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  #1  
Old 08-17-2010, 12:38 PM
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Default My take on last night's ASMFC Addendum II hearing in MA

I will here attempt to summarize last night's hearing in Dedham, MA for those of you who could not make it.

There were 32 or 33 people in attendance. It seemed all were recreational fishermen, except for maybe 1 or 2. The Mass Striped Bass Assn. made a strong showing and though most (if not all) members who showed were recs, they indicated that they represent a large number of comms in their organization. Also present were John Redman (Striped-Bass.com), someone from ReelTime.com, several members of Plum Island Surfcasters, several from Stripercoast Surfcasters Club, and several others who's affiliations I did not catch. Interestingly enough, I don't believe the MBBA and Stripers Forever were officially represented.

Paul Diodati (sp?), the MA appointee to the ASMFC was host.

Nichola Meserve gave a good presentation on the current draft of Addendum II to Amendment 6, fielded questions, and moderated the public comment portion of the meeting. She handled the meeting very well.

For those who have not read the Addendum, it is attached to this post as a PDF document. I had studied all of these details ahead of time, but wanted to hear the ASMFC presentation for myself just to make sure that I was, in fact, understanding everything correctly. I'm glad I did, as it did clarify a few things for me.

The Addendum is basically broken into 2 parts, or 2 separate issues.
Both issues were discussed separately in Ms. Meserve's presentation, and the public comment section was also split into 2 parts discussing each issue separately.

Issue #2, the less controversial issue was discussed first, so I will touch on that first for you all. This question under Issue 2 is basically whether or not to redefine the method for determining recruitment failure of the Juvenile Abundance Index (JAI). The JAI is essentially an estimate of the success of the spawn for any given year.

Currently under Section 3.1.1 of Amendment 6, the data used to determine recruitment (spawning) failure, includes ALL data known, including data from early years before the methods were standardized, and some years where data is actually missing, as shown circled in RED below in the Virginia JAI history:



Removing these years from the data set would result in the bar (black line above) being RAISED. This is a good thing in my opinion. Management action (i.e. reduction in comm harvest and/or rec harvest) is triggered if 3 consecutive years fall below the line. By raising the bar here, management action would be triggered more quickly, while the stock is still hopefully healthy enough to rebuild quickly.

Here is where the bar would be set on the VA JAI chart if those early years were removed from the data set.



Also included in this option would be the recommendation to FIX the bar at this level, so that it is not a constantly moving target that changes every year as data is added. It is recommended by the Technical Committee that the current data set is ideal and a moving target is not in the best interest of the fishery in this regard. I agree with this assessment. This is huge, and I think misunderstood by most.

Here's the deal. Status Quo on this issue means that a bar that is already low, is also variable. The bar is set at 75% of the average of all years in the data set. Let's say for example that for the next 10 years we have consistently low JAI indices (slightly above, or right at the current bar, or just one year out of every 3 slightly above the line keeping the trigger from being tripped), because those new numbers for the 10 bad years become part of the average, the bar will gradually get lower and lower as the average JAI in the data set goes down.

By FIXING the bar at its current level, or recalculated higher level, 10 bad years won't cause the bar to drop, resulting in a what could be a sliding curve toward the bottom, never quite tripping the trigger. Without this being redefined, and fixing the bar at conservatively reasonable level, the fishery could be in real trouble before either the JAI or the SSB triggers are tripped.


Public comment on Issue #2 described above showed 100% of the meeting attendees in support of the Technical Committee's recommendation to redefine recruitment failure as outlined above.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

The floor was then opened for public comment on Issue #1 of Addendum II to Amendment 6, which is basically this. Under Issue #1, we have 2 options on the table.

Option 1 = Status Quo, under this option commercial quota would remain unchanged. However, the Committee requested comments the idea of simply reallocating some of the recreation catch (through min size increase, reduced bag limit, or closed season/area) to the commercial sector. So that the overall take would remain approx. the same, but with a larger portion of it allocated to the comm sector.

Option 2 = Under this option the Management Board would select a specific percent increase (yet undefined!!!) to be applied to the coastal comm quota established in Amendment 6. Each jurisdiction (state) would be responsible for deciding whether or not to actually implement the increased quota level. In other words, any state could chose to NOT increase their commercial allowance in spite of a go-ahead from the ASMFC to do so.

Public comment was 100% in favor of Option 1, Status Quo, no commercial increase, this includes those representing the commercial sector in MA. No one spoke up in favor of a commercial quota increase. In addition many people strongly recommended not only no commercial increase, but also a reduction in recreational allowance to 1 fish per day with a slot limit.

Some of the arguments presented against commercial quota increase were as follows:

1. MANY people present reported an overwhelming absense of small fish over the last couple years. This goes along with the ASMFC's graphs in Addendum II which show a steady decline in JAI, especially in the Maryland/Chesapeake numbers.
Maryland's JAI numbers are shown here:


2. Several people pointed out that while the ASMFC's female spawning stock biomass assessment is currently above the threshold they've set to determine whether or not the stock is being overfished, their chart also shows a fairly steady decline in the Total Abundance of striped bass since 2004. This is another indication that the lower JAI numbers need to be taken seriously, as small fish are not filling in to keep the overall abundance high. Once the current Female Spawning Stock Biomass is gone, there are few small fish coming along behind them to fill in the gap.
This is reflected in the below graph taken from Addendum II.



