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Found 10 results

  1. I came across this and thought to share for those that are interested in signing the letter located on ASGA website. I signed it and hope others do the same. These slot fish are getting hammered and now there is only a 15% chance of the stock being rebuilt. I know from experience the 1 @ 36 was so successful because early on no one caught a bass that size. Nearly all went back which is just the opposite of what I have been seeing. If something doesn't change, the future looks very bleak. From the ASGA Website It is clear that some areas experienced excellent striped bass fishing last year. The good fishing was a result of one of the most prolific year classes on record reaching maturity. This translated into over 35 million pounds of striped bass harvested coastwide. ASGA had deep concerns that the slot limit would fully exploit the robust 2015-year class when it was proposed. These concerns are now a reality. The 2015-year class is the last robust recruitment year. While the 2017 and 2018 year classes are average, there are four consecutive years of the lowest recruitment in recent history following. This leaves the stock and those that depend on a healthy striped bass population in a very dangerous place. This increase in harvest decreased the odds of rebuilding by 83-86%. Unless the ASMFC Striped Bass Board changes course at the May meeting, there is little chance that striped bass rebuild to target biomass levels by 2029. According to recent analysis by striped bass scientists, current rebuilding probabilities are less than 15%. During their latest meeting, Technical Committee staff expressed serious concerns about the ability to rebuild the stock if the Board does not act at the May Meeting. Amendment 7, which was just approved and implemented in May 2022, clearly states that the stock must be rebuilt within 10 years. This current rebuilding plan has failed. The 2022 MRIP harvest numbers showed that harvest doubled and decreased the probability of rebuilding to 14.6%. This is unacceptable to our community and clearly violates Amendment 7’s rebuilding provisions. Taking a correction now is far better than imposing draconian measures in a few years. The ASMFC Striped Bass Board needs to initiate Addendum II to implement the necessary changes for the 2024 fishing season. NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT. The American Saltwater Guides Association will be submitting an official letter to the ASMFC Striped Bass Management Board on Tuesday, April 25th. You can read the full letter here. We are asking only that the Striped Bass Management Board follow the rules it established. A new rebuilding plan that has a minimum of a 50% chance of success must be initiated, and those regulations need to be in place by the 2024 season. If you support managing this fishery for abundance and want to see the Board adhere to their timeline of rebuilding this stock by 2029, complete the following form and sign ASGA’s letter. All sign-ons received before Tuesday, April 25th will be included in the final submission. Any questions can be submitted to info@saltwaterguidesassociation.org. Call to Initiate Addendum II to Amendment 7 for Striped Bass
  2. I received the email below and wanted to share on here. If you haven't done so already, please take a few minutes and compose a quick email to the ASMFC. I just sent mine. Good luck to all of us. We need it. Greetings, I am checking to see if you and your club members have gotten around to writing and submitting your public comments on Amendment 7. These comments are due no later than 4/15/22. Amendment 7 is an extremely important document as it will serve as the bible for how the striped bass fishery will be managed. Some options contained in the draft will direct the Board to take fast and decisive action when the science indicates the fishery is in trouble. Other options under consideration would provide the Board with broad latitude on when and if it needs to act. In our experience, it is the Board's lack of effective action that has resulted in the depletion of the striped bass fishery. It is very important that the ASMFC hears from the public that it must adopt options that require fast and decisive action. The process of writing your public comment will only take 5 minutes of your time: indicate why a healthy striped bass fishery is important to you indicate your preferred options (see below) include your name and your address or location forward your comment to comments@asmfc.org with the Subject line: Draft Amendment 7 We have done the heavy lifting for you in terms of evaluating the options under consideration. The NYCRF recommends all of the following options: 4.1 Management Triggers Tier 1-Fishing Mortality Management Triggers Option A1 Option B1 Option C1 Tier 2-Female SSB Management Triggers Option A2 Option B1 Option C1 Tier 3-Recruitment Triggers Option A3 Option B2 Tier 4-Deferred Management Action Option A 4.2.2 Recreational Release Mortality Option A Option C1 Option C2 Option D1 4.4.1 Rebuilding Plan Option B 4.4.2 Rebuilding Plan Framework Option B 4.6.2 Management Program Equivalency Sub-Option B1a Sub-Option B1c Sub-Option B2b Sub-Option C3 Sub-Option D3 Sub-Option E2 PLEASE take the 5 minutes to submit your public comment. This is very important.
