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Boycott the S.T.A.R.: CCA Failed to protect Oysters in Big Lake

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Oyster dredging was legalized in Big Lake in 2005 while CCA was too busy in bed with the LWF Commission working to get the restrictive speck limits passed. Here's a graph showing the LDWF Oyster Stock Assessments on the east side of Calcasieu Lake from 2004-2013. Note the near total destruction.

Oyster issues on the E side of the state are more complex with freshwater diversions and the oil spill playing important roles, but in SW Louisiana, the oyster reefs have been destroyed by dredging, plain and simple. CCA chose not to try and stop that dredging, and the fishery is suffering tremendously because of the destruction of oyster reefs.
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All CCA can do is voice their own opinions, just like you do. They have no say when it comes to passing any sort of laws or regulations. So I think to blame them for the decline in oyster population in Big Lake is a bit unfair, especially since they apparently didn't voice their opinion one way or the other on the matter. So it essentially has nothing to do with them.
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   slickhead
May as well put them at fault for getting Obama elected, the Affordable Care Act, no child left behind, gay marriage, etc. if you are going to reach as far as blaming CCA for oysters in Big Lake. They can only do so much, and like the above poster, I must have missed the memo where CCA set the regulations and size limits for fishes. Didn't know CCA was also LDWF
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Exactly. Definitely not trying to shoot MathGeek down though. He, much like CCA, is just voicing his own opinion (a very educated one I might add) on conservation-related topics. And if those are the numbers for oysters in Big Lake then that definitely needs to be dealt with. I just think that you (MG) are targeting the wrong organization.
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   motorboat
Wow you've been busy since joining yesterday. Already two posts bashing CCA. What's your agenda and why all the hate? What are you doing for the good of your fishery?
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   MathGeek
'What's your agenda and why all the hate?'

No hate at all, just a sober realization that if we keep giving CCA our money, they will keep lobbying for further restrictions without scientific support. Here is my agenda:

Sportsmen's liberties in pursuing and harvesting fish and game should not be further restricted unless there is sound and compelling scientific data demonstrating a true conservation need. Regulations should not be based on irrational fear that the resource might not remain for future generations; they should be based on sound scientific data showing the resource cannot be sustained for future generations under current management practices.

Sustainable harvests and use of the resources should always be allowed, and the burden of proof for those proposing new regulations should be on those proposing to impose criminal penalties for liberties which have been previously enjoyed. There is no wisdom in adopting restrictive regulations copying the example of neighboring states. Louisiana waters are generally less pressured and allow a more bountiful harvest than neighboring States. Whenever possible, Louisiana would do well to support the tourism industry and justify the expense of non-resident hunting and fishing licenses by maintaining more liberal harvest limits than other Gulf states. Our 'Sportsman's Paradise' allows us to share our resources more liberally.

Finally, we should realize that habitat loss and other environmental factors often have a greater negative effect on fish and game populations than harvest pressure. Declining numbers of a population should not be blindly attributed to harvest pressure unless all possible confounding factors have been duly considered with applicable data-driven scientific approaches. In the long term, habitat loss is a greater threat to the sustainability of Louisiana fisheries than over fishing.

Data driven science should be the cornerstone of Louisiana's fishery management. All fisheries data, collection methodologies, and interpretations of Louisiana's data used to manage Louisiana's fisheries should be available to the public and subject to peer review and public scrutiny to ensure that management decisions are transparent, data-driven, and made with due consideration of sound scientific principles and stakeholder interests.
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   MathGeek
'What are you doing for the good of your fishery?'

Over the past few years I've helped secure considerable research funding (tens of thousands) from federal sources for research relating to impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, over harvesting of oysters in the Calcasieu Estuary, new methods using fish as bioindicators to study environmental issues, and general methods for studying complex food web dynamics food. A number of these results and new methods have been published and some have been adopted by wildlife managers seeking to better quantify complex food web dynamics.

I've spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars of my own money serving as a volunteer on research projects weighing and measuring thousands of fish both in the Leeville area, as well as in the Calcasieu estuary every year since 2011.

Since my work gives me access to large data set relating to Louisiana inshore waters, I'll be posting some graphs in coming days to emphasize some of the important scientific findings.

I've made contact with hundreds of anglers both in person and in writing seeking to raise awareness of the most important scientific and habitat issues facing Louisiana inshore fisheries. I've made contact with both the LWF Commission and LDWF encouraging and stressing an improved focus on habitat issues and data driven wildlife management.
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This is what argumentative discourse is supposed to look like. DU-haters take note. (Protip: you'd score more points on this site if you could somehow make Obama complicit in CCA policies. For our purposes, Landrieu would suffice.)

On a more serious note, would boycotting CCA perhaps cause more harm than good? Wouldn't it be more reasonable and pragmatic to pressure them to shift their position? They are, after all, funded and, for the most part, constituted by anglers, sportsmen, and conservationists (i.e. by us). My worry is that to incapacitate them might push us even further down that proverbial creek. We've already seen that Jindal's commitment to coastal restoration (which, btw, I agree should be paramount in our concerns, way beyond creel limits)is downright laughable. Who's to say his progeny won't likewise rob our coffers?

My point, in short, is that CCA might be doing its job poorly, but if we fire them, as it were, we might be left with no one. Which is to say: we're probably better off with incompetent voices than no voices at all.
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   MathGeek
'On a more serious note, would boycotting CCA perhaps cause more harm than good? Wouldn't it be more reasonable and pragmatic to pressure them to shift their position?'

You are giving me and the other boycott advocates much more credit than we are due. CCA has an annual budget of $8-10 million and has over a dozen employees on the payroll making six figure salaries. In our wildest imagination, our 2014 boycott efforts might yield 10,000 boycott participants, costing CCA maybe 5% of their annual revenue. We're not going to put them out of business; we might get their attention.

A number of the boycott advocates have tried for years to 'pressure CCA to shift their position' and been either ignored or given the same consideration as a gnat when one is fishing. CCA has shown no inclination to take more scientifically founded conservation positions, but more follows the lead of Texas and Florida toward ever more restrictive regulations and focusing on fish in the ice chest as a much bigger threat than habitat destruction.

If we can manage to impact their bottom line by a few percent in 2014, then CCA will have to choose to be more responsive to Louisiana anglers or risk an even bigger, more effective boycott effort in 2015. CCA would have to remain unresponsive for a number of consecutive years to face a real risk of being put out of business.
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   motorboat
The problem with your approach is several fold. First, you obviously think you're the smartest person in the room as shown by your posting if your profile, er resume on this site. First in your class. Yippee. I'm impressed.

Second, you fail to recognize that cca's entire push regarding snapper has been data driven. That is, we WANT data to be used more effectively here and in all facets of management.

Third, individual conversations don't work- you need to publicly comment and/or testify in front if ldwf for your remarks to be seriously counted.

