I spent the morning working at the desk on the Bunny Clark website and my PMC website for the new upcoming donation season. I've got to get that site going as I have two generous donations to put up already. At noon, I had some work to do at the office at Barnacle Billy's, Etc. After lunch I jumped on the bike and rode to Kittery and back. At that time the ice on the roads had melted enough to give me safe passage from here to there. I do have a mountain bike with full studded tires that would have handled it but that bike is much slower and I do like to cover some ground.
I would have liked to have watched the Patriots game but I needed to get outside. When I got back there was only five minutes left in the fourth period. I did watch the Centennial Classic outdoor NHL game (Detroit vs Toronto). That was a great game.
I took advantage of the national holiday and stayed at the desk all day with no one disturbing me. I worked steadily on building the new Pan-Mass Challenge so that when registration begins on the 5th, I will be ready to put this years site up. I'm not completely done. I have about an hour left and I will be.
I stopped work at 3:30 PM while it was still light out so I could ride the bike for a while. I got back at 5:10 PM. I took the picture below of Short Sands Beach in York, Maine. I was on my way back home on the bike along shore road. The digital image was taken at 4:36 PM. The ocean is as calm as a mill pond and you can see the canopy of clouds creeping in from the south as the light of day fades away. The calm before the storm! The picture taken with my iPhone.
I had a lot to do today. I got up early so I could finish up my new PMC web page for 2017. It's ready to be posted but I want to make sure all the totals add up on both my side and with the PMC office before I put it up. Next, I edited this site and posted that. From there I had a sofa that needed to be removed from the house and brought to the transfer station. It was well past time. After letting the painters into Barnacle Billy's, I went to Canvasworks with the Bunny Clark side curtains to be repaired. From there it was Howe's Flooring in Wells where I went over the plans for some rug work at Barnacle Billy's, Etc. Then it was back to the house to meet Gary Charpentier who is painting the den for us.
From there, Deb took me to Blair Talbot Motors in Dover to pick up my car. I had some major work done on it the last month including changing an oil tube, fixing the clutch, wheel bearings, new tires, oil change, changing the brake fluid, new alternator belts, new spark plugs, etc. etc. There were two more minor things to do to the car while I was there. Then I drove home in the rain. I got home before 1:00 PM and got some lunch.
The rest of the day was working in the office. Calling in a paint order for the Bunny Clark. Going over where we might get our western north Atlantic shrimp for Etc. this year. Conferring with Ian Keniston and Jared Keniston on new bait coolers and the Bunny Clark's damaged propeller that I have to deal with. We have a minor ding in four of the five blades, just large enough to have to get it fixed. And just office work in general. I finished the day at 4:30 PM.
Around the first of the year, after my sister, Meg's, donation, I received another donation of $150.00 sponsoring me in my ride with the Pan-Mass Challenge. This second donation was from Terry, Mona & the Higher Ground Crew, the crew who create our garden that produces flowers that are vased by my loving wife, Deb, all summer. That's Deb's other job. If you go to Barnacle Billy's and see the flowers around the "nook", near the first fire place or in the lobby at Barnacle Billy's, Etc., you can thank Deb for her daily chore - which she does for free. But the people who grow the flowers on our property and keep them growing are the Higher Ground Crew. I love them. I really do. Their donation was made in memory of my father, Billy Tower. Thank you all so very much for your generosity, the personal touch and the professionalism you display every time I come home. The donation is just over the top. And I really appreciate it.
After posting this update, I worked at the desk for a while and then spent an hour or more chopping ice in the driveway and in front of the parking lot at Barnacle Billy's. I met the painters at the Cove a little before 8:00 AM. At 8:00 AM, I met Tom Dickerson from Howe's Flooring, in Wells, to go over the specifications on the stairs. After that I was home working with Alison at PMC headquarters in Needham, Massachusetts getting my total for donations finalized so both my figures and her's matched. Once that was completed I put up my new PMC site. After posting I had a few corrections to make (a couple of the digital images were still in a file on my computer). So it took me a half hour. The rest of the morning I was on the phone organizing the Barnacle Billy's meeting for Friday, working on our seafood products at the restaurant for the summer and planning a day of running around with paint supplies (and getting the BC's wheel trued) tomorrow (and a late breakfast with Greg Veprek).
