From www.stripersforever.org, see our Action Aler.t here is the article from the The Washington Times
Report skews rockfish harvest numbers
By Gene Mueller
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
I've never been a fan of the various federal and/or state regulatory bodies and commissions that deal with our natural resources — especially wild fish stocks — and what they referto as
equitable ways to allocate such resources.
My dislike is rooted in the strong favoritism invariably
by such agencies and commissions toward commercial interests.
Meanwhile, the very people who pay most of the bills — in
case, recreational anglers — are viewed by the government
types as a
pain in the neck.
I don't think this attitude will change in my lifetime.
sad state of affairs.
Take for example the National Marine Fisheries Service
plods on year after year in the firm belief that (a) certain
depleted fish species are actually a lot better off than we
them to be or (b) they must be sure that commercial fish
make a living. (Wouldn't it be nice if private industry looked
its millions of employees with such devotion.)
Along the eastern United States, the majority of tidal
activity is managed by fiat through the Atlantic States Marine
Fisheries Commission headquartered in the District.
A disturbing report that strongly favored commercial
interests was recently issued by the ASMFC. In a recent issue
newsletter, Fisheries Focus, a species profile was presented
the headline "Atlantic Striped Bass — The Challenges of
Of course, in these parts the striped bass — better known
rockfish — isn't a mysterious creature. We know it can be
Nova Scotia to Florida, and we know that the majority of the
stock originates in the Chesapeake Bay. We also know that the
species in general saw a collapse in the 1970s, and by 1985 a
moratorium was declared on the catching of stripers by
or commercial sectors.
The fish rebounded quickly and by 1990 limited fishing was
According to the ASMFC, the commercial harvest that peaked
million pounds in 1973 declined to 3.5 million pounds in 1983,
77 percent decrease.
Nowadays, the ASMFC believes that the species is doing so
that (under its Amendment 6) the coastal states can implement
commercial quotas equivalent to the average harvests during
1972-79 period. Remember, in 1973, the netters removed 15
pounds of rockfish.
Get ready to see ever-increasing commercial rockfish
especially by Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina.
But if you ask the ASMFC who catches the majority of the
stripers, guess who's doing it?
It's the recreational anglers.
The ASMFC says the recreational harvest of rockfish grew
3.1 million pounds in 1990 to a record high 19.6 million
2001. In other words, the sport anglers took more fish than
commercials did during their super year of 1973, when 15
pounds of rockfish ended up on beds of ice in super markets
Do you have any idea how the ASMFC got its numbers about
recreational catch? I don't, and I'm a striper fisherman. I've
been questioned, polled, phoned or otherwise asked how many
I catch, keep or release. No one in my large circle of fishing
has ever been asked. We know there is no legal requirement to
recreational catches, but there is for commercial fishermen.
So how did the ASMFC come up with such numbers that at
blush appear to be outlandish, making us look like ravenous
while the commercials are seen as guys who are not doing any
all. Sounds to me that this commission has some sort of an
and it doesn't look good for us.
Meanwhile, if you believe the ASMFC numbers, I have a
Florida swampland I want to sell you.
•Look for Gene Mueller's Outdoors column every Sunday,
and Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail:
COME ON FOLKS, LET'S PUT AN END TO THIS STUFF. SEND THOSE LETTERS AND
E-MAILS IN TODAY!