  3. How’s it going! I just wanted to make sure the community was aware of an amendment to the striped bass management plan being proposed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Amendment 7 would change the goalposts used to measure striped bass population and would redefine targets and thresholds for the striped bass population. for more info: https://www.trcp.org/2021/03/03/pivotal-decision-point-impacting-striped-bass/ https://www.asmfc.org/files/PublicInput/StripedBassAm7PID_PublicComment_Feb2021.pdf Public comment period is open until April 9th. There is a button to take action in the TRCP link so you can send a message to the commission (a prewritten message is provided)
  4. Below is a good article I just read from the ASGA website. I can certainly related to a lot of what John said. I plan on voicing my concerns next month and hope many of you do the same. By Capt. John McMurray I grew up in Northern Virginia. Alexandria to be specific. Had a pretty good upbringing. Good parents. Stay at home mom, hard-working Irish dad, and plenty of friends. Of course it’s hard to remember that far back, but I was a “good” happy kid. I sure as hell didn’t come from a fishing family, or even an outdoorsy one. Yet, my summers were consumed with catching bluegills in what we called Mt. Vernon Pond. Eventually I graduated to catfish. There was that one (of course it was probably more than one) mystical fish that pulled at least one rod in the water and broke lines a few times every year. After two years of relentless pursuit, eventually I stuck it, did a full lap around the pond, and landed it. Instant legend (in my own mind). Seemed huge at the time, but it was maybe 9 or 10 pounds. To me though, at 9 years old with my bluegill gear, it was epic! That photo – bowl-cut and all – is still hanging somewhere in my parent’s house. As I got older, there were the largemouth bass that showed up, almost unexpectedly, in the Potomac River with the hydrilla explosion (an invasive aquatic plant that pretty much turned parts of the river into a swamp, seemingly overnight). A one-mile bike-ride from the house and I was throwing topwater baits at its edges and completely freaking out every time a bass exploded on them. Those were good days, man. But something happened around 13. I can’t pin-point it, cause I don’t know what specifically it was, but I found darkness, or maybe it simply found me. I won’t get into the details, but I quickly became a not-good-kid. My embarrassed mom was dragged into visits with the principal, there was a police visit to the house, and an entire summer I was grounded – confined to the house and yard until school started up. And when it did, I didn’t last long. Eventually, I ended up in, gasp, Catholic School, where they didn’t put up with that kinda ****. Yeah, it helped. My grades got better, and I became consumed with sports, and of course girls. I don’t think I touched a fishing rod between junior high and the first three years of high school. But towards the end of my junior year, the unthinkable happened. I got dumped by my high school sweetheart of two years for some other dude. Inconsequential. Happens to everyone right? But I was devastated. Anger turned into depression, and it was just a ****** summer all around. Towards the end of it, off work, hungover and feeling pretty bad all around – in an act of pure desperation, I took one of my old-ass rods out of the shed, threw it in the piece-of-garbage Jeep, and headed down to a spot at Belle Haven Marina where I used to crush the large–mouth. I wasn’t expecting much, but first cast with a swimming plug into moving current, and I could see, quite clearly, the starboard flank of a horizontally-striped fish turn on the plug and miss it, leaving a solid boil behind. Striped bass were extraordinarily rare back then, at least as far as I knew (of course we didn’t have internet). But this was in the late ‘80s, the very beginning of their resurgence from near–collapse, which I knew nothing about at the time. What I did know was that something much bigger than the standard 3 to 5-pound largemouth just took a swing at my plug, and it sure as hell looked like one of those fish I saw in the magazines. Was it a striper though? “No way man, I’m seeing ****.”. A few casts later, I saw the follow, the open mouth, gill plates flaring red… I set the hook and the fish cleared the water instantaneously. 100% a striped bass. I was on for maybe 5 seconds before that fish broke off. What did I expect? 