Important News Update- ASMFC To Vote On Menhaden Management

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© Dean Clark

This newsletter will focus on one development that could be (hopefully) the litmus test for all future marine species management decisions: ecosystem based fisheries management.  While most of us are preoccupied doing “field research” on striped bass and chasing golf balls during our leisure time, our dedicated volunteer Ken Hastings attends nearly every Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) meeting as a spokesperson for Stripers Forever. Thank you Ken, you are doing a terrific job and a real service toward our conservation efforts.

Ken reports that during an intense and indecisive debate (8/3/16) on whether or not to increase the menhaden harvest, the ASMFC voted to delay their final decision until their next meeting by which time a scientific assessment of the importance of menhaden to the entire ecosystem will be available. The ASMFC will be shifting menhaden management to ecosystem based management in 2018. Ken reports that conservation was a realistic, not a forgotten concern during the animated discussion!

The conservation argument against increasing the harvest was defiantly put forth by Loren Lustig from PA. Loren is a life-long fisherman and also an environmental educator. Ken explained that “Loren opposed the (harvesting) increase out of concern for how he could explain to his students why we should be gambling with the environment they will inherit from us. WOW doesn’t come close to describing his eloquent defense of the environment we all share.”

We all owe Loren, Ken and those members of the ASMFC who had the courage to stand up to the commercial interests led by the mega-million dollar reduction fishery voice and influence of Omega Protein. Part of the good news is that some members of the ASMFC are showing some backbone and willingness to do what everyone knows is the “right thing” as the appointed stewards of our marine resource and we applaud them for their courage and their wisdom.

What follows is an excerpted argument against increasing the menhaden harvest put forth by the Conservation Law Foundation. It succinctly states why menhaden are so important and is interesting reading. A large and healthy menhaden stock is a prerequisite food source for a healthy wild striped bass population. We must all be concerned and involved in bringing it back to its once abundant status if we ever want to have a healthy striped bass population.

Enjoy your summer and please let the big ones go and become members of our Release a Breeder Club.

Thanks-

Dean Clark, National Board Member/ MA Co-Chair


 

Menhaden Defenders is a great group of conservation minded anglers and concerned citizens who want to restore Atlantic Menhaden to sustainable levels. For more news updates concerning Menhaden please visit their website and become a member.

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Excerpts from a recent Conservation Law Foundation paper stating the arguments against increasing the menhaden harvest.


If managers increase the catch limit, hundreds of millions more menhaden—often called “the most important fish in the sea” because of their role as food for predators—will be removed from the Atlantic Ocean.  Here are 10 reasons the (ASMFC) board should not raise the existing catch limit on these forage fish:

1. Don’t mess with success. The ASMFC created the first coast-wide catch limit in 2013 and set the allowable catch lower than the amount taken in preceding years in order to help menhaden rebuild. The quotas leave hundreds of millions more menhaden in the Atlantic to become food for fish, seabirds, and mammals.  Early reports suggest that conservation is working and the menhaden population is growing.

2. Predators need menhaden in the water. Last year, the ASMFC committed to shift from single-species management of menhaden to a big-picture approach recognizing that menhaden serve a critical role in the water as food for important predators. Managers should not change the catch limit until scientists and managers complete their work examining how menhaden numbers affect predators.

3.  Especially predators recovering from low population numbers. Striped bass and weakfish eat menhaden, and their populations are struggling. Other important species such as humpback whales, eagles, and osprey depend on menhaden for food as they recover from decades of challenges. Taking millions more menhaden from the ocean could harm efforts to rebuild these species by reducing the availability of prey.

4. There is no new science to justify an increase.  A decline in forage fish can cause negative impacts that ripple through the ecosystem, so coast-wide catch limits should always be based on the best available science. Managers increased the menhaden quota by 10 percent in 2015 based on the most recent available assessment, but there is no new assessment to turn to this year. Therefore, managers should wait until scientists complete their new plan, including an evidence-based analysis of the health of the Atlantic population and the effect of any change in catch limits on the ecosystem.