At noon, I made myself a couple of sandwiches while getting my racing road bike ready to go. By 1:00 PM, I was out the door and on the bike. I got back around 4:30 PM; it was too good a day to pass up. I covered fifty-six miles up in the hills around Sanford, Maine.
After posting this entry, getting gas up in Wells and grabbing a coffee at Aroma Joe's, I headed to Paul Rollin's Boat Shop to pick up painting supplies that were dropped their earlier in the morning. Paul is in the middle of building a good sized trimaran. What a beautiful job! And that's normal for Paul. Great guy. Wonderful boat builder. From there I met Jared Keniston and Ian Keniston at the Bunny Clark. While there I grabbed the dented propeller that they had taken off the shaft and left for me just inside the shop door. I tossed the wheel in the back of the truck (barely) and headed to Salem, Massachusetts. I got to H & H Propeller at abut 9:10 AM.
Greg Veprek met me at H & H. From there I followed him to a great breakfast place where we sat down and enjoyed each others company for a while over eggs, bacon, sausage and home fries. Excellent. What's even better, I think I can find my way back there for breakfast on my way back to H & H. Greg & I hashed over some fishery issues (that's breakfast language) and I was on my way.
By noon, I was ready to go over a few more upkeep issues at the restaurant. So Danny Neumann and I went through both buildings (the last phase for this winter) to make sure I had all the repair items down for a meeting with my favorite carpenter tomorrow. The rest of the day was spent at the desk at home.
I had a meeting with the carpenter we have used at Barnacle Billy's since before I can remember, Jack Ladderbush. We went over a list of items I had drawn up for future projects, most during this winter but some for early fall after we close. I met Jack at 7:00 AM. From there I had to bring supplies to Ian Keniston and Jared Keniston. They were sanding at the Bunny Clark when I dropped by. At 10:00 AM, I had a meeting with all the managers of Barnacle Billy's. This meeting is traditional; we go over a list of all the employees and decide who is going to be sent a letter (email) and asked to come back. Some of our employees are foreign and can't come back anyway because of limited visa status. Most of the others who won't get a letter are those who have taken a full time job. The meeting helps us decrease the number letters going out. Plus, I have a list of items which I think are important for future operations. And some of the managers bring up issues to be solved or to get my nod. My sister, Meg, is usually pretty helpful in this regard.
By the time the meeting was over, lunch was on tap (no, I didn't have a liquid lunch). Afterward, I spent the rest of the day on getting the Guestletter off the ground. That will take at least a week along with everything else I do every day.
The Conservation Law Foundation put out a rendition of the old video about Cashes Ledge, in hopes to use the video as a lever to make the Cashes Ledge closed area a National Monument. I had a couple of speaking parts that are also included in the new video. Priscilla M. Brooks, Ph.D., Vice President and Director of Ocean Conservation at the CLF sent me an email with the clip for my permission to include me in the video as is. Of course, I said, "yes". I think the CLF is one of the best of the conservation groups that help protect our oceans. And they are right out of Boston, which is handy for New England. I'm not one hundred percent in favor of a National Monument in the Cashes Ledge area. But I am very much opposed to opening it to any commercial activity. In fact, I think this area should be widened to include up to 80 fathoms of water around it. If the New England Fishery Management Council ever decided to open this area to the commercial effort, I would most likely jump on the band wagon to make it a National Monument. I would rather see no one in there at all than make it open to commercial effort. As I have said many times, the closed areas are the cement that is holding the New England fishery together right now. Without them, our management process could not produce a sustainable fishery. In fact, I would give our management system a failing grade if they were in my class at this date. We could do a much better job in fishery management.
Anyway, this is the new clip if you are interested in viewing it. There is a great shot of a wolffish swimming and a ton of cunners swimming through the kelp all through the underwater shots.
