CWitek

Striped bass management: Addendum I to Amendment 7

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When the ASMFC's Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board adopted Amendment 7, they left one issue floating in limbo.  That was the question of state commercial allocations and the interstate transfer of quota.

 

The issue is being pushed by Delaware, which feels that it drew the short straw when state quotas were being established.  Management Board members didn't want to ateslow up passage of Amendmentn 7 with an allocation fight, so they kept the issue out of that document, and agreed to put it in a separate addendum, which began life as Addendum VII to Amendment 6 and then became Addendum I to Amendment 7 after the latter amendment was approved.

 

Unfortunately, what had originally been envisioned as a simple measure to throw Delaware commercials a few more bass has become a broader proposal that would allow the transfer of unused quota by and to any coastal state (Chesapeake quota would remain unaffected).  Given that, overall, only about 65% of the commercial quota is landed each year, allowing lower-producing states such as North Carolina to transfer quota to higher-producing states such as Massachusetts could increase commercial landings by close to 50%, and thus increase overall fishing mortality.

 

Particularly given the fact that the stock is overfished and at the beginning of its rebuilding period, more fishing mortality is the last thing that it needs.

 

Hearings on Addendum I are going to be held in December and early January all along the striper coast, with the New York kicking off the process on December 7.  The ASMFC will accept written comments through January 13.  It would be good if folks let their opinions be known.

 

A schedule of hearings, as well as a link to the Draft Addendum I, can be found at http://www.asmfc.org/uploads/file/637d4469pr34AtlStripedBassDraftAddI_PublicHearings.pdf

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This is ridiculous.  How can ASMFC even consider addendum that increases fishing mortality, while the goal of amendment 7 is to rebuild the stock from an overfished condition.  

 

This is based purely on greed of the pro harvest states and is shortsighted at best.  If we don't change how we act, there may not be any quota in the future. Disgusting and pathetic. 

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1 min ago, MikeK said:

This is ridiculous.  How can ASMFC even consider addendum that increases fishing mortality, while the goal of amendment 7 is to rebuild the stock from an overfished condition.  

 

This is based purely on greed of the pro harvest states and is shortsighted at best.  If we don't change how we act, there may not be any quota in the future. Disgusting and pathetic. 

Exactly why people need to speak out against it.  

 

The issue has come up before, and has always been rejected.  A motion to include it in Amendment 7 was rejected by a close vote.  As part of the discussion, some Management Board members asked why striped bass were the only species where quota transfers were not allowed.  The answers were interesting.

 

Bob Beal, the ASMFC's Executive Director, said

 

“my recollection is that they were not allowed while we were, even before my time the Board was trying to rebuild the striped bass stock.  Then once it was rebuilt, the Board sort of felt comfortable with not allowing transfers.  Part of it had to do with where those fish came from.

 

“If you move fish from North Carolina to Maine, well North Carolina to Massachusetts, that’s probably the farthest commercial quotas.  You know with that impact differentially, where those fish came from and the spawning populations and that sort of thing.  But again, most of it is a holdover from the rebuilding days of the early ‘90s.”

 

Then Roy Miller, Delaware's Governor's Appointee, went a little farther, saying

 

“I just wanted to agree with what Bob said regarding the history of this process.  We were in a rebuilding mode from the 1980s until the mid-1990s.  This is from someone who was there during that time.  It carried over into the restoration of the coastwide stock, and even the Delaware stock in the mid-1990s.  It’s just something that we haven’t dealt with since then, so those transfers when we were in a rebuilding mode, no one wanted to consider transfers.  Once the stock was declared restored, the subject hadn’t come up again until very recently."

 

His comments were contained more than a little irony, since we are again in a rebuilding mode, so the same arguments against quota transfers back then also apply today.

 

If we go back to an attempt to include this in Addendum IV back in 2014, we find the representative of the Technical Committee saying

 

“Relative to the commercial quota transfer, the technical committee is concerned that at a time when we’re needing to take reductions, if the percent reductions are taken from Amendment 6 quota instead of the 2013 level of harvest, allowing commercial transfers in conjunction with that could have the potential to increase harvest.  [emphasis added]”

 

Again, the argument remains valid today.  On average, the commercial fishery only catches about 2/3 of its annual quota (although it hit a 10-year high in 2021, landing 76%).  So when the last two addenda tried to reduce fishing mortality by 25% and 18%, respectively, such quota reductions wouldn't necessarily impact actual commercial landings, although state measures to keep their fishermen within such quotas, in many cases, did.  Transfers would almost certainly increase commercial fishing mortality.

