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new theory on striper decline

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View PostIts funny all this and all the commercial fisherman tell me there are more fish than they can remember.

 

 

They said the same thing in '76. And in '80, and '82 and '84 and...

 

I've been involved to a greater or lesser degree in fisheries issues since the bass collapsed. Whether you're talking about bluefin tuna, cod or winter flounder, that statement remains the same.

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Tim - that seems to say exactly what I said in the first post (which I pasted below) about reducing or not reducing effort based on what we knew that you objected so strongly to.

 

"We don't know what effect reducing or eliminating fishing mortality is going to have in the face of any major ocean oscillation decline. It could be that no matter how much fishing effort is reduced, the normal striped bass haunts will be barren of striped bass until the cycle swings back in the other direction and the so-called recovery will proceed at the same rate regardless. That being the case, the only rational response would be to allow fishing unabated 'cause the fish are going to be gone anyway.

 

It could also be that a highly reduced resident population could be maintained and that resident population could hasten the recovery. In that case, reduce or stop fishing."

 

Nils

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(1) It doesn't follow that because the striper stock rebounded after a cut back in landings it follows the rebound resulted from the cutback.

 

(2) In the absence of better understanding the science of striper population dynamics, it is the best option to significantly reduce all those known and likely causes of mortality than can be controlled.

 

Who disagrees with (1), (2), or both and why?

 

I'm in agreement with Tim's position.

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Gentlemen,

 

The weather theory is just that. It isn't the final answer it is interesting but if your willing to letthat single fact solve this multifaceted problem, I suspect you haven't taken the opportunity to read the most recent study

on the Atlantic Coast's Diadromous Fish Habitat Report.

 

asfmc.org. Click the "Breaking News button and then open the Diadaromous Fish Habitat report section and study the subject. Chapter 9 Striped Bass.

 

Chapter 9 in that report deals with Striped Bass. From soup to nuts. History, procreation the first few hours and days, type of water and temperature necessary to hatch the eggs etc.

 

Mr. Russells article is almost correct, but he misses the boat by declaring 75% of all male striped bass in Chesapeke Bay have a microbatic skin desease. 75% of imature male striped bass in a hand full of freshwater tidal rivers, streams and creeks have microbatic skin leisions. Once they leave their spawning waters and enter salt water the majority of the leisions are cured. The biologists at Oxford, MD have been on top of this situation for several years. The number of immature striped bass affected is minimal in the skeme of things. His view of the spawning process is a bit myopic as well.

 

Striped Bass, American and Hickory Shad, Alewife and Blueback Herring, American Eel, American Sturgeon are all Diadromus fishes. They live in the Ocean but spawn in freshwater. The Hudson River Tribe is healthy hale and hearty. No commercial depredation allowed. The PCB count in their bodies has been below the federal level of concern for a decade now.

 

They spawn the edges of the main ships Channel above the pure saltwater line near the U S Military Academy at West Point. That is about River mile 40 north of te tip of Manhatten Island. Its called the Battery. From West point to the first barrier dam on the 350 mile long Hudson River at River mile 160 striped bass spawn between May and mid June in the Main Stem of the River.

 

Most mature female begin to spawn at At 8 and not before. (some one made the claim that female striped bass were bred by humans to begin spawning at Age 8)(hogwash is my comment to that sillyness)

 

Male striped bass are ready to rock and roll at age 4 and up. Some mature stripers (est. 0.5 to 1.0 million) winter over in the deep canyon cut in the river bed below the narrows spand by the Bear Mountain Bridge. Other Hudson River fish begin entering the river in late Febuary and pods and schools continue to enter the river through early May. Estimates vary rom year to year, but as many as 5 million striped bass spawn in the clean tidal waters of the Hudson annually.

 

There are current (2010) young of the year and Age 8 female population graphs at the NYSDEC home page. Google or Yahoo Spawning Hudson River Stripers to get to the NY State site. Then type in the bold words above.

 

Chessapeake Bay has hundres of rivers, stream and creeks feeding fresh water into its tidal waters. Most of them have fresh wather tidal spawning areas. A few of the smaller streams and rivers are oxegyn starved and prone to temperature fluxations that cause the micro-bioatic leisions.

Once esposed to clean salt water the leisions are stopped and are not transmitted to other striped bass during the north and back south migrations that occur annually.

 

The Hudson River is the largest, single river producing striped bass in the world. And no skin leision have been found in her fish.

 

Spawning occurs when the water temperature reaches 58 degrees.

