View Full Version : A must read!

11-15-2006, 05:33 AM
After the lively debate on SF and Comm fishing I was surprised to get a preview copy of FlyRod & Reel Magazine. There is an article in the Jan/Feb issue that I was quoted in. I actually forgot I did the interview and was shocked to see my name inthe article. It is the best written and most comprehensive article regarding the issues facing the striped bass. It is written by Ted Williams and titled "PLundering Stripers".

Now before you think, just another FF rag talking trash about Comms, you REALLY need to read this. It lays blame accross the board and inparticular on rec and tourney anglers. It also highlights the "bad apples" that Comm fish.

If you pick up any magazine off the rack this should really be the one!

For those without access to the magazine, I'll work on getting permission to post it here. I've scanned it into a pdf. file, but since it's not out yet I don't want to step on any toes by posting it without permission.

11-15-2006, 08:21 AM
Good idea, Terry. While I don't always agree with him, Williams' articles are always very well researched and provocative. Look forward to seeing it here if I can't find FlyRod&Reel on the news stand.

11-15-2006, 09:26 PM
it is on the stripers forever web page under recent news.it is in pdf format

11-16-2006, 03:07 AM
You can read the article here >>>>> Striper Article (http://www.stripersforever.org/Home/I008D57AC.0/Conservation%20Article%2011%2006%20t%20will.pdf)

11-16-2006, 04:01 AM
Fairly written in that it does assign blame to all sides,but unfortunately alot of the slam on comms seems to be predicated on the mistaken assumption that the 3435 permit holders who dont file a catch report are criminals,or the suggestion that as many as 98.98 percent of permit holders are using their permits fradulently. There are many legitimate reasons for one purchase a permit,then not use it.Some folks may feel that if that they dont keep it current,they may not be able to "next" year,when they plan to do some serious fishing,some folks may have dreams of hitting it hard this year,some folks may just want to be ready for that big tide,some folks may get one or two keepers and decide its just not worth the hassle to cash them in,some get one just because they can,some may be under the mistaken idea that being commercial makes their boat a business,and tax deductible,and then theres the old adage 10 percent of the fisherman catch 90 percent of the fish.Frankly the reason someone chooses to buy a commercial permit is no ones business but their own. I dont doubt there is misuses of the system(on both sides),and I fully agree with Mr. Williams,there are slobs and cheaters on both sides of the argument.Just as with the gun laws though,I dont beleive the answer is to punish those who follow the letter of the law,but to fully prosecute those who dont.Any proven infraction should disqualify one for good.Seize a few boats,make a few more high profile busts of both commercial, charter and recreational anglers,but I cant agree with villifying some one who is trying to make a couple of bucks legally.

11-16-2006, 04:10 AM
Oh yeah,Saquatucket,and Bearses can be the ultimate horror show,commercial day or not.:-%

11-16-2006, 04:34 AM
Very good article. Although, again, I think SF comes off in a very extremist way. They say ridiculous things with unsupported figures and they do nothing about bridging the gap or offering a realistic compromise as a solution. And every time some one speaks for them I hang my head. It was a very good article and I think it was very well researched. It thoroughly examined the topic, leaving no one without blame. I just wish there was a moderate, fact based organization that represented the recreational angler more than Stripers Forever. Anyways, very good read.

11-16-2006, 09:18 AM
terry - thanks for the post. i was not aware of Stripers Forever until i read the article. after scouring their web site, i signed up as a supporter, and will be pinging my legislators regularly.... moreover, everyone in the family will be getting SF hats in their stockings this year!
let's keep the stocks around so our kids will have stories of their own.

11-16-2006, 10:05 AM
Great article. This year I saw the fewest amount of large fish than I have in 10 years and caught more schoolies than ever before. Everytime I went out to the areas I typically caught large fish- there was sure to be a guy in a small 18 foot CC with 4 sticks going and a chum ladle in hand pulling in bass after bass. I'd hate to see what was going on in the areas I can't reach by kayak.

11-16-2006, 11:02 AM

I aggree why people do things is their own business. But when figuring the catch ratios in as accurate a light as possible all aspects need to be looked at. I've heard numerous times that people buy a Comm ticket because they figure eventually there will be a buyout. For the few $$ now to keep a current tag it could lead to a relitivly large chunk of cash down the road.

When they were looking to buyout the Gulf Of Mexico boats there were reports of guys buying permits and getting boats out of salvage just to be a part of the buyout. Figure 20 grand for a comm ticket, a heap of scrap for 50 grand and then you sell your "business" back to uncle sam for 250 or so. Not a bad days pay. This is a much smaller scale but you can see how that could play out.

While some of the shots in the article came closer to MY bow that I'd have liked (tourneys etc) it was the most fairly written and best reasearched article I've read on the topic.

11-16-2006, 11:06 AM
Wow ... this article is depressing to me.
They way we slay these stripers ... sometimes I wish they tasted like chit.

After some more research, I see the point that rec anglers kill way more stripers than commercial guys. Even more so for Tuna. Gamefish status does not address the entire problem.

Man, it's crying shame the way people rape the striper stocks.
I catch em, but keep 2 or 3 per year. I don't fish for the meat or the money.
There some poeple out there with no conscious, and not much enforcement going on that I see in my travels.