Fourth, cca is a very open organization in that it allows anyone wanting to participate, to come participate. LC has a chapter. Get involved and gain some cred within the organization. You'd probably gain influence rather quickly.

Finally, calling for a boycott makes you sound crazy and angry. There is no other organization doing what cca does. It takes money and full time employees to raise money and to monitor all of the barrage of laws coming at sportsmen. Working sportsmen do not have the time to stat in too of all of these issues. They are all not professors on spring break with the time to newly join a website to lecture us on 8 different topics in two days.

I do not personally recall the oyster debate back in 2005 but the oyster fishermen have a huge lobby. I have only fished big lake once and was appalled at the amount if oyster fishing conducted. If this is your issue of concern, join cca and bring it up rather than bashing and boycotting.

Sorry for any typos and random thoughts. I'm on mobile on a bumpy tour bus several time zones away!
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MathGeek: Good to have you here and read your informational posts. Don't worry about the attackers as they are part of the site. I stopped my membership in CCA years ago for similar issues and am not interested in winning a boat. You have good style.
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   MathGeek
Red Drum Are Starving in Calcasieu Lake, Especially Bull Reds

As it happens, my colleagues and I have weighed and measured many hundreds of fish caught in Calcasieu Lake in 2011, 2012, and 2013. This large data set allows assessment of fish health by quantifying the ratio of a fish's actual weight to its expected weight based on its species, length, and time of year. This ratio is called the relative condition factor, Kn. A Kn = 1.0 is a healthy fish whose weight is the same as the typical weight of that species and season based on a large statewide data set of thousands of fish. Relative condition factors less than 1.0 are fish that are overly thin, often because of insufficient forage. Kn = 0.9 would be 90% of the expected weight (a fish that should weigh 3.0 lbs only weighs 2.7 lbs).

The attached graph shows mean condition factors for red drum from Calcasieu Lake by length class and year. You can see that most length classes and years are thin, showing an insufficient food supply for the population of fish, and that the larger red drum are having a particularly hard time maintaining body condition. As condition factors drop from 1.0 to 0.8, both fecundity rates and survival rates decrease dramatically. (Being 10-20% underweight significantly decreases the number of eggs and also puts energy reserves dangerously low.) Keep in mind that the graphs show the mean values. About half the fish in any group are thinner than the mean, and these fish are strongly at risk.

It takes some work and careful interpretation to discern from the data whether the most likely cause of the poor condition is the destruction of oyster reefs, the management of the weirs, saltwater intrusion, change in speck limit, erosion, or some other factor. Analysis of similar data for four species (red drum, black drum, gafftops, and specks), combined with the healthy relative condition factors observed by the USGS before 2005 and data from other locations suggests that oyster reef destruction is likely the strongest contributor to decline of body condition in redfish.
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Lol

Motorboat:
What have you done for your fishery?

Math Geek:
Laundry list of items.

Motorboat:
Dang! Let me attack from a different angle. (And you chose to attack his resume?)

Dude so what if he has an agenda and so what if he has chose to make several posts consecutively. Is it possible these things have been picking his brain for some time and now he a ready to come forward and speak about it? With data to back his statements I might add.

I am interested in more of your opinions Math Geek so please carry on
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   rhall301
Motorboat did exactly what ever other CCA member does. When they cannot argue the facts, they attack the person. Thank you mathgeek for your desire to do the right thing.

Motorboat here is some other facts that dispute your rant: (1) CCA is not an open organization. When it came to the bowfish ban, it did not let its membership vote on the ban but decide to pursue the issue in executive session (CCA official corp. minutes); (2) CCA fabricated the data on tripletail, as it did on the bowban issue (Louisiana Legislative Bureau Archives); (3) As to your suggestion regarding CCA's help in the red snapper issue, let me enlighten you. Gary Jarvas filed suit, CCA was asked to attend an administrative hearing, it refused to even respond, as a result a federal judge in Washington handed the recreational fishermen a new 'you know what'. The Library of Congress records and offical court transcript showed the federal judge called CCA's omission 'suspect' 'contrary' and 'confusing'. And one more thing open your comment as to CCA being an open organization--members were not told about the Washington invite, nor the actual litigation pending, only after the damage was done did CCA post something on its website.
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   motorboat
This is the same thing you post every time this comes up. Where's the documentation?

I'm far from a koolaid drinker but it seems that las users have drank math geek's kool aid. He proposes no alternative to cca and can point to nothing he has done to combat the issues he has raised.

As far as what I've done for the fishery, I testify in ldwf hearings, nmfs hearings, donate money and time, including picking up derelict crab traps and planting marsh. I live in the city but visit the marsh every chance I get. I'm a steward if the environment.

When I said cca is an open organization, I knew you'd respond that way but I was referring to its openness to allow anyone to participate in whatever capacity they choose. It's open for you come in and suggest the changes you propose. Or will you just sit behind a keyboard and criticize a successful organization?
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   dwr3533
MathGeek, welcome aboard. It is refreshing for someone to back up their arguement with facts. I am sorry that you will be attacked by some for daring to challenge their comfort zone. I for one do not have an ax to grind with CCA. I left the organization because I felt it did not care about the average guy. I attended banquets, buying trips, items, etc. I never left without spending several hundred dollars at the event. I think the committee members are great guys that are trying to help. When the public access issue was going on, I asked some committe members to request that CCA provide a hand on the issue. After checking, he returned to me and advised that CCA did not want to get involved. It was apparent that the organization did not want to cross several large land holding corporations that were CCA contribuitors. If that is their stance, fine. It does not mesh with mine, so I no longer contribute. If somebody wants to support them, great, it is your business. Just not for me. Geek, keep up the posts. It appears that you add credibility to this site.
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   motorboat
Math geek's data wasn't even available in 2005! That's the funniest part of all of this. Urging a boycott against cca for something it didn't do 9 years ago with unavailable data is laughable.
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You have a lot of faith in the CCA's ability to dictate what does or does not happen in our fishery. It would be easy if they were in total control of everything instead of just an organization with a little influence. Has the CCA ever done anything positive? Easy to point the finger and accuse them of every failure under the sun. That just shows weakness on your part. It is very irrational to suggest they are the end all/ be all and they should be destroyed. Someone must of pooped in your Wheaties or maybe check the box- they might be expired.
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   MathGeek
'Math geek's data wasn't even available in 2005! That's the funniest part of all of this. Urging a boycott against cca for something it didn't do 9 years ago is laughable.'

The fact that destruction of oyster reefs would lead to decline of a fishery was well known in 2005. Numerous scientific papers had already been published on the subject. Our data just documents that the predictable outcome actually occurred in Calcasieu Lake, just as it had occurred in Galveston Bay and many other estuaries after oyster reef destruction. See the list of references below.

