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  #1  
Old 05-06-2005, 12:05 PM
TonyDB TonyDB is offline
 
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Default Striper regulations

Being a newbie, I really don't intend to create controvercy on this forum, but I'm interested in peoples opinion on striper regulations and what we can do as a diverse group of anglers from various states to help the striped bass fishery.

It seems every state has their own regulations. In Maine they have a slot limit of 20-26 inches where you can take one fish/angler/day. These fish suposedly, have not spawned yet. Or, you can take one fish over 40 inches.

The rest of the states that I've inquired about (Maryland, NJ, and MA,) all have more liberal regulations. In Mass., the legal limit is two/day/angler over 28 inches. These fish suposedly have spawned only once upon reaching 28 inches. Maryland?s 2005 spring recreational trophy striped bass season opens on April 16 and continues through May 15, with a one fish per person per day creel and a minimum size limit of 28 inches. The second 2005 striper season in Maryland runs from May 16 through December 15, with a two fish per person per day creel and a ?slot? size limit of 18 to 28 inches. One of these two daily fish can be over 28 inches. In NJ, the 2004 striped bass recreational size limit allows anglers to take one fish at 24" to less than 28" and one fish at 34" or greater. Under the 2005 SBBP, anglers will be able to take a third fish at 28" or greater. I also believe New Jersey has allocated a commercial harvest quota of striped bass under the Striped Bass Interstate Fisheries Management Plan. The only State on the east coast to allow commercial fishing for stripers.

I'm not sure, but I believe these are the extremes with Maine being the most conservative and the others much more liberal (NJ, arguably the most liberal).

Today, there's evidence to suggest that the current regulations for most states are again hurting the fishery. Gary Shepherd, NOAA Fisheries' rep on ASMFC's Striped Bass Technical Committee, as follows: "In terms of total number of eggs, the spawning stock is now probably as large as it's ever been. But the big fish are getting cropped off. Most of them are gone by the age of about 15, and stripers can live to 30. So we're limiting their life span to about half." So we're now culling the largest egg producers and probably weeding out heredity traits for producing large fish.


I think we're all aware that the individual states don't no how to regulate their fisheries. It wasn't until congress stepped in with the 1984 Striped Bass Conservation Act, where the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) acquired the power to impose a striper-fishing moratorium in any state that doesn't comply with sound management. ASMFC did a fine job, rebuilding the stock from an historic low of about five million fish in 1982 to about 50 million in 2003.

However, on April 24, 2003 ASMFC lapsed in common sense when it petitioned the fisheries branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA Fisheries) to legalize recreational and commercial striper fishing in the federal part of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)-the 197 nautical miles beyond the 3-nautical-mile state limits. Mostly, the pressure came from two states, Mass and North Carolina, to open the so-called EEZ zone to commercial fishing. As such, this is what's happening. Here's a letter to ASMFC's management director, Robert Beal, describing a trip to Oregon Inlet, North Carolina on January 22, 2003: "I witnessed, firsthand, 10 to 15 trawlers [some in federal waters] netting huge schools of striped bass (within 200 yards of our boat) pulling their nets over an hour, on each pull; and then to our disgust-culling just the really large fish, stabbing the others (my friend called it 'picking'-so they wouldn't float) and throwing the rest back dead! After they unloaded their nets, they went back to netting again. . . . I couldn't believe what I was witnessing. I asked my friend (the captain) how this could happen and he said it's a loophole in the law. The state of North Carolina allows this one or two days a month-each trawler is allowed 100 fish."

Now that I'm a striper angler, I want to see a continued recovery of the striped bass fishery. From what I've read in this forum, all of you share this desire too.