I'm on the end of the spectrum that would love a catch and release only status, before they are gone. Treat em like an Albie. I know that's dream world tho... not realistic.

Ah well ... I'm not going to change any legislature or someone else's fishing habits. I'll just enjoy what we have, and hope things don't get worse ... tho I fear they will.

11-16-2006, 11:12 AM
Oh well ... I'm not going to change any legislature or someone else's fishing habits. I'll just enjoy what we have, and hope things don't get worse ... tho I fear they will.

G-Man !!! Bad way to look at it, YOU CAN HELP CHANGE BOTH!!!! ;)

11-16-2006, 11:57 AM
Haven't read the article yet, but most people know what I think about gripers forever-they're quota-grabbing, elitist frauds. On another subjust discussed herein tho, Terry, I don't know one person holding a bass endorsement who's thinking about a buyout and for you to insinuate that a bass buyout would look anything like the snapper or even the groundfish buyouts in the past is engaging in the same type of booshat burns and his crew engage in-falsehoods presented as plausible scenarios. You know damm well that IF a buyout were in the cards, if would look nothing like that, so please at least be honest. BTW, a buyout would be preceeded by limited entry, something the DMF isn't even considering at this time, making your scenario even more disingenuous. You want to argue gamefish status on its "merits", fine, but don't fall victim to the same crap sf puts out there-you're better than that...


11-16-2006, 12:05 PM
Terry; If memory serves,some loopholes became apparent during the NE Multi Species thing. Any buy back programs(should they ever become neccesary) should include catch history as part of the"bidding" process.With the idea of reducing pressure,the hi-liners permits are worth more than others.Makes it more appealing to report accurately too.However in my somewhat idealistic view,"buybacks" are sham.If you paid 65$ for the permit and they kick you out mid season you gey 32.50 back,thats all.Say we ran out of crooks,would anyone be offering you like 10 grand for your SIG?On the big fish issue,I know I peeled a few large off squid rigs on the corner and out east,(out of range of all but the most determined yakkers),and on the corner saw quite a few "sportsmen" who were tossing plugs and flies on gear that quite clearly was not intended for tuna,although I cant imagine anyone was targeting bass illegally.....:rolleyes:. My totally unscientific and unlearned observations make me wonder if they just didnt come inshore this year,like the sand eels?

11-16-2006, 12:26 PM
Terry I enjoyed the article. Thanks for pointing it out!

I know full well how little I know, but I would like to throw out 2 thoughts / questions:

I was surprised that the fleets of recreational anglers sitting on spawning fish in rivers, such as the Hudson, wasn't mentioned as a factor in the harvest of large females. Troy recently started a tournanment seeing the "success" of tournaments down river. Is this a non-issue relative to the issues identified in the article?

Assuming concensus that the population of large fish is declining, could a harvest reduction be proposed that would be acceptable to all groups? Again, recognizing I do not know enough to know what makes sense. If limits were reduced across the board by 50%, would that be equally acceptable / unacceptable across groups? What about a slot limit whose purpose would be to target males as a larger percentage fo fish harvested?

11-16-2006, 02:16 PM
A couple things.

First CMP, my speculation on how, if or when a buyout could occur is just a solid as your speculation of how if or when a buyout could not occur. If SF had their way rasied money would be used to buy back the Comm tickets after closing any further entries to the fishery. If ALL the tags are not bought back then the remaining ones could be used rendering them just as valuable as the ones that have a huge catch history.


I would liketo think that both sides could reach a happy medium. Based on past history regarding Comms & Recs and the powers that be I don't see that happening easily though. While I would love to see SF get their way and make stripers a gamefish like tarpon, bonefish etc I would be very satisfied seeing a 50% reduction in the limits EVEN IF IT MEANT A SEASON ON KEEPING STRIPERS FOR RECS!

After all lets be fair if Recs are keeping too many than that should stop as well. Although keeping track of the Rec landings would be a total PIA there are ways to get some kind of handle on it. Once the recs hit a certain tonage then the whole fishery goes C&R PERIOD! In FLA (a state with a real handle on managing fish lately) there are closed seasons at critical times. The anglers for the most part don't mind because it makes the fishery better. ALthough its tough to release that trophy snook during a closed part of the year its nice knowing that the fishings getting better and better.

I just want to state I am not out for a quota grab for recs!!!! While Gamefish status would do that I would gladly forgo GFS in lieu of whats listed above in conjuction with more fish friendly limits on both size and bag limit. I lean towards the one fish @ 36" because in the past it seemed to work and it helped restore the stocks. But I would gladly support a slot limit if it could be shown to improve the stocks. I do question the 36" limit because it takes nothing but larger breeding fish, but at this time with nothing shown to be better and a past victory with that standard it is a very reasonable choice.

I think the gamefish status is to some degree for me at least a shortcut to helping the stocks out. Once the commercial monitary value of the stripers (or anyother gamefish) is eliminated the chance to better manage the fish without prejudice can occur. When two or more sides are battling then there is always a compromise and often that doesn't benefit the fish. If there is no argument taking place the FISH can be the main focus thus allowing science not politics to be used in making decisions.

I'm off the soapbox for now ;)

11-16-2006, 02:19 PM
If I were cramming for a test, this is what I would write on my cheat sheet.

