RI Striped Bass: Simple and Fair Regulations

Rhode Island’s Decision – Will Common Sense Prevail?

There has been a lot of time and energy spent over the last six months on how to best implement the ASMFC required 25% mortality reduction in the striped bass harvest. Effectiveness of the effort may well be determined on February 16th in Narragansett, Rhode Island. Many along the Striper Coast feel Rhode Island is the critical vote in determining the future of striped bass. Massachusetts is on record for recommending “one fish at 28 inches” to meet the harvest reduction. Connecticut seems to be on board to follow Rhode and create regional consistency. New York seems to be headed for a complicated slot system.

Here are the state by state proposals as reported in On The Water Magazine

You can see that RI is the key to a consistent 1 fish at 28 inches all modes from Maine to Connecticut. It is critical that Rhode Island DEM hear from you if you feel “one fish at 28 inches with no exemptions” is the best way to reverse the declining striped bass population.

Rhode Island DEM has a tremendous opportunity to lead. They certainly understand the problem facing striped bass. Mark Gibson the Deputy Director said early in the process. ” When you have this kind of decline you have to hit it hard in order to reverse it ”

The Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Commission recognizes the problems created by “mode exemptions” Both the Enforcement and Technical Committee where clear that different sets of rules for different parts of rec make their jobs much harder and the likelihood of compliance and therefore achievement of the mortality goal all the more uncertain. Read more about the Key Takeaways and the Elephants in the Room from the ASMFC Meeting late last week in Alexandria VA. here.

Common sense delivers a simple solution. Reduce the bag limit from “two fish at 28 inches” to “one fish at 28 inches”. This will create a >31% harvest reduction, be the easiest to enforce and make data analysis far less complicated. Keep in mind that even this simple option only has a 50% likelihood of success. That in and of itself is scary.

Here’s how you can participate

Send an email being sure to copy peter.duhamel@dem.ri.gov by 2/25 or make a public comment on 2/16.

If you want to learn more about the key talking points here is a bulleted list for your consideration.

In the simplest terms:

Ask RI DEM to recommend “one fish at 28 inches with no exceptions” because:

– The public opinion was loud and consistent in it’s desire for a “one fish” solution. Give the public what they clearly want.

– Regional consistency simplifies enforcement and the reliability of the data collected to measure effectiveness.

– The high risk that a 25% harvest reduction is enough to reduce the decline and we will be in worse shape when this is revisited in three years

RI Workshop and Public Hearing Announcement:

The work shop will commence at 4:30 PM on Monday, February 16, 2015 at the University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography, Corless Auditorium, South Ferry Road, Narragansett, RI 02882. followed by the public hearing at 7:00PM.

Written comments concerning the proposed regulations may be submitted to Peter Duhamel at  peter.duhamel@dem.ri.gov  or by mail at Division of Fish and Wildlife Marine Fisheries office, 3 Fort Wetherill Road, Jamestown, RI 02835 no later than 12:00 Noon on February 26, 2015.

Janet Coit – Director of RI DEM janet.coit@dem.ri.gov

The following are the other members of the Marine Fisheries Council robert.ballou@DEM.RI.GOV

Bob Ballou – Chair Marine Fisheries Council robert.ballou@DEM.RI.GOV

Rick Hittinger Vice Chair of Marine Fisheries Council hittinger@risaa.org

William Mackintosh, III (commercial -gillnetter) fvthistle@verizon.net

 

David Monti (recreational) monti@risaa.org

Christopher Rein(science – marine environmental)
Michael Rise, Ph.D. (science – marine environmental)

Jeffrey Grant (commercial – shellfish)

Please participate in this process if striped bass are important to you and you are concerned for the current state of the fishery.

 

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