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Looks like we might finally know what 2024 fluke, scup, Hudson bass regulations will look like

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2 mins ago, EBHarvey said:

 

and that's kind of what I was getting at. I doubt many boats fish the ocean side of LI and the sound side on the same day, certainly not anywhere near as many boats that fish both on sides of the mid-sound state line in a given day, so why not have LIS regs that apply to both NY and CT?  Ny has multiple sets of regulations for striped bass, so the idea wouldn't be without precedence.  

No, but boats from Montauk or the North Fork might fish on both sides of a Long Island Sound demarcation line in the same day.

 

And there would still be a problem with the data underlying the regulations, since the survey isn't designed to break out Long Island Sound.

 

Also, New York's only divergent striped bass rules are for the Hudson River; elsewhere, the 28- to 31-inch slot applies, Sounc and ocean.  Even New York's section of the Delaware River has the same ocean slot.

"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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5 hours ago, CWitek said:

We could have a 14” fluke, too, if we were willing to take the very short season that would go along with it.

 

Who wants to kill 14" fluke? Most folks don't even bother filleting the paper thin white side on fluke that small.  Commercials don't want to kill 14" fluke either...lotta rec guys don't understand that it's in our best interest that commercials are forced to keep them down to 14" - otherwise they would love to shovel them back over the side so they don't count against their quota.

Show someone how to catch striped bass and they'll be ready to fish anywhere.
Show someone where to go striped bass fishing and you'll have a desperate report chaser with loose lips.

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3 hours ago, CWitek said:

But sea bass are now the big fish for the for-hires,

Honestly, did you, in your entire life, ever suspect that so many fisheries would be destroyed by fisheries management failure and failure that sea bass would become the primary target of charter boats? :laugh: It's tragic...you think sea robins or dog fish will be next? 

Show someone how to catch striped bass and they'll be ready to fish anywhere.
Show someone where to go striped bass fishing and you'll have a desperate report chaser with loose lips.

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8 mins ago, TimS said:

Honestly, did you, in your entire life, ever suspect that so many fisheries would be destroyed by fisheries management failure and failure that sea bass would become the primary target of charter boats? :laugh: It's tragic...you think sea robins or dog fish will be next? 

Dogfish may be having their own problems, and I'm not sure what a sustainable sea robin fishery would look like.  Might be 3 @ 15 inches with a short season.

 

But yes, I get your point.  In part, a warming ocean has caused the northern population of sea bass to spike, and that abundance is attracting angling effort.  But more than that, it's the decline of fluke that's causing it.  No party boat operator in his right mind would sail for 12 miles past the inlet to catch sea bass if he could catch fluke without going past the jetties and still get the same price for a trip.  But 10 years of poor fluke recruitment, and a noteable lack of bluefish, has made sea bass a major target, particularly in places without a big porgy population.  Add in a decline in New York Bight tautog, and no meaningful winter cod fishery, and we're at the point where if sea bass and porgies decline, there will be a lot of boats with nothing to target at all.

 

I was looking at the Montauk Boatmens and Captains Association web page the other day, and noticed that at least one party boat was getting $120/person for a 5-hour trip.  At those rates, it takes more than 6 sea bass to make the drive worth the effort,

"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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1 min ago, gellfex said:

Not that I keep scup under 12", but was there stock issues? They seem pretty abundant.

Like a lot of our local fish, a few years of poor recruitment.  And anglers have been exceeding the annual catch limit for years.  The last stock assessment indicated that overfishing occurred in 2021 (the terminal year of the assessment update) and the spawning stock biomass, although still very high, has been on a downward trajectory for the past 5 years or so.  Based on predicted recreational landings in 2024 if the regulations weren't chainge, paired with the size of the spawning stock biomass, a 10% reduction in recreational landings were needed.

 

The problem is that, outside of scup and black sea bass, there's little else for the boats to fish for.  So both stocks are getting hit pretty hard,   If they continue to decline (black sea bass also experienced overfishing in '21 and is in a downward trajectory) the regulations are going to get ugly in a few years, just because those two species are absorbing a lot of angling effort.

