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  #1  
Old 08-24-2000, 08:31 PM
TomTero TomTero is offline
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Read This

This is a CCA press release from yesterday.

TT


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Bud Brown (207) 443-2629; Pat Keliher (207) 846-1015; Dick Brame (910) 793-3098

August 23, 2000

CCA URGES ATLANTIC STRIPED BASS MANAGEMENT BOARD TO RESTORE QUALITY FISHERY

Alexandria, Virginia. The Atlantic striped bass stock assessment released today indicates stock size is at a
seven-year low. With the number of spawning fish at a five-year low and a marked decline in larger fish, CCA is
calling for regulatory changes that will reduce fishing mortality and allow the most sought after marine sport fish in the U.S. to realize its full growth and spawning potential.

"The current management system has caused too many fish to be harvested," said Charles Witek, Chairman of CCA
New York. "Since it began, there has been a decline in the number of older fish. The message behind the most
recent stock assessment is clear. Managers must reduce target mortality to bring back the larger bass."

CCA points to research that indicates current management protocol (known as Amendment 5) has disrupted the
normal age structure of the striped bass population. It has allowed mortality in large striped bass to exceed
levels needed to ensure quality recreational fishing. CCA urges the management board to draft and implement
Amendment 6 as soon as possible to correct these problems. Implementing a reduced mortality rate will allow
striped bass to reach greater age and larger size.

"As it stands we have a lot of smaller fish," said Bud Brown, President of CCA Maine. "The task at hand is to restore natural age and size balance to the striped bass population. If we can do that, recreational anglers will
once again have a chance of catching a 40 pound plus fish."

Striped bass can live more than 30 years and reach weights in excess of seventy pounds. Since implementation of
Amendment 5, few fish survive past age fifteen. Current projections show that fish as young as six years are
declining in number.

"We have a management system that allows fishermen to kill the maximum number of fish possible," said Brown.
"CCA is calling for management that will provide an ample striped bass population and a more natural proportion of
large fish. This strategy will ensure both the health of the striped bass population and a quality recreational fishing
experience for striped bass anglers."

Striped Bass Update

On Tuesday, August 8th the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s striped bass stock assessment
committee met and ran a preliminary stock assessment for 1999. The mortality for fish aged 4 -13 years old
was preliminarily determined to be .284 which indicates a slight reduction from 1998’s mortality (.29).

On Wednesday the stock assessment and mortality rates were discussed. Based on the preliminary numbers it
appears that the stock size leveled off in 1996 and has declined in 1998 and 1999.

While the current stock does have some quantity to it, it lacks quality. The size structure of the stock is far from
where we want it, with few large fish in the population. Over the course of the next year the new management
plan, Amendment 6, will be developed and CCA will keep you informed of the developments and how you can help.

Please keep in mind that the above stock assessment numbers are preliminary. When these numbers are verified or
found to be incorrect we will let you know, but that’s how it looks for now.

Amendment 6 of the Striped Bass Plan

The striped bass population is in jeopardy of being overfished in the next 5 years if major changes are not
addressed in the new management plan. The ASMFC has committed to developing a new amendment for the striped
bass plan for the 2001 fishing season because the current amendment (#5) is failing to maintain fishing mortality
rates at or below the targeted levels. The result is overfishing and a lack of fish age 8+ in the
population. This PID outlines 7 key issues that the ASMFC is considering for inclusion in amendment 6, but the most
basic question they ask is this: "How would you like the striped bass population and fishery to look
in the future?"

CCA’s rationale for Amendment 6 to the Striped Bass Management Plan

The Coastal Conservation Association believes Amendment 6 should chart a new course for striped bass. The
ASMFC has done an outstanding job recovering stripers from historic low levels in the early 1980’s, but the last five
years we have witnessed a decline in population due to high fishing mortality rates. Striped bass now have a high biomass and sufficient spawning stock to maintain the stock. However, the high biomass is composed primarily of small fish with little chance for them to grow into the historic age structure.

We believe management must change in order to achieve a quality recreational fishery for us and future
generations to enjoy.