So if you've got this far (sorry for the long winded-rant), you've probably forgot my original question (I had to look back as well) which was, I'm interested in peoples opinion on striper regulations and what we can do as a diverse group of anglers from various states to help the striped bass fishery.
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  #2  
Old 05-06-2005, 12:08 PM
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sea sea rider sea sea rider is offline
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What did you say
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  #3  
Old 05-06-2005, 12:31 PM
TonyDB TonyDB is offline
 
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Yeah, Sea Sea, after I wrote it, I read it and said to myself, that's a lot to chew on. The funny thing, I never intended to get so long winded. But as I did more and more research on my original question, which was the individual state size regulations, more and more stuff just kept coming up. The Web is a wealth of information, but sometimes it's a curse. After I reread it again, I debated over whether I should just erase it. But, as you can see, I didn't. Maybe I should have, sorry.
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  #4  
Old 05-06-2005, 12:55 PM
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merrillizer merrillizer is offline
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I think its a great post. As far as the regulations go, I think it's more the loser poachers that dont follow the regulations at all. For every one person that respects the fishery and follow the RULES, there is probably 5 losers that dont. Not to mention the people that fish almost everyday, bring their whole family, and "keep every keeper". I hope those types get massive mercury poisoning and croak ;)

I think the regulations are instated to try and help the fishery. I think a major problem is that Conservation Officers are outnumbered and track every lowlife on the water. That's why I think local anglers in every community should be appointed to a position of some authority, and the community governments should recognize a local group.

Some of the regulations do make me wonder though. As do some of the fines they hand out to the losers of society. 60 bux? What does that do? First offense should be, $250 easily. 2nd offense $500. 3rd offense $1000. And I think if someone is caught a 4th time, they should get all their tackle or whatever boat they may be in confiscated and either donated to some related cause, or auctioned off.

So I guess my answer to your question is.....start close to home. Get active in your local community. Take care of your local fishing spots, contact the town, local media, and any other State or local officials, and let them.....ah-hum, MAKE then know there are people out there who CARE, and will do whatever it takes to SAVE things related to the Striped Bass fishery. "get local"

:D



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  #5  
Old 05-06-2005, 01:32 PM
SoleSearcher SoleSearcher is offline
 
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Fantastic post Tony, and I agree with Jonny wholeheartedly. I really think this can make a difference. One thing about California that I think is good is the way they handle fines for wildlife violations......they do it at the county level. For example in my home county, Ventura; the fine for fishing without a licence will cost you around $1,000. And they don't care whether it is a first offense or not. If you are fishing without a license and in posession of fish that would otherwise be legal, it is going to cost you around $300 extra for each fish you have in possession. That could be a very expensive day for some of these jokers. While I and most other anglers out here have a real difficult time keeping up with and understanding regulations and changes to them....Bottom line, it is still our responsibility to know the rules before we fish. I have no problem at all getting after somebody I see breaking the law. Call me a busybody, but I take great pride in doing my part to protect the resource and anybody I see undermining that will hear about it from me and maybe even the warden(depending on the circumstances and their response) That being said, I always try to approach someone with the greatest amount of tact possible because if a situation is handled wrong you can do more damage than good. Sometimes it is just angler ignorance, sometimes it is a general disregard for the law or even contemp of it, or it maybe all of these things and more. In all we do, we should first educate because that fosters respect and appreciation for the resource and the laws that protect those resources. I'll end this diatribe, but one long post deserves another! Keep up the great posts guys :D
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  #6  
Old 05-06-2005, 01:59 PM
TonyDB TonyDB is offline
 
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Jonny and Solesearcher, thanks for the compliment on the post. I had some concerns even before I sent it and more after Sea Sea's response.

Help me understand something about both of your suggestions. I guess my take is that those low-lifes have always been there. If the fishery was able to rebound from a low of 5 million in 1982 to that of 50 million in 2003, and I'm correct in my assumption that the low-lifes have always been there, then it appears to me that it's a regulatory thing that brought the fish stocks back. Is my assumption wrong that those low-lifes have always been there? Since I didn't start striper fishing until 7 years ago, I really don't know. I do see the low-lifes that you speak of today.
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  #7  
Old 05-06-2005, 03:01 PM
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Years ago I saw pictures of runabouts circle fish with nets and pull them ashore with SUV.s They had spotter planes above to fine the schools..Pull them right up on the beach and use them for fertilizer. Those southern states got away with murder. I don't think you can blame the weekend fisherman no matter how many fish he keeps. It's the big boys you have to go after.
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  #8  
Old 05-06-2005, 03:11 PM
SoleSearcher SoleSearcher is offline
 