8lb Stren that hadn’t been used in several years. Brilliant of me to bring only one plug. Didn’t matter though. That fish changed things. In that moment, I didn’t give a F about my stupid girlfriend or the fact that she was hooking up with some blueblood prep-school kid. But that isn’t the point. The familiar adrenaline rush, the sense of hope that it brought, the anticipation that those fish were gonna be there when I went back (they weren’t, but that’s not relevant) – it kinda changed things all around. How it changed things isn’t terribly easy to explain, but no, I’m not leading up to some bull**** about how I knew I wanted to be a “fisherman” then and there. The thought of monetizing it didn’t cross my mind until decades later. I remember just feeling good… Like maybe I could actually feel good. I dunno, maybe it was from there that my life’s path sprang. But let me be clear that this isn’t some Hallmark special about how striped bass kept me eternally happy, off drugs, in school and now I’m an incredibly successful charter boat captain making hundreds and thousands of dollars. Because God knows it didn’t do any of that. But as stupid as it sounds, it grounded me. Not because fishing was an escape. Naha man… It wasn’t/it isn’t an escape at all. Exactly the opposite. It was/is an engagement into the “real” world free of bull****. Where nothing else matters but the here-and-now. Just me and those gosh darn mother-F’n fish. I mean really, there were often times where that felt like the ONLY real thing in my life. The truth is that familiar feeling, that resurfaced that day, I grasped it and held on tight through everything during the next three decades. What followed were, ahem, five tumultuous years of college. Some bad decisions, lots of drinking and other stuff, a few more heart–breaks and lots of bad behavior. Generally, it took me a LONG time to grow up. (Note: I’m dangerously close to 50 and I dunno that I’ve quite grown up yet). No matter how ****** things got though – (i.e., the utter shock of stepping off a bus as an entitled college kid while some dude screamed bloody hell at me, then two months later stepping foot on a 270’ Coast Guard Cutter and shuffled right to the engine room where I wiped up oil from the bilge and needlessly polished brass – rarely seeing the light of day – while we steamed thousands of miles from where I had last called home) – I had those fish…. And I could and did always come back to them. Moving forward, like any life, there were good times and damn tough ones, some decades ago, and certainly some more recent. And while it may sound hokey to say that these fish have helped me get through all of that, well, it’s true. Because even in the darkest of times, when you’re out on the water, in pursuit, and the sun peaks over the horizon, and stripers are boiling all around you, you quickly realize that, absa-fck’n-lutely, life IS worth living. Fast forward to now, and yeah, while I might be better known as the tuna guy these days, I built a career off of striped bass. Not a hugely profitable one, and I work my ass off… But, it never gets old. To this day, I get that same sensation as I did that day at Belle Haven, every damn time I encounter a striper, whether it’s a 50-pounder or a 5-pounder. And… with every sunrise, with every boil, ya get the feeling that all the bull**** life regularly throws at ya is irrelevant, and that this… this is what matters. And my boy? He’s gonna be 12 this year. Since he was four, I’ve watched him evolve into one hell of a striped bass angler. For sure, he’s got the bug, but I hope to God he doesn’t end up the miserable prick that I am (laughing… kind of). Absolutely, striped bass have offered me a way to connect with that kid in a way I never would be able to without them. Most of the time it’s just me and him on the boat freaking out when that striper crushes a plug – just like I did with those first largemouth on the Potomac when I was his age – inadvertently teaching him new and colorful cuss words, taking smack, laughing a lot and having fun, unconstrained by rules we follow on land. Yeah, maybe at some point he’ll decide I’m a tool (ahem, like my daughter did a while ago) and that he doesn’t wanna go anymore, but right now, well, he NEVER turns down an opportunity (I take off every other Sunday to take him, but due to weather-related tuna cancelations, it ends up being a lot more). And that is something so gosh darn valuable to me ya can’t even begin to put a price tag on it. Yeah, sure, I guess you could maybe make all these connections with any recreationally-targeted fish, but come on man… If you’re a striped bass guy – and if you are reading this, I’m guessing that you are – you understand full-well that striped bass are special. I’m sure as hell not gonna try and explain exactly why here… Because if you have to ask, you probably won’t understand. But I will say this. Despite efforts to brand it