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New York schedules hearings on striped bass Addendum II

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CWitek

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From today's DEC newsletter:

 

ASMFC Striped Bass Public Hearings in New York

Striped Bass

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) released the Draft Addendum II to Amendment 7 to the Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass (PDF) for public comment. This Draft Addendum presents background on ASMFC's management of striped bass commercial fisheries. the addendum process and timeline, and a statement of the problem. This document also provides management options for public consideration and comment.

New York State will be hosting two in-person hearings to receive public comments.

  • Monday, December 4 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at DEC Division of Marine Resources, 123 Kings Park Blvd, Kings Park.

  • Monday, December 18 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at DEC Region 3 Headquarters, 21 South Putt Corners Road, New Paltz, NY.

A listen-only live stream link for each hearing is included on DEC's public calendar.

The public is encouraged to submit written comments regarding the proposed management options in this document by December 22, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. (EST). 

Written comments can be made by email to comments@asmfc.org (Subject: Striped Bass Draft Addendum II), by mail to Emilie Franke, ASMFC, 1050 N. Highland Street, Suite 200 A-N, Arlington, VA 22201, or by fax to (703) 842-0741.

"I have always believed that outdoor writers who come out against fish and wildlife conservation are in the wrong business. To me, it makes as much sense golf writers coming out against grass.."  --  Ted Williams

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The for-hire fleet was in full force at yesterdays meeting. They spoke on every reason under the sun for why the fishery is fine, but the data is flawed no matter how you interpret it. Their basic message was since the Hudson had good spawns everything is fine here in NY (based on DEC data + experience) and the fishery is “changing” (but not because of climate change).
 

Funny part was all the captains suddenly and strongly agreed with the ASMFC data when it came to Option C under 3.1.1 Ocean Recreational Fishery Options which has a special carve out that applies to for-hire modes getting a bigger slot from 28-33”. ASMFC data showed is had a 0.1% probability difference from Option B (28-31” for all) so since it fit the captains agendas, they all said data looks great let’s do it…

 

Craig from VS commented as did Al from SJ magazine, respect to them for showing up. Surfcasters really need to do a better job at being there and speaking up. It was impressive how organized unified and targeted all the for-hire guys were as a team.
 

Addendum II is a joke and it’ll be a shame to see more hair splitting harvest modifications instead of good fisheries management take over in 2024. We are getting closer to rock bottom each meeting because every time ASMFC continues to let more bass be harvested despite the stock still being overfished with minimal chance of recovering by 2029.

Edited by hairyfishhead
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3 mins ago, hairyfishhead said:

The for-hire fleet was in full force at yesterdays meeting. They spoke on every reason under the sun for why the fishery is fine, but the data is flawed no matter how you interpret it. Their basic message was since the Hudson had good spawns everything is fine here in NY (based on DEC data + experience) and the fishery is “changing” (but not because of climate change).
 

Funny part was all the captains suddenly and strongly agreed with the ASMFC data when it came to Option C under 3.1.1 Ocean Recreational Fishery Options which has a special carve out that applies to for-hire modes getting a bigger slot from 28-33”. ASMFC data showed is had a 0.1% probability difference from Option B (28-31” for all) so since it fit the captains agendas, they all said data looks great let’s do it…

 

Craig from VS commented as did Al from SJ magazine, respect to them for showing up. Surfcasters really need to do a better job at being there and speaking up. It was impressive how organized unified and targeted all the for-hire guys were as a team.
 

Addendum II is a joke and it’ll be a shame to see more hair splitting harvest modifications instead of good fisheries management take over in 2024. We are getting closer to rock bottom each meeting because every time ASMFC continues to let more bass be harvested despite the stock still being overfished with minimal chance of recovering by 2029.

The angler turnout at last night's hearing was truly disappointing.  A lot oif the usual spokesmen were not there, and some who I expected to speak decided to just mail it in.  The for-hires set the tone.  If I recall correctly, Ross Squire of the New York Coalition for Recreational Fishing was the only angler organization rep to speak.

 

Everyone who is worried about the future health of the bass has no need to worry.  The lost Chesapeake production is going to be made up by spawns in the Housatonic and Connecticut rivers.  You can believe that is true, because multiple for-hires told us so.

 

Speaking personally, I did not have my best night.  Could have done a lot better getting my counteres out, but I've been sick for the past few days and, although feeling better, was definitely on top of my game.