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Tony,
I'm quite sure that sea sea was just razzing you a little.....us swabbies and schoolies should expect a little friendly hazing anyway, right? As far as the rebound is concerned, I don't have enough knowledge about that(being a region specific topic), but let me give you an analogy that perhaps could be relevant. In my native state of Colorado, we used to boast one of the best populations of mule deer, with alot of trophy bucks. One unit near my house there was one of the "holy grails" of trophy deer hunting in years gone by. It was nothing to see 200-400 deer from the pickup if you drove the main roads at dusk or dawn. It seemed like every little side canyon in that 2,000 sq. mile unit was home to at least one really big buck. That was the good old days. These days existed until perhaps the mid to late 80's when the herd numbers started to decline. The Colorado Division of wildlife for the first time instituted a minimum size limit for deer, of three points per side.( to let bucks mature to breeding age before potentially being harvested) The population spiraled downwards even faster. Everyone began bickering and pointing fingers at eachother....meat hunters, trophy hunters, environmentalists, ranchers, atv riders, snowmobilers, etc. Some said that it was overgrazing by cattle ranchers, others accused hunters of shooting them out, some blamed it on the drought and others said it was a burgeoning predator population. I believe that while there may have been some things that had a heavier impact than others, many things contributed to the decline.....not any one thing. Yes we did have a drought which reduced the amount and quality of forage. Yes, there were more people accessing more country with the rising availability of ATV's. We also had an Elk population that was expanding like no one had seen before. We were also one of the last states that were not on a draw system for licenses, so the hunting pressure had increased. The government had also issued too many commercial guided hunting camp permits which further added to the pressure on the deer. Trapping on public ground was outlawed which led to a huge increase in coyotes. Spring bear hunting and hunting bears with dogs and bait was outlawed which drastically increased the bear population(a notorious consumer of fawn mulies). And last but not least, there were the poachers whose numbers and activities seemed to increase every year. To sum it up, most of western colorado deer herds were down 40-60% with some units even worse than that. As a correlation lets address the scumbag poachers. Most poachers target big bucks. Like a big cow striper, a big mature mulie brings alot more to the table reproductively than a small buck. While a mature buck knows how to gather and hold does and capable of breeding as many as 20 does successfully a year.........the young buck will usually have little success in holding very many does to breed with and many does simply will not stand to be bred by a young, inferior buck. End result: less fawns. less fawns at a time when predators are eating more of them than ever and less remote country for buck fawns to grow up and become truly genetically mature. As for the minimum size limit.....It worked against the herd managers in the following way. Because all hunters were only allowed one deer a year, the three point restriction forced meat hunters that would have normally harvested the first spike or 2-point buck they saw, to hunt harder to find a 3point buck. End result was more breeding age bucks were harvested than before, while inferior or immature bucks were left to do the breeding. I think there is also alot to be said about your observation/opinion about screwing up the gene pool for big fish by creating an environment where smaller fish are doing most of the spawning. In Colorado ten years ago, I could take you out antler hunting and pick up an old shed off of a really big buck. A shed that was probably dropped a couple decades prior(they really do last that long and longer on the ground in the west). Then in the same area we could find a shed from the same approximate age-class of deer that was dropped within the past year or two. Now comparing the two horns from deer that were similar in age at the times the horns were shed, I could show you that while the trademark shape and formation of the sheds were the same(deer in each area seem to have racks that uniquely similar), the shed from last year would be noticable smaller in scale than the one from 20 years past. The general shape seems to stay the same, they just seem to be on a smaller scale than before. I think there is some kind of correlation not just to the gene pool but the maturity of the genetic material. I would be surprised if stripers are not bound to this genetic structure as well. The Division of wildlife did away with the minimum size rule, but limited the overall harvest of bucks by instituting a drawing for hunting tags as a management tool. The drought has eased up a bit in the last couple years. There were new laws passed that SEVERELY increased the punishment for poachers who harvested trophy deer by levying a huge additional poaching penalty for mature bucks. It used to be a $700 fine for poaching any deer, now it is $700 for poaching a buck plus an additional$15,000 penalty if the buck has a 22inch or greater antler spread. We finally convinced them that mature bucks have an intrinsically higher value to the herd and the penalty should be increased to reflect that loss of value. That new penalty seemed to decrease the amount of poaching drastically. Oh, they can take your truck,gun, binoculars......anything used during the act of taking or transporting the poached animal. They can even take your house and property if you store a poached animal there. I think they should do the same for fish poachers. Now the deer population is rebounding unbelievably and I think it is because of better management by our game managers and biologists. But it took the support and involvement of sportsmen at all levels to make the management work. Jim/Jonny I am truly sorry, I didn't intend to turn the striper room into a mule deer room. Just a biological correlation I was trying to make. Tony, the low-lifes have always been there but I think that with the added pressures on our fisheries and marine environment as of late.......it seems that they are like a "force-multiplier" for negative impacts on the fish. Regulations rarely only work if they are based on accurate data and supported by the fisherman being regulated. Enforcement constraints(manpower,funds,etc) put us all basically on an "honor system" , and those without honor will always pollute the system.
:cry: If this long post is edited, no hard feelings on my part :)
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Old 05-06-2005, 03:29 PM
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I couldn't help it. I'm sorry. :twisted: This is what made me do it

