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To Atlantic States Marine Fisheries
The Coalition For Recreational Fishing
is writing this letter to offer comments regarding proposed
option changes and striped bass management.
To say that the Coalition is disappointed
in a lack of action from ASMFC and its recent approach
to striped bass management is an understatement. Our disappointment
is fueled by several significant factors. First, Amendment
6 (2003) states that when a trigger or triggers are exceeded
action MUST be taken in one year. However, although triggers
were exceeded, no action has been taken. Instead, there
has been a seemingly endless array of motions that are
clearly designed to delay action, alter amendment 6, and
obstruct the proper management of the species. These delays
run contrary to the ASMFC amendment rules and are potentially
even more damaging to the striped bass population as it
also struggles against poor recruitment since 2000, Mycobacteriosis
disease, and intense fishing pressure on existing year
classes. This failure to take action is an outrage. The
failure to act is illogical, is a travesty, and recreational
fishers up and down the coast demand ASMFC action now!
Second, it appears to the world outside
of the ASMFC that a well thought out plan for management
has been hi-jacked by representatives from the states
for purposes of their own greed and the greed of their
associates. We demand to know why officials in charge
of ASMFC have allowed state representatives to delay action
and attempt to misappropriate the plan and amendment 6
that is intended to protect and preserve the striped bass.
Did we not learn a painful lesson from the 1980s when
delays in action almost brought the species to endangered
Third, the ASMFC board has hidden
behind a smoke screen of demands for precise statistics,
studies of option effects, more studies to study studies,
and the possible outcomes of “new” ideas that
would permit the increased harvest of male fish purported
to be in “excess,” and the exploitation of
the 2011 Chesapeake year class before, God forbid, it
“escapes” from the estuary and enters the
coastal migration where all users might enjoy the resource.
Have we conveniently forgotten that MANY MALES must attend
a single female in order to properly fertilize her eggs?
As far the 2011 YOY, why should Chesapeake fishermen be
allowed a “privileged” harvest and effect
future migrations thus depriving coastal anglers of equal
opportunity? Every recreational angler knows, albeit in
the absence of precise data, that the Atlantic Coast population
of striped bass has declined and is declining rather rapidly.
All one needs do is go fishing regularly for striped bass
and compare recent results with their results from the
1990s in order to appreciate that reality. Also, although
much attention is paid to the Chesapeake stock since it
is the largest ask any Long Island angler and they’ll
tell you that the Hudson stock is in even worse shape.
In the western Long Island Sound anglers are dependent
on the Hudson stock for their overall success. To make
matters worse in the Hudson, the highly publicized 2007
Hudson year class has not turned out to be the predicted
bonanza. There are some fish caught from this year class,
but they are few and far between whether one fishes in
Little-Neck Bay, Mid-Sound off Eaton’s Neck, or
along the Connecticut shore.
Fourth, when we blow away the smog
and fog of misdirected studies and debates, the REAL reason
for all the delaying tactics is the desire of some people
to make MONEY from the killing of striped bass. We ask
why ASMFC officials continue to move ahead at a snail’s
pace in light of the extreme effects a declining population
of striped bass has on the millions of non-dollar motivated
anglers? Non-dollar motivated anglers sole interests lie
in engaging in a sporting interaction with striped bass,
a concern for the food species they need, and healthy
ecosystems to support vibrant populations of marine life.
Of course in the process, striped bass sportsmen contribute
millions of dollars to coastal and local economies. These
local and regional businesses include small family-run
operations that have been harshly and extremely affected
both by a poor economy nationwide and a decline in the
striped bass population. Somehow, this portion of the
economy doesn’t receive the same emphasis by ASMFC
board members as does the demands from those who make
money from striped bass. Yet, all studies have shown there
is a straight-line connection between the size of the
striped bass population and how much money sportsmen spend
on their recreation. The Coalition does not represent
people who wish to get rich at the expense of the striped
bass population. Those who exploit the population are
only interested in how many fish they can kill instead
of how healthy the population is or the quality of the
angling experience of non-dollar motivated fishers. There
is an enigma in this and it is short sighted because all
interest groups benefit most when stocks are at the highest
levels. It is shocking in this era of supposed “enlightened”
fisheries management to bear witness to the reality that
the erroneous time-honored approach in fisheries of the
“prisoner’s dilemma” is still alive
and well when most thought it dead decades ago.
