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How soon we forget - Striped Bass decline

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On 1/5/2019 at 2:24 PM, JohnP said:

But what I can say with certainty.... is that keeper means keep

+1

 

I hear so often "I dont begrudge a guy keeping a legal fish".   Yeah, well maybe it shouldnt have been legal.

 

 

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People started worrying about the decline of the fisheries back in the late 1800's. Interesting reading...

 

United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries 
Annual Reports 1871-1903 
In 1871, the U.S. Congress empaneled and funded a federal Commission of Fish and Fisheries, (commonly known as the United States Fish Commission) directing it to investigate: " the causes of decrease in the supply of useful food-fishes of the United States, and of the various factors entering into the problem; and (2) " the determination and employment of such active measures as may seem best calculated to stock or restock the waters of the rivers, lakes and the sea."

For the next thirty years, the Commission deployed its research vessels on the nation's rivers, lakes and oceans, trained fishery agents to document the catches landed in American and Canadian fishing ports, actively corresponded with scientists, fisherman and naturalists around the world, set up large scale salmon hatcheries in New England and the Pacific Northwest, used a floating hatchery to replenish shad in East Coast rivers and considered the effect on fish and other marine life of the new petroleum pollution.

 

http://penbay.org/cof/uscof.html

 

1871.JPG

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On 1/7/2019 at 9:32 AM, Jettyhound said:

The mantras of the NJMFC and all of the other regulating bodies of marine wildlife conservation is "management by extinction".   Regarding YOY: the "data" regulators use to establish bag limits is bogus based upon the collection methods used.

Unfortunately, water quality will probably continue to deteriorate based upon the rapidly increasing human population and the need to feed it.  About the only way to change this will be to eliminate fertilizers and pesticides in crops and homeowner lawns, and to build water treatment plants that can actually satisfy the demand of coastal populations.

The data used to manage striped bass is actually pretty good.  The problem is what people do with that data--which is often to ignore it in favor of "socio-economic concerns."

 

I was at the ASMFC meeting in Manhattan last fall, and there was actually broad consensus around the table that they need to focus on managing for sustainablility, with one state delegate saying just about what you wrote, that they could "manage fish to extinction" unless real sustainability was the goal.

 

The problem is, when sustainable management starts to hurt, they are too quick to back off on what needs to be done.

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19 mins ago, CWitek said:

The data used to manage striped bass is actually pretty good.  The problem is what people do with that data--which is often to ignore it in favor of "socio-economic concerns."

 

I was at the ASMFC meeting in Manhattan last fall, and there was actually broad consensus around the table that they need to focus on managing for sustainablility, with one state delegate saying just about what you wrote, that they could "manage fish to extinction" unless real sustainability was the goal.

 

The problem is, when sustainable management starts to hurt, they are too quick to back off on what needs to be done.

I agree with all of your points. 

However, I just think that determining how successful a spawn was is pretty hit/miss; video below.  I don't understand how netting a few fish can be extrapolated into intelligent fish management for any specie -let alone bass. 

I think a determining factor of a biomass is by witness of the number of fish that are encountered by the many surf and bazillion boaters who, by most accounts, report a dearth of bass.  Last fall not one fish was entered into the surf clubs' tournament at Montauk.  That has never happened before.  Montauk was flat-lined and it has been for the past few years.   (It is, exactly what it is.)

 

 

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1 hour ago, Jettyhound said:

I agree with all of your points. 

However, I just think that determining how successful a spawn was is pretty hit/miss; video below.  I don't understand how netting a few fish can be extrapolated into intelligent fish management for any specie -let alone bass. 

I think a determining factor of a biomass is by witness of the number of fish that are encountered by the many surf and bazillion boaters who, by most accounts, report a dearth of bass.  Last fall not one fish was entered into the surf clubs' tournament at Montauk.  That has never happened before.  Montauk was flat-lined and it has been for the past few years.   (It is, exactly what it is.)

 

 

The young-of-the-year surveys have been pretty reliable--in fact, I would argue that the Maryland juvenile abundance survey has historically been the best predictor of how the bass fishing will be six, ten and even fifteen years later.  The only place that may have fallen down is the 2011s--although folks were catching some up in New England last year, and we saw them migrate south along the coast, the numbers didn't seem to be what we'd expect from the 4th largest spawn on record.  Although they did get hit pretty hard before they left the bay, that's usually not enough to whittle down a big year class, because the number of young fish is so great.  We'll see what the assessment ultimately says about the survival of that year class.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

There's millions of small schoolies everywhere, around NYC and LI any way.  There was some bigger fish also around 32" but not as many, or nearly as spread out. That's evidence of two good spawns, or maybe three, counting the rats, but I really wonder if those bigger ones are all that plentiful?

Just a matter of time before they're "harvested", and those little ones are too when they reach any kind of minimum size that can be taken.

That's my impression anyway.

Edited by Rainmaker

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ASMFC striper committee will be meeting on Feb 6 2019 from 2:30 to 5:00 to review the 2018 striper stock assessment. Based on that review we may see some changes coming. While I've only seen the data for the assessment and not the final outcome from the technical committee meeting that occurred in the fall. I would guess that we may see stripers being listed as over fished and the breeding stock as below the threshold. How the board decides to use this data will determine if any changes are coming. They will also be addressing opening up the EEZ for stripers in an area around Block Island. 

