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stripedbassjeff

The Fisherman mag articles "conservation"

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Articles THE 2019 NORTHEAST STRIPED BASS STUDY Five years after removing striped bass from the Dream Boat Fishing Challenge, The Fisherman Magazine partners up with Gray FishTag Research and Navionics in a ground-breaking research program to better understand the species. By Michael Caruso Print Send Link Together at the Miami International Boat Show, Bill Dobbelaer of Grays Fish Tag Research (left), Paul Michele of Navionics (middle) and Michael Caruso of The Fisherman Magazine (right) discuss the launch of the 2019 satellite tagging study on striped bass. Five years ago The Fisherman Magazinemade a tough decision to remove striped bass from Dream Boat Fishing Challenge eligibility, despite a lot of pressure to have them remain an eligible species. Based on what we were seeing and hearing from all along the Striper Coast, we knew then that it was the right thing to do. Given the results of the preliminary striped bass assessment (the final assessment is not due out until May) which indicated striped bass are being overfished and experiencing overfishing, we are even more committed to doing our part to help conserve this valuable resource. A lot of people have come around to that way of thinking, and we’re happy to see many anglers lining up to address the issues confronting striped bass, including the possibility that their range has expanded further north and/or to offshore waters. Without a doubt, striped bass are the most important saltwater gamefish along the Atlantic Coast and they serve as the target species for tens of thousands of anglers from some of the most populous cities in the country, including Boston, New York and Philadelphia. They provide recreational opportunities from the quietest stretches of beach and marshlands, to city bulkheads, rivers and major shipping channels. Despite their status as a top gamefish and the tremendous revenue generated by those who seek them, they are confronted with some serious management challenges. For all that we know about recruitment in spawning estuaries like the Chesapeake, Hudson and Delaware, not to mention the overall population dynamics, there is still much we don’t know. As is so often the case with fisheries management, many of the impossible questions come from the fact that particular answers seem to lie beyond the scope of our current scientific tools. As coastal fishermen, we live and die by the term “best available science,” and are often critical whenever decisions are made where science seems flawed or lacking. In many cases, the disconnect leaves us divided as a community, and often impedes the ability to constructively do what’s best for the fish, those who seek them, and the recreational fishing industry alike. Knowledge is power, and the endless socio-political debates regarding striped bass often waste time and prevent smart, motivated individuals from working together as a team in the best interest of the entire fishery. As a world-class gamefish, striped bass truly deserve more, and we believe that should include the best measurement tools available in the world today. Removing striped bass from the Dream Boat Fishing Challenge in 2015 was just a start. While much of the early criticism has turned around to understanding the need for better protection and conservation of those big, old, fat, fecund, female fish – affectionately known as BOFFFFs – we also felt that there was more that we could do. That’s why I’m excited and proud to announce something that gives us a chance to bring striped bass research to a higher level. Together, Gray FishTag Research, Navionics and The Fisherman Magazine are developing a satellite tagging study for striped bass with a forward-looking objective to pioneer a new level of understanding about striped bass. Later this spring, we’ll be working together to tag a pair of BOFFFF stripers with state-of-the-art satellite tags as they begin their spring migration from the Hudson River. These satellite tags are cutting edge, so our expectations for better understanding striped bass behavior and distribution are pretty high. Thanks to considerable funding provided by Navionics, we’ll be utilizing the best satellite tag technology in the field today to collect data about the behavior and long-distance movement of striped bass. A high level plan developed by Bill Dobbelaer and Leah Baumwell of Gray FishTag Research, Paul Michele of Navionics, and our own team at The Fisherman including Fred Golofaro, Jim Hutchinson, Toby Lapinski and myself, will be explained in more detail in our April edition. But based on the latest ASFMC information (see page 6G – Striped Bass Assessment Update – in the March edition of The Fisherman Magazine) and the current state of the striped bass fishery, I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know what we hope to accomplish in the future. These compact, lightweight tags won’t impede the behavior of the fish in any way, and after around 5 months the tag is designed to break free, float to the surface, link up to a satellite and begin its data upload. Location, water temperature, and depth data are recorded every minute.

