Tell the ASMFC “No!” to Striped Bass Commercial Quota Transfers

Once again the ASMFC can’t get out of its own way. Their latest hijinks involves allowing states to transfer unused commercial quotas — in other words, killing more striped bass. Sounds like a terrific way to conserve the stocks, yes?

You can get a more in-depth look at this madness on the American Saltwater Guides Association website. Or, here’s a brief synopsis from our friend George Baldwin from his Facebook page: “The receiving state that this mostly refers to is Delaware, who believes they have gotten shorthanded when the quotas were last assigned. The states that haven’t filled their quotas were unable to find enough striped bass to do so. This, in addition to the fact that we’re trying to rebuild striped bass populations by 2029, does not indicate a healthy enough striped bass population. Doing anything that has a good chance of increasing striper harvest while we’re trying to rebuild diminished stocks that were determined to have been overfished does not seem like a great idea. Especially after poor spawning success in the past few years. We’ve got to lower the mortality rates that got us into this position, not raise them.”

Here’s where you come in. The ASMFC is taking public comments on this proposal. It takes about five minutes and the stripers really need your help. Again, this comes from George Baldwin (thank you, George, for being such a strong advocate for striped bass!):

You can help by writing a short letter or email to ASMFC stating your name and state of residency, that you are a recreational fisherman, and that you prefer the commission adopt Option A for Striped Bass Draft Addendum 1, which is to keep the status quo (no commercial quota transfers).

Public comment will be accepted until 11:59 PM (EST) on January 13, 2023 and should be sent to Emilie Franke, FMP Coordinator, at 1050 N. Highland St., Suite 200 A-N, Arlington, Virginia 22201; or at comments@asmfc.org (Subject line: Striped Bass Draft Addendum I).

Your letter doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. It can be as simple as something like the following (feel free to use this as a template for your own email):

To the Striped Bass Management Board, To: comments@asmfc.orgSubject: Striped Bass Draft Addendum I

I am a recreational angler from the state of <INSERT STATE HERE>. I’m writing to express my preference for the options being proposed in Draft Addendum I to the Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan. I prefer option A – status quo, no commercial transfers. Any of the other options are likely to increase mortality at a time when the stock is rebuilding. Thank you.

Sincerely,

<INSERT NAME>

<your email address>

There is great power in conservation, preservation, and proper catch-and-release. Please go send that email!

A Modest Proposal (Revisited)

A couple of years ago, I made the suggestion that given the current condition of striper stocks — stressed — and that their future depends greatly on smaller fish getting to be larger — breeder size — might it not benefit everyone if we didn’t try to catch a bajillion small stripers?

Once again, I’m revisiting that energy. Ask yourself this question: Do I really need to catch dozens and dozens of school bass at the mouth of the Hous (or wherever you go this time of year where striped bass congregate)?

I invite you to join me in observing this new, off-the-books reg: When it becomes apparent that it’s a small bass on just about every cast, reel up and stop fishing.

Catching another dozen dinks won’t make you a hero. But walking away will.

This session, from yesterday, went up to 11. Things were slow until the tide reached a certain window. Then a rip formed, and it was the Bass-O-Matic. I was tempted to go for 12, but I stopped after this fish. You can, too. Thank you for your consideration.

CT Striper Anglers: Amendment 7 public hearing and comment

Once again, those of us who love striped bass have a chance to make our voices heard. The ASMFC is currently conducting public hearings; Connecticut’s virtual meeting is being hosted by DEEP, and it happens on Tuesday, March 22, 6pm-8pm. As our friends at the ASGA have said: Get involved. Do what is right for the stock. Do what is right for future generations.

Contact: Justin Davis 860.447.4322

Register for the webinar here. Make sure you select the correct date/location. You can attend any meeting you would like, just make sure to include your home state in your comment.

Please note that in order to comment during virtual webinar hearings you will need to use your computer or download the GoToWebinar app for your phone. Those joining by phone only will be limited to listening to the presentation and will not be able to provide input.

Here are the main issues for Amendment 7, along with the AGSA’s thoughts on what’s best for the fishery.

Finally, if you (like me) can’t attend a hearing, the public comment period ends on April 15, 2022. Individual emails are what counts the most. Form letters count the least. Send your comment to comments@asmfc.org with the subject line “Draft Amendment 7.” ASGA will be running a raffle again this time. There will be awesome prizes from our best sponsors. Just copy stripercomments@gmail.com in your email to ASMFC and you are entered. It does not matter if you agree with our positions or not. We just want folks to participate in this process.

Don’t be bashful. Open your mouth and let your voice be heard!

The ASGA Road Show comes to CT Weds March 16

The infographic below just about says it all. I’ll be posting more on the ASGA position for ASMFC Amendment 7 soon, but in the meantime here’s a great way to have fun and get informed. You can register for the event here.