as such, it sure as F isn’t just some bucket fish. Because if you stick your head into the fishing community for even a minute, you’ll understand that it is NOT comparable to fluke, black seabass, scup or even bluefish. It is revered, romanticized and, well, respected. And while I may be an extreme case, it absolutely influences lives. For those folks who still have hunting and fishing embedded in their DNA, stripers offer a profoundly important opportunity to connect to the natural world – to something we all once were, and to something many of us still need. To a lot of us, that is critical, for sanity, and maybe even for an industrialized/digitalized society’s sanity as a whole. Yes, absolutely, there are fisherman who would consider striped bass as little more than “meat,” and take great pains to label anyone who might think otherwise “elitists.” But, to be very clear – judging not just by anecdotal observations, but by the sheer volume of public comment advocating for conservation with every proposed management action – they are a fraction of the striped bass constituency. In general, folks from the recreational sector who seem to want to see striped bass managed as a bucket fish are the same folks who generate income according to how many they can kill, rather than the experience of hunting and catching them. And there seem to be less and less of those folks. The truth is that most anglers have evolved to understand that it isn’t about killing fish at all, but simply about the chase and everything that comes with it. Yeah, maybe you get to kill a fish, maybe you don’t. But it’s the reasonable opportunity to encounter that really matters. Seems pretty obvious that if it were simply about meat, it’d be much cheaper and less time consuming to just go to the fish market. While it’s probably true that most folks don’t make life decisions on stripers like I did, they value striped bass in the same way that I do. As a critical sport fish. Seriously, how else can you characterize a fishery that is 90% recreational and 90% catch and release (NOAA Fisheries numbers, not mine)? Don’t think for a minute though that I’m trying to sell some sorta no-kill or gamefish (no commercial fishing) religion here. Because let me tell ya man, we kill fish… all of us. Some on purpose, some not on purpose (discard mortality does add up). And I’m sure as hell not opposed to sustainable commercial extraction. Can the sport fishery and harvest oriented fisheries exist together? Of course they can. But coastal access and long-term health and sustainability should be a priority. It’s not rocket science. A public resource like this, where the public clearly values things like abundance, sustainable access, sport etc., well it should be managed with that in mind. And to some extent, since 2004 when Amendment 6 was implemented, it has been. Goals and objectives were created back then that emphasized things like maintaining diverse age and size classes, hedging against recruitment failure, and coastal access. Reference points were set based on a level of abundance that reflected a truly rebuilt stock. Management triggers were created to head off an overfishing/overfished situation (although it’s true they’ve often been ignored). But here we are now, at a crossroads. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is currently considering Amendment 7, which offers an unusual opportunity change all of these things. Yes, some things possibly for the better, but most for the worse. Absolutely there are folks interested in increasing harvest, even though we are currently in an “overfished” situation with stiped bass. Although none of it seems to be based on science, they’ve gained some traction with arguments about shifting productivity and carrying capacity. To boil it all down into the simplest terms, what’s at stake here is whether this fishery is managed as just another bucket fish moving forward – which it sure as hell isn’t – or whether it’s managed for coastal access and long-term sustainability, which is long what the majority of the fishing public has advocated for. If you’re a striped bass fisherman, you get it… It’s NOT just another fish. They are SO damn important to so many folks, for so many reasons. The public comment period for Amendment 7 starts next month. And what goes down at these hearings, as well as what sort of written comment is collected, is critical. I’d like to say with some honesty that that such comment will inform decisions, but I’m guessing some readers know that this hasn’t been the case with some past striped bass management decisions. But… I would like to point out that there are certainly circumstances where overwhelming public comment did drive striped