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Old 02-04-2009, 07:28 AM
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Doug Jowett Doug Jowett is offline
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Red face Lack of Conservation Interest

So, do you ever wonder where all the concerned fishermen are?

On this web site alone, there appears little interest in fisheries conservation issues. As of 2/4/09 the Conservation and Ecology forum had a grand total of 292 Threads and 1,788 Posts vs. the New England Forum with 23, 059 Threads and 145,672 Posts.

When a conservation issue is posted anyplace, the same, few people banter with each other without convincing new people. At least that's how the numbers read.

Does anyone have an answer to the issue at hand? Stand up and be counted, don't be scared.
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Old 02-04-2009, 07:49 AM
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dlangan dlangan is offline
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Hi Doug-

I would like to think there is a strong conservation interest. Perhaps the large number of conservation threads that turn into a rec vs. comm. debate acts as a barrier to involvement of the larger group. Perhaps...

As said by Slappy and others:

"There are some really basic ideas about habitat protection and forage protection that don't get the support that they need...."

I subscribe to that thought. IMHO, it would be great if this thinking held center stage.

Best Regards!
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Old 02-04-2009, 07:55 AM
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Bob Parsons Bob Parsons is offline
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I think some topics which should be in the conservation forum get discussed where most people hang out...New England forum.
If at first you do not succeed-sky diving is not the sport for you.

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Old 02-04-2009, 08:03 AM
Perch Perch is offline
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Environmental Issues Slide in Poll of Publicís Concerns
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:28 AM
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Onshore Onshore is offline
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It's been apparent to me for some time now that the average recreational fisherman just doesn't get concerned about the basic conservation issues. Certainly those who don't have an opinion or bother to post one are not likely to attend a fisheries hearing or get involved in an organization with a conservation agenda. It's amazing to me also that there are a number of fishing clubs out there that boast that they "don't get involved" in political issues. How do they think fisheries and conservation issues get resolved ?

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Old 02-04-2009, 08:47 AM
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CMP CMP is offline
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The most important conservation issues are protection of forage species from reduction fishing and habitat protection. I've been on them for close to 2 decades in various capacities and they are the LEAST attended forums(fora?) and meetings/hearings of all the events I've attending. The real issues is that so many single-interest groups pop up, taking time away from the real issue, which should be eco-system fisheries management. All these special interest groups miss the bigger point and, by their activities, detract from meaningful change in the management system. If we continue to manage species seperately as though there is no interaction between them, especially when it comes to habitat and forage, we're doing nothing but p!ssing on a forest fire...

Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats...

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Old 02-04-2009, 09:16 AM
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gseries69 gseries69 is offline
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One of the biggest problems I see is that when ever discussing change management, participants need to see results to continue to be engaged. The likely reason no one shows up to meetings is because they don't feel they will make a difference. This happens in business where it's one's job to perform which means it can only be magnified ten fold in non profit activities where people are short on time and need to see results for their effort.

For the average person, the time it takes state and federal fisheries and wildlife managers to make change is simply too long. With out a "win" from time to time it's nearly impossible to hold peoples interest. Let's watch what happens to the poachers that were caught this past week. If they get off easy the average guy is simply going to feel hopeless.

In terms of this site, constructive threads all too often spiral into mudslinging. Who even has time for that kind of BS? There is a lot of disinformation out there which is frustrating to those of us who are trying to learn about one group or set of issues we may want to support.
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the things you did. So throw off the bowlines. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain, 1879
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:26 AM
captmike captmike is offline
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All good points here. I've been following conservation efforts for a while and the biggest issue I see is that recreational fishermen seem to be too polarized between those who deeply care and those who don't care at all. The people who don't care don't do anything at all and those who do care get so caught up by small details and technicalities that they take themselves out of the picture. I think we need a group of people who are willing to work for attainable goals and not get worked up by exactly what happens as long as SOMETHING happens for the good of the fishery. Personally I just to see progress whether it is in the form of forage reform, new size limits on striper, gmaefish status, I don't care as long as I see something. I think that's the goal we need to work for SOMETHING POSITIVE. Anyway that's my 2 cents.
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:50 AM
Mattb Mattb is offline
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Originally Posted by captmike View Post
I think that's the goal we need to work for SOMETHING POSITIVE. Anyway that's my 2 cents.
I agree that something positive would be great to see, unfortunately, I don't think it's much of a possibility under the current ASMFC, and this coming from someone who's involved and working for it.

