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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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  #1  
Old 11-22-2003, 10:18 AM
Doug Doug is offline
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in our ocean and tributaries now as compared to the heydays that you fished.

With populations of many other species in serious decline, I could think that an extremely large population of Stripers would be damaging to the entire marine environment including the Stripers themselves.

Say for instance, we made it a gamefish with all fish having to be released everywhere. I believe that the Stripers would devastate the Chesapeake within 5-10 years. The protections (mostly grasses) that ensured the survival of a great many species when they are young are all but gone. Could stripers actaully start eating there young when the bunker and crabs are gone for good?

Already the crabbers in the Bay are blaming the stripers for their decline yet I find that hard to believe when you can still go to hundreds of "all you can eat" crab restaurants along the Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina coastal areas.

Sure, a lot of those crabs aren't harvested from the Bay but I did see the price of these Chesapeake crabs drop dramatically this September actually causing some crabbers to stop. I guess when you've been getting over a $100 a bushel all summer it would seem not worth it to harvest them for a 1/4 or a 1/3 of that.

I think that everyone involved in the recovery of the striper should be congratulated and thanked. I hate to see the people who think gamefish status is necessary villify these people for their methods, statistics, and even their opinions of their studies which are used to base increases in catch limits and decreases in size limits.

I do feel that the current regulations should be left alone for a few years as the consequnces of the changes take several years if not more to see what their impact was. The past regulations ensured for the moment that we have the possibility of catching 50 lb. and 60 lb. stripers. Also, the current 2 per day limit has a lot of people having to make a decision on keeping that second fish at the risk of having to release a personal best or even State record squidhound after the second one is in the cooler.

Doug
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Old 11-22-2003, 10:18 AM
Doug Doug is offline
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in our ocean and tributaries now as compared to the heydays that you fished.

With populations of many other species in serious decline, I could think that an extremely large population of Stripers would be damaging to the entire marine environment including the Stripers themselves.

Say for instance, we made it a gamefish with all fish having to be released everywhere. I believe that the Stripers would devastate the Chesapeake within 5-10 years. The protections (mostly grasses) that ensured the survival of a great many species when they are young are all but gone. Could stripers actaully start eating there young when the bunker and crabs are gone for good?

Already the crabbers in the Bay are blaming the stripers for their decline yet I find that hard to believe when you can still go to hundreds of "all you can eat" crab restaurants along the Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina coastal areas.

Sure, a lot of those crabs aren't harvested from the Bay but I did see the price of these Chesapeake crabs drop dramatically this September actually causing some crabbers to stop. I guess when you've been getting over a $100 a bushel all summer it would seem not worth it to harvest them for a 1/4 or a 1/3 of that.

I think that everyone involved in the recovery of the striper should be congratulated and thanked. I hate to see the people who think gamefish status is necessary villify these people for their methods, statistics, and even their opinions of their studies which are used to base increases in catch limits and decreases in size limits.

I do feel that the current regulations should be left alone for a few years as the consequnces of the changes take several years if not more to see what their impact was. The past regulations ensured for the moment that we have the possibility of catching 50 lb. and 60 lb. stripers. Also, the current 2 per day limit has a lot of people having to make a decision on keeping that second fish at the risk of having to release a personal best or even State record squidhound after the second one is in the cooler.

Doug
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  #3  
Old 11-22-2003, 01:12 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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I don't know what the maximum sustainable yield is and scientists often debait that. I am a sport fisherman who knows his limitations and that is not my field. I can only say that the population is healthy; that it grows at the same rate that it has for a million years; and that a species eating its young is not an unnatural occurance.

Frank
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Old 11-22-2003, 04:35 PM
BENTROD BENTROD is offline
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quote:
Originally posted by Doug:

With populations of many other species in serious decline, I could think that an extremely large population of Stripers would be damaging to the entire marine environment including the Stripers themselves.

Say for instance, we made it a gamefish with all fish having to be released everywhere. I believe that the Stripers would devastate the Chesapeake within 5-10 years. The protections (mostly grasses) that ensured the survival of a great many species when they are young are all but gone. Could stripers actaully start eating there young when the bunker and crabs are gone for good?

.

I think that everyone involved in the recovery of the striper should be congratulated and thanked. I hate to see the people who think gamefish status is necessary villify these people for their methods, statistics, and even their opinions of their studies which are used to base increases in catch limits and decreases in size limits.

Doug
DOUG , thank you very much

BENTROD
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  #5  
Old 11-23-2003, 09:19 AM
spence
 
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You might not want to keep those big diesels idling Bent...