 

I suspect that we may see the for-hires win, and Option C adopted for Section 3.1.1.  But it will prove a pyrrhic victory, for beginning in 2027, after the 2018s leave even the expanded 28- to 33-inch slot, everyone's landings, including those of the for-hires, are going to crash due to a lack of fish, and there will be no way to make things better untill and unless we start getting more successful spaws in the Chesapeake.  At best, things will remain dismal until 2032.  In the end, the for-hires would have done themselves a favor if they had accepted reality and started planning for a bass drought now

 

How bad is it going to be?  For those who remember the last stock collapse, the worst five-year average of the Maryland JAI back then was 3.45.  The average Maryland JAI for the past five years was a significantly lower 2.74.  So yes, the number of slot-sized fish is going to be very low for quite a while.  In fact, it will be the worst that we have ever seen.  There should be some bigger fish around, but the slot will be just about empty.  One can't catch fish that were never spawned.

 

When I talk to the professional fishery managers, it's clear that they understand just what is coming, and they're not happy about it.  They are worried about what the 2024 assessment update will reveal, and very concerned that the 2027 benchmark will bring really bad news.  The problem is, the pros are outnumbered at the ASMFC.  Here in New York, our new Marine Division Director, gets it; he's a very bright guy and has bass fished all his life, and he wants to do the right thing for both stakeholders and the resource.  But Emerson Hasbrouck, the governor's appointee, works with the commercials at Sea Grant, and tends to vote with the commercials and for-hires.  And the new Legislative Appointee is Rep. Fred Thiele, who is a tireless advocate for the commercials and the Montauk for-hires.  Together, they can vote to override the state's professional manager.  Expect New York to join the dark side in future fisheries deliberations as a result.

 

I hate to say it, but I see little good news on the striped bass horizon.

 

"I have always believed that outdoor writers who come out against fish and wildlife conservation are in the wrong business. To me, it makes as much sense golf writers coming out against grass.."  --  Ted Williams

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2 hours ago, hairyfishhead said:

It was impressive how organized unified and targeted all the for-hire guys were as a team.

This was my big takeaway too, even if their arguments were BS.  I had to work but expected to hear some guides, tackle shop owners, and club representatives chime in.

 

2 hours ago, CWitek said:

Everyone who is worried about the future health of the bass has no need to worry.  The lost Chesapeake production is going to be made up by spawns in the Housatonic and Connecticut rivers.  You can believe that is true, because multiple for-hires told us so.


Of course, Housatonic spawners are the Dallas cowboy cheerleaders of the SSB.  That’s all you need to know. 
 

2 hours ago, CWitek said:

When I talk to the professional fishery managers, it's clear that they understand just what is coming, and they're not happy about it.  They are worried about what the 2024 assessment update will reveal, and very concerned that the 2027 benchmark will bring really bad news.  The problem is, the pros are outnumbered at the ASMFC.  Here in New York, our new Marine Division Director, gets it; he's a very bright guy and has bass fished all his life, and he wants to do the right thing for both stakeholders and the resource.  But Emerson Hasbrouck, the governor's appointee, works with the commercials at Sea Grant, and tends to vote with the commercials and for-hires.  And the new Legislative Appointee is Rep. Fred Thiele, who is a tireless advocate for the commercials and the Montauk for-hires.  Together, they can vote to override the state's professional manager.  Expect New York to join the dark side in future fisheries deliberations as a result.


This is very disturbing.  So they get points for dominating questions and comments with off-topic crackpot theories?  Or the political appointees would probably vote with commercials and for-hires anyway, and their taking points, pushing their narrative, is cover for appointees to ignore the science and conservation goals?
 

I’m trying to decide what I’ll say at the Hudson meeting. last night was a mess…

 

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40 mins ago, Bait Tailer said:

Of course, Housatonic spawners are the Dallas cowboy cheerleaders of the SSB.  That’s all you need to know. 

And that was a literal and direct quote from a for-hire captain last night… so now that they caught word that spawning/YOYs in Chesapeake are low, what’s next? Tell the ASMFC they’re wrong, it’s high in every other place they aren’t looking! Didn’t hear a lot of talk on all these other River’s prolific spawns until some unfavorable data starts to come out. Then the Long Island captains have all the answers again, wow!

 

It really is amusing how good of fishermen and story tellers these for-hire captains are, but they never seem to be able to read anything fisheries science related without immediately and blindly disagreeing with everything in it. The science is just always wrong no matter what. 

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1 hour ago, Bait Tailer said:

This was my big takeaway too, even if their arguments were BS.  I had to work but expected to hear some guides, tackle shop owners, and club representatives chime in.
 


This is very disturbing.  So they get points for dominating questions and comments with off-topic crackpot theories?  Or the political appointees would probably vote with commercials and for-hires anyway, and their taking points, pushing their narrative, is cover for appointees to ignore the science and conservation goals?
 