"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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33 mins ago, TimS said:

Who wants to kill 14" fluke? 

Talk to most party boat owners, and probably also to most tackle shop owners, in New York and New Jersey, about that question, and you'll get the answer.  

"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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3 mins ago, CWitek said:

I was looking at the Montauk Boatmens and Captains Association web page the other day, and noticed that at least one party boat was getting $120/person for a 5-hour trip.  At those rates, it takes more than 6 sea bass to make the drive worth the effort,

Yikes....that's ridiculous. 

Show someone how to catch striped bass and they'll be ready to fish anywhere.
Show someone where to go striped bass fishing and you'll have a desperate report chaser with loose lips.

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24 mins ago, CWitek said:

The problem is that, outside of scup and black sea bass, there's little else for the boats to fish for.  

I assume by "the boats" you mean the head boats. 

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6 mins ago, gellfex said:

I assume by "the boats" you mean the head boats. 

Yes.

 

They lost winter flounder, cod are not doing well, whiting are more or less gone, ling (red hake) are spotty, we haven't had a spring mackerel run in years, bluefish are spotty, tautog have a short season, bass aren't doing well, weakfish aren't too abundant, and fluke numbers are off.

 

So the head boats are spending a lot of time on the wrecks, chasing sea bass and scup.

 

If sea bass regulations tighten much more, or the scup bag drops below 20 or 25 fish, that fleet is going to be in serious trouble.

"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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8 hours ago, Richizzzle said:

 

Make it 19 for everyone

 

Charles or anyone more knowledgeable can correct me if I am wrong but I believe part of the logic for the shorter fish from commercial fishing is because the shorter fish will be kept as part of quota as opposed to being discarded as bycatch and suffer some rate of mortality as a result.  Then you would have to manage bycatch as well as what they are actually bringing to the docks. Not impossible but might prove counterproductive or not worth the effort. 

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14 mins ago, JerseyJeb said:

 

Charles or anyone more knowledgeable can correct me if I am wrong but I believe part of the logic for the shorter fish from commercial fishing is because the shorter fish will be kept as part of quota as opposed to being discarded as bycatch and suffer some rate of mortality as a result.  Then you would have to manage bycatch as well as what they are actually bringing to the docks. Not impossible but might prove counterproductive or not worth the effort. 

That's certainly a part of it, but not the whole story.

 

The commercials want to be able to land the smaller fish.  They may not be the size that brings the highest price, but they sell reliably, and help fill the hold when larger fluke aren't available.  When the issue to raise the commercial minimum size has come up at Mid-Atlantic Council meeting, as it does every now and again, the commercial folks are not receptive to the idea.

 

Also, there has been some pretty good studies showing that the current minimum mesh size permitted in the fishery allow fluke under 14 inches to escape; a higher minimum would require new mesh requirements to avoid the bycatch that you mention.  (Of course, once the bag starts to fill, it gets plugged and escapes no longer occur).  The mortality rate for trawled and discarded fluke is very high--somewhere around 80%--so minimizing bycatch is important.  For 2024, dead discards are estimated at 1.83 million pounds, compared to a quota (landings) of 8.79 million pounds.

 

It's always difficult to compare recreational and commercial regulations, because the considerations are very different.  Commercial fishermen benefit from efficiency.  So long as they don't land so many fish at one time that they flood the market and depress prices, the faster they can fill their quota, thus spending less on fuel and other trip expenses, and allowing them to move on and target something else, the better for their bottom line.  Under such circumstances, a smaller size limit makes sense.  Recreational fishing, on the other hand, profits from inefficiency.  The longer the season, the more opportunity for recreational it offers, and the more times anglers can go out, the more they spend on fuel, bait, tackle, etc., the more for-hire trips they take, and the more economic benefits can be gleaned from the fishery.  Thus, the recreational fishing industry, and most anglers, tend to prefer the longest possible season, and the tradeoff for that is a larger minimum size and smaller bag.