Up The Creek
Striper mortality report rocks fisheries community

By: KEITH WALTERS 11/21/2003

A report just out has stirred up the fisheries management community.
Basically, as I understand the yet unjuried paper, Victor Crecco, a
highly respected fisheries biologist from Connecticut, has looked at
striped bass data from Chesapeake Bay and calculated that natural
mortality has increased five-fold on Chesapeake stocks. Meanwhile,
fishing mortality has remained constant or even dropped a little.


One might surmise that natural mortality, which has been assumed to
remain constant according to the Virtual Population Analysis (detractors
call it "Voodoo Population Analysis") is not constant, which could mean
a possibly crashing population. If the commercial and recreational catch
remains about the same, but natural mortality is increasing, what is
happening? Are striped bass starving due to a crashing menhaden
population, or is it due to disease, as some say.


According to recent angler experience, it is difficult to catch a limit
(two fish 18 inches or over - only one can be over 28 inches - per
person per day). Friends (not named here to prevent embarrassment)
report not catching a single striper in a day's fishing, or not catching
any keepers at all. The VHF marine radio is alive with similar reports.
Some of the best fishermen on the Bay say they have to chum all day to
get a limit, at a time when trolling or jigging should pay off. Many are
putting up their boats due to the dearth of rockfish.


Whether Crecco's paper will be presented by the Atlantic States Marine
Fisheries Commission's Striped Bass Technical Committee to the Striped
Bass Management Board with management recommendations will have been
decided yesterday. (This column is written for a Wednesday morning
deadline so that information is not available at this time). I hope that
explains my mixed up time line.


Many have recommended a smaller size limit for striped bass, maybe down
to 16 or 17 inches, and for recs to forego the December season (as a
conservation equivalent) which is uncomfortable for everyone and
dangerous to many small boat anglers. Strangely, this suggestion has
merit. We have too many stripers for the available forage base, and they
may be starving in large numbers. We catch rockfish too skinny to yield
decent filets.


One problem is in another analysis of possible management actions to
reduce predatory demand on menhaden (kill more rockfish) may not be
possible to do because of present management restrictions.


According to knowledgeable insiders, the spit is going to hit the fan
yesterday. Trouble is, spit hitting a fan is not always distributed
evenly. Same goes for fish.
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  #6  
Old 11-23-2003, 10:16 AM
BENTROD BENTROD is offline
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quote:
Originally posted by spence:
You might not want to keep those big diesels idling Bent...


Up The Creek
Striper mortality report rocks fisheries community

By: KEITH WALTERS 11/21/2003

A report just out has stirred up the fisheries management community.
Basically, as I understand the yet unjuried paper, Victor Crecco, a
highly respected fisheries biologist from Connecticut, has looked at
striped bass data from Chesapeake Bay and calculated that natural
mortality has increased five-fold on Chesapeake stocks. Meanwhile,
fishing mortality has remained constant or even dropped a little.


One might surmise that natural mortality, which has been assumed to
remain constant according to the Virtual Population Analysis (detractors
call it "Voodoo Population Analysis") is not constant, which could mean
a possibly crashing population. If the commercial and recreational catch
remains about the same, but natural mortality is increasing, what is
happening? Are striped bass starving due to a crashing menhaden
population, or is it due to disease, as some say.


According to recent angler experience, it is difficult to catch a limit
(two fish 18 inches or over - only one can be over 28 inches - per
person per day). Friends (not named here to prevent embarrassment)
report not catching a single striper in a day's fishing, or not catching
any keepers at all. The VHF marine radio is alive with similar reports.
Some of the best fishermen on the Bay say they have to chum all day to
get a limit, at a time when trolling or jigging should pay off. Many are
putting up their boats due to the dearth of rockfish.


Whether Crecco's paper will be presented by the Atlantic States Marine
Fisheries Commission's Striped Bass Technical Committee to the Striped
Bass Management Board with management recommendations will have been
decided yesterday. (This column is written for a Wednesday morning
deadline so that information is not available at this time). I hope that
explains my mixed up time line.


Many have recommended a smaller size limit for striped bass, maybe down
to 16 or 17 inches, and for recs to forego the December season (as a
conservation equivalent) which is uncomfortable for everyone and
dangerous to many small boat anglers. Strangely, this suggestion has
merit. We have too many stripers for the available forage base, and they
may be starving in large numbers. We catch rockfish too skinny to yield
decent filets.


One problem is in another analysis of possible management actions to
reduce predatory demand on menhaden (kill more rockfish) may not be
possible to do because of present management restrictions.


