Guy Harvey Magazine

SUM 2013

Guy Harvey Magazine is focused on fishing, boating, scuba diving, and marine conservation. Portfolios from the world's best fishing photographers, articles on gear, travel, tournaments, apparel, lifestyle, seafood recipes, sustainable fisheries.

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Page 59 of 83

HARD NUMBERS Straight talk about the sweat and science behind fshing regulations BY CA STAFF There seems to be no end to discussion and debate regarding season lengths and catch limits for red snapper, red drum and other species that are a favorite of recreational fshermen. Are the regulations fair? Is the science sound? Since fsheries are managed by both state and federal agencies, we heard last issue from Eric Schwaab, assistant administrator for NOAA Fisheries. This issue, we've asked Gil McRae of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to shed additional light on this topic. McRae is an 18-year veteran of the FWC's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg and has served as director the last 11 years. His department is responsible for much of the science that is the basis for fshing regulations in the state's inshore fsheries, and they collaborate closely with federal fsheries managers on offshore fsheries. CA: We know that seasons and catch limits are geared toward sustainability of a given species or fsh stock, but the frst step must be determining the present condition of a fsh stock. What's the process for counting fsh to know how many are out there and how many are being caught? GM: What you're asking about is called "stock assessment," and it's always the result of a mathematical model. Modeling is the only way you can incorporate all the factors necessary to decide if a stock is overfshed or if it can sustain itself. These models are complex, specialized and inherently difcult things. In a nutshell, there are a number of data streams that have to be updated and integrated for a stock assessment model to produce a good result. Gil McRae

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