Draft Addendum IV To Amendment 6

Draft Addendum IV To Amendment 6

September 17, 2014 at 6 PM
University of Rhode Island, Corless Auditorium
South Ferry Road
Narragansett, Rhode Island

If striped bass are an important part of your life and you are concerned for the health of the stock please attend tomorrow night.

I went to the meeting a few weeks ago in Buzzards Bay to better understand the process and the hear the Commissions presentation. Since that time I have spoken with Steve Mederios President of the RI Saltwater Anglers Association (the largest fishing club in the state) and Bob Ballou the Assistant to the Director of RI DEM and our government rep on Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. As well as a slew of recreational anglers.

Two things to keep in mind.

1) The best science available leaves the Commission and the public with options that only have a 50% probability of reaching the intended mortality threshold. In speaking with RI Director Bob Ballou there is clear frustration among the fisheries managers about this reality. It amounts to a coin flip. Heads you win and tails you…

2) The changes that are adopted by the Commission will very likely be in place for 3 years. That is in part because the Commission has other species to manage and they work with those in three year cycles as well. Given that then a unmitigated disaster would be needed to “revisit” these new regulations within next three years.

At this point I hope I have your attention and you recognize this is a big deal. Potentially a bad coin flip locked in for three years. With this as background the most conservative approach is warranted to return the spawning stock biomass to the minimum threshold. Not abundance mind you; but the minimum threshold defined as the level that the spawning stock biomass attained after the moratorium of the necessitated by the last population crash.

The biomass is determined by use of the following Harvest Inputs:

1) Commercial Quota – Very precise

2) By Catch – Activity is monitored on commercial vessels and extrapolated

3) Recreational Catch – Utilizes angler surveys to determine effort and impact then extrapolated. Enforcement activities are a separate activity.

4) Released Fish Mortality – Scientific data tied to angler effort

5) EEZ – Very tough to gauge with survey results and extrapolation

It is from these inputs that the best efforts of the Commission yield options with a 50% chance of success. That is a tough and tenuous spot.

The biggest unknown is black market sales. This illegal activity creates both management and scientific uncertainty for the Commission as it results in an understated commercial harvest. These “lost fish” amount to a few stealing from many both recreational anglers and particularly law abiding commercial fisherman who have higher costs as a result of following the law. I am told enforcement has been increased in recent years and undercover operations are ongoing; but it saddens me to know that some outstanding fisherman and folks I consider friends would be so selfish. It sucks.

If you want to learn more in advance of the meeting about the process and how to make effective comments review this Primer the folks at One @ 32 Pledge created for the ASMFC meeting on Long Island  This group advocates for Option B3.

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Please come tomorrow night and let your voice be heard. We will be in the parking lot and encourage you to stop by ask questions and get a raffle ticket to win a pair of Van Staal pliers.

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Be informed and be heard. We will hold the raffle after the meeting at a local watering hole.

 

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