According to knowledgeable insiders, the spit is going to hit the fan
yesterday. Trouble is, spit hitting a fan is not always distributed
evenly. Same goes for fish.
spence. will you post this in the commercial forum. i would like to comment on this but dont want to stir up franks forum on doing so. thank you bentrod

BENTROD
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  #7  
Old 11-23-2003, 12:07 PM
Doug Doug is offline
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You're welcome Bentrod, I'm guessing you're a commercial and almost never find a rec who can see both sides of the issue or support much on the other side? I'll be checking out your forum today.

I really liked Frank's response. I'm not a marine biologist or anything like that and I am certainly limited in the aspect of no actual marine biology education in a college setting (accounting only).

I can only "see" what goes on around me while also using the benefit of; a relationship with a couple of Maryland marine biologists; statistical and argumentitive knowledge gained in college: and trips to the U of D marine library to form opinions based on that and possible scenarios to gain insight.

The fact that the report mentioned here is unjuried I probably shouldn't use any of it yet in support of an opinion. However, my first impression of it would be that it supports my view that the Chesapeake, with barely any cover and a lot less food than 40 years ago, can only support a certain number of resident stripers.

Maybe those huge spawns in those few years caused a serious overload on the food chain in the next year or two so naturally a "natural mortality rate increase" would occur.

Also, saying that it's 5 times higher than usual without revealing the actual #'s could be construed as using fallacy if the usual # is pretty small. I. e., say the population was 2 million and the "usual rate of natural mortality was real small like 2,000. If a great spawn increased that population to say 4 million and the new 'natural mortality rate" was 10,0000 (5 times the actual #) then the actual increase would only be 2 1/2 times the rate (1 in 1,000 down to 1 in 400)

To look at the other way (5 times the percentage), using the same example above would mean that 20,000 stripers died of natural mortality (1 in 200).

Let's use larger #'s like 20,000 and 200,000 for the normal rate of "natural mortality". I'm using numbers divisible by 10 to make it easy to illustrate.

20,000 could mean 1/100 down to 1/40 or it could mean 1/100 down to 1/20.

200,000 could mean 1/10 down to 1/4 or 1/10 down to 1/2.

Wow, not knowing the actual # could be construed as every other striper hatched in the Bay dies of natural causes!

I would be glad to illustrate what the above #'s were by the actual method used in the study if someone can provide me with the actual #'s used in the study.

Thanks, Doug
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  #8  
Old 11-23-2003, 10:08 PM
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To the idea of there being too many fish for the area to support... so what? If that is the case then do nothing. It is human intervention that causes ocean life to go off on unnatural tilts anyway. The beauty of nature is that it corrects itself. Natural boons and wanes are a part of many animal species in our world.

Lookin for my big'un!
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  #9  
Old 11-24-2003, 02:26 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Whatever yuz do, don't buy into the idea that eating the young is a symptom of starvation or shortage of forage.

I can't prove it, but I have always felt that all animals have a heirachy of foods; when they don't have bunker, they will eat clams; no clams,they eat the clam worms. We fished for many years without ever knowing what a pogie* was because there were none. It was better fishing before the advent of bunker/menhaden/pogie.

*Proir to that a pogie was a candy that marines ate, which was why we called them "pogie bait marines"

Frank
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Old 11-24-2003, 05:08 PM
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quote:
With populations of many other species in serious decline, I could think that an extremely large population of Stripers would be damaging to the entire marine environment including the Stripers themselves.




And maybe if we killed more whales there'd be more small bait around, which in turn increases the available forage base?



honestly, maybe we should try to build up the other species?

[This message was edited by John_P on 11-24-03 at 05:18 PM.]
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Old 11-25-2003, 10:41 AM
Doug Doug is offline
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Great point John,

Doing something to bring back the cover (eel grasses, etc.) would be a great start but how that could be done is beyond me. Closing large areas of the bay to boat traffic to allow these to recover would never happen and even if it did, then those areas wouldn't be boat accessible anyway.

Maybe the development along both sides of the Bay has put it's ecology into one of change or devolvement instead of evolvement.

Frank's response got me thinking, there are many species where eating there young IS part of the chain, it's what allows the other young to survive by providing nutrition to the nurturer.

Doug
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Old 11-25-2003, 03:40 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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A mild, but slightly related digression: years ago, when animal rights activists stopped the clubbing of seals in the St Lawrence, they ended up with so many seals that the seals (supposedly) reduced the viability of the St Lawrence Cod. Buutt, could that have been a story fabricated by the seal clubbers? And, is there not a political component to almost everything?

Frank
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