Instead of working to prevent the predictable outcome from reef destruction, CCA instead pushed to lower the speck limit from 25 to 15 in hopes of creating a trophy trout fishery. This change was pushed without any data showing a need. The outcome was that a lake that had produced 3 of LA's top 10 record specks from 1997 to 2004 has not had any additions to the top 10 specks since the limit change in 2005. With a fast growing, short lived fish like the spotted sea trout, maintaining high forage levels and fast growth rates is more important to producing trophies. Allowing the population to grow beyond what the lake could feed was actually counter productive.

Beck, M. W., K. L. Heck, K. W. Able, D. L. Childers, D. B. Eggleston, B. M. Gillanders, B. Halpern, C. G. Hays, K. Hoshino, T. J. Minello, R. J. Orth, P. F. Sheridan, and M. R. Weinstein. 2001. The Identification, Conservation, and Management of Estuarine and Marine Nurseries for Fish and Invertebrates. Bioscience 51:633-641.

Cave, R. N., E. W. Cake, Jr. 1980. Observations on the predation of oysters by the black drum Pogonias cromis (Linnaeus) (Sciaenidae). Proc. Natl. Shellfish. 70:121.

Henson, M. 1993. The History of Galveston Bay Resource Utilization. Webster, Texas.

Newell, R. I. E. 2004. Ecosystem Influences of Natural and Cultivated Populations of Suspension-Feeding Bivalve Molluscs: A Review. Journal of Shellfish Research 23:51-61.

Peterson, C. H., I. H. Grabowski, and S. P. Powers. (2003). Estimated Enhancement of Fish Production Resulting from Restoring Oyster Reef Habitat: Quantitative Valuation. Marine Ecology Progress Series 264:249-264.

Plunket, J. T. 2003. A Comparison Of Finfish Assemblages on Subtidal Oyster Shell (Clutched Oyster Lease) and Mud Bottom in Barataria Bay, Louisiana. LSU Thesis. http://etd.lsu.edu/docs/available/etd-0626103-163535/unrestricted/Plunket_thesis.pdf Accessed 9/8/2012.

Plunket, J. and M. K. La Peyre. 2005. Oyster Beds as Fish and Macroinvertebrate Habitat in Barataria Bay, Louisiana. Bulletin of Marine Science 77:155-164.

Rogers, D. R., D. B. Rogers, W. H. Herke. 1994. Structural Marsh Management Effects on Coastal Fishes and Crustaceans. Environmental Management 3:351-369.

Rothschild, B. J., J. S. Ault, P. Goulletquer, and M. Heral. 1994. Decline of the Chesapeake Bay Oyster Population - A Century of Habitat Destruction and Overfishing. Marine Ecology-Progress Series 111:29-39.

Rozas, L. P. and T. J. Minello. 1999. Effects of Structural Marsh Management on Fisheries Species and Other Nekton Before and During a Spring Drawdown. Wetlands Ecology and Management 7:121-139.

Sutter, F.C., R.S. Waller, and T.D. McIlwain. 1986. Species Profiles: Life Histories and Environmental Requirements of Coastal Fishes and Invertebrates (Gulf of Mexico)--Black Drum. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. Biol. Rep. 82(11.51). U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, TR EL-82-4. 10 pp.
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   rhall301
I say the same thing because you cannot seem to grasp facts, just name calling. Either you lack the intelligence or the common sense. Why do you not argue facts. As to my facts, check you own group's website, check your own group's 990- filing, check the offical court records. The problem with all CCA followers are they refuse to believe even their own facts.
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   MathGeek
'You have a lot of faith in the CCA's ability to dictate what does or does not happen in our fishery. It would be easy if they were in total control of everything instead of just an organization with a little influence. Has the CCA ever done anything positive?'

CCA has had very little positive influence in LA over the last decade. Instead of using their considerable influence to protect habitat, most of their influence has been used to push more restrictive regulations on anglers: Big Lake speck limit reductions (with no demonstrated scientific need), narrowing the slot on FL redfish, greater restrictions on redfish harvest in TX, new tripletail regulations in LA, attempted bowfishing ban in LA, increase in LA license fees.

CCA is straining out gnats and swallowing camels. They seem to be resting on their laurels from the 1980s and 1990s where they had success protecting redfish from the blackened redfish craze and eliminating gill nets. They need to stop their focus on reducing recreational angler harvest and shift to protecting habitat. Even with hundreds or thousands of supporters, the boycott effort cannot hope to 'destroy' CCA, and that is not the goal.

Do you think the priorities of a multi-million dollar organization are likely to change if their revenues remain steady or increase year after year? Many boycott supporters have worked for years within CCA to change their focus without success, and we've determined that the best way to get their attention is to hit them in the pocketbook.

S.T.A.R. stands for 'State of Texas Angler's Rodeo,' and the organization is headquartered and staffed primarily from Texas. The real power brokers in the organization favor Texas-style limits and management strategies which might make sense for the less productive and more heavily pressured TX waters, but are an unnecessary burden in LA.

Do you want speck limits lowered to 7 and a redfish slot of 20-28' with a limit of three? Keep sending your money to TX by supporting CCA.
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I've caught the fattest,and I mean football shaped Redfish everytime I fish Big Lake.
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   MathGeek
CCA and their supporters may consider box shots and internet pics sufficient science to manage the fishery, but I do not.

Fish in a box may appear 'fat' for a variety of reasons other than healthy weights including the amount of air in their swim bladders and gas in their digestive systems. Visual distortions can also arise from optical effects. I'm sure we all know anglers who have overestimated the weight of a fish before it was weighed on an accurate scale.

Valid studies of relative condition factors use calibrated scales with 1% or better accuracy. Hundreds of fish are weighed and measured.

Expected weights for a given length, species, and season were determined from a data set of thousands of fish compiled by the LDWF. The fact is over the last three years, redfish from Big Lake have weighed in significantly lighter than healthy fish from a large statewide data set.

We'll be collected our 2014 data set in late May and early June. We usually announce survey times and locations on the Salty Cajun site if you want to have your catch officially weighed and measured and included in the data set.
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   motorboat
Let's back up to the beginning. ' in SW Louisiana, the oyster reefs have been destroyed by dredging, plain and simple. CCA chose not to try and stop that dredging, and the fishery is suffering tremendously because of the destruction of oyster reefs.'

CCA cannot choose whether to stop dredging. This is done by the legislature and LDWF. Placing the blame on CCA is ludicrous.

'CCA has had very little positive influence in LA over the last decade. Instead of using their considerable influence to protect habitat, most of their influence has been used to push more restrictive regulations on anglers: Big Lake speck limit reductions (with no demonstrated scientific need), narrowing the slot on FL redfish, greater restrictions on redfish harvest in TX, new tripletail regulations in LA, attempted bowfishing ban in LA, increase in LA license fees.'

Everyone knows the bowfishing ban was a mistake. Get over it. The increase in license fees is to increase scientific research, which you hold so dearly. I don't understand your consternation for this.

