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Petition Calls for Drastic Cuts to Striped Bass Fishing Limits....Vinyard Gazette.

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Petition Calls for Drastic Cuts to Striped Bass Fishing Limits

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 - 11:51am

 

 

 

 

As many as 800 Massachusetts anglers have signed a petition seeking additional steps to conserve striped bass from overfishing. The petition calls for a 50 per cent reduction of both commercial and recreational efforts. As many as 30 Vineyarders signed the petition online according to Brad Burns, president of Stripers Forever, a Maine-based organization. The petition was delivered to Paul Diodati, the state Division of Marine Fisheries director, earlier this month.

 

In recent years both commercial and recreational fishermen on the Vineyard, as well as along the eastern seaboard, have noted a decline in the abundance of striped bass. Scientists are also reporting a decline, but the threshhold isn’t yet low enough for fisheries managers to limit fishing. Those who signed the petition believe it is time to cut the fishing effort this year before it gets worse.

 

“The recreational catch of striped bass in Massachusetts has declined by nearly 90 per cent since 2006, yet the harvest levels have remained undiminished,”

 

said Dean Clark, of Shrewsbury and Cape Cod. Mr. Clark is a co-chair of the Massachusetts chapter of Stripers Forever.

 

“We are killing too many fish,” added Mr. Clark. “All the scientists on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission say that within the next year or two we will be hitting triggers that were set that will demand reduction. Our concern is that we don’t know how many fish are in the ocean. I believe the stock assessment can be off by as much as 50 per cent.”

 

Cooper A. Gilkes 3rd of Edgartown, who runs a tackle shop, said he signed the petition. “Right now there are people fighting any way they can to get these fish back. I signed it. The petition is trying to get something done,” he said.

 

I signed it,” said Tom Rapone, an Edgartown charter fishing captain. “I have no doubt that there are less fish out there. Of the petition, I think this is a fair measure,” he said, because it cuts fishing effort of both recreational and commercial fishermen.

 

Mr. Gilkes recalled how not many years ago he and others could go to Lobsterville and be sure to see a fish. “We can’t do that now.”

 

“I don’t want to take anyone’s livelihood but we are seeing the same thing we are seeing with cod. We are taking too much and we have to slow down,” Mr. Gilkes said.

 

Currently, recreational fishermen are permitted a two fish per day bag limit, with the minimum size being 28 inches. The commercial season begins early in July with a 34-inch minimum size and a five fish bag limit on Sunday and a 30-fish bag limit on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

 

Last year, commercial fishermen in Massachusetts landed 1,218,426 pounds or 115.2 per cent over the 1,057,783 pound state quota. Striped bass are now hard to find in Vineyard waters, with most caught off Chatham by commercial anglers.

 

“I am a fishing guide who isn’t necessarily opposed to commercial striped bass fishing,” Mr. Rapone said. “But I am opposed to any lack of effort on the part of the state to address the current decline.”

 

Paul Diodati, director of the state Division of Marine Fisheries, who received the petition told the Gazette he plans to bring the petition to the next meeting of the state Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission when they meet Thursday, April 4, in Lincoln.

 

“It wouldn’t be possible to implement the petition in the 2013 fishery season,” Mr. Diodati said. “It is late in the year for us.”

 

Mr. Diodati said he wants to take it before the commission to get some input. “I recognize that there continues to be strong interest and passion around striped bass. There is a lot of concern about the resource. We will address those concerns.”

 

Mr. Diodati said he and the commission are looking at eliminating commercial fishing for striped bass on Sundays. Last year the season opened on July 12 and closed on August 9. Mr. Diodati said he would like to establish a catch limit so that the quota runs through the summer.

 

That striped bass are managed in each state along the coast under the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission could prove challenging to local reductions.

 

“Unilateral action in Massachusetts might not be sensible,” Mr. Diodati said. “Whatever conservation we are trying to take, it might be compromised by the fisheries elsewhere.”

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The problem lies that fisheries managers only look at the fish, not the whole ecosystem, What we need is total ecosystem based management of stocks.


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The commercial ALLOWABLE quota along the East Coast has remained the same for at least the last 8 years; the recreational ALLOWABLE quota has no fixed boundary, just a bag limit of 2 fish per day in most ASMFC member states. The charter boat fishery, i.e., which is operated under the recreational mandates, has exploited this fishery at an increasingly, exponentially directed effort for the last several years, because the striped bass fishery has been successfully recovered through the efforts of the ASMFC Striped Bass Management Plan (since 1981). Striped bass remain in very catchable numbers, that is why the charter industry targets them; it is an easy fishery....I do not believe that most charter captains would be in favor of the above mentioned petition, it would be suicide for their business...the typical, paying customer wants meat for his charter trip, no way does he want to go out for 1 fish. Most of the guys on these forums are pretty savvy and knowledgeable on the striped bass fishery; the guys that are going to go out on a 6 pack or headboat trip have no idea what the fishery is about, they just want quantity for their dollar......

