JohnP

Striped Bass Management - Starting Over

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I got into striped bass in the mid to late 70s, as the fishery started to decline. The 1980s were lost years I won’t get back. There was no fishery as far as I was concerned. I got renewed optimism by the early 90s. The regs were 1@36. It was rare to get a keeper but that didn’t stop big numbers of fishermen from going. 

 

The regs were relaxed after the fishery was declared restored, and I was actually surprised so many people who were content with 1@36 were taking much smaller fish now. It was a long and fierce debate to go to 28 and then to add a second or in some cases a third fish.

 

But the detractors told us not to worry. There was a biomass target and plenty of opportunity to change course if regs were too liberal. 

 

Since those early days in the 00s we have not been able to manage the decline in the population. We can read ASMFC minutes over years where the scientists were absolutely clear, the fishery was very likely to continue to decline. 

 

By around 2008, almost all long time accomplished fishermen I knew agreed, they were just not catching in the places or the numbers, and a noted decline could not be explained by other seasonal or temporary factors.

 

There were and still are windows of good fishing, but the range and consistency was gone, and it only got worse. 

 

So here we are in 2019. The fishery is declared overfished. Many of the guys who got into striped bass fishing over the last decade do not enjoy the frame of reference of catching multiple 30 pounders off the beach, let alone multiple 40s on a given night. 

 

Many of those who ‘promised’ us regs would change if there were problems are gone, and a new generation of spokesmen are unlikely to recognize or honor past promises.

 

Management plans and regulations have consequences, but it can take years before a mis step becomes painfully obvious. Decisions made in 2003 and shortly thereafter resulted in overfishing by around 2017-2018. Along the way, as the fishery declined, we debated seasonality, changes in migration patterns, the impact of global warming, etc.

 

Cautionary stock assessments were called into question, often for very shallow reasons.

 

Now with over fishing in 2019, I’m wondering aloud if there is any chance things will turn out differently.

 

Will managers push off action another year, because they can? Will the promise of a recent new year class be used to delay action, even if there’s absolutely no assurance those fish will survive to maturity?

 

Will the surviving managers and detractors who helped drive the striped bass “success story” fishery back into the ground be called out, and asked to step down?

 

Whatever happens it’s clear the action taken over the next couple of years will have consequences yet again. 

 

Do you think we have the ability to change how we make decisions on striped bass?

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by JohnP

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1 hour ago, JohnP said:

 

 

Do you think we have the ability to change how we make decisions on striped bass?

 

 

 

 

 

The ability?  I think so.

 

But the will?  Probably not.  When it comes down to crunch time, when hours and dollars need to be put on the line, most will find an excuse to walk away.

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54 mins ago, CWitek said:

The ability?  I think so.

 

But the will?  Probably not.  When it comes down to crunch time, when hours and dollars need to be put on the line, most will find an excuse to walk away.

 

The decisions made now could very well impact the fishery I am left with for most of the rest of my life.

 

I have a hard time accepting that some huckster, who doesn’t know his ass from his elbow, but feels like a big sh,t being involved in ASMFC, is going to determine the outcome. Not after some of them sat in that role for years and F’d up so badly.

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Given the current state of the fishery I’d (seriously) vote for mandatory release of all fish until 2022...and live with the 9% C&R mortality rate during the next four years and reassess at that point.

 

For those that argue “ I deserve or have the right to be able to eat some of the Saxatilis that I catch” — I say develop a taste for other fish.... if we don’t change our habits, and the rules or budgets won’t provide for rigorous enforcement, then we can all see how this ends.

 

We are are the ones (supposedly) with the most developed brains - we need to use them!

 

im just sayin’...

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@CWitek i have no clue how any of this works...if the striped bass population continues to decline and ASMFC continues to let it, is there anyway striped bass management can be taken out of the hands of ASMFC? I don’t know who would take over, but haven’t u mentioned something about federally managed fish being better off because the management plans actually have to be followed?

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3 hours ago, JohnP said:

I got into striped bass in the mid to late 70s, as the fishery started to decline. The 1980s were lost years I won’t get back. There was no fishery as far as I was concerned. I got renewed optimism by the early 90s. The regs were 1@36. It was rare to get a keeper but that didn’t stop big numbers of fishermen from going. 

 

The regs were relaxed after the fishery was declared restored, and I was actually surprised so many people who were content with 1@36 were taking much smaller fish now. It was a long and fierce debate to go to 28 and then to add a second or in some cases a third fish.