I'm a relative newcomer to the fisheries management game - I've only been following it closely for ~5 years, but what I've seen so far is incredibly disheartening. I've watched Maine's striped bass fishery go from world class to pathetic in the last decade, all while the ASMFC is voting in small mortality increases for every state on the Atlantic Seaboard. Stripers are dying a death of a thousand cuts.

This fall, after the worst season in recent memory, Maine anglers and guides got together with some of our ASMFC reps to voice our concerns. There were some strong words at that meeting, yet the next week our rep to the striped bass committee hardly said a word. I flew down to that meeting and was one of the only rec anglers to speak before the committee and I was pointedly ignored. The committee went on to vote in more recreational mortality increases for southern states, even garnering a vote from Maine's rep on one of the increases.

Last month, Maine's reps finally spoke up for Maine anglers and sent a letter to the ASMFC asking them to look at the possibility of doing something to save our fishery. Instead, the committee brought a 25% increase in the commercial quota to a vote, which failed due to a tied vote.

One vote at Monday's ASMFC meeting could've resulted in a large mortality increase at a time when mortality is reaching the threshold, spawning stock biomass is in decline, and mycobacteriosis is finally being acknowledged as a real problem (albeit one that's being ignored by the ASMFC). To be clear - this isn't a bad idea because it's a commercial increase, it's bad because it's an increase at all.

Here's how the most recent vote broke down:

ME: No
NH: No
MA: Yes
RI: No
CT: No
NY: Yes
NJ: No
PA: No
DE: Yes
DC: Yes
MD: No
PRFC(Potomac River Fisheries Commission): Yes
VA: Yes
NC: Yes

If you live in a state with a Yes next to it's name, and you don't want to see less stripers out there next year, you ought to contact your ASMFC Rep and let your voice be heard. This issue isn't going away, and I'd be shocked if it didn't come up for another vote at the May meeting.

There are plenty of other issues out there, but part of the problem is that there are so many things going wrong all at once that your average guy doing this in his spare time can't possibly hope to adequately understand all of them, let alone work on them. There's water quality in the bay, localized depletion of menhaden in the bay, river herring run collapses up and down the coast, midwater trawlers- the list goes on and on, and there are dedicated, paid, lobbyists making sure that each one of these abuses is allowed to continue.

Next November, the ASMFC fall meeting will be in Newport, well within driving distance for most folks reading this. The ASMFC has learned that Rec. anglers can't be bothered to show up for meetings and make themselves heard- it'd be great to prove them wrong.
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Old 02-04-2009, 11:13 AM
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Gadabout Guinea Gadabout Guinea is offline
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Discussing Conservation < Discussing Fishing

Maybe we're too busy clubbing seals, or spraying CFCs into the air? Or maybe we're busy putting the V-12 in our SUVs? Or maybe when we see people express a thoughtful opinion on something and then a giant sh*tstorm of negativity and name calling follows, it's kind of discouraging to engaging in civil discourse?

I doubt there's anyone on the site that doesn't have strong concerns about conservation and the environment, but lately it's like bringing up politics or religion at a union hall happy hour, do so at your own risk!
Fishing doesn't build character, it reveals it.
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Old 02-04-2009, 01:08 PM
seafly seafly is offline
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In a different but related thread I suggested that,

"........ as long as there is a collective sense of, "Why should I's just going to be killed anyway?", then there will never be more concern for species enhancement than there will be for species exploitation. History confirms this over and over again."

And I would add that having a personal, vested financial interest is a very strong motivator which explains the disadvantage the recreationally involved person is faced with when coming up against commercially motivated competition. This helps to explain the commercial bias of the ASMFC and other government regulatory agencies that involve both rec and comm resources. The comms speak up and the recs do not.


The recreational fishermen will forever be lamenting that nothing ever gets done until there is an identified "cause" that they can relate to and become motivated by. The NRA focuses on gun owner's rights very successfully, D.U. focuses on saving/creating wetlands for waterfowl, T.U. advocates for and rallies around protecting clean cold water.

These groups all do it very well and it works for one primary reason: there is a single focus that can be marketed successfully. Look at The Wild Turkey Foundation, The Ruffed Grouse Society, the list is very long and self explanatory. There is a focus of selfish interest suffecient enough to motivate people into action.

