ASMFC Approves Commercial Increase Addendum for Public Comment

See below…  Fishing hard and trying to keep my head above water at my day job, so no time to comment in detail on this right now, but any regular reader of this column knows what the deal is. 

Very quickly, before reading the below press release, keep in mind that there is some new news here.  It appears that mangers do now indeed recognize that 8+yearold fish are declining, and also recognize that natural mortality (read mycobacteriosis) is increasing, and that there will be little that managers will be able to do to maintain current levels of harvest or abundance.  And that’s really just the tip of the iceberg as managers are acknowledging trouble ahead with several consecutive years of poor recruitment.  I could go on, but it all looks like bad news if you are a striper fisherman. 

One more thing…  You may have read here and elsewhere that the recreational fishery accounts for close to 80% of the overall catch and that the recreational discard mortality is actually double the total commercial take.  According to the latest numbers, that’s no longer the case.  Recreational catches now appear to have declined to the point where the ratio of commercial-to-recreational catches appears to be closer to 50/50.  But that’s not the point really.  The point is that the stock appears to have taken a definitive turn downward and any increase in mortality at this point is just plain stupid.   It’s time to rally the troops.  Stand by for details on public hearings and where to send comments.  We’ll need to get off our collective butts and make a big showing for this one. 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, MAY 6, 2010

PRESS CONTACT, TINA BERGER, 202/289-6400

 ASMFC Striped Bass Board Approves Draft Addendum II for Public Comment

 Alexandria, VA – The Commission’s Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board has approved Draft Addendum II to Amendment 6 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass for public comment. The Draft Addendum proposes two changes to the striped bass management program: (1) an increase in the coastal commercial quota, and (2) revising the definition of recruitment failure based on Technical Committee advice.

 The proposal to increase the coastal commercial quota is intended to improve equality between the commercial and recreational fishery sectors.

Although Amendment 6 established management programs for both fisheries based on the same target fishing mortality rate, the implementation of state-specific quotas for coastal commercial harvest (and not for recreational harvest) has prevented the commercial and recreational fisheries from responding equally to changes in striped bass population size. Since 2004, coastal commercial harvest has decreased by 3.6 percent, while recreational harvest has increased by 13.7 percent. Under the option, the Board would select a percent increase to be applied to the coastal commercial allocations assigned in Amendment 6.

 The Management Board voted to include a second issue in the Draft Addendum based on information presented at the meeting. As part of its review of the juvenile abundance indices, the Striped Bass Technical Committee recommended to the Management Board a revision to how striped bass recruitment failure is defined. Juvenile abundance indices are an important component of the striped bass monitoring program and are used to determine periods of recruitment failure which can trigger management action under Amendment 6. Adopting the proposed recommendation would result in a fixed value to determine recruitment failure in each surveyed area rather than a value that changes from year to year. Use of either the Amendment 6 definition or the Technical Committee recommendation for recruitment failure does not result in any necessary changes to the current management program.

 It is anticipated that the majority of states will be conducting public hearings on the Draft Addendum. A press release will be issued once the details of the hearings have been finalized and the Draft Addendum is available for public comment. For more information, please contact Nichola Meserve, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator at (202) 289-6400 or nmeserve@asmfc.org.

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After obtaining an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Loyola College in Maryland, Captain John McMurray served in the US Coast Guard for four years as a small-boat coxswain and marine-fisheries law enforcement officer. He was then recruited to become the first Executive Director of the Coastal Conservation Association New York. He is currently the Director of Grants Programs at the Norcross Wildlife Foundation in New York. He is the owner and primary operator of “One More Cast” Charters. John is a well known and well published outdoor writer, specializing in fisheries conservation issues. In 2006 John was awarded the Coastal Conservation Association New York Friend of Fisheries Conservation Award.

Posted in Conservation, Conservation News, Saltwater Fishing
2 comments on “ASMFC Approves Commercial Increase Addendum for Public Comment
  1. avatar Bill Hubbard April 5, 2010 says:

    This is the worst possible news to start the season off with.

    It amazes me that it has taken the Striped Bass Managers so long to see that the ratio of recreasional to commercial landings is no just about 50/50. But, be that as it may, John has issued a firm wake up call to everyone who cares about the future of Stripers.

    Watch here and your local press for the ASMFC hearing on this adendum that will be held in your state and be sure to attend. We will have to rally the troops on this issue and dominate the meetings in every state to avoid a commercial quota increase at this time.

    If you care about the future of our sport; here is what must be done:
    1) Contact your 3 state commissioners and tell them you oppose an increase in commercial quota for–the above reasons John has cited.
    2) Attend the hearing nearest you and either speak or present a written statement that you oppose the commercial quota increase.
    3) Make every effort to attend the meeting but, if you can’t send a letter to the ASMFC Striped Bass Management Committee and your state commissioners..

    Letters and emails to ASMFC or ASMFC members will have less affect that a personal contact and/or appearence at the meetings. Letters or email to your congressman or state fisheries officials will have little or no affect.

    If you live in a state with no ASMFC public hearing on this addendum; send a letter to the chair of the ASMFC Striped Bass Management Committee

    IF YOU CARE, BE THERE !!!

  2. avatar Herb Ellington says:

    I am asking for the ASMFC to help us North Carolinas who cherish the return of the striped bass to our state managed waters. I request that the ASMFC take a close look at the recent set of decisions made by the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries concerning the striped bass. I gravely fear that political and economic conditions are putting the striped bass fish stocks manged by NCDMF at a serious risk. I highly value the return of the striped bass to our state waters and want to see the striped bass population remain healthy. The recent mangement decisions made by our local management group does not support the long term interest of the striped bass. I call for the ASMFC to step in and stop the commerical harvest of the striped bass in North Carolina waters. Please help North Carolina join the other states of the Mid Atlantic area in protecting the striped bass from the senseless mismanagement that is presently being practiced in North Carolina. It is with sadness and embrassment that the once proud State of North Carolina has fallen to pressures with a very short sighted goal. I also request any suggestions that the ASMFC may have for one man to do what he can to help protect the striped bass. Please reply if possible with any suggestions you may have. I will do what one man can do. The striped bass and I am in need your help.

    With all due Respect,
    Herb Ellington
    115 Bayshore Drive
    Elizabeth City, North Carolina 27909

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