I did little of nothing today as far as work goes. I was up all night with Gill, as was Deb, last night. So the biorhythm was off, I slept late and got up at 6:00 AM. I don't use an alarm but usually get up between 3 & 4 AM. I had a little more to write than normal for this Update entry, which I posted a little after 8:30 AM. From there Deb and I traveled around looking for furniture to replace what I took to the dump the other day. When we got home it was a little after lunch so I made myself a couple of sandwiches and watched various games on TV. In fact, that's all I did (except eating dinner) until I went to bed. I wanted to see if Oakland might be the team that the Pats would play. Not! And I wanted to see if the Bruins could put a jump in their step against the Panthers. They did! So not much of a day for moving forward. I didn't even get in any exercise, the first day without any since October 26, 2016.
I spent the morning and part of the afternoon (until 1:30 PM) building the Guestletter. I hate to be this late into the winter and not have it completed by now. But that's the way it has been the last few years since I got more involved in Barnacle Billy's restaurants. Particularly since I have taken on the various winter projects that need to be completed. And every year I am able to focus more on upkeep and repairs. The more you learn about a place, the more details you find. So lagging on the Guestletter has been the norm. And that's not good as I think about it constantly when it's hanging in the wings.
I watched a bit of the Miami/Pittsburgh football game while eating lunch and a little after. Then I shoveled snow for about an hour or more. This included cleaning up the truck, around the house, down at the Cove, around the buildings and the skiff. Once home I got suited up and took a run on Ogunquit Beach without Gill. I run too hard without Gill. And today was no exception. I ran an 8 minute mile pace when my pace should be between 9 and 10 minutes. I'm in very good shape, breathing wise. So it doesn't feel like I'm running hard. But legs wise, for running, I'm not in such good shape. And this is how I have pulled hamstrings, etc. in the past. So I missed Gill in more ways than one. By the time I got back it was dark and the Bruins game was on. So I jumped on the trainer (I have a bike hooked up to a fluid trainer) and watched about forty-five minutes of the Bruins game. They did not play well.
Deb tried to take Gill for a walk several times today. They would start out, get half way around the block and Gill would stop. First, he would hold up one paw, then another. Deb concluded it was just too cold for his feet. So she would come right back. When I went out shoveling snow, Gill came out with me. He was okay for most of it. But when we got to the Cove, he wouldn't get out of the truck for the first half of the shoveling. For the second half (shoveling around the floats and the skiff), he came down to the docks. But, near the end, he ended up sitting down, holding up one paw and then the other. Even when I pointed another dog out to him he wasn't interested. Nor would he jump in the truck; I had to lift him in. So I thought it unwise to take Gill running on the beach. Otherwise, he was much better today than the last few. He does love to ride in the truck. And this new one has heated seats so I had Gill's side turned on when he got back in (spoiled dog).
I spent the day running around in the morning, after posting this entry. Canvasworks had the Bunny Clark side curtains repaired. So I was up there in Kennebunk at 8:00 AM. I went from there to the Cove. I tried to get out to the boat (the Petrel) to get my papers for going to the Town office but the line tying the skiff to the dock was so frozen with Cove water I didn't feel like getting a hammer to break it all up. As it was the Town office waived my documents in order to pay excise tax on the two vessels. I spent some time afterward with my sister, Cathy, at the office in Barnacle Billy's, Etc. After lunch, I worked in the office doing a mixture of the daily manic Monday stuff and the Guestletter. I worked on the Guestletter for the last three hours of the afternoon. I gave up at 5:30 PM.
Deb made attempts again today to take Gill for walks. Nothing doing. Gill refused to go any further than the end of the driveway. We think this cold is just too much for his paws. Of course, he enjoyed going with me in the truck today and sniffing around the Cove. I guess if the dog could talk I would know exactly what is going on. Until then, our best guess will have to do!