1. Overfishing from commercials and recs = population decline

Both at fault:

a) commercials take less overall (shorter season) but may take large number of "population important" fish in a short span of time. Commercial side can be rought with "fraud" and "cheating" - mostly for personal gain. All meat is sold. Restaurants don't gain from any "excess supply" provided by commercials - fish farms can meet demand for supply (trusting what I hear on this one).

b) recs take multiples over what commercials take (longer season) and take across a wider spectrum of the population. Recs can also be rought with "fraud" and "cheating" and partake in unnecessary "kill" tournements. In this day and age there must be a way to document a catch and still release it, without too much cheating? All meat is for personal consumption (how much do you really need?) or it rots on the dock (totally unnecessary).

2. Despite the above, activities related to commercials and recs do contribute to local economies.

a) commercials contribution to economy is small. May venture to say that most that fish commercially have other jobs and may not need related income to survive (I could be wrong there). Commercial fishing provides supplemental income, not primary income.

b) recs contribution to economy is much larger (just many more guys out there buying gear, boats, gas, electronics etc.)

3. Why do people fish?

a) for supplemental income (i.e., commercials)
b) for sport (i.e., recs)
c) for a living (guides etc.)
c) to meet demand for fish in consumer markets

4. How to protect wild striper population?

Extreme case: go to catch and release and close commercial fishing
Realistic case: limited catch seasons for both commercials and recs with limits.
Likely case: no change, or change when it is too late.

Preferred route is Extreme case, but impact on constituent groups would be as follows:

For commercials - loss of income (this sucks)

For recs - don't get to keep fish (kinda sucks) but can catch and release (do we really need to kill and eat fish). Commercials become recs (they already were).

For guides - little to no impact. Recs will need expert advice on finding fewer and fewer fish.

For economy - commercial contribution disappears (but it was small on a % basis anyway). Rec contribution remains the same (maybe a slight hit) - people will still want to fish all the time. Overall impact is minimal.

For consumers of fish - none. Supply to come from fish farms.

Sorry for the long rant - just needed to break it down.

11-16-2006, 03:03 PM
I currently hold no commercial fishing permits.I think that the health of the stocks has to come before either sport or a source of protein that can be easily replaced.My own personal observations lead me to believe that striper stocks are in no danger.Could be better could be one heck of a lot worse.I believe an equitable division,based on hard facts researched by fishery professianals, is in everyones best interests. My impression is this is way things are now.

11-16-2006, 05:33 PM
The author of this one sided article is un-deniably confused and as biased as a they come. First he quotes the fact that recs kill 23 million lbs (not including hook mortality) annualy while coms harvest 7 million lbs. Then he goes on to spend the entire 7 pages berating the commercial striped bass fisherman, likening him to a drug dealer "trafficing in striped bass". This article is rediculous and anyone with half a brain should realize the motive.

I am not arguing that commercial fishing isn't in trouble, it is. Due to overfishing, pollution and habitat degradation comms are in a real bind. Striped bass should be a model fishery. Sustainable, low costy,hook and line commercial fishing with low/no bycatch, low/no environmental impact is what fisheries managers should be leaning tword, not fighting against.

I know several commercial fishermwn who make their LIVING from the sea. They have been regulated into the ground. How can this moron say that these guys have no right to be there while thousands of recreational anglers kill 23 million lbs of fish per year for "FUN".

If you want to discuss the real problem, take a stab at the 28" 2 fish PP limit and the wanton netting of the striper's prime forage, Manhaden and Herring.

Feel free to flame away --126-3-

11-16-2006, 06:30 PM
The author of this one sided article is un-deniably confused and as biased as a they come. First he quotes the fact that recs kill 23 million lbs (not including hook mortality) annualy while coms harvest 7 million lbs. Then he goes on to spend the entire 7 pages berating the commercial striped bass fisherman, likening him to a drug dealer "trafficing in striped bass". This article is rediculous and anyone with half a brain should realize the motive.

Feel free to flame away --126-3-

An educated HUNTER AND FISHERMAN! Yeah he's a real wingnut ;)
Ted Williams

Ted Williams detests baseball, but is as obsessed with fishing and bird hunting as was the "real" (or, as he much prefers, "late") Ted Williams, who was 30 the year he was born. "I know outdoor writers burn themselves out fast with bile and cheap booze," he says, "but what is really discouraging is when my readers meet me in person and still think I am the ballplayer.

The surviving Ted has been writing full time on environmental issues, with special attention to fish and wildlife conservation, since 1970. In addition to freelancing for national magazines, he contributes regular feature-length conservation columns to Audubon and Fly Rod & Reel where he serves as Editor-at-Large and Conservation Editor respectively.

In April 1997 Williams was presented with the Conservation Achievement Award by the National Wildlife Federation at its annual convention in Tucson. In March 1999 he received the Federal Wildlife Officers Association award for his conservation writing. And in August 2003 the Federation of Fly Fishers presented him with its Aldo Leopold Award for “outstanding contributions to fisheries and land ecology.” Williams has been named to the Jade of Chiefs--the highest conservation award given by the Outdoor Writers Association of America. And for his reporting on federal forest-fire policy the American Society of Magazine Editors voted Audubon one of five finalists in the National Magazine Awards.