bass decisions at the Commission – i.e. Addendum IV, which resulted in a 25% landings reduction back in 2015 and going from a coastal bag limit of two fish to one. And, well, the aforementioned Amendment 6 was indeed largely driven by an uprising/outpouring of concerned anglers. And certainly, we didn’t get a lot of what we wanted with Addendum VI but try and think about that outcome in the context of what we could have ended up with without angler engagement. However you feel about slots limits, it’s hard not to see how may fish were released this year as a result. The point is that managers DO listen, and absolutely, they need to hear from you. I know this whole fishing thing is supposed to be fun, and free of “bull****,” like I said. But this is NOT the time to sit on your ass and let other folks do your bidding. Because if you do, you could very well lose that which you hold dear. And that’s no joke. You can see the public hearing schedule here. asmfc.org/uploads/file/6036870fpr05AtlStripedBassPID_Hearings.pdf - you can copy and paste this into your browser of you want to view the .pdf Yes, we can help. Keep an eye out here for a comprehensive set of recommendations/suggestions from ASGA on how to comment. But if you give a **** about striped bass – and if you’ve made it this far I’m just about certain that you do – please understand this. It is NOT acceptable to do nothing. It’s a publicly owned resource, and you are the public! Commissioners need to hear from you. Governors in your state need to hear from you. And you…. You need to speak up.
  5. Growing up in south Brooklyn I remember in the mid-80s to the early 90s when fishing would pick up with big blues around the 3rd week of August and last all the way into November depending on the weather. I would see huge blues crashing big bunker schools out front and in the bay. The blues I am referring to are those 30 plus inch fish and not the 1 to 2lbers that I see people catching now. It’s really a sight to see when you have butterfish beaching themselves and big blues jumping clear out of the water in the middle of bait fish schools. When the striped bass made a comeback, we had action from spring into July and then the fishing would pick up again around Labor Day and last until December. Prior to the resurgence we would have a couple of weeks of decent action with 15” to 20” rats in the spring and in the fall. When the 1 @ 36” was in place those same locations were now consistently yielding fish in the 15 to 20lb range. Years ago, especially in the fall, the cold dreary days would equate to excellent fishing. As a kid in school I could remember how anxious I was for the school day to end and then walking down to the water knowing I was going to have a great outing with big fish. However, more recently quite the opposite has occurred. I remember not too long ago in October with a 30-mpg blow in your face and the presence of sand eels yielded only 1 schoolie bass. That is pretty terrible and unheard of 10 years ago. I also have not heard of the insane fishing up at the canal nor the jumbo blues that were in our waters up until a few years ago. I don’t like restrictive laws any more than the next person but without them there isn’t going to be much left. You take years of low recruitment with the same size/bag limit laws in place, it’s going to bring us to exactly where we are now. Believe it or not the giant grouper at one point were practically non-existent. Nowadays I hear and have seen online there are so many of them that they are practically a nuisance. This changed due to the much more restrictive measures that were needed at that time. The way things are going, I am afraid that viable surf fishing in my home waters will be a thing of the past. Don’t get me wrong it is nice to be out but the enjoyment of pulling 20” bass or a 2lb bluefish from the surf using a 10’ surf rod pales in comparison to consistently catching teen sized plus fish. Sure, there are always going to be big bass and big blues out there, somewhere. However, I grew up around the corner from the water and got into fishing because of the proximity of the water to my house. This is the same reason why I shouldn’t have to drive 35 plus miles to find decent fishing. A lot of these same arguments as to why the fish aren’t around now were more or less the same nearly 40 years ago when in reality overfishing was the main culprit. If you have a passion for fishing like I do, my suggestion is for each of you to write/call your governor and the associated fishery managers when the time comes. That is our only chance to reverse this trend. I only hope that we are not too late to return to the days when a 30” bass or bluefish are not anomalies.