I worked at the desk until about 7:30 AM and then headed to Portland, Maine to pick up the Bunny Clark's newly inspected life raft at Chase Leavitte Marine. After I got home I worked on the Guestletter for a while. At 10:00 AM, Jared Keniston and Ian Keniston came over for a meeting to discuss the Bunny Clark schedule and rates for the upcoming fishing season. That lasted about an hour. At which time they helped me (they did all the lifting) move the life raft to it's winter location. At 11:00 AM, the truck from Hunt Country Furniture showed up at Barnacle Billy's, Etc. I had fifty new chairs built for the lounge at Etc. The old ones were of a design that needed constant maintenance, were too expensive and too easily put in the repair bin. They were just too old. Plus, we could never find anyone to repair them. Anyway, almost all our chairs were made by Hunt. Now all of them are.
After lunch I worked on the Guestletter until it was time to quit.
Deb had success walking Gill after the air temperature warmed up. And it was the first night in a week that Gill slept through the night. So.....
After posting this entry I worked on getting the schedule and rates section posted. After yesterday's meeting between Jared Keniston, myself, Ian Keniston and Deb, our schedule for the year was decided. It was a just a matter of editing the web version so everyone else could see it. After that was completed I had to drive a sample of our side curtain hangers so Canvasworks could duplicate it. I had forgotten we needed them when I brought the side curtains up to be renovated. The rest of the day was spent working at the desk at Barnacle Billy's, Etc., bailing the skiff, getting materials off the Petrel, calling in orders, setting up a day for fire inspection on the boats, etc., etc. and helping my wife around the house in preparation for a furniture delivery.
I was able to get out of the house for a bike ride at 4:30 PM. It was a beautiful mild night. I was able to make it for dinner at 6:30 PM.
I was also interested to see if Alex Ovechkin would get his 1000 points in a game against the Penguins in Washington tonight. The game started at 8:00 PM, a little past my bedtime. Thirty-five seconds into the game Ovechkin scored the first goal giving him his one-thousandth career NHL point. I shut the TV off and went to bed. Mission accomplished.
At 5:00 AM EST the air temperature was 46°F, the sky was overcast, it was raining lightly, the wind was blowing out of the south at fifteen knots sustained and the visibility over the ocean was fair in precipitation. It rained lightly for part of the morning, stopped around noon and then started again later in the afternoon. The air temperature rose to at least 55°F, the highest air temperature that I noticed today. In fact, it was still 55°F at 6:00 PM. The wind blew out of the south southwest at fifteen knots (more or less) all day. The sky remained overcast even when it wasn't raining. The visibility, overall, was good. The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 50°F (with a low of 39°F). In Boston, Massachusetts (Logan International Airport) the high was 61°F with a low of 41°F). The high air temperature in Boston of 61°F today ties the record high for this date set in 1913 and 1975! Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 56°F (with a low of 38°F).
I worked all day running around between the Cove and the house. At 10:00 AM, we had our inspection at both restaurants with the Ogunquit Fire Department and the Code Enforcement Officer. That took about an hour. For the rest of the day I had enough work where it wasn't much but I couldn't get away from it either. I was done by 5:00 PM.
At 5:15 PM, after missing one of the warmest winter days to go for a bike ride, I went for a 3.5 mile run with Gill on Ogunquit Beach. Gill and I run a 10 minute mile together. We had frequent stops on the way down the beach. On the way back we maintained a steady pace. I think Gill knows the end is near when we are heading back. He was a tired dog afterward.
This was a day of Friday mayhem where I spent more time running around tying up loose ends and never working on any project for more ten minutes. It was a tiring day for me in that aspect. I spent time in the home office, more than an hour in the office at Etc., off to the Ogunquit Fire Department to sign off on the previous day's inspection, back to the house and on and on. Little things. I couldn't believe it when I realized it was already 3:00 PM! At that point, I gave up for the day. There wasn't any entity who (or that) wanted me after that time.
After I got something to eat, I jumped on the bike and got out of Dodge. Actually, I rode up toward Sanford into the hills. Bad idea. The further up I went, the colder it got. Luckily, I had brought glove liners, a turtle hood and an extra wind breaker. I needed it all when I started back for home. Up in the hills it was below 30°F with the wind making it feel colder. When I got home, though, it was just about freezing.