CCA member states from Maine to North Carolina recently met in Connecticut for a two day facilitated meeting with
fishery biologists and managers to configure a plan that would define a quality fishery and create a long term vision
for striped bass management. The following was unanimously agreed upon by all member states:

A quality striped bass fishery is one that:

* Supports a sustainable population within a balanced ecosystem
• Has a more natural distribution of age classes
• Is biologically healthy
• Exists across its historic geographic range

In order to achieve these objectives, we decided upon the following broad strategies:

* Reduce mortality rates and maintain appropriate levels in the face of changing fishing pressure
• Redefine restored stock that includes biomass, historic age and geographic distribution
• Identify and reduce bycatch, discard and poaching mortality
* Improve enforcement
• Institute forage management
• Educate the public in CPR (Conserve, Protect and Restore)

COASTAL CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION MAINE, 40 Lafayette Street, Yarmouth, ME 04096
Phone (207) 846-1015 | Fax (207) 846-1168 | ccamaine@gwi.net
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  #2  
Old 08-24-2000, 09:39 PM
Lofgreen Lofgreen is offline
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RE: Read This

I think as a group, probably to a man we all know this was comeing. I was sadden when I read how many fish were being killed by the people who really think the most of them. There are many out there who don't really care about the fishery, they are concerning themselves with something I don't fully understand. Let us not point fingers please, the time has come once again to bite the bullet and set up some decent size limits. Not only to let the Bass recover but to let them thrive. To set limits that don't let a spicie spawn a few times before harvesting them is not the way to maintain a fishery. Please lets get off our asses before it is to late once again. Thank you Phil Lofgren.
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  #3  
Old 08-25-2000, 10:34 AM
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Ray Ray is offline
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RE: Read This

Phil

I agree with you, but I have two issues, or thoughts really;

1) What type of limits are you talking about? Is 30 inches for a bass too small? Do you, or anyone who reads this post, feel there thould be slot limits? Say 30 - 50 inches. Allowing the very mature fish to spawn.

2) I see no real means of enforcing the limits today. Most "sport fisherpersons" do follow the rules. In the archives of this message board we will find several heated debates about people, sometimes certain ethnic groups, killing small fish. The people who do this regularly do not pay any attention to the rules.

In conclusion, what type of size limits do you, or anyone, feel are appropriate to strengthen our fishery? And more importantly, how do we as a fishing community police these regulation effectively?

Ray
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  #4  
Old 08-25-2000, 11:23 AM
prohjac prohjac is offline
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RE: Read This

In Long Island, NY the size limit was 36" for a few years until the population rebounded. But, where I use to fish there where people enforcing the rules. They checked coolers, boats and even a car once in a while. Some thought it was a hassel, but I thought it was great. Sometimes it is nice to see a system work. I haven't been down there for a year now, so i can't say how the fishing has been. My friends say that they are having a good year. Up here I am not doing so well. Maybe enforcement of current rules will help?
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  #5  
Old 08-25-2000, 11:55 AM
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CMP CMP is offline
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RE: Read This

Those are good questions Ray, and I can only answer them from my perspective. The Mass DMF officers on the Cape have been VERY proactive over the last 2 years. Every time I offload at the dock commercially, I get checked. Additionally, each of the 4 times I've been at the Bass River ramo, I have seen him ask every boat owner who pulls a boat out if he has stripers on-board and proceeds to look around thoroughly. They are also attempting to enforce the ban on fishing the EEZ, a daunting task to be sure and one IMO that is foolish and completely unrelated to stock size and health, and have bagged a few folks for keeping stripers past 3 miles. One general point about the size limit discussion; Has anyone else noticed that the claim that the stock is truncated to smaller fish started to surface not long after the minimum sizes were dropped?
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  #6  
Old 08-25-2000, 06:41 PM
rwolson rwolson is offline
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RE: Read This

Although the article did not state an increase in size, we can assume the size limit will change to a larger size. This is definitely a step in the right direction.

We need to draw attention to the abuse of natural resources just like PETA who set up billboards targeting milk as causing prostrate cancer. Maybe we'll get the needed publicity we sorely need telling people we will no longer tolerate abuse of the resources.

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  #7  
Old 08-25-2000, 08:38 PM
jhurd jhurd is offline
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RE: Read This

We policed a moratorium that led to the fishery's return. I think it is not a far cry that we could change the rules and still enforce them.

Should we not create rules because there will be a few who break them? There will always be rule breakers, but no doubt the mortality will decrease with this.
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  #8  
Old 08-25-2000, 08:43 PM
jhurd jhurd is offline
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RE: Read This - Rhode Island CCA?

I have been asking around for a year or two trying to find people in Rhode Island who would be willing to help out starting a CCA chapter here. No one so far wanted to commit even 5-10 hours a week. Perhaps the size of the state makes us feel like the neighbors will take care of things for us... A CCA in RI is badly needed. Our legislation is neanderthal.

Is there any show of hands for help in Rhode Island?

Tom, can you offer any advice for number of people needed & other requirements for founding a CCA chapter?
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