Originally Posted by Gregorjim
Was this a bad year or is it a picture of things to come?..
The thing about this fishery is that it is cyclical and these fish remain a mystery.
Three fish over 70 pounds were caught this spring and dozens of fish in the 60's.
The week we were at the Cape I heard guys saying that it was the best year in some 40 years in the canal. In Maine however this year its the worst in a long long time.
The Jersey Coast had a decent year two years in a row. The three years prior the fall run was almost non existant. The fish likely stayed offshore due to the storms and other various factors.
Different sources put the biomass at ~ 30 million pounds and 60 million fish.
2008 says its 58 million and adamantly insists that the fishery is healthy, relying on "the science" and not anectdotal information. (The science being gill net surveys)
They also say the harvest is within the guidelines of the current management plan. Management plans are formulated according to the best available data.
"Recreational harvest has grown steadily since the reopening of many state fisheries in 1990, approaching 30 million pounds in recent years. Under the most recent management program, commercial harvest has averaged nearly 7 million pounds annually, for an average ex-vessel value of over 13 million dollars.
The most recent stock assessment for striped bass was completed in 2007. The peer-reviewed assessment indicated that striped bass are not overfished and overfishing is not occurring. Since 1982, the striped bass population has increased from about 7 million fish to an average of 58 million fish during the last five years".
But as we can plainly see the science appears flawed. Especially when the NOAA
felt the need to include in the Magnusen Stevenson reauthorization document the implementation of a national database.
There is unprecedented pressure on the fish from the recreational sector as everyone fishing targets striped bass at least sometimes during the year and more and more party boats target striped bass and take at least two per person in many states.
No one wants more regulation but we also dont want a crash like we had in 1984. Conservation and awareness is paramount.
Originally Posted by Gregorjim
I've also heard your baitfish are being over harvested & sent to foreign countries..Is that true?..
Here is a thread detailing that issue.
Menhaden news the Latest
Omega Protein spent a lot of money trying to resist caps on their harvest and restrictions on their fishing area while attempting to open waters that were presently closed to them.
A concerted effort by concerned anglers from our site and others like ours who contacted the ASMFC in support of a cap implementation in August of 2005.
The action followed a flood of public comments.
In particular these groups - The Recreational Fishing Alliance - The Chesapeake Bay Journal - Stripersforever.org - Jersey Coast Anglers Association (JCAA) - Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Chesapeake Bay Conservation Organization
These groups lobbied the ASFMC and put pressure on Virginia Governor to agree to a cap on the reduction tonnage of menhaden.
The commission received more than 26,000 comments more than 5,300 written comments and more than 20,400 e-mails on the issue, and they overwhelming urged the commission to curb menhaden catches.
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted 12 to 2 in August 2005 to impose the first-ever cap on the Bays largest commercial fishery.
The menhaden industry then successfully lobbied the VA legislature to resist the ASMFC attempts to impose even the most liberal of quotas on the taking of menhaden.
Va. Governor Tim Kaine tried to block the ASFMC implementation by saying that their caps would be superceded by a state law that he planned on creating rendering the caps unlawful.
Apparently the Governor had thought better of this and subsequently proposed that Virginia go along with ASMFC management measures on the taking of Menhaden in the Bay.