I’m trying to decide what I’ll say at the Hudson meeting. last night was a mess…

 

I was both surprised and disappointed that none of the guides showed up, to present the other side of the for-hire argument--that an abundance of fish leads to a stable and profitable business.  Some of them may be in Florida working the tourist season, but I would bet that most are still here in New York, and won't head south--and not all of them do--for another month.  The lack of club/anging organization reps was also disappointing.  The surf clubs usually make a good showing, and not a single one appeared.  As far as the tackle shops go, just as well they stayed home.  For the most part, the shops argue against regulations, taking the same position as the for-hires that conservation is bad for business.

 

I suppose we'll see how business is three or four years from now, and find out if any of them have second thoughts.

 

As far as the government appointees to the ASMFC goes, we've had a mixed bag.  We used to have a truly awful governor's appointee who, is suspect, was frightened by a striped bass while still in the cradle, because he always seemed to be trying to increase the commercial quota and defeat conservation efforts, claiming that the striped bass were eating everything that swam, and blaming them for low popultions of fluke, flounder and probably whooping cranes if someone gave him the chance.  But for many years, we had a good legislative proxy, who tried to do the right thing for the resource,   Now, our governor's appointee has a strong commercial/for-hire slant, although he will still listen to a reasoned argument, and our brand-new legislative appointee is the voice of the East End commercials/for-hires in Albany, and I suspect will either hire an East End commrcial, party/charter boat operator, or maybe someone like Bonnie Brady or Arnold Leo (although Arnold's getting old) as his proxy, if he doesn't just appoint a staffer to that job.  Very disappointed and very surprised that the Senate allowed the appointee to be an Assemblyman.  I suppose no one else on Long Island wanted the job, a price that we may be paying for having an EnCon Chairman located upstate, and few members of the Senate majority on Long Island.  Could have been one of those "Does anybody want this job" moments, given that the slot had been unfilled for all four of this year's ASMFC meetings.  Assuming that the Senate EnCon chair would take the job--he does have bass fishing constituents in his Hudson River district--I and at least one other person applied for the proxy position, but never even had our phone calls or emails returned,

"I have always believed that outdoor writers who come out against fish and wildlife conservation are in the wrong business. To me, it makes as much sense golf writers coming out against grass.."  --  Ted Williams

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4 hours ago, CWitek said:

The angler turnout at last night's hearing was truly disappointing.  A lot oif the usual spokesmen were not there, and some who I expected to speak decided to just mail it in.  The for-hires set the tone.  If I recall correctly, Ross Squire of the New York Coalition for Recreational Fishing was the only angler organization rep to speak.

 

Everyone who is worried about the future health of the bass has no need to worry.  The lost Chesapeake production is going to be made up by spawns in the Housatonic and Connecticut rivers.  You can believe that is true, because multiple for-hires told us so.

 

Speaking personally, I did not have my best night.  Could have done a lot better getting my counteres out, but I've been sick for the past few days and, although feeling better, was definitely on top of my game.

 

I suspect that we may see the for-hires win, and Option C adopted for Section 3.1.1.  But it will prove a pyrrhic victory, for beginning in 2027, after the 2018s leave even the expanded 28- to 33-inch slot, everyone's landings, including those of the for-hires, are going to crash due to a lack of fish, and there will be no way to make things better untill and unless we start getting more successful spaws in the Chesapeake.  At best, things will remain dismal until 2032.  In the end, the for-hires would have done themselves a favor if they had accepted reality and started planning for a bass drought now

 

How bad is it going to be?  For those who remember the last stock collapse, the worst five-year average of the Maryland JAI back then was 3.45.  The average Maryland JAI for the past five years was a significantly lower 2.74.  So yes, the number of slot-sized fish is going to be very low for quite a while.  In fact, it will be the worst that we have ever seen.  There should be some bigger fish around, but the slot will be just about empty.  One can't catch fish that were never spawned.

 

When I talk to the professional fishery managers, it's clear that they understand just what is coming, and they're not happy about it.  They are worried about what the 2024 assessment update will reveal, and very concerned that the 2027 benchmark will bring really bad news.  The problem is, the pros are outnumbered at the ASMFC.  Here in New York, our new Marine Division Director, gets it; he's a very bright guy and has bass fished all his life, and he wants to do the right thing for both stakeholders and the resource.  But Emerson Hasbrouck, the governor's appointee, works with the commercials at Sea Grant, and tends to vote with the commercials and for-hires.  And the new Legislative Appointee is Rep. Fred Thiele, who is a tireless advocate for the commercials and the Montauk for-hires.  Together, they can vote to override the state's professional manager.  Expect New York to join the dark side in future fisheries deliberations as a result.

 

I hate to say it, but I see little good news on the striped bass horizon.

 

 

What do you think would be the best option?  Personally, I don't like any of them but think Option B might be the best out of the bunch.

