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The Fishing Line Response to ASMFC Striper Plan to Go to 32 
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Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2013 4:02 pm
Posts: 42
Location: atlantic beach, ny
Post The Fishing Line Response to ASMFC Striper Plan to Go to 32
September 24, 2014

Michael W. Waine
Fishery Management Plan Coordinator
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission
1050 N. Highland Street, Suite 200A-N
Arlington, VA 22201

Mr. Waine,

It has come to my attention the ASMFC held a striped bass meeting on Long Island last week I was not aware of. I thank you for confirming I am on that list, so my notification for this meeting might have slipped into the spam folder.

I wanted do get my comments into the record and the position I feel my listeners and viewers have on the striped bass management plan the ASMFC may be planning to take.

I am the host of the Fishing Line radio and TV shows, now in our 20th season. It is primarily a saltwater program with about 10% freshwater. These are educational programs and registered as such with the federal government. We teach people how to fish and how to be best at it in the Long Island, NY, NJ, CT and the entire NY metro region. The radio show is heard on WGBB 1240 AM radio Saturdays at 4 p.m. and has been so for 20 years. We are in over 14 million homes and heard round the world via live streaming of our show through our web site at www.thefishingline.com.

My television show is now in over 30 million homes through free video on demand television through the Mag Rack (www.magrack.com) on all cable, over the air, Dish and Direct satellite systems.

The Fishing Line reaches and represents far many more people of all races, cultures and income than the Fisherman Magazine does by a wide margin, so I had to chuckle when I heard from first hand attendees they claimed to represent the recreational community. The Fisherman may represent sport fishermen and surfcasters but last time I saw, by their own media kits, they claim more than 85% of their limited readers own their own boats.

Statistics show surf fishing is the smallest segment of the recreational fishing community next only to the fly fisherpeople and both groups are very conservation minded anyway releasing 90% of what they catch. Therefore this group has no problem seeing a 32 inch and one fish per day regulation which I hear they voiced at the meeting last week.

The larger segments of the fishing community I represent are NOT in favor of that change. They are anglers of all races and creeds that want to eat the fish they catch.

The Fishing Line does represent the entire recreational fishing community with a larger segment of every day “fish for the table” minded anglers as well as sportfishermen and surfcasters. I also represent the 10’s of thousands of people that jump aboard open “head” or party boats and these are the people I hear were not in attendance at the meeting. The Americans who are black, Hispanic, Indian, Asian and others who were not present and these are the user groups that fish for the table as do I.

Striped bass is a public resource and all user groups have a right to put fish on the dining room table a few times per week no matter what specie it is. If conservation minded anglers want to return fish to live as I do, they have every right to do so, but they do NOT have the right to be the only user groups represented at a meeting to speak for the rest of us that want to keep a fish or two, as do I.

I was the first to come out and promote the 28 inch size limit back in 1995 while The Fisherman magazine made the claim the party boat industry would decimate the striped bass population with the 28 inch size limit. That was quite some time ago and things seem to be in good shape with little exceptions.

I have fought the NY DEC for 20 years on slot limits on both bass and fluke. While most anglers in NY fish fluke for the dinner table, it is a widely known fact striped bass is a trophy hunter’s game; therefore most of the big fish caught on the charter boats say in Montauk are killed and brought home. The delayed mortality of striped bass after a prolonged battle in the surf around the Long Island area is also a factor in the bass population.

Having followed and more importantly been a leader in fisheries management, dedicating numerous radio and TV programs to this subject for the 20 years I have been on radio and TV, I have followed the almost overnight resurgence of redfish in SC, FL, LA and TX with the use of slot limits. I have heard Jim Gilmore try and tell me on the radio program slot limits would allow anglers to kill all the fish before they reach the spawning grounds.

You and I both know this is not true and that the rod and reel fishery can never catch every fish passing through a slot limit before sexual maturity, that’s why slot limits work.

We are less than two years removed from a major hurricane that decimated the NY Metro region. We know and must presume the populations of all species, with bluefish and stripers in particular, were severely affected by this and NOT by overfishing. The main questions that should be asked are;

1. Have bait patterns and bait migration changed because of Sandy?
2. Has bottom structure and beach structure changed because of Sandy?

We know these have to be true and had to have changed as beaches and sand structure of both the South and North shores of Long Island were drastically destroyed and / or changed by the storm and the replenishment dredging that followed.

Add to this the economic hardship the recreational party & charter boat industry will suffer if we move this size to 32 inches.

I am now on the record and ask the ASMFC to recommend we keep the current striper reg’s in place for 2015 and 2016 as shoreline and ocean repairs are done by man and by Mother Nature. It takes time for the ocean to come back after a drastic storm like Sandy.

I also ask the ASMFC to seriously look at and ask the NY DEC to adopt slot limits for the striped bass reg’s if not 2015 then 2016. Slot limits are used in almost every state in the country except for NY. This very well may be the exact right time to institute slot limits on bass in NY with one fish of 24 to 28 inches.

While striped bass should not be made a game fish, the “trophy” tag needs to come off the striped bass and keep it a table fish like other fish species for all to enjoy.

Respectfully,
Richard Johnson
The Fishing Line


Wed Sep 24, 2014 6:07 pm
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