5. Menhaden have not recovered their historic range off the Northern and Southern states. There is some evidence of recovery in the Mid-Atlantic and Southern New England, but menhaden remain far below their historic numbers in the Northern and Southern regions of the East Coast. However, if conservation efforts continue, they can be abundant again from Maine to Florida.

6. The Chesapeake Bay is vulnerable. The vast majority of the menhaden fished coast-wide are caught in one relatively small area near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, which is also a vital nursery area for many ocean species. An increase in the 2017 quota would intensify fishing in this important and vulnerable estuary, which is already harmed by the loss of important habitats and poor water quality.

7. There are warning signs in the science. The latest peer-reviewed scientific assessment identified a growing number of mature menhaden, indicating that the population is poised to increase.   But it also suggests that menhaden are still vulnerable: The overall number in recent years was near historic lows, as was the number of young fish surviving long enough to reproduce and help the population grow.

8. The public supports leaving more menhaden in the water. Atlantic menhaden are a public resource. Over the past decade, comments from stakeholders in every East Coast state have overwhelmingly supported leaving more menhaden in the water as prey for predators. A record 147,700 people wrote in and more than 300 attended a meeting to support conservation management when the ASMFC set the first catch limit.

9. Stability is good. Managers are awaiting a scientific assessment in 2017 and will shift to new ways of managing (ecosystem ed.) fish in 2018. Increasing the catch limit now could be followed by a reversal—an unfortunate “regulatory whiplash” that presents a challenge to businesses. Staying the course with the current catch limit will give businesses the confidence to plan ahead and make sustainable investments. Reducing pressure on forage fish also helps build resilience for wildlife in our changing oceans.

10. Conservation is a smart investment. Giving menhaden time under current catch limits to return to their historic population size and range will deliver the highest benefit to Atlantic coast ecosystems, economies, and fishermen.

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Sold Out Cheeky Catch And Release Tournament Huge Success

Dean Clark, Cape Cod, Massachusetts:

Schoolie_Logo_large

Two hundred and forty dedicated fishermen descended on Cape Cod to take part in a 100% catch and release striped bass fishing tournament organized by Cheeky Reels. The Cheeky Schoolie Tournament as it bills itself took place the weekend of May 20th and is a wade and fly fishing only competition. There is no fishing from boats and only fly fishing is permitted. Two person teams combine their catch of their four largest fish and vie for thousands of dollars’ worth of sponsored prizes: Thomas and Thomas rod, Yeti coolers, Simms waders and Fish Pond tackle organizers are but a few of the winnings.

The night before the one day fishing event everyone gathered at the Swan River restaurant in Dennis for the “Captains” meeting which was hosted by Costa Sunglasses. Ted Upton of Cheeky Reels welcomed everyone and briefly went over the rules explaining that this is a fun tournament with various winning categories. In addition to vying for the largest fish there were prizes for the team that caught no fish, a winning category for the team that recorded the smallest fish and another for the team that covered the most miles in pursuit of the schoolie stripers that have invaded the Cape waters.

The next day started early with the distribution of contest kits which included an ID disk to be present in the photos of entered fish along with  a ruler which also had to be in the photo of the fish.  Included in each anglers kit was a Stripers Forever Tee-shirt which was graciously donated by Black Eel Outfitters of Dennis, MA.

At the Awards event Ted thanked all the generous sponsors and informed everyone that Cheeky is proud to sponsor the Stripers Forever Release a Breeder Club. In the name of conservation he reminded everyone to let the bigger bass go so they may continue to reproduce as the life-blood of the species. Stripers Forever wishes to thank both Cheeky Reels and Black Eel Outfitters for their generous and continuing support of our efforts to conserve wild striped.

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The Economic Value & Impact Of The MA Recreational Wild Striped Bass Fishery

The attached analysis, based on published data from l\IOAA, shows that the recreational fishery for wild striped bass (WSB) is one of the most economically valuable in the state, rivaling the MA scallop fishery in its economic impact on the economy of the Commonwealth of MA.

