Monday, February 25, 2008

Jigsaw puzzle

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission released a peer reviewed stock assessment for striped bass for the fishing year 2006. The bottom line of the assessment was that striped bass are not being over fished, although the spawning stock biomass – the total weight of all spawning age fish – has declined each of the last four years, and fishing mortality is at the “target” fishing mortality rate – the maximum rate at which striped bass should be killed by fishermen. In summary, it was decided that no action needed to be taken on striped bass management this year and that the situation would be reviewed again next year.

This information appears designed to reassure the public that all is well with striped bass, but Stripers Forever believes an in depth review is warranted. Their concerns with the stock assessment center on the fluctuations that these statistics have had over the last five or six years, and what they perceive to be the determination by fishery managers to put a positive spin on striped bass stocks in spite of some serious negative indications. To read the complete article click here.

Illustration by El Pescador

3 comments:

Matt B said...

It's good to see that SF is keeping an eye on this, but I worry that in looking so hard at the population modeling and stock assessments we can no longer see the forest for the trees.

I'm as concerned about the estimates as anyone, but even if they're right and there are more stripers out there than ever, we still have a problem - those fish can't get enough to eat. The menhaden are getting hammered by the reduction industry (Omega Protein) in the Chesapeake, river herring runs are collapsing up and down the coast, and the midwater trawlers are decimating the sea herring.

I think addressing the bait issue would do more for stripers than any harvest restriction, including gamefish status.

Anonymous said...

Matt B is correct to be concerned about striped bass having not enough to eat. However, in order to get folks involved and actively concerned about that issue or the many other affronts to wild stripers we must first organize around the bass themselves. Much like D.U. and T.U. had to first focus on the wildfowl and the trout before they were able to save wetlands and promote the need for clean, cold water, we have to first get the stripers declared and managed as a game fish..... just like ducks and geese became game birds and trout game fish.

Only when they become the responsibility of recreational interests and are no longer managed to be commercially exploited will we be able to draw attention to and have a positive, collective influence on correcting the many other concerns that are having a negative influence on the long term survival of wild striped bass.

Let's get the word out. We must make wild striped bass a game fish!!! Everyone can start doing their part by going to: www.stripersforever.org and sign up - it's free.

El Pescador said...

If you are interested in reading about menhaden check out The Most Important Fish in the Sea by H. Bruce Franklin. Copyright © 2007 by the author. Reproduced by permission of Island Press, Washington, D.C. Here's an excerpt - http://www.alternet.org/water/73516/?page=entire