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2013 Striped bass recommendations...

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Striped Bass

 

The Director stated that in response to a request from certain industry members to address progressively shorter fishing seasons in recent years, he held a focus group

Marine Fisheries Commission Business Meeting Draft Minutes, February 7, 2013 9

meeting with commercial fishermen and dealers. He noted that it was a good mix of people in attendance and that it was a productive meeting.

To address the short season, the focus group made six recommendations, that DMF as adopting as a proposal for public hearing:

1. Eliminate Sunday. This was designed for the part-time fisherman and shore fishing component, which are no longer strong. Moreover, this will reduce stock piling

2. Start fishery on July 1 with one day per week for two weeks, then on the third week open fishery up with two-days per week. An early opening will prime market and ensure fish is available for the holiday weekend. Reducing open fishing days to two days per week will spread out season.

3. Monday and Wednesday were the preferred option for open fishing days because they were the best options for the market. Although some local markets prefer Thursday and Friday because fish will be available for the weekends and some fishermen prefer stacking the open fishing days back to back to accommodate those travelling to fish.

4. Create a declaration process to liberalize fishing limits later in the season to ensure the quota is harvested.

5. Do not reduce trip limits.

6. Establish a deadline in early March for permit applications and renewals.

The focus group also raised a number of other issues. There was concern about the rise in out-of –state participation and ways to limit their entry into the fishery. Paul stated that the US Constitution prohibited him from excluding these individuals from the fishery based on their state of residence. However, he would continue to work with the Governor’s Office and the Executive Office of Administration and Finance to increase the fee for out-of-state permit holders. There was also interested in limited entry permitting, capping the number of fish on recreational boats to prevent front-end loading and working to reduce fishing off Chatham.

Bill Adler made a motion to take DMFs recommendation to public hearing. The motion was seconded by Ray Kane.

Mark opened the item up to discussion.

Bill asked how long this proposal would extend the season. Paul stated that it was difficult to determine because of various dynamics and it may not extend the season in terms of the number of open fishing days, but rather extend the time period when the season is open, which would reduce market gluts. Marine Fisheries Commission Business Meeting Draft Minutes, February 7, 2013 10

Randy proposed that DMF adopt an option to adjust bag limits. Paul stated that there was little support for this among the focus group and that it adversely affects the best fishermen. Mark thought that proposing a change would send the wrong message, but instead supported proposing taking comment on a range.

Randy also expressed his support for an 8-fish vessel limit in the recreational fishery. Joe stated that the charter fleet would oppose this, particularly the party boats that can accommodate up 30-plus people. Paul agreed and stated he was hesitant to bring this to public hearing because it will take a commercial fishery public hearing and turn it into a recreational fishery public hearing.

Ed Nasser opposed the Division’s recommendations. He stated that reducing the number of days and keeping a high limit will force more people onto Chatham creating bigger problems. Ed stated his bottom line was that reducing the number of days only put more money in the pocket of the full-time outer Cape Cod fishermen, and that in order to maintain access, extend the season and reduce the price would be to reduce the trip limit. He noted this would also reduce the incentive to go to Chatham and would spread the fishery out over a larger geographic range. Moreover, he argued that eliminating Sunday would eliminate participation by the many part-time fishermen and thereby adversely affect marine supply industries. Chuck agreed with Ed.

Chairman Amorello stated he would accept brief comments from the public.

John Rice stated he would like to see DMF restrict non-commercial possession by commercial fishermen one week prior to the start of the season and during non-commercial days during the season to prevent front end loading. Dan acknowledged that would be very unpopular and problematic, particularly with the charter boat fleet. Captain Moran stated it likely would not stop front end loading, as he saw frozen bass at the Whaling City Auction last summer.

Patrick Paquette stated than the various sub-components of this commercial fishery all want the fishery managed to best serve their interests. He noted he was part of the focus group and stated that they worked to find a compromise solution that would reduce the amount of fish on the market every week and extend the time period when the fishery is open. Patrick asked for clarification on whether a captain and a mate on a for-hire boat could give their bag limit to their clients. Paul stated that they could take a bag limit, but if their clients possessed this bag limit (or fillets thereof) they would be in violation of the state’s rules.

Former Director Phil Coates agreed with Randy with regards to having more flexibility in the public hearing proposal particularly with regards to the trip limit. He did not believe DMF’s recommendation was representative of the wants of the entire commercial fishery.

Pete Kelly agreed with Phil Coates and with Ed Nasser. He expressed his support for a 15-fish limit and a June opening - an earlier opening would force people off Chatham. Marine Fisheries Commission Business Meeting Draft Minutes, February 7, 2013 11

In addition, he supported more commercial fishing days, because fewer days result in more concentrated fishing effort.

Roger Whitton suggested that all recreational fish have their fins cut but because mutilated fish cannot be sold.

Patrick Sadr was disappointed in the way DMF assembled the focus group, noting that there was no public advertisement for participation. He stated that this group did not represent the vast number of permit holders and they were only interested in pursuing management that best served their interest. Paul stated that he chose a variety of stakeholders based on previously expressed interest and that it was not publically advertised because it was a focus group, not a deliberative body, and if kept open to the public it would have evolved into a public hearing.

Patrick also stated that a problem statement, and he would like to see the MFC take a greater leadership role in developing a management goal for this fishery. Paul stated that DMF’s overarching objective was to improve market conditions by reducing the availability of fish but there is also a segment of full-time commercial fishermen that want to make more money of this fishery. He noted that the management goal of this fishery, which was previously to have it be a gateway fishery, was changing and it may no longer be to maximize participation.

Commissioner Griffin asked if DMF had the data to analyze the effect certain proposals would have on the distribution of fishing effort. Paul stated this was difficult to analyze based on food availability and environmental conditions that are subject to change year-to-year. Paul noted the fish are currently aggregating off Chatham because of the abundance of sand eels and the cooler waters, but this may change in future years.

Mark Amorello stated he would like to see DMF adopt more flexibility in their public hearing proposal, including fishing on Sunday, lower trip limits and a recreational vessel limit. Bill and Ed agreed. The MFC unanimously adopted going to public hearing with DMF’s proposal, as well as proposals as described above.

Mark understands that the focus group represents certain view points, but this fishery has many more biases. Would like to see more options and more flexibility to address the various points of view. Bill agrees, particularly on Sunday and trip limit, but wants to see DMF’s preference advertised.

Mark put the motion to a vote.

The motion was approved unanimously.

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as someone on the outside of this fishery now for the past few years, i like what i see from that proposal. there will never be a solution to please all parties.

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John to be clear the proposal excepted is not a done deal, by DMF???

 

Correct. The public hearings oughta be good....

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That all seems to complicated for the average man. People would forgot get what day it was or not plan trips to productive areas at all. This wound have a negative impact on the local economy.

 

I'm all for catch and release but if you over complicate none will come. Slot limits and trophy tags are the way to go. We can post the rules on poles and trees in every popular spot so, people know them.

 

I here it's next year a management plan is going to be put in place. Is this true?

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