  1. In its annual direct spending effects, the MA recreational WSB fishery is on average worth 130 times the dollar value of annual commercial WSB fishery landings in MA.
  1. In its annual direct spending effects, the MA recreational WSB fishery totals, on average over the most recent ten years from 2006 to 2015, fully 77 percent (ranging from 70% to 120%) of the worth of commercial landings for the entire MA seafood industry.
  1. In its full economic impact, the MA recreational WSB fishery amounts to an annual average of 36 percent (ranging from 27 to 44 percent) of the full economic impact of the entire MA seafood industry during the 10 year period from 2006 to 201

The analysis shows that the MA recreational WSB fishery, rather than being just a playground for the idle rich (as it is too often portrayed), is one of the most important marine fisheries in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in its spending and economic impact on the MA state economy. Even in its current state of depletion, this fishery rivals the MA scallop fishery in its economic contributions. Were the MA recreational WSB fishery managed for recreational abundance as a game species, rather than being commercially overexploited for a minimum value, the economic significance of this fishery would increase in impact by as much as – if not more than – $1.7 billion per year on the MA economy (based on applying angling expenditures per trip in 2015 to the peak year’s number of angling trips in 2007).

The results suggest that the MA recreational WSB fishery ought to be managed for its maximum economic contribution and value as an exclusively recreational fishery by declaring striped bass a game species in Massachusetts coastal waters. This strategic shift would allow this important fishery to be managed for conservation and abundance, assuring us of a healthy recreational sport fishery in MA for many years to come. Massachusetts could once again become known as “the place to go” for great saltwater fishing as a worldwide tourist  angling destination.

Contact: Frederic B. Jennings Jr., Ph.D.

Center for Ecological Economic and Ethical Education (CEEEE) Post Office Box 946, Ipswich, Massachusetts 01938-0946 Email: ecologicaleconomics@yahoo.com

Phone (messages only): 1-978-356-2188

 

PRESS RELEASE: ………………………………19 April 2016, for immediate release.

 

Contact: Frederic B. Jennings Jr., Ph.D.

Center for Ecological Economic and Ethical Education

P.O. Box 946, Ipswich, MA 01938-0946 Email: ecologicaleconomics@yahoo.com

 

NOAA DATA SHOW THE RECREATIONAL FISHERY FOR WILD STRIPED BASS IS ONE OF THE MOST ECONOMICALLY  IMPORTANT  MASSACHUSETTS FISHERIES

 

Revelations: Recent analyses of NOAA data reveal surprising insights into the relative worth of the MA recreational and commercial wild striped bass (WSB) fisheries. Based on information provided by NOAA, the MA recreationally-allocated  portion of the WSB fishery is, on average,  130 times more economically valuable than the commercial component of this fishery. NOAA data also show that sport fishing for WSB in MA is the Commonwealth’s  most economically  important marine recreational fishery.

When compared to other MA commercial fisheries, NOAA data show that the value of the commercial portion of the MA WSB fishery on average represents only 0.37 percent (1/270th) of the value of all MA combined commercial landings. This ranks WSB as one of the least commercially valuable fish in the Commonwealth. NOAA numbers clearly show that the far greater economic value of WSB is realized in their recreational use and not as a massively-undervalued commercial commodity.

This analysis, based entirely on NOAA data, shows the recreational WSB fishery to be so economically important to the Commonwealth that it vies with the most valuable commercial fishery on the entire east coast: the MA scallop industry. Surprisingly, the NOAA data reveal that the MA recreational WSB fishery is on a par with the MA commercial scallop fishery as the two most economically valuable fisheries in the Commonwealth!

Consequences: NOAA data unquestionably show that the current management policy of dividing WSB allocations between recreational and commercial use is costing the MA state economy over $1 billion per vear in unrealized economic gains with an associated loss in jobs and state tax revenues. The data also show that in order to realize the greatest return from this fishery, it needs to be managed for recreational abundance, and not commercially exploited for a much smaller commercial value.

