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The National Marine Fisheries Service is again taking public comment on a proposal to reopen the EEZ for the taking of striped bass. The board of directors of Stripers Forever has always been strongly opposed to the idea. We feel that striped bass are already being fished harder than they should be, and that the EEZ closure has effectively created a much needed conservation zone for large, prime breeding-size stripers. The real pressure to open the EEZ to fishing has come from Massachusetts and North Carolina, where commercial fishermen are clamoring to catch what they feel is a concentration of large fish that are currently off limits. We have detailed our views in a letter to the National Marine Fisheries Service that is available here and on the Stripers Forever website.

We encourage all interested anglers help us stop the EEZ from becoming the latest place to allow commercial fishermen to kill more striped bass. To make it easier for you to comment, we have prepared a template letter (below) for e-mail. Here is what to do:

? Highlight the body of the letter starting with My Name below, right click on the text, and select copy.
? Click on this link: [email protected] Paste the letter into the e-mail that pops up. Feel free to make any and all changes you prefer.
? Change the name and home address to your personal information and send!

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MY NAME
ADDRESS
STATE, ZIP
Dear Mr. Meyer
I am personally opposed to opening the EEZ for the keeping of striped bass. Here?s why:

1. There is no good reason to reopen the EEZ. Current commercial quotas are met well within allotted time frames, and recreational fishermen like me have repeatedly asked to keep the EEZ closed to help conserve striped bass. Good quality striped bass fishing is very important to me personally, and I do not want to see this fishery damaged by over-fishing.

2. Striped bass science is still very uncertain. I know that the ASMFC changed the stock assessment science drastically last year to lessen the apparent fishing mortality, but that level is still much too high.

3. The review document treats the ASMFC position as if it were the unanimous decision of all states. I think it is important to remember that four states voted in favor of reopening the EEZ but five were opposed. The deciding votes were cast by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and by NMFS! It is well known that only two or three states with aggressive commercial fishing voices have pushed to have the EEZ reopened and that it is largely this tiny minority that is responsible for this whole exercise. I think it is wrong to cave in to these interests or to view the ASMFC states as being aligned behind this proposal.

In summary, stripers are very important to me and the fishing public. I want to see fishing mortality reduced, not increased. Please do not open the EEZ to fishing for striped bass.
Sincerely;
My Name

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If you prefer, mail letters to the following address:
Tom Meyer, State-Federal Fisheries Division, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, NMFS,
1315 East West Highway, Room 13248, Silver Spring, MD 20910.
Mark the outside of the envelope ?Striped Bass Scoping.?

Let?s stop this unwarranted action! Please send this letter to all of your fishing friends and ask them to participate and to join Stripers Forever free at www.stripersforever.org
 
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