  6. In case anyone is interested. Now is your chance for your voice to be heard. Letter are also being accepted until 5:00 pm Oct 7. Max Appelman Fishery Management Plan Coordinator 1050 N Highland St Suite A-N Arlington, VA 22201 703-842-0741 (fax) comments@asmfc.org (subject line:Striped Bass Draft Addendum VI)
  7. I received this email today from the Fissues org and wanted to share with the group. If you care about this fishery, I suggest you contact your ASMFC rep. Please see below. Striped Bass need your help Action needed by August 8th Hi James, When the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board meets on August 08, 2019 the die will be cast for the future of striped bass. As you know the striped bass stock is overfished, and overfishing is occurring. Both conditions mean striped bass are in trouble and action needs to be taken. And the action needs to be taken NOW! It is time for the commission to hear from you. You can find out who represents your state on the ASMFC’s web page. Tell your commissioner and the commission to return fishing mortality to the target in the current management plan (known as Amendment 6) and that it needs to be done by 2020. But don’t stop there. Tell your commissioner that ASMFC needs to honor the commitment they made when they adopted Amendment 6 and rebuild the striped bass stock within ten years. In case you need some help, at the end is a sample email you can send to your commissioner. If you want the back story on the striped bass situation give Charles Witek’s article Time to Stand Up for Striped Bass a read. It not only fills in the details but also explains how harmful the situation created by ASMFC is — and why it is essential for you to let the commission know how you feel before their August meeting. As Witek points out, and as most of you are aware, there are plenty of folks who will be arguing against doing the right thing for striped bass, and if you don’t act before the meeting in August, they just might get their way. If that happens, both fish and fishing will continue to suffer. Thanks in advance for taking action today! Here is the SAMPLE EMAIL Dear [NAME] or ASMFC When the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board meets on August 08, 2019 you have an important opportunity to set striped bass management back on the right course. You are well aware that the striped bass stock is overfished, and overfishing is occurring. Both conditions mean striped bass are in trouble and action needs to be taken now. Please oppose the motion to begin a new amendment to the management plan, which could result in the goals and objectives of the plan, reduce striped bass abundance and harm the long-term health of the spawning stock. Please return fishing mortality to the target in the current management plan (Amendment 6) by 2020. Finally, please honor the commitment made when Amendment 6 was adopted to rebuild the striped bass stock within ten years. Finally, Thank you for your attention to this issue. Sincerely, [NAME]
  8. Could someone more versed than I please explain the sides to this vote. Also, as to why 2 states (NJ & CT) are taking stances on it that, from my limited understanding, they have not typically? While I do have a general understanding of its purpose. I would like to hear all sides of the issue. If this topic isn't appropriate for the Main Forum, perhaps a mod could move it to its proper place. Thank you
  9. I finally finished putting together my thoughts on the ASMFC's Questions contained in their Public information document. I'll list below both questions posed and my preliminary responses. I'll welcome any questions, suggested changes in wording, debates, etc. Public Comment Questions:Should the Board manage the Atlantic menhaden stock with single species biological reference points or multi species ERPs? Do you support the use of simpler, readily available ERPs until Menhaden specific ERPs are developed by the BERP Workgroup? Do you know of other approaches for establishing ERPs for menhaden that could be implemented through Amendment 3? I like Option C: SingleSpecies Reference Points Until ERPs are Developed by the BERP Workgroup Current single species guidelines have been successful in recent years in increasing the biomass, which is evidenced by the return of the species to the fringes of its historic range. If an untoward event is encountered in between the time that the amendment is adopted and the time the BERP working group finalizes its recommendations, the board could take emergency action. No two marine species are alike. The Lenfest guidelines assume otherwise. Further, as the working group has pointed out, there are some significant differences between the Lenfest general guidelines and the known facts about the lifecycle of Atlantic Menhaden. The “rebuttal” of the Working group’s observations by two of the Lenfest