3. Juvenile Recruitment levels (age 1 fish) shown above showed steady decline from 2005-2007, with only a small recovery in 2008. 2009 numbers not shown on the above graph also indicated decline.

4. Mark Pirani from Stripercoast Surfcasters Club spoke about the potentialy devastating effects of mycobacteriosis in the Chesapeake. When asked, Ms. Meserve stated that an estimated 75% of the entire coastal biomass comes from the Chesapeake. She also confirmed estimates that at least 70% of those fish are believed to be infected with Mycobacteriosis. She also said that the long term affects of the disease is yet unknown (i.e. whether or not it is always fatal, whether or not a fish can ever fully recover, the rate at which growth is slowed, etc... all unknown). Mark urged the board to look at this very conservatively, and consider the worst case scenario,,, which is this. The ASMFC's graph above shows the SSB to be just over 60 million fish. If 75% of those fish come from the Chesapeake, that's 45 million female spawners in the Chesapeake. If 70 percent of those fish are infected with Mycobacteriosis, that is 31.5 million female spawners that are possibly infected with myco in the Chessy alone,,, more that half of the entire SSB on the eastern seaboard. If this disease does turn out to be fatal, we will be loosing more than 50% of all the breaders in the next few years, which would crash the stock to WELL below the threshold set by ASMFC for urgent management action. Mark said that increasing any quota at this time would not be wise or in the best interest of the fishery. Several others echoed Mark's comments.

5. Poaching. Ms. Meserve said that the ASMFC is in the process of developing more accurate models of estimating the amount of unreported poaching that is going on, but said those numbers are not yet available. Several people spoke of the KNOWN poaching that is going on and that the actual take, especially from the commercial sector, is far above what is indicated by the ASMFC's numbers. It was also mentioned by myself and 1 or two other people, that the commercial fishing industry, and the legal sale of striped bass in general, are fueling the rampant poaching that we all know is going on and it was recommended that the only way to truly stop large scale poaching operations, such as the ones recently discovered in Maryland and Virginia, is to stop the legal sale of striped bass coastwide. I personally have in my hand a stack of printed articles from unbiased news sources and the USDOJ showing that in the last year alone 111,553 lbs of illegally caught striped bass were confiscated. That's just the articles I found in about 30 minutes of searching, and is nearly equal to all of Maryland's annual quota! To increase the commercial quota at all, especially at a time when the ASMFC admits to not having a handle on even a remote estimate of the number of poached fish is unwise. If they can estimate how many fish I take home legally each year without even asking me, surely they can come up with at least a ballpark figure on poaching and factor that into their figures.

I think we got our point across loud and clear. I hope they listen!!
I will also be at the hearing in Rhode Island tonight.

Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on the Draft Addendum, either by attending public hearings or providing written comments. The Draft Addendum can be obtained via the Commission’s website at www.asmfc.org under Breaking News or by contacting the Commission at (202) 289-6400. Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM (EST) on October 1, 2010 and should be forwarded to Nichola Meserve, FMP Coordinator, 1444 Eye Street, NW, Sixth Floor, Washington, DC 20005; (202) 289-6051 (FAX) or at [email protected] (Subject line: Striped Bass Addendum II). For more information, please contact Nichola Meserve, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator at (202) 289-6400 or [email protected].

~ Jake
Attached Files
File Type: pdf draftAddendumIIforPublicComment.pdf (222.8 KB, 173 views)

Last edited by JakeF; 08-17-2010 at 03:35 PM. Reason: fixing typo's
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  #2  
Old 08-17-2010, 03:17 PM
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Default Re: My take on last night's ASMFC Addendum II hearing in MA

Thank you for posting these details and keeping us informed. I really appreciate it and I'm sure many others do as well. I'm all for 1 fish/slot for us and keeping the commercial quota unchanged.
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Old 08-17-2010, 03:57 PM
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Default Re: My take on last night's ASMFC Addendum II hearing in MA

Another thing that really jumps out at me is this. Take another look at this graph...



In 1987 the Recruitment (YoY) was at approx. 5 million fish. During that same year, the Female SSB (Spawning Stock Biomass) was also right at 5 million fish. So in 1987 you have 5 million spawning females, and end up with an additional 5 million YoY fish as a result.

In stark contrast is the year 2007. In 2007, we had an estimated 60 million Female SSB, yet we had a Recruitment level of only 5 million, same as 1987.

Just another indication that something is seriously wrong in the spawning grounds....
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Old 08-18-2010, 04:40 PM
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Default Re: My take on last night's ASMFC Addendum II hearing in MA

Thanks Jake
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Old 08-19-2010, 04:47 PM
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Default Re: My take on last night's ASMFC Addendum II hearing in MA

Thanks Jake

Dick Russell on H796
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Old 08-19-2010, 05:32 PM
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Default Re: My take on last night's ASMFC Addendum II hearing in MA

It is my opinion that within the next 2-3 years we will see, unfortunately, many of these warning signs start to manifest themselves much more visibly. H796 didn't go anywhere this year, but I think it will have a much better chance if reintroduced in a couple years.