Williams graduated from Colby College in Waterville, Maine with a BA in English, and from Boston University School of Public Communication with an M.S. in Journalism. He lives in Grafton, Massachusetts with Westy (who is a Brittany and his fishing and hunting companion) and his wife Donna. Daughter Beth is a school teacher. Son Scott is a wildlife biologist.

Ted & his Writings
Ted Williams (not to be confused with the baseball player) is a freelance environmental writer who does the conservation column for Fly Rod & Reel magazine and is regularly featured in magazines such as Audubon. Williams, who is known for his emphasis on carefully researched data and a direct, no-nonsense style of writing, is arguably the best investigative environmental writer in America today. He has done more good for sportsmen, fish and game, and natural resource issues in general than almost everyone else in the game. As might be expected, he is loved by true sportsmen, naturalists and environmentalists - anyone who cares about the viability of open wild spaces and the health of fish and game for future generations - and is summarily hated by ultra-conservative and Religious Right extremists, industry lobbies, Property Rights and "Wise-Use" zealots, and those "sportsmen" whose primary concern is filling their freezers today rather than preserving fish and game for their children. This page is devoted to archiving his many informative and inspiring works from all forums. They are reprinted here with his gracious permission.

north coast
11-16-2006, 06:50 PM
I don't have the energy, but I trust the truly open minded, realistic,and intelligent folks here will see this for what it is.

11-16-2006, 07:14 PM
Would somebody, Ted Williams included, please read even just the executive summary of the 2005 ASMFC stock assessment (http://www.asmfc.org/speciesDocuments/stripedBass/reports/stockassmts/05StripedBassAssessment.pdf)
I've no axe to grind with Williams or Terry. But if you're willing to read the Op-Ed piece in the mag and use it as a fodder to galvanize your opinions, have a gander at the science too.

I'll pull some citations from the report that to my mind, read quite differently than loosely cited in the Williams article.

"Based on V(irtual) P(opulation) A(analysis) results, average age 8-11 fishing mortality in 2004 is estimated at F=0.40 which is below the Amendment 6threshold of 0.41 but exceeds the target of 0.30. However, it is theconsensus of the Technical Committee members that this is likely an overestimate of the 2004 F given the uncertainly with the terminal year estimate from the VPA and the systematic positive bias observed in the retrospective analysis."

"Stock Size: The estimate of total abundance for January 1, 2005 from the ADAPT VPA is 65.3 million age-1 and older fish. This estimate is about 1.2 million fish lower than the 2004 abundance but 10% higher than the average stock size for the previous five years. Population estimates were calculated for the first time this year from tag based F estimates using the catch
equation. The 2004 population estimate of age 3+ fish was 48.5 million fish that is roughly 8 million fish higher than the 2003 estimate. This estimate is higher than the ADAPT VPA estimate of 39.2 million age 3+ fish at the beginning of 2004."

"The abundance of older fish (age 13+ from the ADAPT VPA) in the stock has also increased from 382,000 fish at the beginning of 2003 to 547,000 fish on January 1, 2005."

"Spawning Stock Biomass (SSB): The female spawning stock biomass for 2004 is estimated at 55 million pounds which is above the recommended biomass threshold of 30.9 millions pounds (13,956 mt) and the target SSB of 38.6 million pounds (17,500 mt). SSB has declined by 9% since 2002 when it peaked at 60.6 million pounds."

"Catch: Total catch in numbers including landings and discards increased from 3.9 million fish in 2002 to 5.2 million fish in 2004, a 33.3 % increase in losses since implementation of Amendment 6. The 2004 catch was also above the 1997-2003 average of 4.36 million fish. Ages 3 to 7 represented 59%, and ages 8+ represented 36% of the total catch in 2004. The strong 1996, 2000, and 2001 year-classes dominated the catch, accounting for 41% of total catch. Total catch of age 8+ fish increased from 1.4 million fish in 2002 to 1.8 million fish in 2004 (the highest level recorded in the time series) and the proportion of 8+ fish in the catch increased to 36% in 2004 from 30% in 2003.
Recreational harvest (2.4 million fish) and discards (17.2 million fish) accounted for 72.5% of the total 2004 catch. Virginia recreational fisheries harvested 19.6% of total recreational landings, followed by New Jersey (17.7%), Massachusetts (17.1%), Maryland (13.2%), North
Carolina (13.2%), and NY (10.2%). The remaining states each landed 5% or less of the total recreational landings."

"Management Advice
Based on the available assessment information, it is the consensus of the Technical Committee that overfishing is not occurring and that the population is not overfished. However, there are differing opinions within the Technical Committee concerning where the 2004 fish mortality rate was in relation to the Amendment 6 target of 0.30. It is also the consensus of the Technical Committee that the abundance of older striped bass, age 13 and older, has increased since the adoption of Amendment 6 in 2003."

I found this particularly enlightening:

"Commercial Fishery in 2004
Commercial landings in 2004 totaled 907 thousand fish or 3.3 thousand MT (7.2 million lbs) (Table 1b). Landings increased 4.4% in numbers (38 thousand fish) and 2.2% in weight (70 MT) compared to 2003. Overall, commercial harvest represented 18% of total losses in number in 2004 (Table 2, Figure 1). The greatest portion of the commercial harvest occurred in the
Chesapeake Region (Maryland, PRFC, and Virginia). The harvest in these jurisdictions accounted for 77% by number (Table 3) and 58% by weight of the total commercial harvest in 2004. Harvest increased in all coastal states with commercial fisheries except Virginia and Delaware (Table 3). Age 4 made up the highest percentage of commercial landings (21%) and ages 4-8 comprised 68% of the harvest (Table 4). Most (77%) of the harvest in the Chesapeake Region was ages 3-7 (Table 4, Figure 2). Peak harvest of fish in the rest of the coastal states was at age 8; more than half of the coastal harvest (54%) was ages 8-10."