'CCA is straining out gnats and swallowing camels.'

Nice proverb, but this makes no sense.

'They seem to be resting on their laurels from the 1980s and 1990s where they had success protecting redfish from the blackened redfish craze and eliminating gill nets. They need to stop their focus on reducing recreational angler harvest and shift to protecting habitat.'

I assure you they ar enot resting on their laurels. They are out there everyday promoting this state's resources and it's members' interests. Their focus is on habitat and sustainability of our resources. What is your focus on? The same thing. Again, I don't think you understand the goal of the organization.

'Even with hundreds or thousands of supporters, the boycott effort cannot hope to 'destroy' CCA, and that is not the goal.

Do you think the priorities of a multi-million dollar organization are likely to change if their revenues remain steady or increase year after year? Many boycott supporters have worked for years within CCA to change their focus without success, and we've determined that the best way to get their attention is to hit them in the pocketbook.'

Who is the 'we' in we've? What is your organization? Who are you? What are your goals herein besides taking down CCA?

'S.T.A.R. stands for 'State of Texas Angler's Rodeo,' and the organization is headquartered and staffed primarily from Texas. The real power brokers in the organization favor Texas-style limits and management strategies which might make sense for the less productive and more heavily pressured TX waters, but are an unnecessary burden in LA. '

STAR stands for 'Statewide Tournament and Anglers Rodeo'. Nice try though. You are obviously a professor at McNeese or some other university looking to get put on a think tank and enjoy your retirement in style, all while lecturing others on how they 'should' do things. Typical academic holier than thou thinking...

If your beloved data is correct (and I would think that it is given my observations in big lake), then why not pressure the oyster lobby instead of CCA? It appears there is an ulterior motive. I have not pin pointed it yet, but my guess is that Math Geek sees a nice profit center and he's ginning it up on LASM or Salty Cajun, or both.
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   rocknet
I was a member of CCA, but did not like their hands off policy in the public access debacle. In my estimation, public access to these marshlands is the biggest thing facing sportsman, ( the common, less heeled guys), besides the ultimate destruction of our coastal region from saltwater intrusion, subsidence and sea level rise. We are being boxed out of the coastal region. I guarantee you guys, the big corporations, land owners and money people are not satisfied with just the latest ruling by our esteemed legislature. Before it's over with, they will be closing off main natural waterways and lakes....all it takes is money, power, and influence, ( you can't have power and influence without lots of money). The CCA could not come in on the side of the average Joe, because lots of influence and money was at stake. I spent 3 years in our nations Capitol, and saw first hand the power and influence of the really big corporations and money people. We stopped being a Gov. of the people, for the people, and by the people decades ago. The big lobbyists get our Reps. to do their bidding, and they could care less about the average person. I kinda see this in the CCA structure. Don't get me wrong, if I had mucho denaro, I would probably be right in the middle of them.
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I find it hard to believe that Texas receives more fishing pressure than Louisiana. I'm generally sympathetic to your argument and find your reasoning compelling, Mathgeek, but having fished both the Texas and Louisiana coast, my experience (which is by definition limited and strictly observational) is that there are far more boats in the water, more bank fishermen, more commercial fishing, etc. in Louisiana than in Texas. Does the data suggest otherwise, or are you just assuming that since Texas has a larger coastline there must be more pressure?

A semi-related question: why does Texas (and Florida) consistently produce larger trout than Louisiana? If it's not for the restrictions on creel limits, then what is it? Nutritional? Genetic? We've had this discussion before on this site, and I've heard a number of theories, very few of which are the least bit convincing.
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   rocknet
Mission Statement
The stated purpose of CCA is to advise and educate the public on
conservation of marine resources. The objective of CCA is to
conserve, promote and enhance the present and future
availability of these coastal resources for the benefit and
enjoyment of the general public

Say What?????
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   MathGeek
'A semi-related question: why does Texas (and Florida) consistently produce larger trout than Louisiana? If it's not for the restrictions on creel limits, then what is it? Nutritional? Genetic? We've had this discussion before on this site, and I've heard a number of theories, very few of which are the least bit convincing.'

Reviewing the tables in Stephen A. Bortone's book, 'Biology of the Spotted Sea Trout' shows that female specks grow faster (are longer and heavier at a given age) in the estuaries in TX and FL that are best known for the big fish. They most likely grow faster because they have more to eat. Being further south than LA estuaries, these bays tend to be warmer and have a longer growing season where shrimp and bait fish are abundant.

Also being less turbid, light penetrates further into the water both allowing much larger areas of grass and higher levels of primary production in the bays. Florida has also banned inshore shrimping which preserves not only lots of shrimp for specks to eat but also preserves tremendous amounts of bait fish often caught in shrimp nets as by catch.

All Gulf states have about the same percentage of their specks making it to ages 5 and 6, suggesting either that the regulations in each state are well balanced with the populations or that fishing mortality is not a big enough factor in overall mortality for the differences in regulations to matter much.
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That must have been a fun day!
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   MathGeek
Texas averages 900,000 to 1,000,000 saltwater anglers. Louisiana averages 300,000.

Depending on how you measure the area of inshore waters, LA has about the same or more square miles of inshore waters.

I'd call three times the anglers in the same or less water more fishing pressure.

Another factor I've considered is that TX has had to stock millions of spotted seatrout and redfish to meet angler demands. Anglers in LA are satisfied with natural reproduction supporting and allowing much higher limits.
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   MathGeek
The bill does not dedicate the funds to research, but rather to 'research and conservation.' Thus it could be spent on anything that could be construed as 'conservation' including enforcement efforts, saltwater barriers, construction of levees and weirs, freshwater diversion to rebuild marsh, etc.

The bill includes the 136% increase for resident licenses, but no increase for non-resident licenses. This is too bad. It would be nice to see a proportionately similar increase in non-resident license fees. Why should residents bear a 136% increase while non-residents keep paying the same amount?

Of course, CCA support makes a lot more sense. Most of the big power brokers in CCA are TX residents, and it is expected that they would raise license fees on LA anglers, but not TX residents.
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   motorboat
That makes perfect sense. I'm rolling my eyes and bowing out. You win math geek. Texas is our puppet master. Any final conspiracy theories to propound to the group? Lol
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   rocknet
You can tell who has some jingle in their pocket when they suggest a 136% increase in fees. These folks are either completely out of touch with the average angler, or simply do not care about these fishermen. At a time when fishing licenses are declining in most states, this would be a bad move. We need to encourage more folks to fish. There are a lot of folks who don't make a lot of money, and still enjoy fishing. Regsearch is important, even though most fishermen will not have the means to be going out into the Gulf in pursuit of Red Snapper. A dollar or so increase would have been more in line if the money is to be used for this purpose. The CCA is supposed to be representing all fishermen all the coast, not just those with high end equipment and means. I'm reminded of ole France and Queen Marie on this one......when she was told the peasants were hungry-- and she replied ' Let them eat cake! '
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   MathGeek
Also of note is how much real conservation, research, and restoration funds are spent by CCA in Texas, while all LA gets are a few artificial reefs, license increases, and ever-increasing regulations. See:

http://www.ccatexas.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/UPDATED-HTFT-Project-Funds-2013.pdf

http://www.ccatexas.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/CCA-TPWD-Angler-Scientists.pdf

http://www.ccatexas.org/conservation/research/
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   rocknet
That's quite a few million dollars there. Glad they are really spending funds in Texas for projects, but I'd like to see what they have done here......
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Well it sounds like the Texas outfit raises far more money. It sure seems like it would, housing as it does three times the fishing fleet of Louisiana. (Hence, the better prizes in the STAR, more quality research, etc.) Should we not respect proportionality here? Only when Louisiana stands to benefit.