Which is it, Maryland DNR? Optimism or concern?

In case you missed it, the Maryland DNR just released their 2021 striped bass survey, and the news ain’t good. It’s actually pretty dire, as this chart shows.

You have to go all the way back to the disaster years of 1979-80-81 to find a worse three-year period on this chart.

In an article published by Chesapeake Bay Magazine, the DNR’s view of the recruitment situation is alternately described as “optimistic” and “concerned.” Huh? Which is it? Better still, why isn’t it “alarmed to the point of hyperventilation”? This is merely further evidence that some of the people in charge of striped bass conservation are at best fools, and and at worst, grotesquely incompetent.

Speaking of incompetent, the ASMFC Striped Bass Management Board is preparing to meet to discuss Amendment 7. Public comments will be needed in the next couple months, so stay tuned here for further information. We’ve got to keep hammering away, folks. The gods may not be able contend against stupidity, but perhaps a well-organized, highly motivated striped bass fan base can.

Making sense of the changing striper management landscape, or: thank goodness for the ASGA

On the difficulty scale, keeping current with how the ASMFC plans to manage (I’ll be kind and not place quotes around manage) striper stocks is somewhere between Calculus II and Organic Chemistry. Flux and fast and fluid also come to mind as good descriptors. (And as always, alliteration.) But thanks to our friends at the American Saltwater Guides Association (ASGA) it’s become easier.

Next up will be draft Amendment 7. Public comment will be open later this year, and I’ll be sure to get you the links. To help you understand what’s going on before then — no degree in Chaos Theory required — here are some helpful links.

If it looks like a moratorium proposal, is it really? Nope. Here’s why.

Once again, recreational anglers will need to mobilize and speak loud and clear when Amendment 7 comments are requested. Here’s a primer on the highlights and landmines of Amendment 7.

If you’re finding this stuff helpful, and you really care about stripers, you should join the ASGA. You can do that here. And of course, any donation you can make helps them continue their outstanding work.

Last but not least, here’s a great piece from our friend (and friend of striped bass) Charles Witek on the importance of getting Amendment 7 right.

Thanks for taking the time to read. And thanks for caring about striped bass.

We have to do our best to make sure the resource is handled with care. Getting involved with Amendment 7 is the best way you can do that.

Everything you need to know about the Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization

In case you missed it, last month two Congressmen introduced an act to re-authorize Magnuson-Stevens. Briefly, “Mag-Steve” governs fisheries management in U.S. Federal waters. Given the ASMFC’s dismal track record, this act is desperately needed, and if you love striped bass and the concept of creating bountiful stocks, its title is sweet music: “Sustaining America’s Fisheries for the Future.” Here’s an excellent summary of the Sustaining America’s Fisheries for the Future Act from our friends at the ASGA.

Conservation-minded anglers: everything you need to know about our May 5th ASMFC meeting win

If you took the time to send in comments to the ASMFC prior to their May 5th meeting on Amendment 7, congratulations! After years of feeling like no one was listening, your voice was heard. The American Saltwater Guides Association (ASGA) has a fantastic summary of the meeting on their website. If you’re not familiar with the ASGA, you should be. We’re one of the good guys in the fight for striped bass conservation. We need your support!

We’re putting the heat on the ASMFC.

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Reminder: ASMFC Striped Bass Amendment 7 PID comments due Friday, April 9

If you care about building a sustainable striped bass fishery, please take a few minutes to send your comments. Here’s the link to last week’s post that gives you everything you need to know about the ASGA’s position/plan, and how to submit a comment. Thank you.

Three things you can do today to help striped bass stocks (ASMFC Amendment 7 PID)

Those of us who fish for, love, and value striped bass know that striper stocks are at a 25-year low. Many of you, like me, are also aware of the miserable job the ASMFC has done to manage those stocks. We’re angry. We’re frustrated. But we can’t give up, because there is hope: the American Saltwater Guides Association. The ASGA is on the side of healthy, sustainable striped bass fisheries management. Joining forces with them — or should I say, us — is going to create a critical mass that will help preserve our precious striped bass.Right now we are in the public comment phase of ASMFC Amendment 7 PID (Public Information Document). Here are three actionable steps you can take today to help save stripers:

One: Get informed. Read this downloadable two page ASGA reference pdf which simplifies the issues.

Two: Attend the ASGA Striped Bass Town Hall on April 1, 7:30 p.m. It’s a Zoom meeting so you can do it from home. You can register here.

Three: This is probably the most important one: send in a public comment for the record. As an added incentive, The Saltwater Edge has program where you could win cool prizes just for doing your part. Details of that program are here. For instructions on how to submit a comment, click here. You have until April 9. Do it today! I thank you. The ASGA thanks you. And the stripers thank you.