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Old 01-18-2004, 07:59 AM
hayswalt hayswalt is offline
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Ocean City, NJ
Posts: 808

This info is also from the above link:

Why Doesn’t Recreational Management Work?

The best way to get at this question is to first discuss how recreational fishing is managed. The primary management tools are creel and size limits and closed seasons. Creel limits regulate the number of a particular species of fish an angler may have in his or her possession. Size limits regulate the size of fish of a particular species an angler may possess. Generally, minimum size limits are used, but sometimes minimum and maximum size or "slot" limits are put in place. During closed seasons, the angler can’t possess a particular species. It’s critically important to note here that these are all controls on possession. An angler can catch any number of fish of a particular species out of season. An angler can catch any number of fish smaller (or larger, if a slot limit is in place) than the size limit for that particular species. And an angler can catch any number of fish of a particular species, regardless of the creel limit. It should go without saying, though it unfortunately doesn’t, that catching fish, no matter how careful the angler is and no matter how optimal other conditions are, involves killing fish. So there are effective - or at least as effective as the good will of millions of recreational anglers and the policing efforts of a handful of enforcement agents can make them - controls on the possession of particular species of fish, but none whatsoever on the catching or killing of those same species.
Some recreational anglers are undoubtedly "expert" enough to target particular species of fish. But when a hunk of bait or a lure is dangled in front of a hungry fish, if that fish is big enough to eat it, it’s going to give it a go, and it’s going to do so regardless of whether it’s in season or not, whether it’s large (or small) enough to be legal, and regardless of how many other fish of that species the angler already has in possession. And anglers tend to keep on fishing, particularly because as a group they are mistakenly convinced that they can "catch and release" fish forever with no negative consequences for the fish. Recreational fishing regulations manage the number of fish an angler can possess, they have absolutely no effect in regulating the number of fish an angler can catch or the number of fish an angler can kill.

Exacerbating what seems to be an already dismal situation is the fact that there is no limit on the number of recreational anglers who are allowed to fish. One of the major tools used in managing commercial fisheries is limited entry. This means that the number of participants in a particular fishery is determined based on the productive capacity of that fishery and subsequently it isn’t exceeded. New entrants are not permitted into the fishery unless others leave or the stock improves. While limited entry was, and in many instances still is, a particularly contentious issue, in one form or another it is in effect in all of the commercial fisheries under federal regulation. But it’s not used in any recreational fisheries (although the number of permitted "for hire" recreational vessels is limited in a few). Some states have instituted recreational fishing licenses at nominal cost, but when their cost is considered relative to the total expense of salt water angling, they can hardly serve as an effective disincentive. So one question seems unavoidable. When it comes to recreational fishing management, what is being restricted?

Fisheries managers - and recreational anglers - argue that creel and season limits are effective in managing recreational fisheries because they provide disincentives to the fishermen and women whose interest is bringing home a bucket or ice chest filled with fish. They are partially right. But the present summer flounder situation seems a good indication of exactly how "partially" right they are. There are stringent size, creel and season limits in this fishery, and as far as we know there isn’t any significant catch and release of this species. Yet the recreational fishing mortality is far beyond the court mandated level.

No one in the commercial fishing industry would argue that catching fish for pleasure or for personal consumption isn’t a valid use of our fisheries resources. In fact, we look forward to the day when we can join with the recreational fishing industry in supporting sound, science-based fisheries and marine ecosystem management that benefits every U.S. citizen, including commercial and recreational fishermen and seafood consumers. However, recreational angling is a large and increasing source of fishing mortality, particularly considering the growing popularity of catch and release, that at this time is virtually unrecognized by the public and woefully uncontrolled by the managers.* And the loudest voices clamoring for increasing restrictions on commercial harvesters are the so-called "conservationists" who are in reality recreational anglers or their spokesmen looking for a larger slice of the fishing pie. The commercial fishing industry has been carrying the burden of conservation for years while the recreational angling "conservationists" have been hiding behind their catch and release, we’re only catching ‘em one at a time smokescreen. It’s about time that we start seriously looking at the impacts of recreational angling on our fish stocks and designing management techniques that address recreational fishing mortality as well as commercial.

*Confounding the problem of uncontrolled recreational fishing pressure is the growing reliance of the professional managers on federal Wallop-Breaux funding provided by taxes on recreational fishing and yachting supplies and equipment. Any decrease in the amount of recreational fishing and yachting expenditures would be reflected in a decrease in the Wallop-Breaux accounts that the management agencies depend on ( )

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