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  #1  
Old 02-24-2000, 04:49 PM
FishHawk FishHawk is offline
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Conn. Slot Limit

Connecticut is to have a two fish limit on stripers with a slot limit of one fish between 24-30" and the second fish over 40inches. What do you tink about this for it in Mass or against?
FishHawk
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  #2  
Old 02-24-2000, 06:18 PM
Napatree Napatree is offline
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RE: Conn. Slot Limit

Are you sure that is definite? I had heard thru the cca page that was a possibility. I did not know if that had gone thru though.
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  #3  
Old 02-25-2000, 08:46 AM
BPALMER BPALMER is offline
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RE: Conn. Slot Limit

In my opinion, I still saw too many fish taken this year with the 28" limit... We should be trying to protect this great natural resource. I myself am a catch n' release fan, though on occasion a nice grilled striper is the best... I think the limit should be moved up to 30"+. The slot of 24" - 30" would be too tempting for those people just looking to take a "keeper"... Fishing is going so well now, why fix it if it ain't broke?
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  #4  
Old 02-25-2000, 09:35 AM
FishHawk FishHawk is offline
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RE: Conn. Slot Limit

I am pretty sure this is what is going to happen. Got info off this site http://hometown.aol.com/rnwhiteley/fishing.html. He is very accurate and on top of fishing in Conn. I believe he is a member of CCA.
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  #5  
Old 02-25-2000, 10:45 AM
lund lund is offline
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RE: Conn. Slot Limit

I would be quite surprised if CT were allowed to have a slot limit. As it stands now, the only slot limits in place are in producer states and not the coastal fishery (Maine is a producer state, but the slot limit does apply to the coastal fishery there). I have come to the conclusion that slot limits are about the worst thing that can happen management-wise to the striper fishery. The problem with the fishery right now is that good year classes get mowed down to nothing within 2-3 years of reaching the minimum length of 28 inches (most places). This is about the size at which females spawn for the 1'st time. A lower slot limit of 24-28 inches is only going to have the effect of lowering the effective minimum size to 24 inches. These fish are too young to have spawned even once before they can be harvested. The protected slot is virtually meaningless: If we can harvest most of a yearclass between the sizes of 28 and 32 inches what makes anyone believe that it is'nt going to happen to fish from 24-28 inches? I wish that more fisherman's *conservation* groups would promote management plans that offer the promise of a sustainable fishery rather than lobby for regulations that may lead to another collapse of the fishery in a selfish attempt to create a better *trophy* fishery. A slot limit would indeed create a great trophy fishery for 5 or 6 years based on fish that are in the protected size range now, but with the rampant harvest of immature fish during this time we would have little in the way of younger broodstock. This is called recruitment overfishing, where there are not enough adult spawners to saturate the spawning grounds with eggs. This is what happened when the striper population crashed in the 1970's and it will happen again if immature stripers can be harvested in the coastal fishery.

My appologies for ranting, but I cannot fathom why so many rec. anglers support a slot limt.

Regards,

Eric Lund, Ph.D.
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  #6  
Old 02-25-2000, 12:49 PM
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bdowning bdowning is offline
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RE: Conn. Slot Limit

Eric,

First, good to see you made it to the new board. Thought you were one of the casualties ;-).

You make a convincing case against slot limits. Until now, I didn't really have a strong preference between simply increasing the minimum length vs. creating a slot, as long as either resulted in long-term sustainability of the fishery. I think I'm now leaning more toward the former.

-bd


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  #7  
Old 02-25-2000, 01:00 PM
Slamdance Slamdance is offline
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RE: Conn. Slot Limit

Eric: Why have slot limits been so effective at rebuilding redfish stocks in the states that have imposed them? I understnad the rationale for your arguement, but it seems to me there is enough evidence (with redfish and a few other species) to support some research into the idea. To my knowledge, none has been done.

Also, following your logic, how can the producer states be allowed to continue to hammer the younger year classes by targeting 18" fish? Certainly you must also disagree with these regualtions, no?
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  #8  
Old 02-25-2000, 01:38 PM
lund lund is offline
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RE: Conn. Slot Limit

Re: redfish (if slots work for redfish why not stripers?);

Red drum grow faster and spawn earlier than stripers (I believe). They are less prone to the good yearclass/bad yearclass than stripers are. They are not fished as hard as stripers and they are not highly migratory.
The bottom line is that these factors combine to allow for a sufficent escapement of lower slot fish into the protected size breeders. What has become clear lately with the striped bass fishery is that year classes are pretty much wiped out soon after they reach the minimum legal size. This sort of harvest makes slots limits a moot point: it is the minimum size at which stripers can be harvested that dictates the age structure of the fishery. I have nothing personal against slot limits, but it makes little sense to me to use them in situations they are not designed for. IMHO the way to sustainably get more big fish in the striper fishery is to increase the minimum length, not decrease it. In a fishery as heavily exploited as striped bass a 24-28 inch lower slot has the effect of a 24 inch minimum. Why not lobby for a 32 inch minimum instead?

RE: producer states taking small fish.