I did very little work today, as it relates to either business. I finished up the renovation work we were doing around the house. And I watched the Bruins hockey game, the Falcons football game and the first quarter of the Pats game. So a lot of doing nothing.
I worked on editing and posting this daily monolog, a short session today. And I spent some time working on answering emails. At 8:00 AM, I rode off on my bike to join the Maine Coast Cycling Club in Kennebunk. I haven't ridden with them for a few weeks. When I got home at 1:30 PM and got back to normal mode, I worked on the workings and conservation agendas of some of the different groups across the country. I got a good flavor of how the public portrays the fishing industry. Clearly, you don't want to discount the conservation groups moving forward in the fishery management process.
I spent the day working on new beer glasses for Barnacle Billy's, cleaning up the garage and working on the Guestletter. I never made it to the office at Barnacle Billy's but I did have a few related emails. And I did spend some time working on the Recreational Advisory Panel meeting, coming up on Wednesday.
After posting this entry, I had to take a load of Bunny Clark clothes to the Ogunquit Transfer Station (the new age dump). This was clothing left from anglers on previous fishing trips who never called to get it back. It piles up in our garage until the pile gets to a certain height. Then I put it in a Salvation Army bin. From there I had to get ready for a fire safety inspection of both the Petrel's and the Bunny Clark's fire extinguishers. That took about an hour. Before that time, during and after that time I worked in the office at Barnacle Billy's, Etc. I also checked on the plumbing restoration project that is going on there. Afterward, I took the fire extinguishers, put the Petrel's back in place and brought the others to the Bunny Clark. I also had materials that needed to be brought to Ian Keniston and Jared Keniston. I ate lunch on the way (I stopped at Flo's). At the Bunny Clark, Jared, Ian and I had a meeting that lasted about a half hour. From there I had materials I had to retrieve in Portsmouth, NH. Once I got home I went back to working on the Guestletter. That was my day.
Along with everything else I had to do today, I also worked on materials I had for the Recreational Advisory Panel meeting in Freeport, Maine tomorrow. I had to make a few calls, emails and messages. That will be an interesting meeting. The Feds have us killing more cod than was true last season. Particularly telling are the Maine party boat landings. They have us landing/killing seven times more cod than actually happened last season. It's going to be a tough meeting. Stay tuned.
I spent the early part of the morning until 10:15 AM working at Bunny Clark Central, posting this report, working on figures for the Recreational Advisory Panel (RAP) meeting, going over orders and cleaning up the emails. At 10:20 AM, I headed to Freeport where the RAP meeting was to be held. I arrived before noon. The roads were well maintained but I drove cautiously.
To start with, the landings numbers we had to work with concerning recreationally caught cod and haddock were way out of whack. This opinion was held by everyone from the for-hire industry and most of the members who hold a seat on the RAP. We only have four "party boats" in Maine targeting groundfish. So, for me, running one of the four party boats and holding exact landings numbers, it was easy to see how members thought from other states. In Maine's case, the cod landings numbers were at a minimum of five times larger than they actually were. In fact, I would say that, accurately, party boats in Maine caught seven times less than the figures presented. Also, they had private boat landings much higher than I would have expected overall. And even with their figures they also had percentages of error in the numbers well over fifty percent in most cases. Statisticians would throw these figures out in any other study. Clearly data collection technology lags far behind the technologies that could be used to get more accurate data. I looked at the landings report as overly optimistic. I wish we were releasing that many cod. I would feel much better about taking the fishery into the future.
Having said all this, the numbers are the numbers and there is nothing we can do or could do to change them - at this meeting. They were going to be the basis on which we made regulation suggestions to put before the Council's Groundfish Committee, in session tomorrow. And regardless of how many errors there were in the landings numbers, they are overly optimistic in my opinion. I know others don't share my view. And that is that the cod population is in trouble. We are not catching what they say we are. And compared to what I have seen in the past, what we are catching now is nothing. Do I think the angler is going to solve the problem with the imposed regulations. No, the angler is not. The Catch Share system is largely responsible for the demise of the cod. So until they change that and eliminate the incentive to target cod commercially, we are going to have this problem every year. And until they fix the way we acquire angling data, we are never going to show management the true figures.