However, there are also some groups that deal with a variety of ecological issues all at once but even they have a single rallying cry such as "Save the XYZ Bay" or "Friends of the ABC Forest" etc.. Even though these groups have multiple concerns/interests they are able to successfully market themselves to the public by having a single purpose that resonates strongly enough to motivate others to join and become involved. This usually works far better on local levels than it does nationally or even regionally.

Some groups such as Audubon, The Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society all started with single goals and an easily identifiable, therefore sellable, focus of interest. Once there was suffecient, organizational,political "mass" to accomplish something positive then the focus of these groups expanded to include those secondary yet equally important areas of concerns that had an influence on and directly effected their origonal goals.

There are many issues facing the striped bass that all SHOULD BE ADDRESSED AND CORRECTED. But it isn't going to happen without there first being a single focus or goal that can be realistically achieved. This then will serve as a foundation of success to point to and use as a marketing and selling point in order to expand and broaden efforts into those less glamerous or more ancillory and therefore less marketable areas of concern such as forage food base, esturine nitrogen loading, PCB, myco, commercial trawler by-catch, menhaden stocks, fertility viability of toxic fish, better stock assessment proceedures, ......

It is a long and exhausting list that no one person can have any effect on as an individual thus nothing gets done. We all sit around, as I said in the beginning, lamenting that nothing ever gets done! Wishful thinking and lecturing each other will not rally suffecient energy from the recs to act on much of anything at all.

I agree with Onshore that the recs basically do very little to stand up for what they benefit from when it comes to fishery issues. Maybe the above lends some light onto the reasons why.
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Old 02-04-2009, 07:36 PM
Wayne Walts Wayne Walts is offline
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Lets start by coming together on common ground. We could all feel the pain equally by reducing limits on stripers 50%, for recs and commercial. Ban the taking of forage stocks until they recover and let good science prevail there after.
I would hope that anglers and captains who are on the water all the time wou
ld have a better ideas that could be suggested.
It is hard get something done if you don't know what you trying to achieve.
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:03 PM
seafly seafly is offline
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woulda, coulda, shoulda,

Great Ideas and thoughts Wayne. Now tell us how to implement your suggestions into meaningful, result based action................

I don't wish to be insulting or mean spirited Wayne and that is not my intent here. I only want to help you and others better understand that is exactly the problem as has already been pointed out quite clearly in this thread.

Great ideas, well intended suggestions, etc all end up going nowhere without an organized and active constituency. That isn't going to happen until the stripers are the responsibility of one group of citizens that are more concerned for the welfare of the bass then they are for their personal financial gain at the expense of the bass.

As long as the two parties that have been granted permission (it is a legislated privilege not a right) to harvest the bass have opposing objectives - exploitation vs. enhancement - there will be no way to achieve your good intentions and lofty goals. Sad but true. History clearly tells us so.
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:15 PM
Mattb Mattb is offline
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Is it your contention that the commercials are all for killing as many stripers as possible, while the recreational anglers are all for preserving them?
The plural of anecdote is data
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:43 PM
seafly seafly is offline
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"All" ?

Question posed to me:
Is it your contention that the commercials are all for killing as many stripers as possible, while the recreational anglers are all for preserving them?
Certainly not. There are some words that I try to shy away from such as "never" or "always" without also using qualifiers. It was not my intention to infer that "all" of any disparate group of individuals would be bound by a single mind set. That would be a very foolish and incorrect statement to make. There are both irresponsible and responsible members in most every sector of our society, recs and comms alike.

My intentional inference was and is, that on balance, history clearly proves that if a species has commercial value as a dead commodity at market it is far more likely to be over exploited than if it's only value is measured by it's recreational worth. If a species is managed for it's non market value the odds are clearly in it's favor of species enhancement rather than species exploitation.

This is not rocket science nor is it my insightful contention. Nearly every responsible scientist, environmentalist, naturalist, conservationist ,historian ... anyone who has any basic knowledge in this matter would and does agree with this proven premise. This is old hat stuff.

It can be concluded with a high degree of certainty that if there continues to be a commercial market for dead stripers they will have less chance of remaining viable as a species then if they are regulated without a market price tag on their head.

The only people that I am aware of that try to take issue with this accepted reality are those that have a vested and selfish, financial interest in maintaining a market value for striped bass. We all know how $ is a powerful motivator.

The bottom line choice or decision we are faced with is do we endorse the selfish fight for species exploitation or do we support the selfless cause for species enhancement.
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