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Ask Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is recognized as an authority on surf fishing for striped bass. He is the author of six books and hundreds of magazine articles. Frank is a member of the Outdoor Writers of America and lectures throughout the Northeast.

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Old 11-10-2010, 07:38 AM
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Default Asmfc Rejects Commercial Striper Quota Increase

ASMFC REJECTS COMMERCIAL STRIPER QUOTA INCREASE

RFA Says It's Time To Address Illegal and Un-Reported Harvest




(11/9/2010) - The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASFMC) today rejected a proposed increase in commercial striped bass quota. According to FishingUnited.com, the final vote of 10-4-1 in favor of status quo was supported by Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Sources indicated that states supporting measures to increase the commercial harvest of striped bass included North Carolina, Delaware, Rhode Island and New York. The ASMFC representative from the District of Columbia was absent for the vote and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission voted to abstain.



"We're pleased that there's no commercial increase, but as we've said all along there was no need for any increase in either the commercial or recreational sector, not when there are so many questions with regard to the illegal and unreported harvest we know to be taking place in federal waters," said Jim Donofrio Executive Director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA). Donofrio cited evidence from federal enforcement authorities over the past two seasons of a number of striped bass harvest violations in federal waters off North Carolina in January and February when big breeding size fish are staging several miles off Carolina's Outer Banks. Donofrio notes that it's illegal for any striped bass to be harvested outside of 3 miles from shore, whether commercial or recreational.



"Now that we're done with this debate over increasing commercial harvest of striped bass, it's time for the ASMFC and the federal government to figure out what's going on with the illegal fishery as documented by the U.S. Coast Guard and several Mid-Atlantic state agencies," Donofrio added.



Last month, RFA submitted official comments to the ASMFC on behalf of their national membership as well as the New York Sportfishing Federation, opposing efforts to increase the commercial striped bass harvest based on several issues including the illegal harvest in federal waters while also citing recent stock assessments showing that the 2007 and 2008 striped bass population abundance estimates (in numbers of fish) are the lowest in the past 15 years. The RFA noted that at a time when recreational anglers are asking ASMFC to look at efforts to reduce the number of bigger breeding striped bass harvested, the proposal to kill more fish in the commercial sector was ill-timed.



"There is growing consensus within the recreational sector that our coastal regulations should be modified to minimize harvest on bigger, older fish in the population," said RFA Managing Director and New York Sportfishing Federation president, Jim Hutchinson, Jr. "I'm rather disappointed to learn that our New York delegates failed to listen to the overwhelming opposition to increased striper harvest within our recreational fishing community, but thankfully there's proper reasoning coming from our neighboring ASMFC states."



Hutchinson noted that a series of hearings were held to gauge public comment on the proposal, which he said was overwhelming in New York as being opposed to the increase. "The anglers made it clear that it's time to talk about renewed conservation efforts to protect breeding stock fish, and I don't know if there's anyone I've spoken to in the recreational sector who believed that a quota increase was appropriate at this time, certainly not in New York or New Jersey," Hutchinson said.



About Recreational Fishing Alliance
The Recreational Fishing Alliance is a national, grassroots political action organization representing recreational fishermen and the recreational fishing industry on marine fisheries issues. The RFA Mission is to safeguard the rights of saltwater anglers, protect marine, boat and tackle industry jobs, and ensure the long-term sustainability of our Nation's saltwater fisheries. For more information, call 888-JOIN-RFA or visit www.joinrfa.org.
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Old 11-10-2010, 11:42 AM
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Default Re: Asmfc Rejects Commercial Striper Quota Increase

This is great news. It may not solve our problem but at least it will keep things from getting even worse. The ASMFC has a history of doing things bass-ackwards as well as being manned by some pretty dumb reps. Could it be that things are changing?
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Old 11-10-2010, 09:32 PM
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Default Re: Asmfc Rejects Commercial Striper Quota Increase

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Originally Posted by Frank Daignault View Post
This is great news. It may not solve our problem but at least it will keep things from getting even worse. The ASMFC has a history of doing things bass-ackwards as well as being manned by some pretty dumb reps. Could it be that things are changing?
You are so correct Frank. And what has always bothered me is the fact that North Carolina is the resting and turning point for so many of our fish. I do not have one thing against good fair minded commercial fishermen, but the enforcement down here is basically limited to the shore and boat recreational fishermen, with a blind eye turned to the illegal stuff. We had a chance to limit the massive Menhaden slaughter by the huge factory ships, owned by basically one huge enterprise, and NC blew it, by one vote. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the vote was pre-planned to look close to make it appear that there was some concern. County commissioners, all facets of government do it.
Another problem is the lack of money appropriated for enforcement. About every politician plays golf, and not enough fish, plus the fact that our government, federal and state does not want to show real muscle against the foreign countries that rape our offshore N.C. waters, but they don't mind sticking it to the U.S. fishermen. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out. Don't want to have an international crisis, therefore all of us, and, the fish pay the price. Surf fishing down here is a far cry from what it used to be, and it is not for the lack of big Drum. They just won't come in to shore like they once did because the Menhaden that used to be thick in the wash aren't there in sufficient numbers any longer to entice the Drum schools to come in.

MULE.
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Old 11-10-2010, 10:46 PM
biggestsquid biggestsquid is offline
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Default Re: Asmfc Rejects Commercial Striper Quota Increase

When the bunker were wiped off the Jersey Coast almost 40 years back it took a LONG time for inshore and surf fishing to recover. It is not what it was because of the amount of bunker being taken. My .02 has a lot more to do with absence of bunker than over harvesting the striper.

The piles of bunker that may be 4-600 yards long today used to be a mile or more.