 

There are two options in Addendum I that would prevent transfers when the stock is overfished, and two that would not.  The fifth, and best, option is status quo.

 

This addendum has legs, but enough hostile comment might either get the Management Board to think again, or at least get them to adopt one of the less offensive options.

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

This type of proposal is wrought with complications. 
They have done this here in Rhode Island between sectors of the commercial Striped Bass quota.  The problem came when a traditional small bass fishery like fish traps couldn’t fulfill their part of the state quota. So state regulators transferred that unfilled small fish quota into the commercial rod and reel quota which was all large breeding size bass.  
I’m sure there would be similar issues transferring quota between states. 

Edited by DZ

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9 mins ago, DZ said:

This type of proposal is wrought with complications. 
They have done this here in Rhode Island between sectors of the commercial Striped Bass quota.  The problem came when a traditional small bass fishery like fish traps couldn’t fulfill their part of the state quota. So state regulators transferred that unfilled small fish quota into the commercial rod and reel quota which was all large breeding size bass.  
I’m sure there would be similar issues transferring quota between states. 

"traditional small bass fishery like fish traps".......hasn't the RI rod and reel fishery been a traditional fishery???? its been around as long as the traps......and usually that transfer takes place at a time when most of the "large breeding size bass" are moving, i.e., October. When the date of transfer was moved to a more accessible time (this year), the trap quota was filled quite easily...hmmmmmm....

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11 mins ago, makaha said:

"traditional small bass fishery like fish traps".......hasn't the RI rod and reel fishery been a traditional fishery???? its been around as long as the traps......and usually that transfer takes place at a time when most of the "large breeding size bass" are moving, i.e., October. When the date of transfer was moved to a more accessible time (this year), the trap quota was filled quite easily...hmmmmmm....

Of course rod and reel commercial fishery is traditional.  I’m from RI and served on the RI Striped Bass advisory committee for years. My problem at the time was transferring thousands of pounds of 18-24 inch bass into thousands of pounds of trophy sized bass.  

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1 hour ago, DZ said:

This type of proposal is wrought with complications. 
They have done this here in Rhode Island between sectors of the commercial Striped Bass quota.  The problem came when a traditional small bass fishery like fish traps couldn’t fulfill their part of the state quota. So state regulators transferred that unfilled small fish quota into the commercial rod and reel quota which was all large breeding size bass.  
I’m sure there would be similar issues transferring quota between states. 

There is.

 

Compare Massachusetts' 35-inch minimum with New York's 26-38 slot or Rhode Island's trap fishery.

 

Then compare trading primarily Hudson or Delaware quota, originating from essentially healthy stocks, for primarily Chesapeake quota.  The "conservation tax" is supposed to address that, but I remain skeptical.

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DZ   

 

          I may be wrong .. but if & when  the traps don,t fi;l the quota  in the past the state RI  has waited to long to transfer the quota   that  very little if any fish are caught

Also . this much I., sure >>is & when the  swing the quota to the R&R fishery .  its the weight only  / not the small fish .BTW this year 2022  they actually filled their quota &&&&&&&&&&&&& if you could  find the true amount landed by the traps this year .............. you [COULD} find that they went way over quota ........................... If you believe all RI,s hidden B/S    the 1st season  on the RI commercial fishery  was something like 8 days  .. get ready > the 2nd quota  lasted    T W O  days   so   maybe 10 days for the years at the most yet  [somehow ]  we ended up 29%  OVER quota which will be deducted  off the quota in 2023 ...................... if you can find out .please tell me HOT the F%^&*)  in two days did we go over quota by 29% .......................MY guess is  well 2 guesses . the fraps slammed  them when the 1st quota  for R&R  was open  . so they mixed it with the R&R  quota which put itWAAAAAAAAAAY over ..so they opened up the 2nd quota  when in actual fish an weight  was already caught  / by doing this there got to add the 2nd quota weight .......... which would bring down some dark secret  overage of the 1st quota  leaving year end at 29% over .

