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    West Babylon, NY

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  1. New York is NOT trying to stop implementation. A New York congressman, acting on behalf of the for-hire fleet, is trying you stop it by influencing the Secretary of Commerce, who would impose any moratorium resulting from non-compliance.
  2. Yes. I object to comments that the biologists at ASMFC cook the books. But if you want to heap calumny on the Contressmen from NY-1, who always seem to be in the pockets of the Montauk charter boats, I won't object at all.
  3. New York as a state is virtually certain to do the right thing; I was at a meeting yesterday where the DEC Marine Division folks made that clear. What some of our Congressmen will do is something very different.
  4. No, the information supplied by the Technical Committee was always good. The difference is that the Management Board has finally started taking it seriously.
  5. I have just learned that Rep. Nicholas LaLote (R-NY1) is circulating a letter on Capitol Hill, requesting Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to intervene and halt the July 2 implemetation of striped bass emergency measures. He is hoping that many members sign on. LaLota has taken over the seat vacated by Rep. Lee Zeldin when he made his unsuccessful run for governor last fall. It includes Montauk, and there is little question that both the Montauk Captains and Boatmen's Association and other East End groups are pressing him to prevent the emergency rule from going into effect. Anglers concerned with the bass' future would do well to contact their elected reps in Washington--it's easy to do by email--and oppose La Lota's effort. Otherwise, it's a good bet that he will obtain the signatures of a significant proportion of the Republican House members, and perhaps also a Democrat or two from districts with a strong for-hire presence. Please pass this around to as many people as possible. Thank you.
  6. Calling it baseless and arbitrary mischaracterizes the action. It was an emergency action, with no time for careful calculation ahead of time. Think of it like someone unexpectedly suffering an unexpected wound, with blood pouring out of a damaged artery. The only thing that you have to staunch the bleeding is an old, dirty rag, so you slap it on the gash and apply direct pressure to stop the blood from gushing out. It's not the perfect answer. The dirty rag might easily cause an infection. A nice, sterile dressing is needed in the long term. But if you don't slow the bleeding RIGHT NOW, the guy is going to die and make everything else irrelevant. The emergency regulations were intended to stop the bleeding. And they will reduce fishing mortality by about 30%. Is that enough? No. But Addendum II, and probably follow-on actions, will deal with the niceties. What matters right now is that 2023 fishing mortality won;t be as high--or higher--than it was in 2022. We can worry about fine-tuning later. It's also inaccurate to accuse the Technical Committee of "cooking the books." We all expected bad news when the 2022 assessment update came out. the news would be bad. But based on the available in formation, including 2021 landings, we were given a suite of possible outcomes. Amendment 7 clearly said that IF fishing mortality remained at 0.14, the 2021 level, there was a 78.6% chance of recovery by 2029. And IF fishing mortality stayed at or below target, there was a 52% chance of recovery. BUT IF fishing mortality was any higher, recovery probably would not occur. People focus on the 2014 number, because the motion in Amendment 7 said that if there was less than a 50% chance of rebbuilding by 2029, given the fishing mortality rate at the end of 2021, then further action would be taken. So, pursuant to the explicit language of the Amendment, nothing was done. No book-cooking involved. 2021 fishing mortality was low because the 2015s were still too small to fit into the slot, at least in significant numbers, and there weren't enough slot fish around to push that figure up. In 2022, that changed. The 2015s averaged about 28 inches, putting perhaps half of the year class in the slot, so recreational landings spiked, F rose above 0.17, and the emergency action was needed. You can argue that the Management Board should have anticipated the spike, and I won't disagree. But there was no book-cooking involved.
  7. Or just go to the trouble to get the commercial regulations right. There are a lot of things out there that might be "intelligent," but probably won't get done. Mortality from gut and gill hooked fish runs somewhere in the 50-80 percent range, so it would be "intelligent" to outlaw all bass fishing with bait--might well save more fish than closing the commercial fishery--but that;s not likely to happen. Probably "intelligent" to require in-water release to minimize the stress on larger fish, require no more than two single hooks on any lure, put no-targeting closures in place to avoid stress on pre-spawn and spawning females, etc. But that's probably not going to happen, either. Given that a dead fish is a dead fish, ending the commercial fishery accomplishes little if the same fish can be killed on the recreational side. I think in a perfect world, if I had my choice, I'd limit the commercial fishery to hook and line, as Massachusetts does, but with whateverr the recreational slot is at the time, top accomplish the goal that you noted, protecting the same sized fish, and then adjust the quota so that the loss of spawning potential is no higher than it is with the current commercial quotas. I'd also want to see the fishery limited-entry, so the people who are killing bass for cash are using the money to pay for their mortgage and their kids' educations, and not just to pay for their otherwise recreational fishing trips. But in the world that we live in, that's not going to happen, either.