Read it and make your own decision. Science is certainly falible and population models can be prone to all kinds of statistical issues. One thing to think about is that the stock assesement methodology, while modified at one point since the mid 80s, has largely been applied to these data in the same fashion all along. One thing I do know is that if I were the author of this ASMFC report I'd certainly take exception to some of the published "quotations" in the Williams article.

Bob Parsons
11-16-2006, 07:57 PM
As I read though the above post I see certain catch words that are in my opinion a trend away from good science. Virtual populations, the word virtual does not mean real. Look how often the word estimate is use in the report. Many varibles can affect an estimate and even people with years of experience extimating something in their field have been shown to be way off. As mentioned statistics can be manipulated.

11-16-2006, 09:03 PM
Biostats isn't my bag but as I understand it anything less than counting each and every member of the population would be considered "Virtual". The report is 130 pages long, much of it devoted to a discussion of the methodology and caveats of the mathematical model that is the VPA. Bottom line is that no one can count all the fish and no one can document how each one dies. Estimates are made based on the best available data; this includes catch records,tagging studies, seine studies, direct studies of C&R mortality. You put it all in a statistical blender and make your best estimate. If you do this the same way year after year, trends and model outputs have at relative if not quantitative meaning.The better the mathematical model can be verified with real world data the more quantitative the output/predictions become. I completely disagree that its questionable science. Its really classic population assessement through an application of biostatistics in a marine environment. There is certainly lots going on. Its a very complex system and all the variables and uncertainty are discussed in detail the report. The fact that the uncertainty is discussed and defined is just the opposite of questionable science. It provides a transparency to the process and demonstrates that none of the assumptions, separately or in combination, serve to invalidate the overall outcome.

There are valid questions about the magical "F", mortality figure. The experts feel that the data overestimates F yet it still is below the threshold mortality although they openly admit that it is above the target mortality. My personal feeling if there are questions about overall mortality why not take a conservative management approach and make it harder to kill the fish. 1 fish at 36" recreationally coastwide, Comm hook fishery to 36" and put some limits on the mid atlantic commercial fishery that's taking 4 year old fish, that should do the trick.

However, the best available science doesn't point to a burning problem yet. It could be that we are at the beginning of a decline but its too early to tell from the data. We all have our personal anecdotal point of reference on this issue. I believe that that point of view is as valid as anything else. But there is some reasonable formal research going into the mix that we should be aware of.

11-16-2006, 09:16 PM

Anyone who accepts and promotes the ASMFC science and management advice/suggestions/conclusions about the striped bass stocks at face value WITHOUT the scrutiny that has been directed toward Mr. William's article and the reel-time supporters thereof is being duplicitious and decietful.

The history regarding the management practices of the ASMFC is far less glorious than Mr. Williams' credentials and proven history (see Riptide's last post). The ASMFC is comprised and motivated by the very same people and interests that have been responsible for the MIS-management of every other commercially viable marine resource in our Atlantic State's marine waters .......groundfish etc...

Yes, there are a few individuals on the ASMFC that fight to regulate the Atlantic States marine fishery with a modicum of sensibility and long-term vision. Sadly, they are about the only ones WITHOUT some commercial interest in the resource thus their judgements tend to represent a more "honest" perspective and intreptation of the science regarding the status of our marine resources.

ANYONE with a nearsighted view of the situation who has a vested commercial interest in killing/selling striped bass can be easily identified by the predictable knee-jerk responses that we see both evidenced here in this thread and by the ASMFC itself.

As long as there is an immediate profit to be had by exploiting a natural resource it will happen.....a simple economic reality of the capitalistic system. When this occurs then government steps in (hopefully) and regulates the resource theoretically to protect the future commercial productivity of the resource. This is done to benefit the fishermen themselves by putting curbs on their efforts to make as much money as the can ..while they can without any long-term thought as to the consequences.

This makes sense EXCEPT that the majority of the regulators are either commercial fishermen themselves or at the very least have an IMMEDIATE and selfish interest in resource exploitation RIGHT NOW ............and the future be damned. As long as the foxes are in charge of running the chicken coop then we, as users of the resource must be resigned to either accept the eventual destruction of the fishery or CHANGE HOW THINGS ARE DONE.

I can't speak for anyone else or any organization but I believe that this is the sole reason that many of us would like to see striped bass taken out from under this very same management philosophy that has ruined nearly every other fishery along our coast. This should be done BEFORE THE RESOURCE IS IN CRISIS MODE OR IT IS TOO LATE FOR RECOVERY.

Reactive management has proven itself to be unreliable and innefective....too late too often. Pro active management would concentrate on long-term results WITHOUT the pressure from immediate commercial interests.