   if you can find out the truth .I,ll bet the  floating traps  has actually been part of the total R&R quota  but broken out an shown seperate  over the years  an the is probably the 1st time that they caught so many that the state is trying to cover it ................. I will tell you that I went to my dealer on either the 1st or 2nd of June ....................... and  have never seen so many bass since it became a controlled fishery .............   they had those big blue ice totes everywhere  with bass from under 28" to  large .... I don,t think the traps  have a top size to what  fish they can keep / good luck     searching .but something really  wacky/sneaky  went of this year ><>

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On 11/28/2022 at 1:43 PM, CWitek said:

Hearings on Addendum I are going to be held in December and early January all along the striper coast, with the New York kicking off the process on December 7.  The ASMFC will accept written comments through January 13.  It would be good if folks let their opinions be known.

 

A schedule of hearings, as well as a link to the Draft Addendum I, can be found at http://www.asmfc.org/uploads/file/637d4469pr34AtlStripedBassDraftAddI_PublicHearings.pdf

Thanks for sharing this.  I plan on voicing my concerns and I hope others do the same.

 

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So we screwed the commercials three times and now we want to screw them again under the guise of conservation? How 'bout some restrictions on recreational catches instead?

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1 hour ago, MakoMike said:

So we screwed the commercials three times and now we want to screw them again under the guise of conservation? How 'bout some restrictions on recreational catches instead?

The only ones really getting screwed are the bass. 
 

If this is the at-large opinion of the commercial sector, I am really hoping the ASMFC picks the status-quo option (no commercial quota transfers allowed) because it sounds like they will get very little support across the user groups.

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1 hour ago, MakoMike said:

So we screwed the commercials three times and now we want to screw them again under the guise of conservation? How 'bout some restrictions on recreational catches instead?

Hard to argue that we screwed the commercials.  Both Addendum IV and Addendum VI sought to reduce actual recreational landings by 25% and 18%, respectively.  But commercial reductions were from quota, not actual landings.  As a result, if we look at the annual fishery reports that ASMFC poroduces, commercial landings only went down by 19% in 2015, not the full 25%, and went up in the following three years.  The coimmercials almost made their 18% reduction in 2020, after Addendum VI, but then increased landings by 19% in 2021, effectiively erasing the 2020 gains.  That's hardly getting screwed, particularly with Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and Maryland and Virginia ocean landings over 80% of quota in each oif those years, and close to 100% in some.

 

The only state where commercial fishermen arguably were screwed was Delaware, since the Delaware population was low due to pollution in the base years used to set commercial quotas.  But if that's the case, adjust the commercial quotas to achieve whatever the Board considers "fairness," don't raise fishing mortality during a rebuilding period.

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As a recreational angler we have a choice to leave the state and fish for Bass at another time of the year if you miss a Spring run, summer run or Fall run. Its a luxury.

 

Now imagine its the summer and the word gets out about a Cape Cod Bay Bite and Boston Harbor bite where the Commercial Anglers from other states can fish in a TShirt in perfect 70-100 degree days, 60-70 degree water ? We thought last year was bad in Boston Harbor?  So instead of 90 boats you have 150? This absolutely makes zero sense. It does not give a chance for Striped Bass to elude capture by swimming to another state, this is a strategic move to decimate a biomass of Bass at the exact time tge summertime feed commences in New England.  This does nothing to help the recreational anglers or charters. The floating city will be the biomass. Because the evidence has shown the less numbers of Bass is causing them to huddle in very large groups. 

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Posted (edited)

I think the key point for us to hit on is what we see.  Striped Bass are Huddling Together in large schools. This is a fact. If its happening in New England it is happening elsewhere. What is going on is Recs and Comms are really fishing together. In some areas you really have no other choice and in some areas no other species. The luxury of having Striped Bass all along a rocky or mixed marsh stretch for miles is over. This is not the early 2000's anymore. 20 years later the numbers have thinned out. 

Edited by The Riddler

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Just the Fact that the ASMFC is Considering this at this time is UNREAL! There should be Zero consideration for transferring commercial quotas at this time. They Deemed Striped bass overfished and then are talking about ways to fill quotas to make sure the maximum is harvested?? That’s unacceptable, how about if you don’t fill your quota then too bad so sad….That’s Life!

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