CHOICES: NOAA’s data clearly define the relative economic importance of the currently divided MA WSB fishery. The question now ought to focus on what those responsible for its management will do once the full economic value of this fishery is recognized.

Potential: NOAA figures clearly show that if striped bass stocks were protected from commercial exploitation and managed exclusively for abundance as a recreational resource, the dollar value of the MA WSB fishery has the potential to more than double or triple, with an added potential economic impact of $1.5 billion per year for the economy of the Commonwealth.

Summary: This analysis of NOAA’s figures suggests that MA would be wise to re-think our fisheries management policies with regard to this unique and valuable resource.

 

Explanation of FBJ Analysis of Economic Losses from Declining Striped Bass Trips in MA

Frederic B. Jennings Jr., Ph.D. – 19 April 2016

 

The attached analysis reveals the economic importance of the MA recreational wild striped bass (WSB) fishery. The spreadsheet has three tables showing that the direct annual spending effects of the MA recreational WSB fishery range from 70 to 120 percent (with a 10-year average of 77 percent ) of the value of annual commercial landings for the entire MA seafood industry! When the full economic effects of these two sectors are compared, the annual impact of the MA recreational WSB fishery averages over 35 percent ofthe whole MA commercial fishing industry, with a range of 27.4 to

  • percent over the last 10 These results show that the MA recreational WSB fishery is by far one of the most important marine fisheries in this state, perhaps rivaled only by the MA scallop fishery in its full economic impact.

Table One shows the annual recreational catch of WSB in MA from 2006 to 2015 (with the percentage loss therein relative to the peak catch in 2006). The next three lines show the same annual data for recreational WSB fishing trips in MA (compared to the peak in 2007). Then angler expenditures  per trip are shown for each year, based on NOAA data from 2006 to 2012 (extrapolated for subsequent years using regional Consumer Price Index [CPI] data). The number of WSB trips are then applied to expenditures per trip to derive total angler expenditures per year on WSB fishing trips and related equipment for 2006 to 2015. The next line shows similar data for the total economic impact of recreational WSB angling in MA, while the final two lines in Table One show the economic value and impact per fish caught in each year. Finally, the last three columns in the lower half of Table One compare the actual 2015 annual WSB recreational spending and impact (per year and per fish) to what it would be with the number of WSB angling trips seen in 2007 and in 2014.

Table Two then summarizes this last comparison between 2015 actual data with what it would have been with the number of WSB angling trips in 2007 and 2014 to show implied losses in direct expenditures attributable to declining recreational WSB catches and trips of over $550 million in the 8 years since 2007, and of over $230 million in just one single year alone. The annual losses in full economic impact during those two periods are much larger: respectively, these annual losses are $1.7 billion and $700 million. In sum, had the MA WSB fishery been managed to maintain its abundance at 2007 or 2014 levels, its 2015 spending and economic impact would have been higher by 149% or 62%. These economic losses translate directly into significant annual job and taxable revenue losses for the state’s economy.

Table Three compares the size and economic importance of the MA commercial and recreational WSB fisheries thus:

  • In poundage, the commercial WSB fishery averages less than 37% or 1/270th of total MA commercial landings.
    • In dollar value, the commercial WSB fishery on average lands 66% or 1/150th of total MA commercial landings.
    • Direct recreational WSB spending averages annually over 130 times the value of MA commercial WSB
    • In its annual spending effects, the recreational WSB fishery is generally worth 77% of all MA commercial
  • In its economic impact, the recreational WSB fishery is on average worth 36% of the entire MA seafood

BOTTOM LINE: The spending effects and full economic impact of the MA recreational WSBfishery with respect to its role in the state’s economy (and thus on jobs and tax revenues) – makes it one of the most important MA fisheries. With a healthy WSB fishery – managed for conservation and abundance – the economic impact of the MA recreational WSB fishery would double or triple, becoming worth far more than the current value ofthe entire MA seafood industry.