I think you were doing better when you were sticking to the oyster-dredging debacle. Now you just sound indiscriminate in your scorn, which suggests to this reader that motorboat might be right, i.e. that you've been denied a contract or grant money or something.
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   MathGeek
I would have no problem if CCA spending between TX and LA were proportional to their relative memberships and focused on conservation. But it appears that they are spending much more than 3x the $$$ in TX as LA. My preliminary review of the linked documents suggests they may be spending as much as 10X on conservation and restoration efforts in TX.

Their efforts in TX also show that they are working hard (spending millions) to establish new oyster reefs in TX and also working with TX officials to protect those reefs from dredging. (CCA has successfully lobbied to protect oyster reefs in TX.) Why is CCA not working in LA to protect natural reefs from dredging?

Their TX efforts make it clear that CCA understands the important habitat and ecosystem services provided by oyster reefs in an estuary. Why then are they pushing increased regulations on anglers (specks, tripletail, license fees) rather than working to protect oyster reefs in LA? If their LA efforts need to be limited due to lower membership, why not focus on protecting habitat?
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   TurtleNO
I will not support CCA or the STAR. I hope I catch 5 tagged reds this year. Won't cry one bit. The newest slap is the tripletail law that passed and pushed by CCA. They will never get my money and I will actively campaign against them any chance I get.
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   MathGeek
Black drum were sampled in 2011, 2012, and 2013, but numbers were only sufficient for length class analysis in 2013.

In 2011, the mean condition factor for black drum in Calcasieu Lake was 0.934 +/- 0.017. This means that the black drum only had enough forage to maintain 93.4% of the weight as the long term Louisiana average for a given length, season, and species. For comparison, the condition factor determined by the USGS in 2000 (before the oyster dredging was legalized in 2005) was 1.03 +/- 0.02.

In 2012, the mean condition factor for black drum dropped markedly to 0.842 +/- 0.012. In 2013, the mean condition factor of all lengths was 0.889 +/- 0.012.

The length class analysis shown in the graph shows that the longest length classes are struggling to find enough food to maintain body condition. These are the fish most heavily dependent on oyster reefs, suggesting that oyster reef destruction (by dredging) is a significant factor in the observed declines in fish condition.
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If you would like to fish oyster reefs in Big Lake look here http://www.louisianasportsman.com/details.php?id=1443
If you would like to fish the CCA STAR tournament check here
http://ccastar.com/
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   MathGeek
Thanks for the link to some artificial reefs in Big Lake. Anglers should note that artificial reefs are very different from living oyster reefs.

Artificial reefs are nothing more than hard substrate: rocks or concrete blocks dropped into the water in a desired arrangement. Oyster reefs are large collections of living oysters that provide valuable ecosystem services, improve water quality, and increase productivity in the lake. Most of the oyster reefs in Big Lake have been destroyed by dredging.

Most of the data shows that while oyster reefs actually increase the productivity of an ecosystem, artificial reefs merely congregate fish to make them easier to catch. This is why CCA is spending millions to restore oyster reefs in Glaveston Bay. To bad CCA is not working to preserve or restore oyster reefs in Louisiana.
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MathGeek, you make some valid points, this situation is a very difficult fish to fry. First of all an oyster stock assessment quantifies the living/recent dead oyster population and is not indicative of 'reef' size, when we are talking about the overall reef complex. One question on the condition of redfish, can we blame just the oyster fishery (yes I am calling it a fishery), or is the crab fishery to blame (remember this is a highly unregulated fishery) or possibly even the trawling industry taking away forage species. Again, don't want to knock you work, very valid points, but do we have other variables to consider?
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   motorboat
Math Geek still hasn't answered who he is working for but he has managed to get quoted anonymously in an LASM article!
http://www.louisianasportsman.com/details.php?id=6530

Hats off to math geek for posting some graphs and gaining credit from LASM.com readers and editors everywhere! Shame on LASM for lending him credit anonymously and without any way to verify his 'research' (which happens to be the very issue the article criticizes LDWF about). Strange things are afoot here.

Who pays you Math Geek?
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   e-man (R)
Motor Mouth,
I know math geek and guess what? NO ONE pays him!
He is a numbers geek and enjoys his research.
He will shoot you down till the cows come home w/ facts. When he first joined us on another site it was hard to listen to some of his stuff,
But once i started fact checking his numbers. I will back him on everything he post.
He truly wants to give us the best fishery we can have w/ what's available.
CCA is not doing this . So time for a new generation to step up. Like CCA says , Wait an see what happens.
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   MathGeek
'Math Geek still hasn't answered who he is working for but he has managed to get quoted anonymously in an LASM article!
http://www.louisianasportsman.com/details.php?id=6530'

The biologist quoted in that article is someone else. I have never worked for LDWF.

'Hats off to math geek for posting some graphs and gaining credit from LASM.com readers and editors everywhere! Shame on LASM for lending him credit anonymously and without any way to verify his 'research' (which happens to be the very issue the article criticizes LDWF about). Strange things are afoot here.

Who pays you Math Geek?'

In 2011 and 2012 most of our research budget for the fish studies posted here was from the United States Air Force Academy, where I proudly served as a math faculty member from 2009-2013. I returned to Louisiana in spring 2013 for family and personal reasons. Our 2013 data collection and analysis was funded by a small consulting company owned by my wife and I. We do earn some income on fisheries projects, but there currently are no external sponsors for this project. It is funded from our company's earnings in other areas: fisheries, study of blast and ballistic wounding mechanisms, education, study of armor effectiveness, and consulting on biomedical type cases.

We've published about a dozen scholarly papers in fisheries science so far, which have been well received. We've used widely accepted methods in fisheries science (like relative condition factor) as well as developed new methods, some of which have already been adopted by state wildlife agencies to gain new insights into difficult problems.