In the mean time, it's information like what Dick Russell puts forth, and what is included in this thread that we need to keep at the forefront of thought process of the everyday striper fisherman, commercial & recreational alike.
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Old 10-27-2010, 06:32 PM
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Default Re: My take on last night's ASMFC Addendum II hearing in MA

Here's an update on this... All public comment is in and has been tallied. I have a PDF fresh off the presses from the ASMFC which is a breakdown state-by-state of all public comment received. It is attached to the bottom of this post for your review.

The Management Board at the ASMFC will be voting on this Addendum at their annual meeting in South Carolina on November 9th.

I also have the contact information of every person on that board, and have emailed every one of them. It is also attached to the bottom of this post so that you can do the same.

Fight the good fight...
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Public Comment Summary SB Add II Nov2010.pdf (37.0 KB, 138 views)
File Type: pdf stripedBassBoard0710.pdf (20.9 KB, 135 views)
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Old 10-28-2010, 01:33 PM
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Default Re: My take on last night's ASMFC Addendum II hearing in MA

Thanks for your work on this Jake....

guy's.. any one that has spent even a small amount of time of the water the last few seasons has seen a marked drop in small and medium fish....

this is a serious problem,that gets more pronounced the farther north you go.. we can only hope that calmer... clearer minds prevail.. or these fish will be headed for another population crash...next time we may not be so lucky...
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Old 10-29-2010, 04:57 PM
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Default Re: My take on last night's ASMFC Addendum II hearing in MA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roccus View Post
Thanks for your work on this Jake....

guy's.. any one that has spent even a small amount of time of the water the last few seasons has seen a marked drop in small and medium fish....

this is a serious problem,that gets more pronounced the farther north you go.. we can only hope that calmer... clearer minds prevail.. or these fish will be headed for another population crash...next time we may not be so lucky...

One can only hope the management board does the right thing. Public comment is clear, over 90% opposed to raising the quota and over 90% in favor of changing the baseline for recruitment failure. If the Board follows the public commentary we will hopefully be closer to some management action. Particularly when you consider the recent recruitment failures in the Chesapeake.
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Old 11-09-2010, 03:06 PM
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Default Re: My take on last night's ASMFC Addendum II hearing in MA

I have word that the ASMFC Management Board has voted in today's meeting AGAINST increasing the coastal Commercial Striped Bass Quota. I have not yet heard the results of a vote on Issue 2 - Redefining Recruitment Failure... I will post as soon as I hear.

Thank you all for helping us be heard on this issue and encouraging the ASMFC to avoid taking a step in the wrong direction!
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Old 11-09-2010, 03:36 PM
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Default Re: My take on last night's ASMFC Addendum II hearing in MA

This just in... Board voted unanimously on Issue 2 - to Redefine Recruitment Failure as recommended by the Technical Committee. This is HUGE and something we pushed for strongly over the last year! I don't think a lot of people really understood it's ramifications, so it didn't get the attention that Issue 1 - Commercial Quota Increase got, but it's just as big of a win for our beloved fish!!
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Old 11-09-2010, 04:50 PM
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Default Re: My take on last night's ASMFC Addendum II hearing in MA

Here's how the voting on Issue 1 breaks down....

The exact vote for status quo went like this:

10-4
For Status Quo:
ME = Yes
NH = Yes
RI = No (increase quota)
MA = Yes
CT = Yes
NY = No (increase quota)
NJ = Yes
PA = Yes
DE = No (increase quota)
MD = Yes
DC = absent
PRFC = abstain
VA = Yes
NC = No (increase quota)
NMFS = Yes
FWS = Yes


While the votes tallied 10 to 4 in favor of maintaining Status Quo, I am SHOCKED that RI & NY voted FOR the proposed increase (maybe I shouldn't be, but I am).

Here's what the public comments received looked like for the states who's delegates voted in favor of the increase:




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Old 12-08-2010, 11:56 PM
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Default Re: My take on last night's ASMFC Addendum II hearing in MA

the feds slotted like five million to start a pilot program up by you guys. seems they have already hired 2 persons to begin with, anyone have updates on this particular aspect of your fishery? i didn't buddy up to this as it doesn;t effect me directly but have not lost track of it's birth and now read this.....

Northeast - New Outreach Positions to Help Northeast Fishermen Comply with Regulations

NOAA has hired two new staff members, both residents of the Gloucester area, as a part of its ongoing efforts to improve communication with the fishing industry and to work proactively with fishermen to help them understand and comply with fisheries regulations. Compliance assistance liaison Don Mason and fishing outreach specialist Sheila Jarnes began their positions based in Gloucester earlier this month. The compliance pilot program was announced by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke in September in response to Office of Inspector General reports and feedback received from stakeholders during NOAA's National Enforcement Summit in August. For more information,
some pertinent info is here.
NOAA news release.



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