So if you've got this far (sorry for the long winded-rant), you've probably forgot my original question (I had to look back as well)

It was a very nice post. :evil:
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Old 05-06-2005, 03:33 PM
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Striperjim Striperjim is offline
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Wow.
Great post Tony Ill have to come back and read the replies to it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DB
NJ, arguably the most liberal
Thats probably due to the lobbying and participation of the party Boat industry. They have 200 or so miles of coastline and a thriving Party and charter boat industry.
Economics play a huge part here.
I've read complaints (mostly from the commercial industry) about the overabundance of stripers themselves depleting almost every other species from menhaden, herring, spot, weakfish, lobster and clams to name a few playing havok with the ecosystem.
I too think the ASMFC is more intune with whats going on than the special interests.
It didnt make sense to me to cull the large breeders from the herd either. See New Yorks new law of one fish over 28 inches and one fish 40 inches per day as well as Maines. But having said that most anglers arent catching too too many over 40 inches. I think one over 24 and 1 over 28 makes better sense. BTW there is some other stuff on this in the regs laws and fishing politics category. Maybe we'll move this thread to there. Again great post.

(edit ***)
Quote:
Originally Posted by solesearcher
think there is also alot to be said about your observation/opinion about screwing up the gene pool for big fish by creating an environment where smaller fish are doing most of the spawning.
Another great post IMHO solesearcher.
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  #11  
Old 05-09-2005, 07:47 AM
TonyDB TonyDB is offline
 
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OK solesearcher, good analogy. I'll keep my eyes open for the illegals. When I'm on the water in my boat, I've been more concerned about safety issues with other boaters; overloaded boat, kids without safety jackets, drinkers....

Also, several years ago my daughter and I were out fishing. We had already caught our limit of stripers (2) in the slot trolling tubes and were throwing all additional stripers back. We then picked up a blue fish which I decided to take as well (for my dad). You can take 5 blues per angler. A guy in a boat close to us was yelling that we could only take two. I tried to yell back that it was a blue but he apparently didn't hear or believe me. Well within minutes a game warden flagged my boat down to inspect our catch. The first thing he asks is whether I know the regs. He then says how is it that you have 3 fish with two anglers. I said because ones a blue. After he inspected and measured our fish he complimented us on our catch and said have a nice day. The fact that we had to pull our lines in and stop fishing for 20 minutes wasn't such a big deal. But I was somewhat embarrassed because the whole incident took place within eye of the marina where we keep our boat. I probably shouldn't have been so sensitive about the incident, but it has created a mind-your-own-buisness mentality within me that I'll have to overcome.
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Old 05-09-2005, 03:24 PM
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They should get the boats name and then after checking you out .Over the air tell them, that they were wrong . Make them fell like an a__hole instead of you having to feel that way.
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