So I contacted the PFBC regarding the Delaware river striped bass stock.
This Was my message:
Comments: Delaware river.
I know that PFBC has conducted fish studies on the tidal section of the Delaware river in 2014 and 2015 as I have witnessed this on the river. My question is, where are the reports at for these conducted studies? I don't see them on your web site or in any other publication.
In my opinion, and the opinion of all of the anglers I converse with throughout the spring run of striped bass on the Delaware river, the striped bass are in a major downward trend. The spawning grounds in the Delaware river has seen a minor drop in numbers starting in 2013 and getting worse and worse in the following years of 2014 and 2015 striped bass were almost non-existent on the spawning grounds.
I log a minumim of 300 fishing hours from March 1st - June 1st in the stretch of river between Neshaminy creek down to CBB. I logged only one female spawner in 2015. Only 3 female spawners in 2014. The slot fish were also at a 9 year low according to my logs. Also young of the year striped bass has diminished greatly.
I remember reading and hearing about a large number of striped bass being lost to the netters in Delaware bay in early spring 2015. I'm assuming this also happened in 2014 but have no confirmation of this fact.
I would really appreciate seeing your survey from 2014 and 2015. I watched them surveying south of tacony bridge in 2015 and I didn't see them net any fish in over an hour of conducting this study.
I have great concerns about the future of the Delaware river striped bass stock and believe immediate action is required in the form of tighter regulations for Pennsylvania anglers. I suggest doin away with the slot fish regulations and imposing strictly catch and release during peak spawning months of April and May. Also I believe that ranger presence has not been enough to curb poaching especially in the areas of south philly and areas around CCB. There need to be an increase presence of field agents to let the public know that the authority is at least locally involved with the public interest.
Please consider these request as well as forward me any and all information regarding the above mentioned issues regarding the striped bass surveys. Please publish or send me privately the striped bass assessments for 2014 and 2015.
Thanking you in advance for your time, and commitment. Looking forward to a prompt replay.
Avid Striped Bass fisherman
And this was the response:
Mr. ****** - Thank you for your interest in the Delaware River Striped Bass fishery. Our agency has conducted a Striped Bass spawning stock electrofishing survey on the tidal Delaware River annually since 1996. As you requested, our 2014 report is attached as well as several figures depicting the 2015 electrofishing catch rates, since our 2015 report is not complete yet. As you will see in the attached figures, the 2015 total catch rate was higher than the long-term average from 1996-2014 and the total catch rates observed in 2013 and 2014, primarily due to the large number of smaller fish captured from the 2013 year class. The 2015 catch rate of fish ≥12” (300 mm) was below the long-term average and has continued to decline from the time series high observed in 2012; however, numbers of fish over 12” should improve in the future as fish from the 2013 year class increase in size. In addition, the State of New Jersey has conducted a Striped Bass young-of-year survey annually since 1980. Their survey results indicated that 2014 was an above average year class, which should also improve the fishery in the future. The 2015 catch rate of fish ≥28” (700 mm) was slightly below the long term average, but was higher than the 2014 catch rate and similar to the catch rates observed from 2007-2011 and 2013. Contrary to your observations of fewer females on the spawning grounds, we captured more females in 2015 than any year since 2001.
With respect to your observations of our survey work south of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge, we captured a total of 15 Striped Bass on 5/11/15 and 14 Striped Bass on 5/22/14. We have two sampling sites (STB 31 and STB 30) in the reach that extends from the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge downriver to the Betsy Ross Bridge. The 2015 results for those two sampling stations were as follows:
· STB 31
o 5/11/15 - Total catch 8 Striped Bass, ranged from 5 to 8” in length
o 5/22/15 - Total catch 3 Striped Bass, ranged from 21 to 26” in length
· STB 30
o 5/11/15 - Total catch 7 Striped Bass, ranged from 8 to 36” in length
o 5/22/15 - Total catch 11 Striped Bass, ranged from 7 to 10” in length
Regarding the commercial gillnet fishery in Delaware Bay, the State of Delaware had a fixed annual quota of 193,447 pounds through 2014, which was reduced by 25% in 2015 to 145,085 pounds. Given the quota based system, landings do not generally fluctuate drastically on an annual basis and cannot exceed the established quota without penalties. To provide some perspective, Delaware’s commercial fishery only accounted for 3% of the total commercial landings along the Atlantic Coast in 2014. Most commercial harvest occurs in Chesapeake Bay.
Pennsylvania’s current 21-25” slot fishery primarily focuses on the males and has little impact on the female segment of the population. In fact, about 87% of the slot size Striped Bass are males.
Lastly, I have forwarded your request for more law enforcement to our regional law enforcement manager for consideration.
Greg Murphy | Fisheries Biologist
Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission
P.O. 356 | Revere, PA 18953
Phone: (610) 847-2442 | Fax: (610) 847-8424
Email: [email protected]