Stripers Forever comments on ASMFC Strategic Plan and Striped Bass Stock Assessment.
Recently the Atlantic States Marine Fishery Commission “ASMFC”, a compact between East Coast States with effective regulatory power over state water’s fisheries including striped bass, accepted comments on its new 5-Year Strategic Plan as well as the recently adopted Striped Bass Stock Assessment that shows overfishing has been occurring on a regular basis for striped bass. Stripers Forever board member and ASMFC policy coordinator Ken Hastings follows these things closely and conferred with other SF board members to produce the testimony that you will find here: SF FINAL PLAN COMMENTS 010414, SF ASSESSMENT COMMENTS 010414.
Parts of this are fairly heavy reading. You can go the ASMFC website and find the draft strategic plan as well as the striped bass stock assessment if you want to delve into it. Here is the most basic thrust, though, of our testimony:
- Striped bass are the most valuable inshore recreational fishery on the East Coast. This fishery should be managed very conservatively to ensure abundance for the enjoyment of the millions of recreational participants, and for the very valuable industry that they support. Instead of this the ASMFC is managing striped bass as they are all commercial species – not far from the edge of disaster.
- The ASMFC needs to change its management priorities away from the outdated and unworkable concept of MSY or Maximum Sustainable Yield – which always proves to be unsustainable. More emphasis should be placed on conservation. This is not only good for the species being managed, but it would also maximize the economic impact of the recreational fishery which requires robust fish populations to attain its potential.
- The ASMFC often uses essentially theoretical and otherwise inadequate data to make management decisions that allow maximum harvest to occur. Issues such as unknown mortality from diseases and the effects of poaching or unreported catch are simply ignored because they can’t be accurately quantified. In order to allow for these hard to quantify but very real sources of mortality a more conservative management outlook is called for.
Ken will be attending most upcoming ASMFC meetings on striped bass management and the strategic plan, and we will continually press for better conservation, more conservative management, and greater recognition of rights and values of the recreational fishing public.
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