 

Male and female striped bass feed on bait fish the entire length of the tidal esturary from River Mile 160 to the Battery. Fresh water bait fish, sunfish, perch, baby large and smallmouth bass and the stripers fellow diadramous fish make up the menu. There is good reason that shad and herring need to spawn in freshwater. They provide thea high protien diet necessary to sustain striped bass in their spawning season.

 

As the striped bass move up the river/estuary (5 to 6 foot tidal changes twice a day, up to 160 miles inland) the bait fish (Shad and herring) swim in the upper 12 feet of the water column. Male striped bass swim in the middle of the water column and feed on the bait above them. Female bass, heavy with eggs, hug the bottom during daylight hours and move up on the flats at night to feed on bait in the shallows.

 

When water temperatures rise to 58 degrees and above,the ladies move up thru the water column, picking up male escorts as they rise. They beging spawning in the top 5 feet of the column. The surface begins to boil with the thrashing of the female, who is being help dispell her eggs by male stripers butting her belly with ther snouts and releasing milt with each hit.

 

This agressive attention causes the female to beging rolling over nd over as she shed eggs into the milt soaked water. I've seen 3 spawning efforts on misty, light rain mornings on flats and channel edges near Germantion, NY, Catskill, NY and Athens, NY. Acres or rolling striped bass. They are not hungry and the are totally focused on procreation.

 

Their eggs are disbursed in the washing machine like aggiatation and fertilize by milt that could come from any number of male servicing femaile in the eggs vicinity.

 

Striper eggs are netural boyant and float back and forth in the tidal rise and fall for about 48 hours and then hatch. If the water temperature remains above 58 degrees for those two days and for several more, the tiny fish will create a a Great Class year. If not, then millions will be lost to a drop in temperature.

 

The upper Hudson Tidal Bays are truely nurserys for striped bass, herring and shad. The young stripers usually stay in frest water for the first year and then in their second year they move down river and begin to feed in the lower salt reaches and spread up the CT. coast to RI and the Southern Beaches of Cape Cod. Y.O.Y shad and herring grow in the bays and then make their way down the river and into the ocean in September and October.

 

I recomment you read all of Chapter 9 as most of the stuff I listed above is explaned in detail. The several contributing biologists are the cream of the crop in Fish Biology and put their hearts and souls into this most up to date

report.

 

I sat on the Hudson River Estuary Management Advisory Committee for 14 years. You can look up the good work done by that committee by searching it out in the NY DEC home page. Or type in HREMAC.

 

I believe Hudson River strain fish spawn in most of the New England Rivers that have tidal freshwater sections. I've caught 20+ pound striped bass with Brother Brian, whilst large passenger jets flew in and out of the Hartford, CT airport a couple of miles away. The Connecicut River is a strong and wide flowing beast in the spring. Too fast in that stretch for spawning, but closer to Long Island Sound, who knows?

 

North of the George Washington Bridge, NY allows two fish a day to be caught after March 15. Minimumsize for striped bass is 18-inches. You do need a saltwater (Migrating fish) licence to fish for them and to bow fish for carp as well. NY has reciprical agreements with border water coastal states. NJ, CT, RI.. Check the NY fishing regs in their freshwater compendioun or on line.

 

The NY State Inland (freshwater) Record is 4 years old. A 49.45 inch, 55 pound striped bass was caught by a fish biologist the spring he graduated from Cornell. Ian Kilray, using a 6 inch plug trolled behind a 14 foot alum. boat near Kingston, NY.

 

I believe ASMFC! Striped Bass are abundant and they are not threatened.

The single theory on weather affecting this great fish needs to be measure against all of the history we have with it.

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View PostI heard the story on NPR today. They interviewed some guy I've never heard of from a Striper fishing group I've never heard of. Why not Tim? headscratch.gif

 

In general, folks interview folks that are gonna say what they need them to say to bolster whatever position it is they are trying to support in the story smile.gif I'll never be real popular with some folks cause I have a horrible habit of speaking my mind, regardless of whether it's what folks want to hear or not redface.gif

 

 

TimS

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Why can't we just take a common sense approach to managing striped bass?? Just slightly tap the brakes on the whole fishery.

 

For the rec guys: Instead of keeping 2 fish per outing, keep one...and do it with a slot limit, 28-34 for a keeper.

 

For the com guys (not very educated on their impact): cut their take and the way they catch so there isn't a lot of needless mass kills.

 

Who do we contact to voice our opinion about the mismanagement of these fish?

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View PostWhy can't we just take a common sense approach to managing striped bass?? Just slightly tap the brakes on the whole fishery.

 

For the rec guys: Instead of keeping 2 fish per outing, keep one...and do it with a slot limit, 28-34 for a keeper.

 

For the com guys (not very educated on their impact): cut their take and the way they catch so there isn't a lot of needless mass kills.