This is the price to pay for a coastal fishery. It is important that the striper fishery has an economic impact on these states so that the spawning grounds remain clean. For example, there have been recent proposals to start up commercial hog farms on the eastern shore of MD. Commercial fisherman, recs and businesses catering to fishermen have prevented this from happening. These folks need something to fish for and it's a choice between broodstock coming and going from the spawning grounds or small fish that have not yet entered the coastal fishery. As it is the take of small fish is regulated (you need a liscense and a boat -- shore fishing is extremely limited) and monitored (no night fishing etc...). When the allocated quotas are reached fishing stops period. This system, in place since the lifting of the 5 year striper ban in MD, has consistently succeeded in allowing for very good recruitment to the coastal fishery. Are New England fishermen complaining about a lack of small schoolies? Ha! The grousing is about not enough bigger fish. This assessment is in agreement with what ASMFC has found -- that there are too many bigger fish being taken in Chesapeake Bay and too many 28 - 33 inch fish in the coastal fishery. MD and VA have changed their regs this year to limit the numbers of big fish being taken in the Bay and maintained the system for the small fish fishery.

So why not put in a slot limit in the coastal fishery to take pressure off the big fish? See above. If someone can convince me that there will be enough survivors of a schoolie slaughter to provide sufficient recruitement to the protected breeder sizes I'd be all for it, but human nature being what it is I can't see it happening. Just imagining the scene at the canal when schoolies are in and it's 1 per person per day (bring the whole family...) makes me ill.

Hope this was informative/provocative,

Regards,

Eric
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  #9  
Old 02-25-2000, 02:01 PM
JimC JimC is offline
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RE: Conn. Slot Limit

Welcome back Eric. I've always appreciated your insights and comments.
It seems to me that the best management formula may be the one that helped to secure the rebound of the stocks in the first place. Adopt high minimum lengths in the coastal fishery (36"), write off the huge fish of the 60's and 70's (recent evidence seems to suggest that with the increased fishing pressure brought on by this "resurgent" fishery, there won't be too many 36"ers making it to 36# anyway) and hope that enough breeding stock remains to see the population through bad year class periods.
I understand that its often hard to give back regulatory ground but I hear alot of support for this simpler, more widely enforceable approach. Of course if management takes this approach they will hear that there are no true cows around anymore. Can't please everyone all the time.
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  #10  
Old 02-25-2000, 02:59 PM
lund lund is offline
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RE: Conn. Slot Limit

Jim C seems to have articulated the management problem very well.

Option 1: We can go with a higher minimum size limit. The minimum size limit can be raised to a point where there are sufficient numbers of smaller breeders on the spawning grounds to produce the number of eggs needed to allow for good yearclasses. This will result in a stable fishery comprised of fish up to a few inches larger than the minimum size limit, but few 40+ inch fish. This is the approach that seems to be favored by ASMFC. It provides for sustainable harvests and prevents the fishery from crashing again.

Option 2: Use a slot limit to protect most of the broodstock , but open up a limited harvest of smaller, prereproductive fish. In theory, protecting larger broodstock reduces the number of fish from each yearclass that need to reach reproductive maturity relative to option 1. This means that we can harvest some schoolies w/o hurting the fishery. This is favored by many rec fishermen who want to be able to take a schoolie home for dinner and have a better shot at catching a fish over 40 inches. As I stated earlier (and have stated in the past) the problem with this is that there seems to be no practical way to limit the take of smaller fish coast-wide with these sorts of regs. The question is "How do we allow the take of *some* schoolies without taking *all* the schoolies?"

Regards,

Eric
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  #11  
Old 02-25-2000, 03:40 PM
Slamdance Slamdance is offline
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RE: Conn. Slot Limit

Eric: Thanks for your response. Your arguments make a lot of sense. I still have some questions, though. If there are enough fish escaping out of the producer areas where there is huge commercial pressure and, to a lesser extent, a good recreational fishery, why do you think recruitment would be so difficult? You stated that you feel we have the ability to wipe out entire year classes as soon as they hit their minimum size, why then do any fish make it past the 18 inch size that the producers areas can fish them at? Quotas in the producer areas seem to prevent this happening and I wonder why similar quotas could not be established in the coastal areas?

I simply don't agree that producer areas should be allowed to fish for 18 inch fish, while the coastal states have to play by different rules. "That's the price to pay for a coastal fishery" doesn't cut it. Raising the minimum size limit back up does one thing: It reduces the number of fish taken by the recreational anglers in the coastal states. Certainly we (coastal state anglers) are not solely responsible for the health of the fishery, but by raising the limit we are the ones who make the sacrifice. I certainly don't mean to sound like I am not in favor of raising the size limit, and I am well aware of the Massachusetts recreational impact on the fishery, but I when I think about the huge impact the producer areas make on the resource (both large & small fish), it's a bitter pill to swallow knowing they are still "able to take a schoolie home for dinner" (your words). Seem to me the producer states (MD in particular) have gotten their cake and eaten it too.