  8. That's one of the things that the emergency measures and Addendum II are intended to address. The emergency measures cappend the recreational slot at 31 inches, doing away with the conservation equivalent regulations in states like New Jersey that allowed fish larger than 35 inches to be killed. The motion that initiated Addendum II specifically directed that a cap on the commercial size limit be considered in the addendum process. One of the questions that still needs to be addressed is how that will impact commercial dead discards in various net fisheries. There is also the question of whether capping the commercial size will lead to more fish being killed, as it will take more smaller fish to fill a quota than large fish; it might be necessary to adjust the comemrcial quotas by calculating yield per recruit and spawhing potential, to help ensure that capping the commercial size doesn't end up causing more harm than good.
  9. Yes. I heard the numbers for the first time last Monday.
  10. I think that they may post the meeting notes next week. If all the relevant data isn't posted there, it will be posted in the PDT/Tech Committee's reports ahead of the August meeting. The Tech Committee and PDT meetings are also public meetings, although because they're working meetings of the biologists, the opportunity for public input is minimal (although, at times during the Amendment 7 process when the PDT members didn't understand an aspect of the fishery, I was able to provide some clarity from the audience); there is usually a little time set aside at the end of the meeting. Generally, I sit quietly and just take notes, and if there's something I don't understand, I'll shoot an email to the FMP Coordinator later. Right now, the Comnmittee has gotten to the point that they know that merely reducing fishing mortality to target will probably not rebuild the stock by 2029. They are still working on what level of reductions will be needed to accomplish that rebuilding with at least a 50% pro. bability of success. As far as doing the right thing goes, the Technical Committee have no authority to take any management action; they can only advise the Management Board. Since the Amendment 7 process began in 2020, the Management Board seems to be doing the right thing; the emergency regulation passed 15-1, which was remarkable. I can't say with certainty that they will continue that course--if the measures needed to achieve Frebuild are very severe, I suspect that some will fall away--but right now, I think there will still be a majority in favor of timely rebuilding.
  11. That's actually not true. I sat through a 2-hour Atlantic Striped Bass Technical Committee/Plan Development Team meeting on Monday, and data has been developed. They have a good idea how miuch the emergency regulatuions will reduce landings, they know what reductions will be needed to reduce fishing mortality to the target level (because the emergency regulations won't get there), and they are currently calculating an Frebuild to get rebuilding done by 2029 (because fishing at Ftarget will no longer get us there). By the August ASMFC meeting, we should have a pretty good idea of what more must be done.
  12. Towing it out to sea could well result in it drifting ashore again, and it can present a hazard to small boats running at night. The one thing that you don't want to do is dynamite the dead whale. If you haven't seen the YouTube yet, gooigle it, and have a good laugh.
  13. I think they're burying it in the beach near the inlet now that the necropsy is done.
  14. The one thing to remember is that you're talking about tarpon in Florida, where the regulators understand the economic importance of the species. Go to Louisiana--and there's a very good chance that we're talking about the same fish that migrate through the Gulf--and they still hold kill tournaments for them, while spearfishermen go out to the oil rigs and kill big tarpon just to prove that they can. Gamefish would only reduce mortality if there is a conscious effort not to reallocate the former commercial landings to the recreational sector; I'm cynical enough to believe that even if things started out that way, eventually someone would convince the Management Board to allow anglers to kill them. Look at New Jersey, where elimination of the commercial fishery led to the so-called "bonus fish," an extra 24- to 28-inch bass that may very well prove to be an immature female killed before its first spawn.
  15. "Gamefish status" offers less than folks might think. First, the commercial share of fishing mortality is relatively small--between 10 and 15 persent, depending on the year. The big increase in 2022 fishing mortality was, for all practical purposes, driven solely by recreational landings. Second, both commercial quotas and recreational fishing measures are driven by the fishing mortality target and threshold. Since gamefish status doesn't change the fishing mortality reference points, if the commercial fishery was abolished, managers would relax the recreational measures so that the increased recreational mortality could make up the difference caused by what had been commercial landings, for a net conservation benefit of zero. The only way to make a difference is to reduce overall fishing mortality. It doesn't matter who kills the fish; what matters is that more fish are kept alive.
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