We, or at least I, would like to see striped bass managed as a game fish in order to remove the insidious and persuassive reality of commercial greed from being a factor in management decisions. The ASMFC is certainly capable of overseeing and managing striped bass for it's recreational value just as easily (actually much more easily).

This is NOT designed to be a greedy "rec grab" or motivated by some other dark and neferious plan that some would like to believe (and falsly preach) but rather a very simple approach toward insuring that our children/grandchildren/etc. will have this magnificant resource to enjoy.

Historically, if we compare how well species have done when managed for commercial exploitation vs. recreational value enhancement the results are astounding. Choose the species as you will but the animals, birds and fisheries that have been commercially exploited have generally suffered and those resources that have been managed for their recreational value have generally flourished. I want to see the striped bass flourish!

EVERYONE can enjoy striped bass recreationally.....there is NO discrimination against anyone. The resource and the enjoyment thereof will be available to EVERYONE WITHOUT EXCEPTION. Any nonsense about this being a resource grab for the exclusive "use" of any one "group" is designed to be inflamitory, devissive and is outright mis-leading.

The long-term solution to having striped bass around for generations to come is to manage them as a game-fish and take away the commercial factors from influencing ANY management decisions.

Sorry about the "rant"......been a lurker for too long and given all the mis-information that has been passed off as gospel in this thread .....well, I had to weigh in. All you commercial guys can now flame away again...you have a new target!!!

11-16-2006, 10:21 PM
WOW Seafly!!!!!! That is one hell of a post! Well said man!!!! Well said!!! --127-3-

11-17-2006, 06:24 AM
I guess what makes irks me the most is the fact that we,as taxpayers,wasted what had to run into seven figures having some professional marine biologists collect hard data and prepare a report for Congress stating the stocks are record levels,and the spawning biomass is at record levels.(#$119)

11-17-2006, 06:28 AM
Looks like quota grab,smells like quota grab,tastes like quota grab,feels like quota grab,but trust me, its something else.By the way,I've got this sweet bridge over here......(#$119)

11-17-2006, 08:52 AM
Face it...this is not the good ol days. Ted Williams is right on, as usual. Stripers have more problems than ever...more sophisticated equipment and anglers fishing for them, pollution and effects thereof, and competition from homo sapiens for forage fish. The entire ocean ecosystem is under attack by man...too many people chasing too few fish. In my mind, anything that we can do to help the striper is better than nothing. If one of those alternatives is to ban(!) tournaments, or at least boycott them (or their sponsors, and a letter to said sponsors might go a long way in that regard) that would be a start. There is no friggin justification for tournaments. Adding prize incentives to catch the most/biggest is just wrong...it promotes usage of a finite resouce that belongs to everyone, and it gives nothing back to the resource. Wake up...the fish belong to everyone, and no single group should be able to hurt that resource if we want it to remain healthy. Next step...commercial. Again, the fish belong to everyone. What is the best sustainable use of a resource? If the majority of people believe it is the ability to catch fish recreationally (and this has proven to be the best economic use of the resource, has it not, in terms of money generated)? Commercial fisherman may beetch and moan, but is this any different than any other industry that is in decline, or anyone that has to find a different way to make a living? Why should he fact that it has always been done that way justify continuing the killing off of large numbers of large fish? Man's greed has always put him above everything else and resulted in decimation of most common resources (see tragedy of the commons...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons). Maybe the new governor in Mass. might listen...maybe a concerted letter writing campaign? Commercials can flame on. By the way, why are they posting on a saltwater fly fishing site???

john hollenberg
11-17-2006, 10:12 AM
Regardless of where you stand on this the big crime is the max yield attitude of the fisheries managers. I was first exposed to this in CT at the public hearings about decreasing the size to 28". The head of the CT fisheries got mad and blurted out that you people should go out catch and kill as many fish as you can because if you don't do it someone else will. In the 10 years I have lived in MA that sums up fisheries management in this state.

11-17-2006, 03:05 PM
"But Arguing that American shoppers should have access to wild striped bass makes as much sense as arguing that they should have access to wild turkeys"

This statement makes no sense to me, why shouldn't we have access to wild turkeys? But I like the article and I am glad I read as much of it as I did.

I hear wild turkey is questionable for the table - I think we have come too accustomed to the butterball.

I am going to have to take the authors word on the taste of a farm raised striper - I'll never eat one....

11-17-2006, 03:21 PM
Again, the fish belong to everyone. What is the best sustainable use of a resource? If the majority of people believe it is the ability to catch fish recreationally (and this has proven to be the best economic use of the resource, has it not, in terms of money generated)?

Good point about the ownership of the resource--it is a public as opposed to private resource. The question of how best to deal with the commons? I like the Cosian idea of payments to others--create a cost of using the resource and change the system through competition to pay these costs.

One point that everyone seems to miss about the recreational catch value versus commecial catch value is that it doesn't take into account the law of diminishing returns. Up to a certain point the rec catch is more valuable for society, after that point, the comm catch becomes more valuable. I am not a commercial fisherman and never have been, but I believe that a well managed fishery could serve both communities. Sort of a profit maximizing approach for society.

11-17-2006, 06:07 PM
I am not a commercial fisherman and never have been, but I believe that a well managed fishery could serve both communities. Sort of a profit maximizing approach for society.