 

But the detractors told us not to worry. There was a biomass target and plenty of opportunity to change course if regs were too liberal. 

 

Since those early days in the 00s we have not been able to manage the decline in the population. We can read ASMFC minutes over years where the scientists were absolutely clear, the fishery was very likely to continue to decline. 

 

By around 2008, almost all long time accomplished fishermen I knew agreed, they were just not catching in the places or the numbers, and a noted decline could not be explained by other seasonal or temporary factors.

 

There were and still are windows of good fishing, but the range and consistency was gone, and it only got worse. 

 

So here we are in 2019. The fishery is declared overfished. Many of the guys who got into striped bass fishing over the last decade do not enjoy the frame of reference of catching multiple 30 pounders off the beach, let alone multiple 40s on a given night. 

 

Many of those who ‘promised’ us regs would change if there were problems are gone, and a new generation of spokesmen are unlikely to recognize or honor past promises.

 

Management plans and regulations have consequences, but it can take years before a mis step becomes painfully obvious. Decisions made in 2003 and shortly thereafter resulted in overfishing by around 2017-2018. Along the way, as the fishery declined, we debated seasonality, changes in migration patterns, the impact of global warming, etc.

 

Cautionary stock assessments were called into question, often for very shallow reasons.

 

Now with over fishing in 2019, I’m wondering aloud if there is any chance things will turn out differently.

 

Will managers push off action another year, because they can? Will the promise of a recent new year class be used to delay action, even if there’s absolutely no assurance those fish will survive to maturity?

 

Will the surviving managers and detractors who helped drive the striped bass “success story” fishery back into the ground be called out, and asked to step down?

 

Whatever happens it’s clear the action taken over the next couple of years will have consequences yet again. 

 

Do you think we have the ability to change how we make decisions on striped bass?

 

 

 

 

 

8

Change keeper size to 34/36 inches. I  think that would change a lot of peoples thinking as far as Fishing in the first place. Let's not wait till the bad time are back upon us. 

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38 mins ago, Bmackerel said:

@CWitek i have no clue how any of this works...if the striped bass population continues to decline and ASMFC continues to let it, is there anyway striped bass management can be taken out of the hands of ASMFC? I don’t know who would take over, but haven’t u mentioned something about federally managed fish being better off because the management plans actually have to be followed?

The federal plans are better because they have to meet the requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, but Magnuson-Stevens contains specific provisions stating that it doesn't apply within state waters (except for a couple of exceptions that don't apply here).

 

The Atlantic Striped Bass Conservation Act specifically authorized ASMFC to have jurisdiction over striped bass, and the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act expanded that authority to other species.

 

Best chance would be to amend the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries act to require that the best available science be used, to prohibit overfishing, and to require overfished stocks to be promptly rebuilt.  That would be difficult to accomplish, due to the "states rights" crowed opposing it, but it is something that is beginning to pop up in serious conversations.

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As someone who only recently (last few years) has been trying to get into fishing for stripers, and sees how they are managed it's kind of depressing to think that I may not know what it is like to  have consistent fishing for them. I have lucked into a few, but while I can plan and usually be successful with most other species(besides fluke recently) it's just depressing that even if you do everything rightz besides a few specific areas you wont necesarily find fish... I hope the people in charge wake up and make the necessary changes.

If that means I cant keep a striper for the next 5+ years, I dont care. I just want to have a reasonable population of them to fish for. I say c+r only for a while, no more trebels, no or crushed barbs and inline barbless circles for bait fishing... 

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Raising the size limit to 34" and above WILL ONLY RESULT in an increase of more fish going back   DEAD and removing  prime spawners , 28-49" are the prime spawners.  Only  2 possible solutions  to grow population  #1  need a size and limit of 1 fish between   18-28" and all the rest go back to spawn.. or . #2 complete shutdown for 2-3 years . We also need barbless hooks for those who dead stick fish . 

'

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perhaps changing the opening of bass season to July1 would allow the large to spawn and move on before the fleet gets to beat on them? 28" minimum everywhere including the Chesapeake and Hudson.

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Beating up on them at spawn time makes zero sense. One size fits all works for me, although I'm not sure what the size should be. Not being difficult, I just don't know.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Closed seasons or different minimim sizes, just options 

 

They are just tools to get the Fishing mortality lowered to the point the decline would be stopped and a rebuild is possible or better yet likely

 

*there has to be absolute agreement on lowering that mortality*

 

if not we will go around in circles, debating options with no mandated and agreed outcome 

 

It seems ASMFC excels at this 

 

 

 

Edited by JohnP

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