 

I'd prefer to see 1 @ 36 but at the moment that is only wishful thinking.  I do have a feeling that may become an option when things finally come to a head.

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1 hour ago, jps1010 said:

 

What do you think would be the best option?  Personally, I don't like any of them but think Option B might be the best out of the bunch.

 

I'd prefer to see 1 @ 36 but at the moment that is only wishful thinking.  I do have a feeling that may become an option when things finally come to a head.

For Section 3.1.1, the ocean recreational fishery, I support Option B.

 

As for what happens after the 2024 assessment update comes out, who knows?

 

If is possible that we see something like the 2022 update, which finds that the emergency measure dropped F down low enough that no further action is needed.

 

On the other hand, I have heard rumors that one fisheries manager (not in New York) believes that we won't get out of this without a full moratorium.

 

I have also heard that two ASMFC reps, from two different states, are going to try to put in significant no-target closures, for no better reason that they want to "make the catch-and-release anglers pay."

 

And I know that managers are very afraid that, if recruitment doesn't turn around, the 2027 assessment is going to bring us really bad news.

 

So what's next?

 

I think that they'll probablty keep the current slot, very probably with a larger, 28- to 33-inch slot for the for-hires.  In a few years, that slot will be nearly empty, once the 2019 year class is 8 or so years old, and will remain empty until at least 2032, so it should reduce F more than a 36-inch minimum, which will target the 2011s and 2015s.  I also think that closed seasons will be inevitable.  Whether those season will be no-harvest, as law enforcement recommends, or no-target, as the pro-harvest side prefers, is going to be a close call.

 

But if the current data is correct--and we have no reason to believe that it is not, except possibly for an overestimate of recreational catch and effort (which will also affect the estimates of biomass, Btarget, and Bthreshold, but won't affect how the status of the stock is perceived)--even that may prove insufficient if recruitment remains low, and further restrictions will be needed.

"I have always believed that outdoor writers who come out against fish and wildlife conservation are in the wrong business. To me, it makes as much sense golf writers coming out against grass.."  --  Ted Williams

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26 mins ago, Luca_brazzi said:

Two of my favorite quotes from that hearing were:

 

"Climate change, whether its real or not"

 

"Not factoring in the housatonic river is like not including the dallas cowboys in a cheerleading contest"

 

 

One thing I've learned over all of the years that I've been attending fisheries hearings is that they can be entertaining, even though you might laught and want to cry at the same time.

"I have always believed that outdoor writers who come out against fish and wildlife conservation are in the wrong business. To me, it makes as much sense golf writers coming out against grass.."  --  Ted Williams

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7 hours ago, Bait Tailer said:

Of course, Housatonic spawners are the Dallas cowboy cheerleaders of the SSB.  That’s all you need to know. 

Did you get the minutes or were you there? The for charter from Huntington did make a Dallas cheerleader comment to the room. The ASMFC really needs to control the room more. First guy up was told to go home to his husband..

 

i think the fishery mngr’s understood much of the room wasn’t interested in the rhetoric when half the room walked out in disgust before round two of their BS.

 

 

I'll ignore your cheap aroma,

and your little-bo-peep diploma,

I'll just put you in a coma,

with some dirty love-

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10 hours ago, CWitek said:

Speaking personally, I did not have my best night.  Could have done a lot better getting my counteres out, but I've been sick for the past few days and, although feeling better, was definitely on top of my game.

You did well Charles, and it was nice to meet you. Didn’t know anyone else showed up from here..

I'll ignore your cheap aroma,

and your little-bo-peep diploma,

I'll just put you in a coma,

with some dirty love-

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I joined by web as I couldn’t get away from the desk earlier enough to make it to Kings Park in person.

 

When I got off the call I was surprised at how civil the whole thing seemed but in further reflection I think it was really due to the FH voices commanding the room. They definitely had a coordinated message and it was clear that any deviation from said message was wrong. Glad to see at least one poster in this thread pointing out the hypocrisy around every captain leaning into the “negligible effect” of Option C’s 0.1% harvest impact mere minutes after stating that the entire data set and method for assessing said data was wrong. This point was picked up by every subsequent capt after the first pointed it out. Lots of conjecture and anecdata throughout. 
 

I was surprised that it took 8-9 commenters to get to the “rich guys with expensive surf rods and six figure boats…maybe retired lawyers or something” line to come up.
 
The Dallas cowboy comment was very silly.


What I didn’t hear was any effort by the FH captains to get involved in the data collection or assessment process. IMO a true stakeholder would seek to participate in the process, educate themselves on the means/methods of the scientific studies, and offer their resources further. Felt like a lot of finger pointing and laying blame to the process without ways of improving. 

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