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Maybe it might be a good idea and more productive by thinning out the seals first.

 

Good luck with that one. You'd have to repeal or change the Federal Marine Mammal Protection Act. Plus as someone else said, it's a whole ecosystem issue, of which seals are only one facror.

 

-bd

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The recreational catch of striped bass in Massachusetts has declined by nearly 90 per cent since 2006, yet the harvest levels have remained undiminished,”................<<<

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“The recreational catch of striped bass in Massachusetts has declined by nearly 90 per cent since 2006, yet the harvest levels have remained undiminished,”

 

Really? Since the Commercial quota hasn't been increased for almost a decade and over the past 15 years, the Recreational harvest has taken 3 to every commercial bass, this statement is baloney. A crafted speech designed to move the unknowing public in a direction that isn;t necessarily factual.

 

Stripers Forever, in MY Humble opinion has made a policy of making the Commercial Fishermen the enemy, and only because it set them up as the bad guys. It is in MO a propaganda decision that doesn't speak to the truth of the matter. AF never, or haardly never mentions the 70% of the harvest is by recreational factions and a steady and not the tightly controlled 30% by the ASMFC and the states that allow striped bass fishing harvest made by commercial fishermen. The SF deliberate targeting of commercial anglers is to enhance their oh, so, clean and pure mission.

 

They are lying to their members and making dupes out of most of them.

 

I was a member of Striper's Forever, but when they became a tool to separate the commercial aspect of the harvest as evil, as the recreational portion expanded, and expanded and expanded again, I walked away from the image makers and stayed with the numbers of who and where the harvest increases belonged. I've been a recreational fisherman since 1960.

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"Last year, commercial fishermen in Massachusetts landed 1,218,426 pounds or 115.2 per cent over the 1,057,783 pound state quota."

 

Someone needs either a math or a grammar lesson, or maybe both......;)

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Stripers Forever would have a lot more credibility if Dean Clark was not associated with them. The man is a self serving egotist. :thdwn:

 

Funny to hear you say this....I just wrote Dean and Brad a little letter, I hope they spit their coffee all over themselves when they read it...

 

I wasn't at the MFC meeting in Lincoln Thursday. First meeting I've missed in 6 months, but I sure wish I had been.

 

I'm going to give you a copy of the comment I just left on Ted Williams blog, which sums things up rather well.

 

But, before I do, I have to say that I am now convinced that not only are you and you followers total fools, but also that your actions at the meeting and of late are absolute proof that you have not got the welfare of striped bass in mind, but the welfare of the for hire and for profit recreational industry. You were offered the potential to reduce the recreational limit to 1 fish per day and you rejected this, why? The recreational landings are far and away the greatest remover of fish, so why would SF want to reduce the recreational landings and "give the fish a hand"?

Could it be that you don't really want to harm the charter folks or the tackle folks? Very Telling boys, very telling.

 

I offered to work with you folks this winter, through my association, which would have really helped you a lot, I made calls to Craig Caldwell, I never heard from you....WHY?

 

Please just stop now....it's gotten beyond ridiculous.

 

 

So, that said, this is what I wrote in response to Deans little fairy tale at Ted Williams's blog:

 

 

SF taken seriously? This should have been written on April 1'st Ted!

 

SF didn't bother to stick around for any other issues. Why would they, since their only real goal was to see the commercial fishery diminished (and eventually closed so they can have it all for the charter industry). Funny thing about you and them and the truth....you don't get the truth on this page until I come and tell you what it is....SO here it is - Stripers Forever was offered the opportunity to reduce the recreational landing limit to 1 fish, right there....BUT, THEY REJECTED THIS!!!!!

 

DMF explained to them, that reducing the commercial quota wasn't within their ultimate discretion, that is the ASMFC's. They were also told that doing so, "could take six months, to a year". This is actually comical though, that SF petioned the MA DMF, with a petition with 500 names on it, of which only about 100 were MA residents. This is comical on many points - SF claims to have a huge base - yet only 500 signatures, my kids got that many in 1 day at the Cape Cod mall about a scup issue back in the 90's. SF is petioning the DMF, not the ASMFC, wrong party. SF presents their petition in April, not in the fall, when there would be all winter to discuss it.....I can go on and on.

 

The thing SF isn't getting, the handwriting on the wall so to speak, is- This is a very important COMMERCIAL fishery to many people and supports a lot of jobs, directly and indirectly and that MA is NEVER going to close the fishery. We have a cod hanging on the wall of our statehouse and it's not because CODFISH FOREVER or ORVIS put it there.

 

You and SF can clamour and wring your hands all you like. Blood will be shed before this fishery ever closes.

 

 

 

;)

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