The last couple of years the cod and the haddock are tied together. What I mean by this is the way we fish for cod and haddock puts pressure on both species to some degree. In other words, if you are fishing for one species you are going to put pressure on the other. There is no way to ensure, for instance, that you are not going to catch cod if you are going for haddock. Nor are you going to get into the minds of the captains who go for groundfish. The cod, therefore, is the big problem. According to the figures the recreational angler caught twice as many cod was we were allocated for the fishing season last year (fiscal 2016). It was clear by those who were designing the models that in order to have a fishery where we were catching both cod and haddock that they could not allow any more cod landings to take place in fiscal fishing year 2017. So right off the bat we were faced with a new season without cod, just like the 2015 fishing season.
What their models also showed was that keeping the haddock regulations the same as last year would still put cod landings over the minimum acceptance value needed to maintain low quota numbers. So, not only are we going to be saddled with another year of cod prohibition, we were also going to have to cut back on the haddock. So we only had a few choices available to us. We hashed over the choices. We put a motion on the board, debated it's merits, adjusted, voted it in, revisited it, decided against and eventually came up with a choice we thought we could all live with. It also gives us the best chance of not going over the cod quota. The choice we decided on brought the haddock bag limit down to 12 fish per person (from the 15 haddock bag limit we had last season), kept the minimum haddock size at 17" (the same as last season) with a haddock closure from March through April 14 (the same as fiscal fishing year 2016) but also included a haddock closure from September 17 through until November 1. This is the span of regulations that is going to be presented to the Groundfish Committee by Frank Blount, the Chair of the RAP, tomorrow.
I have no reason to doubt that the NEFMC will accept these recreational measures as long as the Groundfish Committee accepts them tomorrow. And I don't think that there will be any reason for the Groundfish Committee not to rubber stamp our decisions made today.
What this means for us is that the bag limit for haddock will still be 15 fish per person with a minimum size of 17" starting on April 15, 2017. On May 1, 2017, the beginning of the 2017 fiscal fishing year, the haddock bag limit will go down to 12 fish per person with the same minimum size limit. There will be a haddock prohibition starting on September 17, 2017 and extend until the end of October. We will be able to keep haddock again (12 fish bag limit & the 17" minimum size) starting November 1, 2017 until March 1, 2018, at which time it will close again to haddock until April 15, 2018. Cod will not be allowed to be landed (kept) from May 1, 2017 until May 1, 2018. If they make any changes at the Committee or Council level, I will let you know. After it goes out from the Council, National Marine Fisheries Service has to approve it. But, there again, I don't see any reason why they wouldn't approve these measures. I did not want to see any more restrictions in our fishery. But, by law, we had to work with the numbers we were given and the models that follow.
Today seemed more like a Monday. This, mainly, because I took all of yesterday off. So I was on the phone for a lot of it, on the email and at the offices. I met Bridges Electric at the restaurant at 10:00 AM in order to tie up some loose electrical ends. And I had about two hours of snow shoveling to do. The shoveling was the only outside activity I did today.
Along with everything else, I got word that our Recreational Advisory Panel (RAP) meeting yesterday was undermined somewhat. The RAP's choice of regulations for the 2017 fiscal fishing year went to the Council's Groundfish Committee for review and will be passed on from this committee to the full Council. But not as a recommendation of the Groundfish Committee. It will be forwarded as a recommendation of the RAP only! The Groundfish Committee looked at the models and suggestions from the Science Center and made a different choice. Their choice for recreational anglers would be a split season. For the for-hire fleet, a haddock bag limit of 10 fish per angler, a moratorium for keeping haddock from March 1, 2018 until April 14, 2018 but leaving the rest of the year open to the landing of haddock. For the private angler, a haddock bag limit of 12 fish per angler, a moratorium for keeping haddock from March 1, 2018 until April 14, 2018 and from September 17, 2017 until November 1, 2017 but leave the rest of the year open to the take of haddock. For both user groups there would be a moratorium on keeping cod for the 2017 fiscal fishing year (May 1, 2017 until April 30, 2018). So the Groundfish Committee will be recommending their choice of recreational Gulf of Maine fishing regulations but, also, moving the RAP's recommendation forward as well.
