This is a move by NMFS to find out how many of us are fishing offshore.
This could then be used in the model against us. We need real time data input
on data for catches not effort. The computer will have all of us fishing 24/7 or
way more than we do if they have hard data to support "fishing effort".
We have seen this in the model with no reflection for bad weather days in the for hire sector of the recreational fishery. No reduction was given for hurricanes of Tropical Storms in the model over the years.
NMFS has overstated the current shrimping effort in the current model which is the reason for the "Crisis" we are facing on TAC reductions. Effort being down from 177,000 hours to currently 70,000 or so hours a year of effort prior to the recent hurricanes as I understand. This error is killing the Recreational sector. NMFS will be implementing tracking devices on all commercial efforts due to pressure from the Rec. sector soon as I understand it.
Real time catch data would cure many problems in the fisheries. The issuance
of a permit for rec's would show the East Gulf of Mexico is way overcapitalized ie to much effort in the rec sector. They know this is a big problem for them. This is one reason they always fight any split or season change in snapper fishery between east and west. Our stocks are not overfished in the Western Gulf according to reports I have seen. The East Gulf would have a shorter Red Snapper season due to overcapitalization as I understand it. East Gulf says we would inherit the Shrimp bycatch effort if we split to scare us. The effort of the shrimping industry may not be as tough
to deal with due to current data.
Sorry to go on a rant but just some thoughts as to why this is on NMFS radar screen.