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Old 11-13-2004, 12:46 AM
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merrillizer merrillizer is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2004
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Default STRIPERS FOREVER attends NH ASMFC striped bass meeting

Well, looks like the rumors I had been hearing towards the end of the Summer into the Fall are atleast partly true. I remember Pete Jr. from Defiant mentioning to me more than a few times that the Striped Bass are being overfished, and he said there was talk of lowering the catch limit to 1 per person per day in NH.

If you read below, it seems these conclusions are correct, but it also seems they are not going to do anything about it. This seems weird to me.


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Stripers Forever ? We attended the most recent Atlantic States Marine
Fisheries Commission ?ASMFC? striped bass management board meeting in New
Hampshire on 11/10/04. Here is a synopsis of what we heard and our
comments on a number of relevant issues.~

A. Stock assessment for the 2003 fishing year:~ The ASMFC stock
assessment report shows that striped bass 7 years and older along the
coast are being heavily over-fished.~ The report also shows that the
spawning stock biomass has been dropping for several years, and that by
the end of 2003 had fallen to mid-1990 levels -- just barely above the
level set as the minimum target, or ?threshold.?

The apparent increased mortality and spawning stock decline were so
dramatic compared to previous estimates that the members of the ASMFC
Technical Committee were obviously confused. After much discussion, the
committee members admitted that they could not agree on the accuracy of
the findings.~ The net result was that the management board decided to do
nothing, opting to wait to see the 2004 numbers before considering any
action.~

FYI, this report uses data already a year old, and does not fully reflect
the effect of increasing bag limits to two fish by several states. In
fact, NY is just going from one to two fish over 28 inches for its
recreational anglers in the 2005 season.~ The 2003 ASMFC Technical
Committee assessment also does not reflect the compound e
ffect of a second
year of coastal commercial fishing at a 40% increase in quota.

B. Status of reopening the EEZ. The National Marine Fisheries Service
asked the management board if they wished to put the proposed reopening of
the EEZ on hold.~~ NMFS was concerned that the latest available data
indicated a very high mortality rate on large fish and that the ASMFC
Technical Committee could not confirm the accuracy of its own findings.

This led some board members to put forward a motion to stop further
consideration of reopening the EEZ until the 2004 stock assessment was
available.~ Paul Diodati from Massachusetts, the lead proponent of
reopening the EEZ, greeted this motion with an angry diatribe and stormed
out of the room threatening the ASMFC board with severely damaged
relations with his state if the measure passed.~ The motion did not pass,
losing 6 votes to 7. But the NMFS representative said that the matter may
be put on hold anyway until NMFS sees the 2004 stock assessment.

Summary ? The results of this meeting demonstrate why striped bass need to
be designated as game fish.~ There are compelling reasons to be concerned
about the direction the striped bass population is heading .The
recreational community will gladly reduce its catch to safeguard the
striper population.~ Everyone knows that.~ But the states with commercial
fisheries want to hold on to every bit of quota they can get for their
commercial fishermen.~ This historic reluctance to be conservative is the
hallmark of virtually all fisheries managed for commercial harvest.~ While
striped bass is largely a recreational fishery -- the current catch of
stripers is 3 to 1 recreational over commercial, and the number of
participants is about 1,000 to 1 recreational over commercial -- the
commercial fishing quotas always get first consideration.~ That is very
unlikely to change as long as a commercial fishery of any kind remains for
wild striped bass. The values of the commercial fishery, which depends on
killing fish to sell, and the values of the recreational fishing public,
whose first desire is to have good fishing, are simply incompatible.~
~
We will continue to monitor these important developments with striped
bass, and let our members know how and when it would be important for them
to send in comments to the fishery managers.

Brad Burns



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