authors is unpersuasive. Public Comment Questions: Should the Board maintain, or revise, the allocation formula currently used to manage the commercial Atlantic menhaden fishery? Which allocation option(s)providesfor the fairest and most equitable distribution of coastwide total allowable catch? Which allocation option(s) strikes the best balance between current needs and future growth opportunities?Do you support the use of soft quotas for some user groups? What is a suitable small capacity trip limit in Option G? How should a small capacity gear be defined? Are there any other options, besides those offered in this document, that the Board should consider? I like seasonal fisheries, to account for the differences in the timing of the fishery, between different states or regions. The timing of the fishery is much different in Florida waters than it is in Maine waters. I also like regional management for the same reason. Fleet specific allocations would also help, I prefer a two fleet split, and a soft limit for the small fleet. If the board opts for a three fleet split, gill nets of a relatively short length should be permitted in the small fleet. The current small fleet bait fishery includes many small operators fishing with gill nets less than 500 feet in length. Public Comment Questions: Should the Board consider changes to the reference period on which menhaden allocation is based? Should allocation consider prior trends as well as recent changes in the fishery? What years would you recommend as the basis for allocation? Given the fact that the most recent time series is also the most accurate I don’t think that there is any question that the most recent landings data be used as the basis for any allocation. Public Comment Question: Should the process for quota transfers be further defined or replaced by an automatic reconciliation process? Should state specific quota overages be forgiven in years when the coastwide TACis not exceeded? When the coastwide TAC is exceeded but at least one jurisdiction has an underage, should unused quota be pooled and redistributed through a specified transfer process to states with an overage? Should states be required to contribute unused quota to a common pool or should this be voluntary? Should there be accountability measures for a state that exceeds its quota by a certain percentage or repeatedly participates in quota reconciliation? First, as I stated earlier, my preference is for regional management. But regardless of whether the board chooses regional or state-by-state management, no area (state or region) should be penalized if the coastwide quota is not exceeded. There is no reason, from a fishery management perspective, to penalize one state if there has been no harm done to the biomass. Any quota reconciliation process needs defined rules, the current quota transfer process is self-regulating, in that any transfer is undoubtedly the subject of negotiations between the affected states. I would prefer an inter-regional process that would require any region which underfished its quota to only transfer part of its quota to other regions when the other region has overfished its quota and the entire coast has met or exceeded its quota. If the entire coast has not overfished its quota, then the process is not needed and any regional or state overages should be forgiven. There should be some sort of accountability measures if the coastwide quota is exceeded. Public Comment Question: Should the process for quota transfers be further defined or replaced by an automatic reconciliation process? Should state specific quota overages be forgiven in years when the coastwide TACis not exceeded? When the coastwide TAC is exceeded but at least one jurisdiction has an underage, should unused quota be pooled and redistributed through a specified transfer process to states with an overage? Should states be required to contribute unused quota to a common pool or should this be voluntary? Should there be accountability measures for a state that exceeds its quota by a certain percentage or repeatedly participates in quota reconciliation? First, as I stated earlier, my preference is for regional management. But regardless of whether the board chooses regional or state-by-state management, no area (state or region) should be penalized if the coastwide quota is not exceeded. There is no reason, from a fishery management perspective, to penalize one state if there has been no harm done to the biomass. Any quota reconciliation process needs defined rules, the current quota transfer process is self-regulating, in that any transfer is undoubtedly the subject of negotiations between the affected states. I would prefer an inter-regional process that would require any region which underfished its quota to only transfer part of its quota to other regions when the other region has overfished its quota and the