The relative economic value and impact of the MA commercial WSB fishery is quite trivial when compared with the value of the MA recreational WSB fishery, with a negligible economic contribution to our state’s economy. Making WSB a gamefish, and ending the wasteful commercial harvest of this valuable sport fish, should have a major positive impact on the MA state economy by allowing the WSB fishery to recover from its currently depleted state, with a potential economic impact of $1.7 billion per year (as shown in Table Two). We need to rethink our approach to the management of this extremely valuable fishery in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Respectfully submitted,

TABLE ONE: REVENUE IMPACT OF DECLINING WILD STRIPED BASS RECREATIONAL FISHING TRIPS COMPARED TO THE COMMERCIAL FISHERY IN MA FROM 2006 TO 2015

Year                                  2006 2007 2008  

2009

 

2010

 

2011

Recreational Catch of WSB in MA, 2000-201S 8,124,766 5,646,880 4,027,374 2,627,003 2,012,483 1,228,699
% of WSB Caught relative to Peak Year in 2006 100.0% 69.5% 49.6% 32.3% 24.8% 15.1%
% of WSB Catch Shortfall relative to Peak In 2006                                 0.0%                                  30.5% 50.4% 67.7% 75.2% 84.9%
Recreational WSB Fishing Trips in  MA, 2000-2015 2,816,805 3,014,182 2,829,096 2,157,200 1,967,823 1,560,356
% of MA W5B Trips relative to Peak Year in 2007 93.5% 100.0% 93.9% 71.6% 65.3% 51.8%
% of MA WSB Trip Shortfall relative to Peak In 2007 6.5%                                 0.0%     6.1% 28.4% 34.7% 48.2%
CPI data for Boston – Brockton area (1984=100) 223.1 227.4 235.4 233.8 237.4  

243.9

Total Angler Expenditures per WSB trip $158.44 $157.18 $167.16 $182.84 $179.73 $256.63
Total Economic Impact per WSB trip $439.01 $436.51 $435.46 $543.22 $524.13 $856.93
Total WSB Angler Expenditures per Year $474,469,149 $503,908,721 $472,901,651 $394,423,592 $353,682,900 $400,435,647
Total WSB Economic Impact per Year $1,236,601,585 $1,315,731,912 $1,231,960,517 $1,171,835,300 $1,031,401,652 $1,337,122,766
Economic Value/Fish of Recreational WSB Caught $58.40 $89.24 $117.42 $150.14 $175.74 $325.90

Full Economic Impact/Fish of Recreational WSB Caught                                                                                                                                   $152.20                          $233.00                           $305.90                           $446.07                          $512.50  $1,088.24

———– ————— ——————————————————

Year !continued)                                                                                                                        2012                                                                             2014                201S Prellm Est            201S w  2 07 d ta              2015w 2 14data

 

Recreational Catch  of  WSB In MA. 2000-2015 1,367,440 1,989,972 2,103,549 1,683,598 5,646,880 2,103,549
% of WSB Caught relative to Peak Year in 2006 16.8% 24.5% 25.9% 20.7% 69.5% 25.9%
% of WSB Catch Shortfall relative to Peak in 2006 83.2% 75.5% 74.1% 79.3% 30.5% 74.1%
Recreational WSB Fishing Trips In MA, 2000-201S 1,650,954 1,761,750 1,959,099/ 1,209,079 3,014,182 1,959,0991
% of MA WSB Trips relative to Peak Year in 2007 54.8% 58.4% 55.0% 40.1% 100.0% 55.0%
% of MA WSB Trip Shortfall relative to Peak In 2007 45.2% 41.6% 35.0% 59.9% 0.0% 35.0%
CPI data for Boston – Brockton area (1984=100) 247.7 251.1 255.2                           256.7                                 256.7                                  256.7                           
Total Angler Expenditures per WSB trip $271.94 $275.58 $287.87 $311.51                           $311.51                          $311.51
Total Economic Impact per WSB trip $905.23 $918.55 $931.18                      $930.16                           $930.16                          $930.16                      
Total WSB Angler Expenditures per Year $448,956,873 $485,673,302 $563,970,271 $376,635,947 $938,937,233 $610,272,039
Total WSB Economic Impact per Year $1,496,147,129 $1,618,257,430 $1,824,281,404 $1,124,635,113 $2,803,667,017 $1,822,272,593
 

