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 email@example.com (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: firstname.lastname@example.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.
<your email address>