 

 

"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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22 hours ago, CWitek said:

Yes.

 

They lost winter flounder, cod are not doing well, whiting are more or less gone, ling (red hake) are spotty, we haven't had a spring mackerel run in years, bluefish are spotty, tautog have a short season, bass aren't doing well, weakfish aren't too abundant, and fluke numbers are off.

 

So the head boats are spending a lot of time on the wrecks, chasing sea bass and scup.

 

If sea bass regulations tighten much more, or the scup bag drops below 20 or 25 fish, that fleet is going to be in serious trouble.

 

 

One would think at some point the head boats, and others, would realize that taking 2 to 3 trips a day with groups of people and getting "boat" limits is unsustainable.   They wonder why their are no more winter flounder, barely any weakfish, only a few Sheepshead in Sheepshead Bay, etc.

Add to that the poachers and "unlicensed" group and..........

 

I get angry when I listen to the "old" stories of people filling garbage cans with winter flounder and weakfish.  Thanks for that :dismay:

 

The bolded sentence above makes me want to cry and scream at the same time.

I know I fish like a girl....try to keep up

 

 

 

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19 hours ago, Suebert2 said:

 

 

One would think at some point the head boats, and others, would realize that taking 2 to 3 trips a day with groups of people and getting "boat" limits is unsustainable.   They wonder why their are no more winter flounder, barely any weakfish, only a few Sheepshead in Sheepshead Bay, etc.

Add to that the poachers and "unlicensed" group and..........

 

I get angry when I listen to the "old" stories of people filling garbage cans with winter flounder and weakfish.  Thanks for that :dismay:

 

The bolded sentence above makes me want to cry and scream at the same time.

Having gone to fisheries meetings for so many years, I'm convinced that they don't understand the concept of "future."

 

Maybe the best example was the cod run off Montauk/Block Island/Cox's Ledge 15 or so years ago.  For the first time in a couple of decades there was a really solid run of late winter fish.  Most were small--pool fish were often well under 20 pounds--suggesting that one year class somehow beat the odds and recruited into the stock in good numbers.

 

The boats--for-hire and commercial--could have held off and given the year class a chance to spawn for a couple of years.  Maybe it wouldn't have worked, and they would have "wasted" cod that they otherwise could have caught.  But given that biologists have now discovered that those fish were probably part of a newly-identified Southern New England stock (for years, U.S. cod were divided into only two stocks, Georges Bank and Gulf of Maine, a mistake that has only recently been discovered and is still being rectified), which appears to exhibit site fidelity to spawning grounds, there is also a fair chance that temporary abstinence would have led to an expanding population.

 

Instead, boats from as far away as New Jersey and western Long Island Sound pounded the fish, going so far to rent winter dock space at Montauk and in Rhode Island so that they could fish it more efficiently.  Reports of "full boat limits" occurred just about every day.  It didn't take long for the year class to start being depleted; toward the end of the gold rush, the cod were concentrated in very small areas, and boats would drift only a few dozen yards apart, pulling cod from areas that might not have been 200 yards in diameter.

 

It was fun while it lasted.  

 

Winters out there are much quieter now.

"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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Bass Bust – Suffolk County 
On Feb. 27, ECOs DeVito, Giarratana, Cacciola, and Simmons partnered with Officer Lepre from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to conduct a late-night commercial fishing enforcement detail. The team boarded multiple commercial fishing vessels in Montauk and discovered multiple violations, including over the legal commercial limit of black sea bass, illegal late-night offloading of fluke and black sea bass, and failure to accurately document species/quantities of catch on vessel trip reports. ECOs ticketed the captain of the boat for each violation, returnable to East Hampton Town Court.  

Illegally offloaded Black sea bass on ice
Boxes of illegally offloaded black sea bass discovered in Montauk, Suffolk County
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