 

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19 hours ago, CWitek said:

...

I was at the ASMFC meeting in Manhattan last fall, and there was actually broad consensus around the table that they need to focus on managing for sustainablility, with one state delegate saying just about what you wrote, that they could "manage fish to extinction" unless real sustainability was the goal....

I am not sure I understand this; those entrusted to manage the fishery are acknowledging their failure to manage the fishery in a sustainable way and are questioning their own decisions?

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17 hours ago, Rainmaker said:

There's millions of small schoolies everywhere, around NYC and LI any way.  There was some bigger fish also around 32" but not as many, or nearly as spread out. That's evidence of two good spawns, or maybe three, counting the rats, but I really wonder if those bigger ones are all that plentiful?

Just a matter of time before they're "harvested", and those little ones are too when they reach any kind of minimum size that can be taken.

That's my impression anyway.

I remember 1991 being decent and '92 being very good with hundreds of fish (all surf) I had in the teens and quite a few in the low to mid 20's -estimates because I only kept 1 fish per year back then but I have a pretty good eye.  Anyway, in '92 I said a few times that we'll be up to our ears in BIG fish in a few years.  IT NEVER HAPPENED!  Those fish disappeared.  Sad but true...

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9 hours ago, rollincoal said:

I am not sure I understand this; those entrusted to manage the fishery are acknowledging their failure to manage the fishery in a sustainable way and are questioning their own decisions?

Some, yes.

 

The context was a proposed change in the ASMFC's Vision Statement, from the current "Sustainably managed Atlantic Coast fisheries" to a proposed "Cooperatively managed Atlantic Coast fisheries."  The emphasis on

the "cooperatively" was due to New Jersey's failure to play well with others with respect to summer flounder, its decision to go out of compliance, and the subsequent support given to New Jersey by the Secretary of Commerce, which support has seriously undermined ASMFC's authority to compel states to adopt ASMFC's management plans.

 

There was general objection to the removal of the term "sustainably," with many commissioners talking about the importance of sustainability, the one making the comment that fisheries could be "managed to extinction" if not managed for sustainability, etc.  

 

At the same meeting, there was also a lot of introspection about ASMFC management, with commissioners from a few states saying that ASMFC should be placing greater emphasis on science, one Rhode Island rep speaking of the need for sideboards on ASMFC's freedom to use its discretion, and a North Carolina rep saying that he can always justify decisions based on science if people object, but has a harder time justifying decisions based on other factors.

 

It was a refreshing thing to hear.  ASMFC knows that people are watching, and at that meeting one commissioner expressed concern that if they don't rebuild stocks, etc., legislators will try to put them under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, with all of its requirements, something that they'd like to avoid.

 

Too early to say what will happen, but such introspection and self-criticism is a necessary forerunner to any meaningful change.

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On 1/8/2019 at 2:39 PM, Rainmaker said:

There's millions of small schoolies everywhere, around NYC and LI any way.  There was some bigger fish also around 32" but not as many, or nearly as spread out. That's evidence of two good spawns, or maybe three, counting the rats, but I really wonder if those bigger ones are all that plentiful?

Just a matter of time before they're "harvested", and those little ones are too when they reach any kind of minimum size that can be taken.

That's my impression anyway.

2011s and 2015s.  The 2015s were all over the western Sound last November.  I was fishing out of Connecticut, and we had them everywhere, but no bigger fish at all.

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On 1/8/2019 at 3:06 PM, MichaelT said:

ASMFC striper committee will be meeting on Feb 6 2019 from 2:30 to 5:00 to review the 2018 striper stock assessment. Based on that review we may see some changes coming. While I've only seen the data for the assessment and not the final outcome from the technical committee meeting that occurred in the fall. I would guess that we may see stripers being listed as over fished and the breeding stock as below the threshold. How the board decides to use this data will determine if any changes are coming. They will also be addressing opening up the EEZ for stripers in an area around Block Island. 

 

The unofficial word that I'm getting is that the stock will be declared overfished with overfishing occurring. 

 

However, I'm also hearing rumors that there's going to be a push to claim that all is really well, because the bass are somewhere in the EEZ.  

 

Really.  Just got a call about that today,

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48 mins ago, CWitek said:

The unofficial word that I'm getting is that the stock will be declared overfished with overfishing occurring. 

 

However, I'm also hearing rumors that there's going to be a push to claim that all is really well, because the bass are somewhere in the EEZ.  

 

Really.  Just got a call about that today,

Are they out of their minds and expect us to buy that BS? I'd like to know who is saying that so I can share with them the horrible fishing I have had for the past several years.

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1 hour ago, CWitek said:

2011s and 2015s.  The 2015s were all over the western Sound last November.  I was fishing out of Connecticut, and we had them everywhere, but no bigger fish at all.

I remember you saying a while back that they're managing Striped Bass into a 'panfish', or something along those lines.

 

Every time I go out, I go out a lot, and see nothing but rat bass I think of that, and it looking to be prophetic. :dismay:

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