Our experimental methods were reviewed by Air Force scientists before our data collection in 2011 and 2012, and written reports of our findings went through internal review by a number of scientists at the Air Force Academy before they were approved for public release. Our findings from 2011-2012 were also favorably reviewed by several scientists who specialize in Gulf of Mexico fisheries. In 2013, our experimental method was approved by a committee of scientists in Louisiana before data collection occurred, and the composite findings (2011-2013) and length class analysis as well as alternate analysis techniques have received favorable reviews.

We have recently received external approvals and budgeted internal funding to continue the study in 2014. The team of scientists on the project has decided to delay full publication of results at least another year, but has approved the release of key figures and explanations of the basic methods and interpretations.
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   rhall301
Thanks MathGeek for your info but more importantly your service. E-Man is right when he calls motorboat....motormouth.

He often states he is leaving this site and soon returns. In fact, he has used names of people claiming I am them.

Another perfect example of a CCA heavy starched fishing shirt, shorts and sissy shoe wearing memeber who cannot argue facts but only make personal attacks.
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   MathGeek
I was studying the Callihan thesis more carefully (I am a geek, right?) and I came across his analysis of whether artificial reefs, like those constructed by CCA contribute to increasing ecosystem productivity or merely aggregate specks to make them easier to catch. (It is well known that the ecosystem services and habitat provided by oyster reefs increase production.)
BEGIN QUOTE
Although the artificial reefs I studied were deployed as mitigation for the destruction of natural oyster reefs, many similar reefs are being deployed in Louisiana’s estuaries. These projects are typically funded by private conservation organizations under the presumption that artificial reefs will benefit important fishery resources. However, my data suggest these reefs could have a negative impact on sportfish, at least spotted seatrout, by aggregating fish and thus increasing their vulnerability to exploitation via increased catch efficiency. Clearly, state management agencies throughout the GOM should consider this possibility when deciding to grant permission for the deployment of additional artificial reefs in inshore estuarine waters. - Callihan PhD Thesis p. 283 (LSU 2011)
END QUOTE

It is notable that CCA is spending millions to restore oyster reefs in Texas, but in Louisiana, their efforts have been geared toward restricting harvest limits (while letting oyster reefs get destroyed by dredging), increasing license fees, and building much cheaper artificial reefs.
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   MathGeek
I agree there are challenges when assigning importance to competing hypotheses when multiple factors are in play. We've developed new analysis techniques (based on multivariate analysis techniques in other fields) that are effective in unraveling food web dynamics of complex ecosystems given sufficient years of data. With a decade of data, inferences are possible with greater statistical confidence than possible now. If hypothetical causes are relatively uncorrelated, confident inferences may result from only 5-7 years of data. Empirical methods to estimate interaction matrix elements in the coupled Lotka-Volterra equations are something of a holy grail in population modeling. Our analysis approach shows promise toward accurately estimating species interaction coefficients (matrix elements) as well as making inferences regarding competing hypotheses in food web dynamics.

For example, suppose current trends hold for a decade (they might not). If the mean annual relative condition factors of a given length class of a given species (say bull redfish > 800 mm) have a strong correlation (r > 0.8; P < 0.05) with oyster stock assessments, but relatively weak correlations with other hypothetical factors (r < 0.5; P > 0.2), then there would be greater statistical confidence that oyster reef condition plays the strongest role in bull redfish condition. Likewise, suppose a different length class/species combination (say redfish 400-500 mm TL) is most strongly correlated with the exchange between the marsh and lake (r > 0.7; P < 0.05), but only weakly correlated with other factors (r < 0.5; P > 0.2); one could confidently infer that weir operation has a strong role. Finally, suppose that the shortest sampled length class of specks (290-400mm TL) is most strongly correlated with exchange between marsh and lake (r > 0.8; P < 0.05), weakly correlated with population of speckled trout (r > 0.5; P < 0.05), and uncorrelated with other factors. This would suggest a rank ordering of weir operation (lake-marsh exchange) then speck overpopulation (limits) above other hypotheses regarding the relative condition factor of specks 12-16' TL.

Right now, there are three years of data, and we'll have a fourth year by the end of June. More can be said than with one or two years of data, but less than possible with a decade of data. For example, if the speck limit were a dominant factor in the lake's food web impacting redfish and drum and gafftops as well as specks, one would expect that the condition factor of specks (especially the shorter length classes, since they have the highest populations) would be more strongly reduced than the relative condition factors of redfish. This is because the food competition is stronger within a given species than with other species. One would also expect Kn of different length classes and species to be highly correlated with each other, since the underlying cause would be the same. However, that is not what we see. The Kn of shorter specks has been between 0.95 and 1.05 in all sampling years (2011, 2012, and 2013); whereas, the Kn of redfish in the 500-650mm length class (that tend to stack up strongly at the weirs) has dipped below 0.95. Weir operation seems to be having a bigger impact on redfish between 20-26' long than the change in the speck limit. This seems more likely than not with available data , but cannot be inferred with a 90% or 95% confidence level. With a decade of data, this apparent inference might wash out in the noise or it might be established with greater confidence.

Another factor to consider is that Kn for all length classes and species (except for Gaftops 450-550 mm TL and bull redfish) rebounded strongly in 2013 over 2012. Only the shorter length classes of specks and redfish 400-500 mm TL topped 1.0 (returned to normal). Most length classes and years had Kn increase by about 5%, whereas specks (combined lengths) had a Kn increase of 9% (+/- 1.5%). This rebound cannot be explained by a recovery of the oyster reefs. However, the rebound does coincide with much lower salinity levels in the lake for the first six months of 2013 (compared with 2011 and 2012) that allowed the weirs to be opened and bait to flow back and forth from the marsh and lake. Based on available data, it seems more likely than not that the exchange with the marsh plays a significant role in relative condition factors in these cases. Once again, this inference might wash out in the noise with a decade of data, or it might be established with greater confidence.

Salinity levels have been a bit higher in 2014 than in the same period in 2013, but lower than 2011 and 2012; however the weirs have hardly been opened so exchange with the marsh has been small. If we had LDWF's 2014 oyster stock assessment data (not available yet), we could weight the different factors and make some Kn predictions for each length class and species based on past years and our current understanding of the relative importance of each factor. If the 2014 oyster stock assessments are still down, I expect Kn's closer to what was measured in 2012 than in 2013.

Louisiana law mandates wildlife resources be managed with the 'best available' science. My issues with the speck and tripletail limits is that CCA pushed for more restrictive regulations with no data at all. Available data was not reviewed; there were no hints of stock assessments; existing data from trawl studies and LDWF's fishery independent surveys was not consulted. In contrast, oyster stock assessments and the best available fisheries dependent data for Big Lake both suggest that oyster dredging is doing real and lasting harm. Volumes of published scholarly papers document valuable ecosystem services provided by oyster reefs, additional annual fisheries production around restored reefs, and the negative consequences on estuaries from the destruction of oyster reefs.

