2016 Annual Angler Survey Results

The results of the Stripers Forever 2016 Annual Fishing Survey are finalized, supporting documents are below this commentary. In 2016 we received 684 responses to our annual survey.  This was an increase of 27 from last year. This year’s survey has again produced a good representative sampling of sentiments from fishers all along the striper’s migratory range, and as usual MA and NJ vied for the greatest contributions with 174 and 149 completed surveys respectively.

2016 saw an uptick in angler sentiment. Only 66% of anglers said that they caught fewer or many fewer stripers compared to 82% in 2015 and 85% in 2014. Overall angler sentiment was still quite negative, but it is clear from the responses that the increased numbers of smaller fish found here and there along the coast in 2016 were welcome.

66% said they were catching smaller fish compared to 73% and 71% for 2015 and 2014. It will be interesting to see how this sentiment develops over the next few years, since the average year classes providing the fish now coming in to coastal keeper size are on average much smaller than those from the earlier stages of the recovery. 2016 was another year of very low production of new stripers in Chesapeake Bay.

We again asked our members about what they were seeing from the 2011 year class. The results were that 78% in 2016 compared 84% in 2015 felt that this year class was appearing in the fishery at levels well below those that one would expect. Only 22% of 2016 respondents felt that the 2011 year class was evident at levels expected from such a huge year class.

Answers to questions about the need for a slot limit of smaller-sized stripers, and what percentage of the current commercial quotas should be reallocated to recreational quotas, show that our members continue to believe we should not be harvesting large, breeding stripers, that they want to set aside a high percentage of the current commercial catch for conservation – and not harvest it themselves. 77% of our members – up slightly from 75% in 2015 – said that they are willing to buy a stamp to finance the buyout of the commercial fishery.

We had survey results from 64 guides, up from 61 in 2015. Without a doubt the decline in striper fishing is hurting this valuable industry as well as the related fishing tourism and tackle businesses. The guides know how to fish their areas, though, and can usually produce the best results possible from their home waters. If you are thinking about a guided trip please check out the guides and tackle shops listed on the Stripers Forever website. We recently called all the guides on the list and removed those that we could find who had dropped out of the business.  We are always adding new ones and welcome new applications. Just send us an e-mail at stripers@stripersforever.org.

We will send this information to the press and fishery policy makers everywhere. We hope that you will use this information personally to help us advocate for the goal of coast-wide striped bass game fish. Please share the results with your local fishing club, hometown newspaper, and elected officials that you may know.

If you have any questions about the survey please don’t hesitate to e-mail us at: stripers@stripersforever.org

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CONTACT INFO

Stripers Forever
PO Box 2781
South Portland, ME 04116-2781
stripers@stripersforever.org

ABOUT US

Welcome to the official web site for Stripers Forever, an all-volunteer organization dedicated to making the striped bass a gamefish. By eliminating commercial exploitation of the #1 recreational saltwater fishery on the east coast, over 3,000,000 recreational anglers will enjoy the social and financial benefits that will come from an improved striped bass population.

MISSION STATEMENT

Stripers Forever advocates for the conservation and responsible stewardship of wild striped bass along the Atlantic Coast.

Stripers Forever, a non-profit, internet-based conservation organization, seeks game fish status for wild striped bass on the Atlantic Coast in order to significantly reduce striper mortality, to provide optimum and sustainable public fishing opportunities for anglers from Maine to North Carolina, and to secure the greatest socio-economic value possible from the fishery.

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