VIDEO: Seafood diet of striped bass upsets C.B. fisherman
ANDREW RANKIN THE CHRONICLE HERALD
Published October 6, 2017 - 8:27pm
Last Updated October 6, 2017 - 8:45pm
bass eats lobsters
Believe it or not, Ray Briand wasn?t entirely surprised to find two lobsters stuffed inside a 72-centimetre-long striped bass he?d caught Wednesday night.
That?s because the longtime Cape Breton fisherman believed his suspicions were confirmed.
?They?re called wolves of the oceans for a reason,? said Briand, a Smelt Brook resident. ?They fish in packs and they?re devastating our local fishing stocks.
?There?s nothing left in our harbours except bass. Now we?re wondering if they?re going to damage our lobster industry; that?s what we?re really worried about.?
He and other Ingonish-area fishermen are calling on Fisheries and Oceans Canada to take a serious look at the devastating effect he insists these predatory fish are having on the local marine ecosystems.
They are currently protected across Cape Breton, and fishermen in the region are allowed only one fish, measuring 69 cm, per 24 hours.
Wednesday?s catch was another reminder the quota needs to be increased, he said. At the very least, he added, the government should grant an experimental fishery to see exactly what these creatures are consuming.
?It?s unbelievable,? he said. ?I felt its stomach and felt something really hard, and when I took the fillets off and opened it up, there?s a whole nine-inch lobster in it, plus half of another one.
?They arrive in our harbours late spring, early summer to spawn, then they feed from summer to fall and migrate. We believe that they?re feeding off far too many small, juvenile lobsters. We find everything from crab, trout, lobster and mussels in their stomachs. You name it, they?re there.?
Bruce Hatcher, chairman of Marine Ecosystem Research at Cape Breton University, says Briand?s concerns are real.
?There?s been an explosion of striped bass,? Hatcher said.
Striped bass, which can weigh as much as 23 kilos, are not native to Cape Breton waters, originating from warmer waters along the eastern seaboard of the U.S.
Hatcher says the population boom can be blamed primarily on global warming.
He shares Briand?s opinion that Fisheries and Oceans should lift quota limits in an effort to control the population.
?It will not be easy to prevent the explosion of population in some species and decline of others,? he said.
?When you have a very aggressive predator that will take the bait and fight well, and you have a very popular sport of fishing, I believe it?s possible for human predation to make a serious dent in this explosion of striped bass without threatening survival of that species.?
In the end, Hatcher hopes Fisheries and Oceans will start listening carefully to the concerns of fishermen like Briand.
?But there?s an unfortunate tradition here in Nova Scotia, that when fishermen say things people are disinclined to believe them.?
Originally Posted by Francis Daignault
there is bound to be an organized striper slaughter.
You right about that!