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Old 02-12-2019, 02:10 PM
  #8  
iFishMD
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Originally Posted by old hat View Post
Back on topic: Striped Bass Management!

It doesn’t sound like the ASMFC will make significant changes to the striped bass regulations this year but quite possibly big changes in 2020 if the trend continues with a smaller and smaller population of breeders (SSB). I hope its not too late. I just don’t know why they don’t protect the breeders now and keep the fishery open. You would think they (ASMFC) learned their lesson from the 80’s when it took a moratorium to bring the striped bass population back to healthy levels.


Unfortunately making changes at the ASMFC is like steering large ship. Takes time. Stock assessment still has not even been approved due to the govt shut down. May will be a BIG meeting. I hope people are prepared for what will be massive reductions. My bet is that mortality will have to decrease by over 50% (I have been told looking like 57% unless some groups who want max yield have their way and they lower the reference points that have given us a viable fishery for decades now).

Two thoughts from my perspective: (1) In order to keep meaningful access and opportunity open while significantly reducing mortality, dead discards will have to go up. Personally, I am at the point where restrictive slot limits make the most sense. This means many more fish will released, which also means dead discards will go up. However by converting kept fish to released fish, mortality will go down exponentially given the released fish have 9% mortality vs 100% of harvested fish according to the ASMFC. (2) We need all states to embrace actions to attempt to lower release mortality rates. Regulations such as circle hooks with bait, no culling, no gaffing, etc. need to be embraced. There are things that show ways to reduce release mortality. It would be great to see the ASMFC TC look to lower the release mortality rate based on these measures.

Sport fishing is driven by participation and the economic engine is fishing trips. I believe species such as redfish, snook, largemouth bass on the freshwater side, etc. have shown that opportunity for engagement with a reasonable opportunity for harvest (small creels, slots, etc) still fuel people taking trips. People seem happy to participate and release large redfish or even numbers with the chance to keep a couple of puppy drum. Given that red drum and striped bass have a lot parallels historically, economically, and culturally, I think redfish management is an excellent model to look at given their success. Lets face it, the striped bass management model is failing!

Last edited by iFishMD; 02-12-2019 at 02:37 PM.
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