlimited, to study tarpon and bonefish. And his preliminary findings for both of these species that are not harvested by anyone? Yep, you guessed it: Severely over fished and in dire need of protection. Shocker.
82 pages of hogfish assessment? Yep, facing extinction due to overfishing, much of it from hook and liners. (?) Reccomendation: Shut it down.
Not one study done by him, that I have seen anyway, has ever had a different conclusion or findings.
If you look hard enough at only one possible outcome you will eventually see what you want to see.

This again is the point I was making in reference to my quote by Moose... When these idiots are chosen, they should have to be chosen only after hearings such as they have when a supreme court nominee has to answer questions on capitol hill... They need to research these guys and see where their heart really lies.. Is it true science and info they seek, or is it merely a guise for their real intent, to shut down what they feel is immoral... This jerk should have to go public and testify under oath how he feels about fishing in general, and then in specifics, such as commercial, spearing, recreational, etc.. Hell, he should even have to admit to whether he is a member of PETA or a vegetarian... How can a study ever be taken seriously when no one knows where the formulator of said study stands on whether he even thinks fishing should be allowed anywhere???