This new turn of events doesn't bother me at all. My main concern is that we (the RAP) don't have to meet again a year from now to make even deeper cuts in our groundfish take. Or, in other words, the stocks are in better shape next year when the RAP meets to decide on upcoming regulations. As far as a 10 haddock bag limit goes, I don't see much difference. That's still a lot of fish, particularly for a party boat. It's not as good for a six passenger charter boat (which is why I supported the RAP's recommendation initially). But it's much better that the 3 haddock limit we had in 2015, much better than having a three month moratorium on keeping haddock in the RAP's choice and maintaining the 17" minimum size will help the angler bring more fish home.
As far as having a separate limit for the private angler, I see no problems with it. The MRIP program of recreational data collecting tells us that the private angler catches more fish than the for-hire fleet. This isn't true, particularly as it pertains to the individual boat. This is because the data collection system is seriously flawed. And the new changes in the public survey system won't make it any better. They are restricted to a small sample size when questioning individual anglers, they are trusting the word of an angling public who could care less and they are extrapolating these results. All their other data collecting practices are fair at best. Which, in fact, they believe as well if you look at the error percentages they attach to the landings figures from different states that they, themselves, provide. But, as I said, if brings us into a sustainable fishery, I'm all for it.
When the news hit the streets that the RAP's choice for regulatory recommendations was not embraced by the Groundfish Committee, members of the RAP were upset. Why even have the RAP if "they" aren't going to embrace our suggestions, was the reaction of most. I kind of feel that way. But the other part of me says that we never should have expected the Groundfish Committee to accept our results at a hundred percent to begin with. I was certainly surprised. But I can also see the merit in their choice. I'm interested to see if splitting the season with two user groups gives us some fish savings. It's also the first time that the recreational fishing fleet has been separated between the for-hire fleet and the private angler. So I'm surprised but not disappointed. And it won't make me believe that having the RAP is a bad thing. If for nothing else it informs those who are interested in getting a fair shake in representing our fishery with a voice. And, after all, if we were really so interested in getting our choice through we could have attended the Groundfish Committee to petition our cause with salient examples. We didn't do that. We let the Chair, Frank Blount, alone, do our bidding for us. And, after all, it's the rules of the game. This also means that attending the Council meetings will be important if you are interested in a particular choice of regulations going forward. And the Council could very well send both choices to the National Marine Fisheries Service and let them decide. I hope that doesn't happen because it delays timely information to the public on the new fishery regulations for the upcoming season.
I also had an interesting thing happen later in the morning. WCSH TV in Portland, Maine called me today to ask if I could make a short video as a message to former President George H. W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush ("Tim, you can just call me Barbara, please."). Both had been in the hospital in Houston, Texas the last couple of days and WCSH wanted send a "get well" message to them from some of us in Maine who see and love the Bush Familiy when they are staying in Kennebunkport. So I got my sisters, Meg & Cathy, and my brother, Court, and had my wife, Deb, take a fifteen second video with my iPhone, a get well message of sorts. We did one take. I thought it came out terrible (for my part, the speaker in the video). But WCSH loved it as well as the three pictures they asked me to send them. One of the pictures I included was one with my father, George and Billy Busch sitting on the deck at Barnacle Billy's that I absolutely treasure as the best photo (shown below) I have ever taken. The video and the three pictures appeared on WCSH Channel 6 News at 5:00 PM and 6:00 PM today. It will also appear at 6:00 AM tomorrow. This is the WCSH link. Hope you enjoy it.
At this time I am looking for another deck hand to take five trips a week this summer. Sean Devich was nice enough to help me last year as he was between jobs. But he will not be available this year. If anyone is interested you can call the Bunny Clark line at 207-646-2214.