Economic Value/Fish of Recreational WSB Caught

 

$328.32

 

$244.06

 

$268.10

 

$223.71

 

$166.28

 

$290.12

Full Economic Impact/Fish of Recreational WSB Caught $1,094.12 $813.21 $867.24 $668.00 $496.50 $866.28

 

TABLE TWO: ABSOLUTE AND PERCENTAGE LOSSES IN MA SALES AND ECONOMIC IMPACT DUE TO DECLINING RECREATIONAL STRIPED BASS TRIPS FROM 2007 AND 2014 TO 2015

 

2007-201 5 Decline 2014-2015 Decline
Absolute decline in MA expenditures from WSB fishing $562,301,287 $233,636,092
Absolute decline in MA economic impact from WSB fishing $1,679,031,905 $697,637,481
% Increase in 2015 value with earlier year’s number of WSB trips 149.3% 62.0%

 

 

TABLE THREE· THE RELATIVE SIZES OF THE MA COMMERCIAL AND RECREATIONAL WSB FISHERIES WHEN COMPARED TO EACH OTHER AND THE ENTIRE MA SEAFOOD INDUSTRY

 

YU!: 2007 2009
Total WSB pounds  harvested commercially in MA 1,212,846 1,099,942 1,322,291 1,039,337 1,160,360 1,134,279
Total pounds of all commercially landed MA species 337,602,600 337,304,359 396,868,554 304,773,813 326,632,236 356,096,114
Dockside worth of commercially landed MA WSB $2,002,487 $2,306,486 $3,163,669 $2,741,321 $3,551,660 $3,024,907
Total Dockside Value of All MA Commercial Landings $325,937,069 $427,332,481 $586,291,095 $420,004,320 $399,821,686 $400,469,082
Total MA Seafood Industry Economic Impacts, 2006 – 2014 $3,343,831,000 $3,236,006,000 $3,142,393,000 $3,146,062,000
Commercial WSB as a % of all comm. species (in lbs) 0.36% 0.33% 0.33% 0.34% 0.36% 0.32%
Commercial WSB as a % of all comm. species (In $) 0.61% 0.54% 0.54% 0.65% 0.89% 0.76%

 

 

Recreational WSB Expenditures as a Proportion of the Value of Commercial WSB Landings (in $) 149.97 183.82 133.15 130.39
Economic Value: MA Recreational WSB Spending as a % of All MA Commercial Landings (In $) 80.9% 120.0% 118.3% 98.5%
Economic Impact: MA WSB Recreational Impact as a % of All MA Seafood Industry Impacts (in $) 37.0% 40.7% 39.2% 37.2%
 

Year (continued)

 

2010

 

2011

 

2012

 

 

1,004,468

 

2014

Totals 2004-2!!14
IS data 2006-2014)
Total WSB pounds harvested commercially in MA 1,221,209 1,162,469 1,218,485 1,138,518 12,714,204
Total pounds of all commercially landed MA species 283,024,538 264,990,802 296,036,502 262,256,154 274,186,184 3,439,771,856
Dockside worth of commercially landed MA WSB $3,567,426 $3,183,749 $3,504,686 $3,130,000 $4,834,387 $35,010,778
Total Dockside Value of All MA Commercial Landings $478,691,363 $571,582,916 $616,466,446 $565,739,019 $525,124,164 $5,317,459,641
Total MA Seafood Industry Economic Impacts, 2006 – 2014 $3,763,570,000 $4,451,734,000 $4,869,701,000 $4,428,806, 745 $4,110,859,180 $34,492,962,925
Commercial WSB as a % of all comm. species (in lbs) 0.43% 0.44% 0.41% 0.38% 0.42% 0.37%
Commercial WSB as a % of all comm. species (in $) 0.75% 0.56% 0.57% 0.55% 0.92% 0.66%
Recreational WSB Value + Commercial WSB Landings 99.14 125.77 128.10 155.17 116.66 133.49
MA Recreational as a % of MA Commercial Fisheries ($) 73.89% 70.06% 72.83% 85.85% 107.40% 77.07%
MA Recreational as a % of MA Commercial Impact ($) 27.40% 30.04% 30.72% 36.54% 44.38% 35.55%