Please run for office Eric :)

I've C+Red Stripers
I've C+Ked Stripers
I've ordered Striper too

There should be room for all but I think that until most groups are on the same page, leaning towards a lower overall kill is best.

11-18-2006, 02:07 AM
"Commercial fisherman may beetch and moan, but is this any different than any other industry that is in decline, or anyone that has to find a different way to make a living? Why should he fact that it has always been done that way justify continuing the killing off of large numbers of large fish?"

Such a disturbing attitude.

"Man's greed has always put him above everything else and resulted in decimation of most common resources..."

Wait, you are saying the commercial guys are the greedy ones? How the heck can rec guys who want to get rid of a sector of teh fishery so that they can have more call anyone else greedy? You can say that commercials are somehow doing more damage with 1/4 of the catch than 3/4 caught by recs is...but that just is not true. They target the exact same fish as the rec fleet does and it amazes me that anyone can honestly belive that getting rid of the relativly small commercial fleet is going to solve any of the problems you all say exist.

north coast
11-18-2006, 06:44 AM
well said twofin well said!

11-18-2006, 09:17 AM
They target the exact same fish as the rec fleet

Well, not exactly the same fish. Commercials target the larger fish--the most important ones to the population.


They are forced to by bad fisheries management.

There are plenty of ways around it, but the short sighted planners can't figure any of them out.

As a rec, when I keep fish, I don't keep the big ones. Just over legal size for me and let the big spawners go.

11-18-2006, 02:49 PM
The arguments of rec. vs. comm. regarding the management of striped bass are being intentionally clouded and misrepresented by those that that think they have the most to loose in the short term...the commercial fishermen.....and the rec fishermen are taking their bait hook, line etc.

for those that want to and are still able to see beyond this foolish "us vs. them" argument lets' try and put some reality to the discussion and not get caught up in the deflecting argument of rec.vs.comm.

The unarguable truth is that a dead striped bass is simply that - dead. Who kills it matters not. The only thing that matters IN THE LONG RUN is that the striped bass is dead. Who's quota if falls under or whether it was killed by a comm. weekender or a as by-catch that was uncerimoniously dumped overboard to feed the doggies or as the victem of a fly rodder's cath and release, holier than thou philosophy..........it truly does and should not matter. Dead is dead!

The entire argument of rec vs. comm is a smoke screen to avoid the truth regarding the reality of the management oversight responsibilities and how their decisions are effected either by exploitive money pressures as they currently are vs. how they would/could be effected by social pressures to enhance the resource.

It is historical fact that natural resources do better when managed for their long-term recreational value than they do when managed for short-term, commercial exploitation.......... unarguable FACT!

The present managers of striped bass are influenced by commercial pressures to maximize the immediate yield. If it were the recreational sector they were answering to there would be a much more conservative philosophy adopted as a direct result of the long term vision and wishes of the rec. sector.

To those that doubt this last statement look at how well the deer, bison, wild turkey, redfish, trout etc. have done when managed under lobby and pressure for recreationbal enhancement vs. the fate of the passanger pigeon, all the ground fish stocks off our coast, bluefin tuna etc. that are being (mis) managed for the commercial sector to pillage with little if any regard for the future.

Yes, my bias shows but the truth is self-evident. To try and confuse and deflect the argument into an "us vs. them" squabble is simply evidence that some folks don't want to see or care about the reality of the long-term prognosis for the striped bass as long as the management situation doesn't change from exploitation to one of resource enhancement.

It is a management philosophy argument not a sector grab or an us vs. them fight.

north coast
11-18-2006, 05:29 PM
this should cause some interesting response ,but believe it or not, some years ago,when the division decided to up the comm quota from (I think it was 7, some odd hundred thousand lbs to over a million) a bunch of comm guys were actually opposed to and fought against the increase. they increased it the next year anyway. don't really know why.I know that a bunch of you will call bs .I don't care. it's absolutly true. Those that would say that all comm. guys could care less about the future of these fish are just plain wrong.

11-18-2006, 08:13 PM
most commercial fishermen have more invested in the health of the stocks than anyone and to believe that commercial guys care less about the stocks is just silly. too many people see a few bad fisheries and assume that everyone who commercially fishes is evil and care less about fish stocks. and even when you look at the bad fisheries, it is almost ALWAYS managers and scientists who promoted the fishery and then when things went wrong fishermen got all the blame.

11-19-2006, 02:49 PM
most commercial fishermen have more invested in the health of the stocks than anyone and to believe that commercial guys care less about the stocks is just silly. too many people see a few bad fisheries and assume that everyone who commercially fishes is evil and care less about fish stocks. and even when you look at the bad fisheries, it is almost ALWAYS managers and scientists who promoted the fishery and then when things went wrong fishermen got all the blame.

very well stated.
ive been fighting this fight for many years. it makes no sense for a commercial fisherman to deplete an entire ocean, for his income depends on it. fisherman from the past, thought, or actually believed, that the ocean had an endless supply of fish. we know today that this is not true. MOST commercial fisherman today understand there is a delicate balance without which all fish stocks can and will collapse. there can be a happy medium reached where recs and comms could be happy...how we get there is what everyone can't seem to agree on.

11-19-2006, 08:41 PM
I think just about everyone on this board agrees that they are fewer larger fish around - and the decline has been steady over the past few years.

