fishing report

Stripers – On the Goal Line with Ten Days Left to Play

striped bass release

Two Minute Drill for Stripers – Will Common Sense Prevail?

Yesterday in Alexandria VA the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) met and approved all of eight pages of Conservation Equivalency (CE) options submitted by the various states. Conservation Equivalence is used by states to create and adopt alternative regulations for their fishery that maintain or exceed the minimum targets established by ASMFC. In the case of striped bass this is a 25% mortality reduction within one year.
On The Water has a recap of proposals by state here.
There were some positive takeaways from yesterday and a few elephants in the room as well.

Positive Takeaways:

– Paul Diodoti (Director. Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Division of Marine Fisheries)  recommends “one fish at 28 inches”. There are other CE proposals in MA; but that is his      recommendation
– 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.
– ASMFC Chief closed the session stressing the need for “simple and consistent regional regulations”

The Elephants in the Room:

– TC only ever provided options with >50% likelihood of success. This is risky = coin flip
– Eight pages of CE options makes a nightmare out of measuring actual impacts of various  regulations going forward – the coin flip just got riskier
– All CE 2015 analyses by TC assume 100% angler compliance and ignored regulation complexity –   these factors were included in the prior analysis in 2013 (2013 is the source data used through  out this process). NJ asked that the TC do not use the same analysis inputs they did in 2013. Yes  that is as stupid as it sounds. Let’s compare apples to oranges. Shame on you Tom Fote!
– 25% reduction for all sectors coast wise is not assured. Changes for the comm sector and the  Chesapeake Bay were never accounted for…

What’s next?

– It’s back to the states to make their choices from the ASMFC options. RI info below.
– Many are concerned that the TC analysis that was already risky (>50%) is now flawed (apples and  oranges) and will be further complicated by all the CE variables. Making measurement of    effectiveness of regulation changes very difficult if not impossible
– Simple and consistent logic inescapably leads to “one fish at 28 inches – no exceptions”

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.

Instructions for Written Comments:

Written comments concerning the proposed regulations may be submitted to Peter Duhamel, Division of Fish and Wildlife Marine Fisheries office, 3 Fort Wetherill Road, Jamestown, RI 02835 no later than 12:00 Noon on February 16, 2015. A copy of the proposed regulation(s) will also be available on the DEM website at the following web address:www.dem.ri.gov/programs/bnatres/fishwild/pn021615.htm.

Janet Coit, Director
Department of Environmental Management

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