It is sad to think that a humble relative condition factor study may constitute the 'best available' data on the state of the fishery in Calcasieu Estuary, but until LDWF and CCA improve their scientific commitment, this may be the situation. Air Force support for the project dried up about the time of the sequester and furlough, right before I left the Academy and moved back to Louisiana. The study moves forward on a bit of private funding, exiting equipment, many volunteer hours, and kindness of those who let us weigh and measure their fish. Will we manage to get hundreds of fish weighed and measured in a three week window every year from now until 2021? I don't know.
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   slickhead
These graphs you are showing have not been published right?

I think you shouldn't compare the Kn values from the 2000 study because your methods are different from theirs. For instance, when looking at overall Kn, both sex and age are determined in there as well and not just length and weight. When you were doing these studies, did you age the fish? Determine sex of the fish?
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   motorboat
buh bye:

Quoted by Rhall:

Thanks
Thanks MathGeek for your info but more importantly your service. E-Man is right when he calls motorboat....motormouth.

He often states he is leaving this site and soon returns with more B.S. In fact, he has used names of people claiming I am them.

Another perfect example of a CCA heavy starched fishing shirt, shorts and sissy shoe wearing memeber who cannot argue facts but only make personal attacks.
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   rhall301
Thanks motormouth for proving my point!
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   MathGeek
BEGIN QUOTE

These graphs you are showing have not been published right?

I think you shouldn't compare the Kn values from the 2000 study because your methods are different from theirs. For instance, when looking at overall Kn, both sex and age are determined in there as well and not just length and weight.

END QUOTE

Where are you getting this inaccurate information?

Graphs comparing the 2011, 2012, 2013 data with the 2000 data have been reviewed by numerous experts both at the Air Force Academy and at institutions in the Gulf states. Feedback has been uniformly positive that the graphs represent an accurate description of the system in the given years. Most of the feedback from other scientists has focused on the interpretation of the changes over time and how the data may be used to weigh competing hypotheses. (See above discussion.) Not a single scientist has suggested that comparing the 2011, 2012, or 2013 data with the 2000 data is invalid. Further, there is also wide agreement that Kn = 1.00 is a valid basis for comparison representing the long term statewide average. We have computed P values, and the P values indicate statistical significance (95% CI) in all cases where the error bars do not overlap Kn = 1.00 indicating significant differences from the long term statewide fish condition.

The graphs have been widely distributed to scientists for their consideration, review, and feedback. Several public presentations have been given that include these graphs at universities and similar research type settings.

I hope to work on a more detailed description of the methods since there have been a couple of inquiries. However, these details may prove uninteresting to many LA Sportsman readers.
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His post was edited and an email sent Motorboat. That will not be tolerated here.

MOJO
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   slickhead
so...in other words you just posted a bunch of words to say

'No, we did not look at the age or sex of fish'

just answer yes or no

You sure you aren't a politician haha
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   MathGeek
Answering questions is a two way street.

Where did you get your inaccurate information?

Can you cite a publication where age is relevant to computation of relative condition factors?

Are you aware that use of relative condition factor is widely accepted in fisheries science without consideration of sex? (I can cite lots of papers.)

Relative condition factor is most commonly computed without consideration of sex, because accurately determining sex requires a slow and expensive laboratory procedure. Computing Kn without determining sex allows much larger data sets to be collected quickly. Computing Kn from 100 data points without sexing the fish is more accurate than computing Kn from a couple dozen data points that included sexing the fish. Age is never used, so your inference that it is was misleading.

Your questions amount to red herrings. I do hope to provide a more detailed method to describe why. But accusing me of acting like a politician by delaying a more detailed reply (until I have more time to write it) when you are dodging my questions seems a bit hypocritical.
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   motorboat
'Another perfect example of a CCA heavy starched fishing shirt, shorts and sissy shoe wearing memeber who cannot argue facts but only make personal attacks.'

Oh the irony. Bet the boots I'm wearing right now would kick the hell out of the contents of some cheap cargo shorts.
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   slickhead
You have to take into account sex and age if you want good science. In some species of fish, the age and sex of them do not correlate with Kn, however with drum sex and age DO play an integral part in Kn. Notice where 'special attention is needed in employing models'.

'Condition factor is an index of employed regularly in fisheries and is based on length and
weight of the animal. Relative condition factor of fish (Kn) (Le Cren, 1951) assumes that heavier fish are in better condition than lighter fish of the same length (Sutton and others, 2000).
stresses in the natural environment can have an effect on fish overall health and condition;
therefore, Kn can be employed as an integative biomarker. Both anthropogenic and natural
stressors are incorporated into Kn; however, there are natural fluctuations or differences in
condition factor of fish due to species, sex, and season (e.g. temperature, spawning, photoperiod, prey quantity/quality) (Le Cren, 1951; Sutton and others, 2000; Björnsson and others, 1989), so special attention must be given to these variables when developing models.'

Least squares regression analysis of the length-weight relationships indicated a seasonal
(fall or spring) difference for red drum, seasonal and sex interaction difference for black drum andspotted trout, and no difference between season, sex, or their interaction for southern flounder.

Based on these results, separate equations were developed for the significantly different
subpopulations. The following equations are the results, where separate equations were developed
for significantly different subpopulations influenced by season and/or sex based on statisticalanalyses of the length-weight relationships.

http://www.researchgate.net/publication/228967619_Fish_Bioindicators_of_Ecosystem_Condition_at_the_Calcasieu_Estuary_Louisiana/file/79e41512be828a9ec8.pdf
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   slickhead
Imagine if our managers of our resources were at the check stations just looking at weights of deer and not documenting whether the deer was a buck or a doe, or if the deer was a yearling, 1.5 year old, 2.5 year old, etc. Many fish show seasonable variability in weight and also sexual dimorphism (drum are one such species) and is why fisheries managers look at age and sex and not just length and weight and is why your graph should not be compared to the 2000 study
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The weight of female fish are often (species dependant some are reversed) heavier than males of the same age. His charts however somewhat negate that issue or a least minimize it by using length and not age.

Also unless the sex ration of the population shifts over the years then the size difference of male to female doesn't matter.
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   slickhead
You can compare weight vs length on his own studies for sure, they do show trends. However, comparing them to the 2000 study is not valid. The USGS study in 2000 accounted for sex and age of the fishes, his studies did not account for them so should not be compared. Its an apple to an orange. Its misleading is all, just pointing it out.
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   rhall301
motormouth, thanks again for proving my point-you and CCA cannot argue facts so attack the person. Your threats do not bother me and I have told you many times, I would meet you in person to discuss our issues.
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   motorboat
So you point out that by attacking the person (using a derogatory homosexual reference, BTW)? How does that prove anything except that you are a hypocrite?
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   MathGeek
Thanks for pointing out the study you had in mind. We analyzed this USGS paper very carefully when designing our study to ensure comparisons would be valid. By valid, we mean the systematic differences between our results and theirs would be acceptably small.