I also agree with Jim C - 36" , 1 fish limit for both recs and comms.. or a slot limit for both (and 1 fish/day max for recs).

I'd even like to see a saltwater license (if the money could help with enforcement).

It would be asinine to set new limits on the comms w/o significantly changing the current rec. quotas (in my opinion)...

11-19-2006, 09:33 PM
Why is it that the most logical argument presented (economics ie; slappy, others) is the one least discussed. It's all efficient allocation of resource, not "who's grabbing who's quota". I just fail to see the value in discussing actual versus estimated size class and overall biomass, estimated MSY ect.... When the real issue is how to best allocate this resource while best protecting it and creating the best fishery possible. I find it so difficult to read any indoctrinating pablums from either side because in every case, either it is the MFS or SF there was a reason for the publication. It's like watching Al-Jazeera for your war coverage then watching Fox News for a story about poverty.

11-19-2006, 10:48 PM

Just so I know for sure what you meant, are you saying that the commercial fleet should be completely shut down and that only rec fishermen should be allowed to catch stripers simply because the rec fleet spends a lot of money?

If so, thats a dangerous arguement if you ever want to coexist with the commercial fishing fleets. You sure you want to set a precedent where a whole sector can be wiped out by another just because they spend the most money and generate the most overal revenue?

You are saying that the commercial sector in fisheries where they produce more money than the rec sector should be able to stop you from fishing. But, that wouldnt happen because that would just be a greedy move that would get rid of some competition. That wouldnt be right.

We all need to deal with it and work together, it really isnt going to be good if both sides get malicious and I dont see how anyone can deny the real motives in this gamefish status move.

I keep hearing new spins on the same idea- get rid of commercial fishing for striped bass because, eventhough it is a small part of the fishery, it does more damage somehow. I dont buy that and no matter how it is phrased it still seems to be the same thing.

11-19-2006, 11:08 PM
No, thats not what I am saying at all man. I think commercial fleets should exist. Let me rephrase that, the harvesting for commercial purposes of predators is fine in my book. Much like yourself, I am against many methods currently utilized in the harvesting of forage fish stocks. I feel that there could never be major companies making profit from commercial fishing stripers. It's just not a very lucrative market, even let's say hypothetically you get of a good bite before the prices fall close to home (less cost incurred in opp cost and gas) and are operating at super normal profit. Others (and more can join the industry b/c of a nearly non-existant icr) will find the bite, flood the market, drop the prices and you're going to turn normal profit to potentially loss. It really is a bit of an example of perfect competition. I guess what I am saying is that I feel that commercial fishing, and recreational fishing need to co-exist because of economics. The key is to find the maximum efficiency of the two markets, and allocate accordingly. Essentially trying to say what Slappy did, only he's smarter than me so it made more sense. What I was saying is that both SF and the DMF have agendas and purposes for every piece of collateral they publish. I happen to think they are both polar opposites and extremes in their respective directions. Do I think gamefish status could be helpful to ANY species of fish, provided the quota lost wasn't re-allocated to the recs? Sure, more fish swimming, right? Do I think it makes economic sense and is therefore, in my mind, correct? No. I think protecting the actual fish that we target is probably the lowest priority when it comes to fisheries management, at least currently. So, I think I failed to communicate the point effectively before and I hope that this elucidates my personal views of the issue.

11-19-2006, 11:28 PM
I apologize for misreading you. I meant to say something about how I could have maybe misread it but didnt. My bad.

I dont know if I can support the idea of gamefish status but I think other than that aspect of your new post we are saying similar thngs. I dont agree with wiping out any fishery unless it is needed and right now I dont believe that the commercial fleet is doing enough damage to warrent getting rid of them. I personally think there are other ways of going about it. Thats my opinion and its based not on being opposed to proper management of fish (in this case stripers) but to being opposed to getting rid of any sector for the wrong reasons. I worry that too many out there want this gamefish status because they are categorically opposed to commercial fishing and thats not right.

11-26-2006, 01:52 PM

Thanks for posting the link to the article. I've been away for a week and a half and just got to read it last night - along with all the posts both pro and con. It's an ok piece on a complicated subject. Typical of TW to sensationalize what he doesn't like - commercial fishermen.

There have been a lot of well thought out posts by you and others on both sides of this issue. I really can't add much except to say that I hope all of you who posted will attend the next ASMFC hearing on Striped Bass management and let them know your views.

Like it or not, ASMFC manages Stripers from Maine to Florida, so bitching about them and damning them will change nothing. They were created by Congress at the request of all the Atlantic States who then ratified the federal statutes. As far as Striped Bass management goes, they are the only show in town or on the coast.

If you don't like what they are doing as to managing bass, you can complain all you want to your congressman or senator or state pols and the NE Fisheries Management Council and nothing will happen.

What you should be doing if your seriously concerned is talk to your ASMFC Commissioners and, especially your state's member of the Angler Advisory Panel and Technical Committee - each state has three commissioners and one ASP Rep and Tech. Com. member and you can find yours at www.ASMFC.org (http://www.asmfc.org/)

11-26-2006, 02:58 PM
if commercial cant be stopped then reduce the number of license...Tournments need to take reponsiblity and stop the blood money awards for killing large fish

finally the bunker and herring are crashed on the Rhody shore..Where is the reponsibilty for this?