Maybe we should take this thread to the Conservation Board, where we can breathe some life into that forum.
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  #12  
Old 02-25-2000, 04:46 PM
lund lund is offline
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RE: Conn. Slot Limit

Re: If producer states can stick to quotas on small fish, then why can't coastal states do the same thing on slot fish?

In theory you are correct. The problem I see is in monitoring the situation. Bay fishing is done by licensed anglers, from a boat during the day. This makes assessing how many fish are taken much easier than in conditions where there are no licenses, fishing can be done from the shore and at night. If it were done correctly the open season on schoolies would also probably be quite short. I have a feeling that Charters would be pretty upset if the season on schoolies were closed in mid-June and the only legal stripers available from then on were over 40. If quotas could be established and enforced then a slot system would work if ALL coastal states had a similar slot system. It makes no sense to tkae 24-30 inch fish in CT while protecting larger fish when there's a 28 min. in MA. These are'nt CT fish or MA fish, but part of a larger migratory population. The net effect of such hodge-podge regulations is that nothing is truely protected at all. While migrating north or south all fish over 24 inches would be harvestable at some point in their travels unless regs are uniform from state to state.

RE: Producer states taking small fish is unfair.

While it is a judgement call as to whether the producer regs are fair, the conditions in producer areas are different from the coastal areas and the regs must also be different. The fishery for large fish is tightly regulated in producer areas. Fishing in spawning areas is forbidden, the season is closed everwhere in the Bay during the spawn (even C/R is illegal). The only shot at big fish allowed is when they leave the Bay post-spawn. Even this is a highly regulated fishery. After the big fish leave most of the fish in the Bay are under 18 inches with a few up to 36 or so. As the water warms up so does the mortality rate on C/R stripers. During the middle of the summer VA shuts the fishery all together and I think MD does as well (there are Spring and Fall seasons). Paradoxically, the smaller size limits have an effect of actually lowering mortality rates relative to larger size limits. This is because the C/R mortality gets very high under warm water/ low salinity conditions. In the end, fewer fish die if anglers don't have to catch 30 or 100 fish for every keeper. They go out on a charter, take their 1 or 2 stripers right away, then target other species such as croaker, blues and seatrout. This is better than killing 30 C/Red fish before taking a legal one.

As far as MD having their cake and eating it too... You don't know how good you have it up in MA. If you don't own a boat here there are only slightly more than zero FFing opportunities and the spin fishing is'nt much better. Would completely eliminating striper fishing in the Bay improve the fishery? Probably in the short run, but when the spawning tribs are lined with hog farms recruitemnt to the coastal fishery will be a moot point anyway. Alternatively, they could go with a 28 inch min., no closed season (as in coastal regs) and just let everyone go at them in the spawning reaches. It would be interesting *sport*...

Striped bass is the state fish of MD and part of the cultural heritage of the region. A good starting point in discussing the management of stripers is to accept the fact that every state on the migration route is going to harvest some fish.

This is a 2-way street. You should hear some crusty MD and VA watermen complain about folks in MA taking *their* fish. These are not MA fish or MD fish. They are our fish collectively and need to be managed for all of us. If that means that producer areas protect the broodstock in return for being able to take some smaller fish then so be it.
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Old 02-25-2000, 05:37 PM
Slamdance Slamdance is offline
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RE: Conn. Slot Limit

I agree that without licensing it would be a very hard row to hoe in regard to keep tabs on the amount of fishing pressure we would be putting on the "schoolie fishery" if a system like that were put in place. It may also be difficult to tell charter captains and some recs. that after a certain date they had throw back fish that just the day before were legal. For others it might not be a big deal. I also agree that state-by-state regulations are the worst.

I realize conditions are different in producers areas but I disagree that that necessarily dictates different regulations. Remember, we also have season restrictions on the fishery in that we don't have any fish up here for half the year. I have fished the Chesapeake for stripers and am aware of the way things work down there. I also know that Maryland landed 138,546 age 8+ fish in 1997, compared to Massachusetts' 216,559 age 8+ fish. Combined with the number of under age 8 fish landed, Maryland's take is astronomical.

Many of the points you mentioned in defense of the producer areas' take of smaller fish, are also applicable here in the coastal areas. For instance, your reference to the C&R mortality diminishing when smaller fish are targeted is valid here as well. As you mentioned, "fewer fish die if anglers don't have to catch 30 or 100 fish for every keeper." and this applies everywhere. Many folks believe that we cannot continue to harvest the large breeders at the rate we are going, and that taking the pressure off these big cows and concentrating it on the more abundant year classes (even if just for few years) would sustain a quality fishery. The fact
remains that the year 8+ fish are the ones we have "over fished" by amendment 5's definition. Does moving it out to age 9 or age 10+ fish really help the situation in the long term?
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Old 02-25-2000, 11:12 PM
ssully ssully is offline
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RE: Conn. Slot Limit

IMHO regs. mean nothing without strict enforcement and some
education of the masses.
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Old 02-25-2000, 11:20 PM
ssully ssully is offline
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RE: Conn. Slot Limit

Eric,

Or Doctor if you prefer. With all due respect, the PHd tag doesn't pull much weight with me lately. Please feel free to take this off-line in email as to not clutter this board.
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