 

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A Brief Bio of Frederic B. Jennings Jr., Ph.D.

Fred Jennings is a woefully overeducated native of Ipswich, MA, with a B.A. degree in economics (magna cum laude) from Harvard College and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in economics from Stanford University. He has taught economics at Tufts University and Bentley College and has over 30 years of experience as an economic litigation consultant and expert witness in economic damages in a wide variety of industries and applications.

Fred is president and founder of EconoLogistics (consultants to business and law, started in 1992) and of the Center for Ecological Economic and Ethical Education (CEEEE, started in 1998), and is a part-time saltwater fly fishing guide under the name of Peak Dawn Anglers (started in 1995). Fred has his own unique approach to most of what he does in both his fishing, fisheries conservation work and his economic research. He has written and published many academic papers on his economic ideas (including 8 essays in the recently published SAGE Encyclopedia of Economics and Society), and has been the subject of multiple news and magazine articles about his methods of light-tackle motorless fly fishing for striped bass in the estuarial waters of Ipswich.

Fred’s work in fisheries conservation and his research as an ecological economist are primarily concerned with the impact of myopic behavior on economic growth and development and on ecological health, especially in fisheries management applications. We humans are fully dependent upon the viability and functionality of our ecological life support systems, though we often treat them as if they were infinitely resilient and adaptable despite our willful and ongoing but unsustainable abuse thereof. Fred maintains a positive outlook and his good sense of humor in the face of these deep and abiding concerns…

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NY State Congressman Wants Commercial Bass Grab- Help Stop HR-3070

New York State Representative Lee Zeldin, from Long Island, has introduced a bill (HR-3070) in Congress that would re-draw the boundaries of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) around Block Island, re-allocating vital striped bass sanctuary waters to the control of New York and Rhode Island, both of which allow commercial fishing. Connecticut, a game fish state that sits between them, is left out of the picture. 

Stripers Forever regards this bill as a danger to the health and recovery of wild Atlantic striped bass. Not only will it increase pressure on striped bass stocks, but it sets a bad precedent by ceding federal waters to state control. The water that would be opened to state management—and thus commercial fishing—is well known for attracting large female stripers, the very fish on which the future of the species depends.

We urge you to reach out to the members of the Congressional Natural Resources Committee as well as to your own members of Congress and ask them to oppose this bill for the future of striped bass. We have an updated state by state listing of officials on our website, just click on your state and scroll down.

Please let us know if you have any questions by contacting us at: stripers@stripersforver.org

Thank you for being an important part of the fight for the future of striped bass.

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Supreme Court Ends Challenge To The Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Plan

A piece of good news and a substantial step forward in the fight for water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. Once highly polluted, the two most prolific spawning grounds for striped bass, the Hudson River and Chesapeake Bay, seem to be on the road to recovery.

WashPost_ChesapeakeCleanupPlan

The sky is reflected on Parsons Creek after sunrise in Madison, Md., in August. The Chesapeake Bay estuary is the largest in the United States, at a surface area of 4,480 square miles. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

By Darryl Fears March 1

The Supreme Court has declined to hear a challenge to the Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan, the largest attempt by the federal government and states to rid the pollution from a body of water and to restore its health.

The high court’s refusal ends an attempt by the American Farm Bureau Federation to stop the cleanup. The organization argued that the Environmental Protection Agency overstepped its authority in leading the effort because the bay can be managed only by the states that sit in its watershed.

