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  #1  
Old 11-23-2003, 12:26 AM
finatic finatic is offline
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Exclamation Important read...Stripers crashing???

Just take a look at this guys and follow up on it on your own- I'm not throwing any blame anywhere -but I can tell you this spring I spoke with some "old" chesapeake anglers that said the flats were VOID of fish in 2003. Chesapeake is where all OUR fish come from and there are MAJOR problems going on there. It scares me.
KEITH WALTERS COLUMN

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.

You can take this article with a grain of salt it was just released, but as a follow up just read the article on page 97 of Saltwater Sportsman's December issue on the Chesy....



Last edited by finatic; 11-23-2003 at 10:09 AM..
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Old 11-23-2003, 03:13 PM
peterjay peterjay is offline
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I'd go easy on the salt. The story has an all-too-familiar ring to it. The only surprise to me (having lived in Virginia twice and Maryland once) is that there's anything left alive in the Chesapeake to write about. The bay's resources have been overexploited for more than a century, with no end in sight. The state of Virginia goes out of its way to pander to polluters (there are environmental laws on the books, but they are not enforced) and Maryland's record isn't a whole lot better. Everything I've read on the subject indicates that the bay is dying a slow death, and since it produces a large percentage of East Coast stripers, there is reason to be concerned.
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Old 11-24-2003, 10:24 AM
masman masman is offline
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According to John Page Williams of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, a big problem in the Bay is the "dead zone" of eutrophic water that forms during the summer due to nutrient overloading and resulting algae blooms, which consume all available oxygen in the water. Nothing can live in the oxygen-delpeted upper layer of the water column, so all the bass and other creatures are concentrated in the deeper waters of the Bay. Williams reports that you can actually see the stratification on a depthsounder, as all the fish marks will cease at a specific level of the water column. The nutrient overloading is a result (say biologists) of runoff of lawn and farm fertizers and industrial-scale chicken farming operations. Bottom line: the Bay is hurting!
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Old 11-24-2003, 05:01 PM
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Ray Ray is offline
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I am curious to see how the natural fish mortality was calculated from historical data. Many years ago I had a statistics prof tell me you can make #s look however you want them to. I know there has been a lot of talk lately about fish, mostly Stripers, found with legions on them and tumors in them. This has been preliminarily liked to chemical run off into the upper bay.

I don't know about this algie growth issue. But is sounds like it happens outside of the spawning period. That doesn't make it OK.
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Old 11-25-2003, 09:18 AM
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LandlockedinMI LandlockedinMI is offline
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It is undisputed that fertilizers are a huge problem.

I know 2 well positioned employess of RI's DEM and the fish kill this year in Greenwich Bay was at least partially attributed to runoff.

Here in Michigan, my little lake is fighting with surrounding subdivs to keep there gd runoff water in retaining ponds rather than dump them in the street which is basically dumping them in the lake. We had epic bright green algae blooms for the last 2 years where prior there was zero.

But try to convince Mr Weekend Warrior that a bright green lawn with a shallow root system is inferior to a well balanced, properly watered and fed lawn and you might as well put the deer gun to your head now......

People just don't give a damn unless it has a direct impact on their little worlds
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Old 11-25-2003, 11:13 AM
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The corn-belt in the midwest is notorious for bad ground water. I lived in Indianapolis for 5 years (that sucked). Everyone had a water softener. If not, a washed glass would have hazy film of something on it and your clothes were like iron. This is attributed to the high concentration of commercial farms and the chemicals used.

One note on the EGB fish-kill this year. I sail out of EGB and have seen the affetcs of runoff before. One problem there is that the bay is at the bottom of a hill that runs along it's north shore. So even normal runoff from heavy rail causes some problems.
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Old 01-05-2004, 09:40 AM
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LandlockedinMI LandlockedinMI is offline
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Ray:

I just got back to this thread. You're outta EG? Way back in the day, like mid 70's, (old old old) we used to catch loads of weakfish in EG. Do you see any these days?
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Old 01-05-2004, 12:35 PM
talbot3 talbot3 is offline
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disgusting mess

I have heard that the weaks are coming back. In Narragansett Bay they show up in May/June. I havent seen one in a long time, but I have my hopes......

These fish seem to come and go before any problems with low oxygen levels are reported (late July and into August). It was a pretty miserable summer for fishing (bluefish and stripers later) in the upper Narragansett Bay this year, and I don't doubt that low oxygen levels (fish killing depletions) had a lot to do with it. I noticed quite a few (not as many as in Greenwich Bay) dead seed clams washed up on the beach (East Providence) during that period. Also dead horseshoe crabs. So the problem was widespread in the Bay. Problems were noted in 2002 by DEM researchers, though they didn't seem to be as serious as in 2003. The Providence Journal published a set of articles on the events last summer--they reported a number of causes of oxygen depletion in the Bay, including agricultural/residential runoff of toxins and fertilizers and flow of untreated sewage into the Bay. Apparently the City of Warwick, RI has attempted to get homes on and near waterfront properties to hook up to a city sewage treatment system. I was told that there has been a lot of resistance to this campaign and that discharge of wastewater (brown trout and all?) is open pipe into Greenwich Bay in many instances.

I mention all this detail because I think Chesapeake must have the same environmental problems, though greatly magnified.

Duncan Talbot
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Old 01-05-2004, 12:39 PM
talbot3 talbot3 is offline
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Victor Crecco?

Who, btw, is Victor Crecco, Connecticut fisheries biologist?

Duncan Talbot
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Old 01-05-2004, 01:38 PM
talbot3 talbot3 is offline
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answered my own question

A search of altavista.com using Crecco Connecticut as a keyword turned up a pretty good list of pages and publications by Victor Crecco, although I didn't see anything newer than 1999 (discussion of Amendment 5).

Without reading any of the materials, I would suspect that the guy (and his staff) have seen a lot of mortality data.

Duncan Talbot
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