Striped Bass Talking Points

ASMFC Talking Points:

-ASMFC Enforcement Committee pleaded for “simple and consistent regulations for all recreational modes” and stated that “mode exemptions, narrow slots and on board filleting and are all difficult to enforce”

– ASMFC Technical Committee (TC) made it clear their data confidence is negativly impacted by complex and differing regulations by state.

-TC only ever provided options with >50% likelihood of success. This is very risky.

– All CE 2015 analyses by TC assume 100% angler compliance. This compare apples (2013 data) to oranges (2015 data with different inputs) Absurd.

– ASMFC Chief stressed the need for “simple and consistent regional regulations”

For Hire Fleet Talking Points:

– The Money Fleet is proposing a “mode exemption” in order to keep two fish thereby shifting the burden to recreational anglers who fish from a private boats or from shore.

– Charter and Party boats are essentially access devices for recreational anglers just like waders and kayaks. The anglers on board should fish under the same rules as the rest of rec.

– The Charter Boats already receive an “exemption” in Rhody in that their passengers are not required to buy a RI Fishing License which contributes to the construction and maintenance of state fishing piers, boat ramps and other recreational fishing programs.

– There only appears to be a relatively small portion of the Charter Boat industry that is asking for this exemption. Many Charter Boat Captains have said “this will not effect me”. Their reasons include “I take tourists and they really just want a bend in the rod”, “my clients release most of the fish we catch as it is” and “I do it all- stripers, bluefish, blackfish”. Five Captain on Block Island signed onto “one at 32” at the initial public hearing.

– The Money Fleet contributes $8.5m to the Rhode Island economy and harvests 13% of the catch while the balance of recreational anglers contribute $63.5m. Their proposal: the same $8.5m contribution and closer to 30% of the harvest. Who makes that deal?

– The claim that “this will effect my business” is true; but all business must adapt. That’s business. Tackle shops are dealing with the documented decline of inshore stripers as well and they wrote RI DEM to make the voices heard. The tackle shop jobs and livelihoods are no less important.

– The Money Fleet wants a “level playing field” claiming that anglers would go to states that allow two fish on charters hurting their business. A “one fish” harvest protects their business as out of state boats will be less likely to motor (at considerable expense and due to the lack of fish in their home waters) into Rhode island waters. If MA and CT follow suit then than the playing field is just as level at “one fish” as it is at ‘two fish”.

RI DEM Talking Points:

– Direct expenditures by RI recreational anglers exceeds $70m/yr. with an additional $185K revenue from SW license sales to DEM coffers.

– Over $24 million in wages and 1,000 jobs are tied directly to saltwater recreational fishing

– Why do Rhode Islanders care so much about Striped Bass? Because it is the most available gamefish to the citizen of Rhode Island. It’s in local waters from April – November, can be accessed from shore or a boat and can be caught on bait, flies or lures

– Sen John Chaffee in 1980 “Americans have “symbols” which they rally around and which signify some part of the quality of life we all seek. The striped bass is such a symbol”

– RI lead the previous recovery, created an economic boom that benefited the region and received national acclaim – RI citizens have clearly asked RI DEM to lead again

– Regional fishing contests report worst results in 20 years

– Biggest impact of striper population decline affects shore anglers – kids and those who might not be able to afford a boat or a Captain

Tough Questions for DEM:

Regarding mode splits and Conservation Equivalency

– What evidence has been presented to establish the potential negative impact to the for-hire industry caused by a 1 fish per client kill limit regarding bass? There is no % reduction of fishing, only killing of a species in documented decline.

– Why create an exception which benefits primarily out of state residents with the consequence being felt by license buying Rhode Islanders?

– Why promote the continued plundering by out of state vessels in RI waters that provide zero economic benefit for RI? The 1 @ proposal would keep them in their own waters reducing pressure in RI

-What constitutes “for-hire” and “clients”?…there are many captain’s licenses granted, is any “captain” with a vessel and those on board his/her vessel granted a 2 bass mode split exception(clients paying full fare, partial fare, friends, family, fellow fishing club members)? Shore guided clients?…kayak guided clients? Other? How can/will this be enforced?

-At a time when anglers, organizations, clubs, industry publications as well as many “for-hire’s” are recognizing the need for conservation and reacting, even without changes in the regulations, to lessen their impact and promote stewardship, why would we create a 2 fish “exception” for those who are admittedly(out of state visitors) the least likely to have a long term interest in the species?

– What can be done to change the likelihood of success now at greater than 50% to a more responsible number? No one argues the economic importance. Why respond to the documented decline with a solution that amounts to a coin flip?

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