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Articles PLAYING THE SLOTS With reductions in striped bass harvest on the horizon, one option being thrown around is a slot limit; but how would that work and what might be implemented? By Toby Lapinski Print Send Link With a slot limit enacted to promote healthy, breeding-class striped bass, specimens like this mid-40-incher would be protected. When the subject of fish management comes up, whether the species being discussed is striped bass, fluke or whatever the flavor of the day is, many often turn to the concept of a slot limit as a way to help rebuild the species. From there I see rather arbitrary numbers thrown around in which different user groups would support, but often there is little science behind the numbers to back them up and instead the suggestions are based upon what would benefit said user group the most. Unfortunately, it’s the “science” in which the managers usually fall back upon when making decisions. Well, at least that is what they say motivates their actions. For those unfamiliar with the term, a slot limit is a method of fishery management which regulates the size of a fish for legal harvest within a determined length range, or “slot.” Fish which fall below or over the range must be released, while fish that fall within the range are eligible for harvest. There is also a “protected slot limit” in which any fish that fall within a certain length range must be released, while those that fall outside the range would be eligible for harvest. Depending on the intended result, fisheries managers have used the slot limit and the protected slot limit at different times on different species. One of several species commonly used to support the concept that a slot limit would work on striped bass, for example, is the redfish/red drum fishery in Florida. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), “In the late 1980s red drum was overfished, thus several emergency closures were established to reduce fishing pressure. In 1989, the slot limit of 18-27 inches, the bag limit of one fish per person and a closed season from March-May were put in place. Red drum stocks have rebounded and are currently meeting or exceeding the FWC's management goal of 40% escapement in most parts of Florida. Escapement is the proportion of fish that survive through age four relative to the fish that would have survived if there was no fishery.” I am somewhat familiar with the success of the slot limit on the Florida red drum, but I never knew the story of how it came to be. Well, while in Orlando in early July 2018 at ICAST, I had the good fortune to be able to spend some time talking to several local captains who had fished through the lean years of red drum. My primary goal of our conversations was to figure out if and how what they did could be applied to our beloved striped bass in the Northeast. Knowing there has to be some science behind the numbers, I asked how the slot was determined. Well, as it turns out, redfish generally begin spawning when they reach 26 inches in length, roughly the same length at which they make a move from primarily inshore waters to those further offshore. By setting the maximum harvest length at 27 inches for redfish, the spawning stock is protected. Sure the fish might be harvested prior to reaching spawning size, but any fish which are successful in dodging an army of hooks and nets to reach spawning size can basically do so moving forward free of any unnatural harvest. So applying all of this to striped bass, we would need to look at minimum lengths for reproduction to begin the discussion. It is also good to note that almost all striped bass in excess of 40 inches are females, and it is well-documented that when the end goal is species recovery, it is best to remove the males and leave the females, so first and foremost leaving all fish in excess of 40 inches in the population at large is a good thing by this logic. The science behind this concept is that it only takes one male to fertilize many females so by reducing the male population you do little to hurt reproduction. Further, as a striped bass gets larger, so does its fecundity (ability to produce eggs.) For example, a 12-pound female can produce in the range of 850,000 eggs while a 55-pounder can produce about 4,200,000 eggs. Now where there enters some discussion and debate is to the viability of those eggs on the larger fish, but to the best of my knowledge no such definitive data exists at this time. Striped bass reach sexual maturity somewhere between age 4 and 8, and that age range equates to a fish of anywhere from 21 to 32 inches long. So by applying the same concept as seemed to work on redfish, one would assume that we would need to protect striped bass in excess of 32 inches on the high end. If you look at the way today’s regulations are set up along the ocean (outside of the Chesapeake Bay), we basically do the exact opposite of this in that harvest is prohibited on fish below 28 inches, smack dab inside the range of when they reach sexual maturity which means we basically ONLY harvest sexually-mature fish. Further, with the emphasis on taking the largest fish possible by tournaments and egos alike, we are further targeting the large females of the species. This all seems counter-productive to ensuring a healthy, robust and self-sufficient stock. Is it any wonder why the striped bass population is in as poor of a state as it is? So where might this lead us? Now I am only throwing ideas out there, but if we were to take the redfish as an example of a similar species’ success story, then anglers would have to be willing to accept a slot limit somewhere in the range of 16 to 24 inches (somewhat arbitrary numbers but it falls inside the range as outlined above.) To be honest I’d be somewhat surprised if anything like this ever comes to fruition in my lifetime, but I can’t say that I’d be opposed to it, either. We must all put aside our own personal feelings and short-term gains and put what might truly be best for striped bass first, for once, if we hope to have a fruitful and plentiful fishery for generations to come. Featured Videos

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I Replied this too: This should start a little conversation by angler#1

 

Remember these stock assessments can only go by what information they have. I'll agree with it for now but, in order to get a true study on impacts of catch and release you would have to tag more fish and see if the die after release. 

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36 mins ago, stripedbassjeff said:

I Replied this too: This should start a little conversation by angler#1

 

Remember these stock assessments can only go by what information they have. I'll agree with it for now but, in order to get a true study on impacts of catch and release you would have to tag more fish and see if the die after release. 

I don't think this proposed tagging study has anything to do with C&R mortality. I'm curious as to why they choose to use Hudson fish, since the majority of the total population comes from the Chesapeake Bay estuary.

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It's a start, I'm sure once they get going there is going to be all sorts of things they will find out with tagging. 

Your right the project does seem a bit small seems like it should be larger.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

1 hour ago, stripedbassjeff said:

It's a start, I'm sure once they get going there is going to be all sorts of things they will find out with tagging. 

Your right the project does seem a bit small seems like it should be larger.

I hope I'm wrong, but with those partners it seems to me its just as likely to be a publicity stunt as it is to be a real scientific effort.

Edited by MakoMike

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5 hours ago, stripedbassjeff said:

I Replied this too: This should start a little conversation by angler#1

 

Remember these stock assessments can only go by what information they have. I'll agree with it for now but, in order to get a true study on impacts of catch and release you would have to tag more fish and see if the die after release. 

Stock assessments are numbers in the sky unless we have a definite measuring tool in place So by tagging more fish , not only in the most Southerly range, but it the most Northerly range   do we get numbers that may make some sense ? Unless we can identify all tribes in our waters here in Massachusetts we will never have a clear picture as to the extent of any problem as we do not have a base number to start with . If the process is to be honest and inclusive, we need a multiple approach to what ever system is chosen across a broad spectra in multiple states at the same time. This would not be a mickey mouse approach by any imagination , But rather a composite study by all of the parties involved . That could even include the different users as well in such a study . If this is going to be a scientific study let it have national recognition with multiple agency in the states it is affecting , not from just one area of concern , but from the aquatic factors it will show what is going on. Catch and release is a small part of this ongoing problem along with temperature changes, habitat changes, health changes  and last but not least food support to help keep them sustained long term and at the right time of the gestation period they are using to lay the eggs for fertilization by the males . 

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What about the slot limit article? 16 to 24" is what they were saying. There basing that on sexual maturity being between 21" and 32". I think 11" is too broad of a variation, needs to be narrowed down further. But at lower slot sizes you might just keep one once in a while. Probably with a mix bag of other fish that we target.

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