entire coast has met or exceeded its quota. If the entire coast has not overfished its quota, then the process is not needed and any regional or state overages should be forgiven. There should be some sort of accountability measures if the coastwide quota is exceeded. Public Comment Questions: Should unused quota be rolled over into the subsequent year? Should the amount rolled over be limited to a percent of quota? Should all sectors of the fishery be allowed to roll over quota? Should quota rollover be mandatory or voluntary? In my opinion, quota roll overs are not required. The board can take into account any quota underages in the prior periods in setting the TAC for the coming periods. If the board does adopt rollover provisions they should be very limited, 5% and definitely not more than 10%. If rollovers are adopted they should only be voluntary. But setting up regional or state-by-state quotas, with provisions for quota transfers or reconciliation and potential rollover provisions sounds exceedingly complicated. Public Comment Questions: Should there be a cap on incidental landings in the Atlantic menhaden fishery? Should incidental catch be defined as a percent composition? Should the incidental catch allowance be allocated to vessels or permit holders? Should the incidental catch provision be replaced with a small-scale fishery set aside, and if yes, what gears should be included in this sub- quota (see Table 3 in Appendix 1)? Should active and passive gears be treated differently under the incidental catch provision? This has been one of my “pet peeves” under the current rules. I believe that the states of NJ, NY and CT have been permitting cast net and drift gill net DIRECTED fisheries to operate under the bycatch provisions, when their catch is clearly NOT bycatch, as that term is generally understood. As for the first question I believe that the allowance should be allocated to permit holders with the provision that two or more permit holders fishing on the same boat, using permitted gear, should each be allowed to land their individual quotas. A small scale fishery set aside is my recommendation (see fleet allocations above) and should include cast nets and small drift or anchored gill nets. There should be some differentiation between active and passive gear in this small-scale fishery. Public Comment Questions:Should a percentage of the TAC be set aside for episodic events? If yes, what percentage of the annual TAC should be set aside? Which jurisdictions should be allowed to participate in this program? Does the episodic event program need to be reconsidered as the distribution of menhaden changes? How should states demonstrate that an episodic event is occurring in state waters? Yes, a portion of the TAC should be set aside for the episodic events. The percentage will necessarily have to be modified from time to time as the natural range of the species shrinks or expands. States from ME to MD (except for the portion of MD in the Chesapeake bay should be eligible to participate in the program. I would recommend a set aside of 3% to 5%, but this would have to adjusted from time to time, based on recent history of these specific fisheries. The episodic even set aside should take priority over any regional, coastwide, or state-by-state allocations of the quota. The states can easily demonstrate that an episodic even is occurring based on density studies in a limited body of water or estuary. Public Comment Questions: Should the Chesapeake Bay Reduction Fishery Cap be maintained? Is it an important tool for the management of Atlantic menhaden? Yes, it should be maintained. Historical data since the cap was implemented show that it seems to have little impact on the VA reduction fishery. Anecdotal evidence, seems to support the notion of “localized depletion” so there doesn’t seem to be any penalty to anyone and a possible benefit to some by keeping the cap in place. Public Comment Questions: What are important research questions that need to be answered regarding the menhaden fishery and resource? How should research recommendations be prioritized? Should there be a RSA established for menhaden? If yes, what portion of TAC should be set aside for research purposes? I think the technical committee has done good job identifying and prioritizing research questions and they should continue that work in conjunction with the staff of the MAFMC. I am in favor of an RSA set aside program to fund such research. But, as we all know, the MAFMC RSA program, had untoward consequences. So I would suggest deferring the implementation of an RSA program until the MAFMC has had a chance to study their (now suspended) RSA program and adopt new guidelines for their RSA programs.
  10. Anyone read the PID and have any comments? I think the regional proposals make a lot of sense.
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