The USGS study did not factor age into their Kn computations at all, and did not factor in sex for redfish, because they determined that there are no significant differences between male and female redfish weights at a given length. The equations in the paper you cited show this on p. 35.

They did find small differences between sexes for weights at a given length for spotted seatrout and black drum. When we designed our experiment, we considered graphs like the one attached.

Note that the data USGS used (LDWF statewide data including thousands of fish) to establish the expected weight curves in the figure show the difference between a pure male cohort and a combined sex cohort is about 0.5% for 300 mm long fish (males heavier). This means in the (unlikely) event that all the fish in a given sample were male, the error introduced by not sexing them and using the male expected weight equation would be 0.5%

Similarly, the graph shows that the difference between a pure female cohort and a combined sex cohort show a difference of about 1% for 500 mm fish (females heavier). This means that in the (unlikely) event that all the fish in a given sample were female, the error introduced by not sexing them would be 1%.

Given that the samples we used to determine the mean annual Kn in the comparison figure were well distributed across the crossover point, that samples strongly biased by sex are exceedingly unlikely, and that the biggest error that could be introduced by a completely sex biased sample is 1%, the comparisons between the 2000 data and our data are valid.
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   slickhead
Again, did you differentiate between females and males? Just say no, thats all. We don't need 500 pages of graphs, just say you did not, you still have yet to just say a simple no, thats why I asked if you were a politcian

You said

'The USGS study did not factor age into their Kn computations at all, and did not factor in sex for redfish, because they determined that there are no significant differences between male and female redfish weights at a given length. The equations in the paper you cited show this on p. 35.'

but they did factor in sex for trout but your study on trout did not, yet you are comparing the two studies without all the same methods? Thats the issue.
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   MathGeek
As described above, we gave careful consideration in our experimental design to how much not considering sex might bias our results compared with the USGS study. We concluded that the likely bias would be far less than 1%.

In our experimental design, we made a conscious, well considered choice between reducing uncertainties with the expensive and time consuming approach of sexing the fish and (which is of limited utility as described above), and increasing the sample size (which has more promise for reducing uncertainties.)

The USGS study only included 24 fish and had a resulting uncertainty of 2%. Our study had at least 100 specks in every study year and had a undertainties in the mean annual Kn for speckled trout of 1.0%, 0.8%, and 0.7% in 2011, 2012, and 2013, respectively.

As long as the comparison includes the uncertainties (error bars), the comparisons are valid. If the differences are bigger than the uncertainties, the relative condition factors can be said to be different. Of the numerous PhDs and fisheries scientists to review our work, none has raised this objection. What are your qualifications to suggest all these scientists are wrong and you are right?
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   motorboat
I'm no scientist, but your sample size was only 100 fish? The other one was 24 fish?

This alone should sounds, well, fishy.

let me translate it so that we all can understand. MathGeek and his wife designed a study to compare to the USGS study but the data is not comparable:

As described above, we gave careful consideration in our experimental design to how much not considering sex might bias our results compared with the USGS study. We concluded that the likely bias would be far less than 1%.

Likely bias? Sounds like an emotional decision. Aren't female trout generally heavier than males?

In our experimental design, we made a conscious, well considered choice between reducing uncertainties with the expensive and time consuming approach of sexing the fish and (which is of limited utility as described above), and increasing the sample size (which has more promise for reducing uncertainties.)

Sounds like a cheap and lazy decision.
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   MathGeek
BEGIN QUOTE
let me translate it so that we all can understand. MathGeek and his wife designed a study to compare to the USGS study but the data is not comparable:
END QUOTE

The team who designed the study included several PhDs with decades of experience in experimental design. Both the design and the results have been reviewed by a broader group of PhDs and fisheries scientists. Our sample sizes and methods of estimating uncertainties are standard in the field. One of the great benefits of using relative condition factor is the ability to achieve valid results with the chosen sample sizes.

If you\'ve figured out that all the fisheries scientists using this technique are wrong, you need to start writing comments for all the published papers that use this technique and the official American Fisheries Society publications that recommend it. Most published relative condition factors are considered valid even though they have fewer than 100 data points. Our data set includes 347 spotted seatrout, with no fewer than 100 in a given year.

BEGIN QUOTE
As described above, we gave careful consideration in our experimental design to how much not considering sex might bias our results compared with the USGS study. We concluded that the likely bias would be far less than 1%.

Likely bias? Sounds like an emotional decision. Aren\'t female trout generally heavier than males?
END QUOTE

How can the bias exceed 1% if the average female is only 1% heavier than a cohort of unsexed fish? This is based on sound mathematical reasoning and the experimental method was vetted and approved by multiple faculty members in the Math department at the Air Force Academy. It was not an emotional decision.

BEGIN QUOTE
Sounds like a cheap and lazy decision.
END QUOTE

The Air Force was funding the project when the design decisions were made with appropriate input from scientists with appropriate expertise in various areas. Sample sizes ten times bigger would have been wasteful government spending.

Those knowledgeable about statistics and experimental design know that since we achieved uncertainties < 1.0% each year with sample sizes of 100 (or slightly more) for spotted seatrout each year, reducing uncertainties below 0.5% would have required sample sizes of at least 400. Would increasing the labor and costs by 4X to decrease the uncertainty from 1.0% to 0.5% be a good use of government funding?

These trade-offs are weighed each year and reviewed by a committee of scientists and administrators before the design is finalized. We\'re providing a lot more bang for the buck than LDWF who have spent lots of taxpayer money without releasing a shred of data in the last four years. How much data on Big Lake has CCA provided for their annual budget of $8 million and their dozen full time employees making six figure salaries?
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   rhall301
Thanks again for proving my point. You are 3 for 3 today. Again thanks for proving the CCA way--Cannot argue facts so dodge the questions and attack the person.

Oh, I thought you where leaving the site, another CCA way--Just make stuff up!
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It would be very wise of some people to take time to see how much CCA has helped out conservation and the enjoyment of STAR--no one organization will please everyone however they are looking out for our future------some of you would shoot the last two rabbits on earth and blame the foxes for no more bunnies!!!!
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   MathGeek
Before joining the Boycott the S.T.A.R. movement, I thoroughly reviewed their history, activities, 990 forms, etc.

Their predecessor group GCCA had some notable conservation accomplishments in the 1980s and 1990s mostly related to restricting the use of gill nets and protecting redfish, which were in some danger due to commercial overfishing during the 'blackened redfish' craze.

However, since 2000, the group's attention has shifted from protecting natural resources and habitat to pushing for restrictive regulations with no sound data showing a legitimate conservation need, pushing for fee increases, and fundraising to bring boatloads of cash back to Texas for expensive conservation projects.
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Maybe your problem could be solved by a proctologist- have a nice day
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   MathGeek
Maybe so, but the CCA board keeps missing the appointments we've made for them.
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