So, with not a single dollar bill of motivation, here
is what the Coalition supports and demands. Yes, demands,
because the time for tomfoolery and delays has past and
the needs of the species MUST NOW COME FIRST!
Thank you for consideration. The Coalition believes we
are at a critical crossroads in striped bass management.
It is the right time to correct prior mistakes and modify
the plan with reduced mortality targets that will allow
for a more stable fishery. We know many fish species cycle
in abundance and this is true of striped bass; but a lower
year-to-year mortality would reduce the severity of downturns
because the population would be larger, longer. Finally
and to emphasize, the decline began in the early 2000s,
yet we are only attempting to change the regulations in
2013! The response time to poor recruitment and declining
stocks must be faster.
- 1. We demand immediate action: One year and not 3.
- 2. We demand a 31% reduction in mortality in one year.
Since any plan only has a 50% chance of success, delays
will only reduce the odds of success, since more and
more fish will have perished.
- 3. We support a 1 fish at 32” per angler per
day-regardless of where, how, and when the fish is caught.
We demand this regulation be applied to all venues including
party boats and charter boats. Making $$ on the fish
does not justify providing these harvesters with an
advantage. This provision has been a thorn in the sides
of the majority of independent recreational fishers
and it’s time to end this unfair and scientifically
unsound practice. Likewise, 1 fish at 32” should
be the standard in the estuary as well. The notion that
only small fish are caught in the estuary is nonsense.
All places have their seasons and that’s why anglers
invest great effort in the estuaries around spawning
time. Yet, be
it Chesapeake Bay, the Hudson River, or the Connecticut
River, it is true that fewer big fish are taken during
off-spawning times, but they are caught. Stripers migrate
from place to place and each area has its bigger fish
season, all anglers in all regions should abide by the
- 4. Minimize the dragger by-catch. Either directed
or truly accidental.
- 5. Take immediate steps to end the severe poaching
of small fish in the inner cities of Baltimore, Philadelphia,
Boston, and New York.
The Montauk Surfcasters Association is a
non-profit organization that:
• Preserves and protects the privilege to fish on Long
• Represents MSA on the Fishing Advisory Board, an ad
hoc committee which advises New York State on matters
affecting surf fishermen such as permit regulations, beach
access, fees, habitat & use of State Parks.
• Represents fishermen on matters affecting the use of
Suffolk County Parks
• Lobbies elected officials on regulations affecting the
fishery, habitat protection and other environmental matters.
• Monitors State and local candidates for office and informs
membership on issues affecting fishermen.
Annual activities of the M.S.A include:
• Spring and fall clean-up of the beaches surrounding
Montauk Point; participation in National Beach Clean-up
Day; spring clean-up at Cedar Beach.
• Annual poster contest in Montauk as part of Oktoberfest.
• Annual picnic at Suffolk County Park - Third House.
• Participation in fishing seminars.
• Annual membership dues are $15.00 for adults 18
years and older; $20.00 for family.
• Members in good standing receive a quarterly newsletter.
• Six meetings per year: Four meetings held on the first
Saturday in May, June, October and November in Montauk;
two meetings held in Islip on the first Saturday of January
BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
Vice President: Mike Lang
Treasure: Paul Valenti
Communications Director: Jay Blatt
Recording Secretary: [Open]
Membership: Maryann Young
Vice President Emeritus (deceasesd): Ken Dobos
Website Maintenance: ShadoeFX
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Original Website Design: Peresh Dave