On another note --- they're killing stripers in NJ right now --- that's why I'm at Hatteras! I'll have some good intel for you by the time youi get here Mule.

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Old 11-12-2010, 11:54 AM
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Default Re: Asmfc Rejects Commercial Striper Quota Increase

Your post reflects a widely held belief that without bunker their can be no bass. You not alone in that. But I have always felt that bass have a hierachy of foods and can forage on other things. Neither of us is able to prove our point.
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Old 11-12-2010, 06:08 PM
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Default Re: Asmfc Rejects Commercial Striper Quota Increase

If you read this, it looks like NACO has begun to recognize the poaching issue:
JC

__________________________________________________ __________________


Dear New England NACO Member,


STRIPED BASS

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) voted 10-4 to reject a proposal to increase the commercial harvest of Atlantic striped bass in state waters Tuesday. In May, the ASMFC proposed an addendum to its current striped bass management plan, which would have increased the commercial striped bass quota by up to 50 percent. Striped bass is a popular sportfish and the nation?s largest marine recreational fishery. Recreational anglers from across the country are united in opposition to this proposal, which would have had negative impacts on the striped bass fishery as well as the businesses and communities that depend on it.

?The sportfishing industry applauds the Commission?s decision,? said American Sportfishing Association Vice President Gordon Robertson. ?After months of deliberation, state managers have voted on the side of sound science and conservation, protecting this important fishery from over harvesting and a potential repeat of the collapse of the 1980s.?

A recent report by the ASMFC?s Striped Bass Technical Committee predicts a steady decline of the number of adult striped bass through the year 2015, without consideration of increased commercial harvest.

In 2007, President George W. Bush issued an executive order declaring gamefish status for the striped bass and barring commercial harvest in federal waters. Despite their gamefish status, striped bass populations in the Atlantic are subject to significant and unreported poaching. Additionally, menhaden, an important prey species for striped bass, has reached its lowest abundance in recorded history as a result of commercial overharvesting.

The Atlantic striped bass fishery has experienced several declines over the past few decades. While the fishery has shown a tremendous recovery since the 1980s, numerous reports have noted decreased catches over the last several years. ?This addendum angered and shocked anglers from the outset,? Robertson stated. ?Atlantic striped bass stocks are being threatened from several different fronts. In addition to illegal harvest in federal waters, more than 70 percent of striped bass are afflicted by the deadly disease Mycobacteriosis in the Chesapeake Bay, the stock?s primary spawning ground. Any increase in commercial fishing pressure in state waters could lead to a collapse for this economically and recreationally important fishery.?

?With the disease and forage fish challenges in the future of Atlantic striped bass stocks, it is important that the ASMFC continues to take a cautious approach to managing the fishery,? Robertson concluded. ?The ASMFC decision is the first step to ensuring the vitality of this important fishery. The sportfishing community looks forward to working with managers to conserve and strengthen Atlantic striped bass stocks.?






Keeping You Informed,

National Association of Charterboat Operators
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Old 11-13-2010, 07:56 PM
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Default Re: Asmfc Rejects Commercial Striper Quota Increase

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Originally Posted by Frank Daignault View Post
Your post reflects a widely held belief that without bunker their can be no bass. You not alone in that. But I have always felt that bass have a hierachy of foods and can forage on other things. Neither of us is able to prove our point.
without bunker they just chew on weakfish
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Old 11-14-2010, 10:44 AM
lagoonguy lagoonguy is offline
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Default Re: Asmfc Rejects Commercial Striper Quota Increase

I agree, Frank. I'm sure Bunker are the stripers' favorite food but when they are scarce in any area the stripers will search out Mackerek, Pollock, Lobsters, & Crabs, Silversides, eels.

When I lived in New Hampshire I spent most of my fishing time between the Merrimack and the Hampton River estuaries. In Hampton/Seabrook it was a daily occurance to find bass chasing and eating small flounders away up in the marshes between the rivers and I took a number of keeper bass with lobsters in their bellys.
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Old 11-14-2010, 11:42 AM
BENTROD BENTROD is offline
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Default Re: Asmfc Rejects Commercial Striper Quota Increase

[quote=lagoonguy;2345399]I agree, Frank. I'm sure Bunker are the stripers' favorite food but when they are scarce in any area the stripers will search out Mackerek, Pollock, Lobsters, & Crabs, Silversides, eels.


thats a good reason why they should INCREASE the commercial quota to keep striped bass numbers at a level where they wont destroy the other fisheries....NMFS should also come up with a better management plan for bunker because i do agree theres too much pressure on the stocks as of late
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Old 11-14-2010, 06:36 PM
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Default Re: Asmfc Rejects Commercial Striper Quota Increase

[quote=BENTROD;2345403]
Quote:
Originally Posted by lagoonguy View Post
thats a good reason why they should INCREASE the commercial quota to keep striped bass numbers at a level where they wont destroy the other fisheries....NMFS should also come up with a better management plan for bunker because i do agree theres too much pressure on the stocks as of late
I say Bent should get busy and gillnet up all the dogfish. Then there would be loads of forage for all the other fish. Further, it was only during the time in recent history when striped bass were severly restricted from commercial harvest that they were able to "come back from the brink'. I say that seems like a good practice and the commercial harvest should be permantly capped at no more than they are today. The commercials survived without them and will continue to do so. Most commercials just do it for "extra money" anyway as I do not know of anyone who makes their living solely from striped bass as we did in the 70"s. I was able to change, why can't others?...........JC
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Old 11-15-2010, 05:43 PM
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Default Re: Asmfc Rejects Commercial Striper Quota Increase

One time, early 70s, we had dogfish from Monomoy to Race Point, like 35/40 miles!
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