[Federal judge upholds Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan]

The lower court ruling now stands. In that 2013 decision, U.S. District Court Judge Sylvia H. Rambo wrote that the EPA is within its rights under the Clean Water Act to partner with the six states in the bay watershed to cut the pollution that pours in from sewers, construction developments and chemical and biological waste from farms.

“The ecological and economic importance of the Chesapeake Bay is well documented,” she wrote, concluding that “the court endorses the holistic, watershed approach used here. This approach receives ample support in the [Clean Water Act], its legislative history, and Supreme Court precedent.”

The question is whether the EPA could now move to clean other massive, multistate water bodies. Impaired waters have led to fish-killing dead zones and other marine life die-offs for decades.

Critics of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s challenge said the group had shown little interest in the bay before the suit was filed in 2011, and they called it a strategic effort to preempt the federal government from regulating pollution that runs off mega-farms it represents into the Mississippi River.

They pointed to a speech by the farm bureau’s president, Bob Stallman, to support that claim. “This new EPA approach will not end with the Chesapeake Bay,” Stallman said at the group’s 2011 convention. “EPA has already revealed its plan to follow suit in other watersheds across the nation, including the Mississippi watershed.”

Attorneys general in 21 states joined Stallman when the farm bureau appealed Rambo’s decision. The prosecutors, most of them Republicans from as far as Alaska and Montana, filed an amicus brief in support of stopping the EPA’s plan.

“If this [cleanup] is left to stand,” they argued in their brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, “other watersheds, including the Mississippi River Basin, could be next.” The appeals judges did not block the plan.

One of the farm bureau’s critics, Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William Baker, described Monday’s outcome as historic. “Everyone who cares about clean water can breathe easier now that the Supreme Court has let stand the lower court decision that Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint is perfectly legal under the federal Clean Water Act.”

[Opposition threatens Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan]

Baker renewed his call to the farm bureau and others that joined its challenge, such as home builders and chemical companies, to put aside their differences and work to clean the nation’s largest estuary. But his final comment could serve to stoke them. “Our collective … efforts … can be a model for other waters worldwide.”

Farmers worry that regulations such as those in the bay plan could cut their profit margins or run them into debt. The cleanup placed the bay on a pollution diet that called on farmers to spend tens of thousands of dollars to install barriers to fertilizers, soil and manure that poured off farms with storm water into streams, creeks and rivers that lead to the bay.

Municipalities also complained about requirements that called on them to limit sewer overflows during heavy rain that sent human waste awash in storm water into tributaries to the Chesapeake. Those fixes will cost tens of millions of dollars to cities such as the District and counties such as Anne Arundel.

Full Article Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/03/01/supreme-court-ends-challenge-to-the-chesapeake-bay-cleanup-plan/

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2016 2nd Annual Fundraiser Auction

Thank you…Thank you…Thank you…to all the generous donors to our recently completed on-line auction and to each of you that participated in the bidding process. This was the most active auction in terms of bids and we had the widest variety and greatest number of items ever. The Auction was a total success and we thank and appreciate everyone who participated in this, one of our major fund-raisers for the year.

If you were not a high bidding winner there will again be an opportunity for you to contribute to the game fish effort by giving to the Stripers Forever Annual Appeal which will begin a bit earlier this year than before. One hundred percent of our fund raising results go directly into underwriting our efforts to make wild striped bass a game fish as Stripers Forever has no paid staff.

In a perfect world we would not be investing our volunteer efforts and hours into asking for money. Even though a large percentage of our administrative operating costs are donated, in order to accomplish our Game Fish Mission we must raise funds to help pay for a lobbyist, create educational materials and keep the game fish issue in front of decision makers.

This all takes money and thanks to both our auction donors and winning bidders we have a good start to moving our message forward in 2016.  Your contributions and participation in support of our shared goals is both appreciated and necessary if our message is to prevail in this conservation fight to save wild striped bass.

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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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