lukster14

Striped Bass Breeding and Stocking. Am I missing something?

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Bear with me, this turned into a bit of a book when I dug more into it.

 

Ive been seeing a lot of posts about spawn levels and catch ;levels being low. So Ive been looking around and every time I search for it I get tons of links about "hybrid" striped bass farming and or stocking. I'm wondering why the U.S. Fish and Wildlife doesn't  seem to have a Striped Bass stocking program, but spends so much time and $ stocking trout and bass etc. around the country. I mean they air drop them from planes in lakes so remote that 99% of people will never access them.

 

Am I just not searching correctly and thereby not finding it, or is the issue that they are more difficult to breed than trout or salmon? Is it not seen as a viable Or is it that they just don't really give a damn.

 

It seems that whats going on has created almost a cyclical pattern where every 30-40 years there is a crash.

 

This is from an article about Virginia's stocking program-https://www.westernbass.com/article/spawning-and-stocking-program-striped-bass

"About 70 percent of the stripers that DGIF stocks are Roanoke, while 30 percent are Chesapeake—and only freshwater impoundments such as lakes and reservoirs are stocked. No stripers are returned to tidal Chesapeake rivers. "

-I dont know if this was a stand alone program or if there are separate programs for this for the migratory side.

 

this is from the US Fish and wildlife-https://www.fws.gov/fisheries/freshwater-fish-of-america/striped_bass.html

" Atlantic coast striped stocks have significantly rebounded since the early 1970’s. In matter of fact, Atlantic coast striped bass are considered a “poster child’ for successful interjurisdictional fishery management of a coastal migratory species. As of 2014, Atlantic coast striped bass stocks are no longer overfished and overfishing is no longer occurring. "

-i guess it hasnt been updated for some time, but seems like this isnt what we are seeing anymore.

 

this is from research gate-  https://www.researchgate.net/publication/242707132_Striped_Bass_Stocking_Programs_in_the_United_States_Ecological_and_Resource_Management_Issues

"All components of the Atlantic coastal migratory stock are considered recovered
to recent historic levels (1960s and early 1970s). The Chesapeake Bay stock was
declared recovered on January 1, 1995, and the Albemarle-Roanoke stock was
declared recovered in November 1997. The Delaware stock was considered recovered
in late 1998. The Hudson River stock never was considered to be in a state of collapse
and therefore was not targeted for restoration efforts.
At present, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Fisheries Program involvement
with striped bass is limited to the production of fish for restoration of non-migratory
populations that reside in South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico drainages. Edenton NFH,
NC, is producing phase I striped bass of the Santee-Cooper strain for the State of
South Carolina; these fry will come from the SC state hatchery at St. Stephens
(formerly Moncks Corner). Edenton is also producing phase I and phase II Roanoke
River striped bass from fry provided by the Watha State Fish Hatchery (NC) for stocking
into the Neuse River, NC, and upstream reservoirs on the Roanoke River as partial
mitigation for dam construction. Gulf of Mexico strain striped bass fry are being
produced at Welaka NFH, FL, Marion State Fish Hatchery, GA, and Blackwater River
(state) Fisheries Research and Development Center, FL, for growout to phase I and/or
phase II at five federal hatcheries: Welaka NFH, Private John Allen NFH, MS,
Natchitoches NFH, LA, Inks Dam NFH, TX, and Warms Springs NFH, GA. These fish
are destined for stocking in Gulf of Mexico drainage basins."
 
-from the same report.
"Present stocking strategies
. At the interstate level, a coordinated federal-state
stocking program is nearly non-existent at the present time primarily because the
striped bass stocks are considered to be restored. The Striped Bass Stocking
Committee of the ASMFC has not met in nearly 4 ½ years because estuarine stocking
is now considered a non-viable activity for stock restoration (John Field, ASMFC,
personal communication)."
 
-again from the same report.
"Recommendations on Enhancement
. We generally concur with the conclusionof Upton and Mangold (1996) that “...stocking solely for the purpose of put-and-take
fisheries is not advisable given the current success and relatively low costs of wild
fishery management.” Grimes (1998) reaches essentially the same conclusion that the
desirability of marine stock enhancement as a management tool “...must be weighed
against far-less-expensive, but more politically difficult, traditional approaches....” In our
view, the conservative approach for enhancement of wild, endemic stocks is to impose
sufficient regulatory measures to ensure adequate protection, conservation and
sustainability for future generations.

********************************************************************************************

That is as far as I got when looking into it today, and I'll be digging into it more as it interests me quite a bit, But it seems that in general we're playing a generational YO-YO in terms of the striped bass fishery collapsing. Seems like it happens every 30 years (incidentally the expected lifespan of the average striper) and that at least at this time according to the report, there is little to no pro-active support going on for the stocks. It seems to me the govt just panics until its "fixed" by their metrics and then dumps $ in an emergency into something that with more consistent help w, wouldn't be as much of an issue.

 

Granted i read 2 reports and a couple web pages, so i"m hoping you all might have more insight into whats up as I haven't been paying much attention till recently.

 

 

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Follow the money.

 

Who's going to pay for the breeding and restocking?

 

Who's going to benefit from the breeding and restocking?

 

If the answers aren't the same, good luck!

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The first question is why we should settle for factory-raised rubber bass, genetically engineered to thrive in an artificial environment, when we have the knowledge and ability to maintian healthy, wild striped bass stocks along the Atlantic coast, if managers could just find the will and political courage to do so.

 

Fish stocking is an admission that management has failed, and that a stock cannot maintain itself naturally.  Any research on the subject demonstrates that the stocked fish are less fit to survive in a wild environment, but that they still, by dint of their numbers, manage to compete with wild fish for habitat, food, etc., and that their genes can contaminate the native gene pool.  The best example may be Pacific salmon, which have been stocked for over a century, and yet not only have failed to restore natural runs, but have led to a situation where many of such natural runs have become endangered.

 

Even if hatchery fish have the same genes as native fish, studies have shown that the genes can be expressed differently after only one or two generations in a hatchery environment, with those which best suit hatchery propogation expressed while those that best promote life in the wild do not.

 

Absent an endangered species situation, I'd never want to see wild striped bass degraded in that manner.

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Looks to me like the OP’s information is 25 or more years out of date.  This is the 2nd Striper population crash I’ve lived thru.  We didn’t learn from the first one.  

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9 mins ago, Dan Tinman said:

Looks to me like the OP’s information is 25 or more years out of date.  This is the 2nd Striper population crash I’ve lived thru.  We didn’t learn from the first one.  

and that was the reason for my questions. I didnt see anything from even the 2005 or later era.

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Breeding and stocking programs don't benefit a healthy ecosystem, they benefit the people that work on them.  Search for the film Artifishal, it sheds a lot of light on the evils of stocking and breeding programs.

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1 hour ago, lukster14 said:

and that was the reason for my questions. I didnt see anything from even the 2005 or later era.

That’s interesting.  I wonder why?  

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In the 70's and 80's when they stocked the Hudson river with Stripers there was a lot of talk about how they were going to research the differences in the hatchery born fish vs completely wild fish but I never found any findings from long term studies.

 

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