 

Who do we contact to voice our opinion about the mismanagement of these fish?

 

Whats a bigger problem; Killing the fish by catching it, Or killing all of its food and letting them starve?

I think the stripers are in trouble for a lot of reasons but what about their food sources?

The fish are not growing like they use to and they are more prone to disease. Is this the rec's fault?

Am I wrong here?

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An interesting recent article on decline in catch of striped bass:

 

 

 

 

 

Last Updated: 3:47 AM, January 7, 2011

 

 

Posted: 1:50 AM, January 7, 2011

 

 

 

 

Based on numbers from the federal government, striped bass catches are declining at an alarming rate.

 

 

According to data from the National Marine Fishing Service's recreational angler survey, recreational striped bass catches along the Atlantic coast declined by 66 percent from 2006 to 2009, a trend that is likely to continue, according to the results of the latest Stripers Forever annual angler survey.

 

 

"The results in 2010 were by far the most disappointing that we've seen for both anglers and guides," said Brad Burns, President of Stripers Forever. "In our 2010 survey, 76 percent of all anglers reported catching fewer or many fewer stripers per hour of fishing. This is up from 66 percent in 2008 and 72 percent in 2009.

 

 

 

 

 

"The Atlantic States Marine Fishery Commission continues to report that officially, things are fine with striped bass, but there are a lot of people out there who would not agree with them," said Burns.

 

 

This year's survey was completed by 1,068 anglers, including 109 fishing guides representing every coastal state from Maine to South Carolina except New Hampshire. The vast majority of these fishermen have more than 10 years of experience fishing for striped bass.

 

 

Stripers Forever is a non-profit, internet-based organization advocating for the conservation of wild striped bass by designating them as game fish and managing the resource for the estimated 3 million recreational striper fishermen and the vast industry that they support on the Atlantic coast.

 

 

*

 

 

Also an article by Lou Rodia who has fished for bass since the 50's

 

 

Are striped bass in trouble in Chesapeake Bay?

 

 

Published in the June 17, 2010 issue

 

By Lou Rodia

 

 

Ocean City Sentinel

 

 

Are striped bass in trouble? It depends on where you are fishing and who you ask. There are concerns about the status of the Chesapeake Bay striper stock. Jersey coast anglers see better striper fishing than we had a few years ago, but it is nowhere as good as it used to be.

 

 

Are you are old enough to remember the glory days of the 1950s and 1960s? If you were a striped bass fisherman back then, you're among those who would say the striped bass stock has not recovered.

 

 

For the next generation of striped bass anglers who were not around in the '50s and '60s, fishing for striped bass is better today than it was prior to, during and since the moratorium.

 

 

How good was it in the '50s and '60s? There was a 10 fish limit for striped bass in New Jersey, and there was an 18 inch minimum size limit on striped bass. There was no closed season and there were plenty of stripers.

 

 

Back then, there was little if any local breeding of striped bass. There was a pollution plug in the Delaware River that kept migrating fish like stripers and shad from getting up the river to spawn. Dams plugged a lot of the other streams that hosted spawning shad and striper populations before the dams and pollution combined to all but destroy any hope that stripers would or could reproduce.

 

 

The same was true in North Jersey, where the Hudson River and North Jersey rivers were polluted to the point where they could not contribute many stripers to the coastal population. There was minimal breeding in Delaware Bay fresh water streams and in the Mullica and Toms rivers. When local breeding came to a halt, most of the fish caught all along the whole East Coast came from Chesapeake Bay. At one time, it was believed that 90 percent of the striped bass along the Atlantic Coast came from the Chesapeake.

 

 

Back in colonial times, stripers were so plentiful in coastal rivers that they were used for fertilizer when the settlers first came to the New World.

 

 

Nature blessed Chesapeake Bay and made it into a prolific breeding ground for stripers. A look at a map of the Chesapeake shows that there are large numbers of fresh water rivers and streams that feed into the bay. Stripers are an anadromous fish that lives most of their life in salt water, but they must move into fresh water rivers and streams to spawn.

 

 

For generations, stripers were able to stay ahead of man's depredations. Then they came on hard times. The first signs stripers were in trouble came in the poundage of stripers that was recorded. Small stripers made up most of the total of the five million pounds that made it to the market. Back in the '50s and '60s, the legal size for Chesapeake Bay stripers was 10 inches, later amended to 12 inches. There was no bag limit.

 

 

The regulators who set the sizes for Chesapeake stripers reasoned that only half of the stripers that migrated out of the bay made it back. Those that failed to make the round trip were either caught in the other states that hosted migrating Chesapeake Bay stripers or fell prey to predators once they left the bay.

