A thought-provoking essay on the coming striped bass crash

That striped bass are a sport fishing species in trouble is not new information. We’ve already been to the edge in our lifetime. What’s most troubling about the situation is that there is no uniform policy in place to protect these fish — and the bait stocks they feed on —  from big government all the way down to grass-roots anglers. There is confusion at the grass-roots level as well — yesterday on Mike Francesa’s show on WFAN, one of his guests waxed nostalgic about what a great job the authorities have done to boost striper stocks. Really? You’re kidding, right? Sadly, he wasn’t.

This piece by Zach Harvey appeared in a recent Rhode Island edition of Coastal Angler Magazine: http://coastalanglermag.com/rhodeisland/2014/08/fish-focus-shame-us/

A Block Island keeper lives to fight another day. Every year, tens of thousands of her sisters aren’t so lucky.


8 comments on “A thought-provoking essay on the coming striped bass crash

  1. Fred Lord says:

    Hi Steve  I liked ( sounds bad ..a better phrase  would  be (“was alarmed at”) this post. I have heard about our fish populations from other reliable sources. Not good news. What surprises me is the lack of concern and action of those responsible for protecting our fisheries.  As an avid fly tyer,  I enjoy all your posts especially the patterns. You may knot know me but I have met you several times and watched you tie.  Keep up the good work. Fred Lord

    • Steve Culton says:

      Hi Fred. This year was better than the last two — so far. Still, it’s inconsistent as hell. I wish I had a better answer than releasing everything I catch.

      Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad you like the posts, and I’ll try to get some more patterns up ASAP. Please re-introduce yourself the next time we meet.

  2. Jim Smith says:

    Steve, I once made an off handed remark to a friend of mine that this thing will be done in our life time. We are almost there.

  3. rmarafioti says:

    Thanks, Steve. I don’t fish Block, but I know many folks who do…mostly only a couple of times a Summer though. Very interesting article! Regards, Ron

  4. Dave Pollack says:

    Thanks for forwarding that, Ron.

    I’ve been concerned for the past few years about the substantial decline in the striped bass population available to anglers who fish the RI shore, breachways, ponds and tributaries. I do not attribute that decline solely to overfishing, although that must be a contributing factor, because there are other things going as well – habitat changes, waters are warmer, seasons are later, bait is different, bluefish have been declining in number also, the false albacore barely made a local appearance last year, and so forth. Two years ago I declared a personal moratorium on striped bass; I will not kill or eat striped bass.

    The article points out the additional problem of the decimation of the breeding population. A complete moratorium, recreational and commercial, would help to alleviate that problem, but pursuit of the perfect is impractical and so I support a partial solution, a moratorium limiting all fishers to two bass daily, each to be larger than 22″ and smaller than 28,” or whatever other slot sizes are anticipated to be most effective in protecting the breeding population.


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