 

 

The reasoning was that if they were caught before they left the bay, those who nurtured them from when they were first hatched would get first crack at the fish before they were harvested elsewhere.

 

 

Economics drove that reasoning. There was no limit on commercial harvesting of stripers in the Chesapeake. Nor was there any need for recreational anglers to show restraint in catch numbers because they had a ready market that would buy every fish they brought back to the dock.

 

 

Rod and reel commercial fishing was a way of life for a couple of generations in New England. Anglers from Rhode Island and Massachusetts reaped the benefit of a long season that started in the spring. Migrating stripers from the Chesapeake swelled resident populations in the spring and stayed until fall when they returned to the Chesapeake.

 

 

In our early ventures to Cape Cod and Rhode Island in the '50s and '60s, local anglers could not understand why we released stripers. Our 10 day to two week fall vacation trips centered on striper fishing. Since we were limited as to space to store fish, we didn't keep any fish until the last day or two of the trip.

 

 

Most of the rod and reel anglers we encountered made no bones about the fact that they considered striped bass a cash crop. Selling fish was a way of picking up cash to pay boat or beach buggy expenses or to finance vacations.

 

 

For generations, stripers stayed ahead of pressures on them. Then numbers in the Chesapeake began to decline. Weed free farming and pesticides were labeled as culprits. PCBs generated by industrial pollution attacked newly-hatched stripers by weakening the egg sacs that fed them. The sacs burst and the little fish died.

 

 

First signs stripers were in trouble came when numbers of fish catch poundage each year remained constant, but the numbers of fish it took to make up the poundage dropped each year.

 

 

When we first started fishing in Crisfield and Tilghman Island, schools of stripers 50 to 100 acres in size were commonplace. Anglers could pick any one of several schools to fish. Often the number of schools outnumbered the number of boats fishing for them.

 

 

Each spring, those fish left the bay to provide the good fishing that prevailed before the coastal moratorium on striper catches was implemented.

 

 

With that mass migration from the Chesapeake having dwindled to a trickle by comparison to what it once was, local striper anglers have to depend on native fish spawning in local rivers.

 

 

While all of this was happening, the number of striped bass anglers has escalated. In the '50s and '60s there were not that many anglers fishing for stripers. Boats had been mothballed for the season. Only a few local anglers fished for stripers.

 

 

Now, save for a few short months in the early part of the year, these stripers are under an almost constant pressure. With the size restrictions, we're taking only the bigger fish, mostly females and mostly prime breeders.

 

 

It may be time for all of us to rethink our approach to striped bass fishing.

 

 

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One thing that would help is if they closed the fish oil refineries on the east coast and moved them to the Mississippi River watershed and processed the Asian carp instead of bunker,would help both areas.

Jake

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I'm for this too....and for saving their food source. I'm sure it would be much more "enviromental " friendly to farm raise fish for their oil. Cheaper probably too.

If they take grred out of the equation I'm sure everybody can get what they want.

 

View PostOne thing that would help is if they closed the fish oil refineries on the east coast and moved them to the Mississippi River watershed and processed the Asian carp instead of bunker,would help both areas.

Jake

 

 

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View PostThe Striped Bass moratorium gave us a very real insight into what the relative impact of not fishing for Stripers is.

 

It is a well documented fact that Striper populations rebounded dramatically as a result of reduced fishing pressure.That experience the very best management tool that we have to work with.

 

I'm not agreeing with Nils S on this, at least not categorically - but one could make the argument that just because there was a moratorium declared on striped bass, the recovery could have been a convenient coincidence. We've seen stranger things happen. I'm more inclined to believe that it had a direct and positive impact upon the status of the fishery. But fire away if you feel the need to do so.

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Originally Posted by Peter D

 

View Post

 

 

(1) It doesn't follow that because the striper stock rebounded after a cut back in landings it follows the rebound resulted from the cutback.

 

 

(2) In the absence of better understanding the science of striper population dynamics, it is the best option to significantly reduce all those known and likely causes of mortality than can be controlled.

 

 

Who disagrees with (1), (2), or both and why?

 

 

I'm in agreement with Tim's position.

 

 

I agree with #1 because it's a classic causality argument - just because you did A, and B happened, doesn't mean that B happened because you did A - there may be another reason and unless you can define that reason it's just an assumption.

 

 

I agree with #2 because: although we have no way of knowing how significant the effect on the status of the fishery a reduction in mortality would be, it stands to reason that it cannot possibly make it any worse.

 

 

So I agree that we should not just go ahead and rape and pillage what's left - just because we think it's going down the tubes no matter what we do.

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