Stripers Forever, the angling conservation organization, has responded to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) call for public input by demanding a ten-year moratorium on the harvest of striped bass for either recreational or commercial harvest.
“We are 18 years into a ten-year management plan that has utterly failed in its objective to rebuild striped bass stocks. Now the ASMFC is preparing to embark on yet another ten-year plan of compromise and half-measures and stripers may not survive,” said Mike Spinney, a member of Stripers Forever’s national board of directors. “ Bold, decisive action is needed to prevent a collapse of the fishery like we saw in the late 1970s. An emergency moratorium was adopted in 1984 and is the only approach proven to work. We are calling on recreational anglers, conservationists, and anyone who depends on a healthy coastal ecosystem for their economic well-being to stand with us and demand that a moratorium be adopted now.”
Stripers Forever’s full analysis of the ASMFC’s public information document is available here. A full list of actions recommended by the group includes:
- Moratorium (coast and bay, no recreational or commercial harvest) of 10 years’ duration to ensure the success of the ASMFC’s 10-year stock rebuilding plan.
- No targeting Striped Bass in traditional spawning areas, as determined by local authorities.
- Issue a $25 Striped Bass stamp to fund and support collection of timely, high-confidence MRIP data.
- Ban the commercial gillnet fishery (Coast and Bay); adopt hook-and-line fishing only where commercial harvest persists.
- Include a metric to account for commercial release discard mortality (including bycatch and poaching) to ensure accurate commercial impact and accountability.
- Stronger punishments for poaching (counting black market catch against commercial quota, lifetime ban from all commercial and recreational fisheries for multiple or egregious offenders, gear forfeiture, larger fines, etc.).
- Limit treble hooks to one per artificial lure.
- Require barbs on artificial lures be flattened when used for striped bass.
For more information, or if you have any question, feel free to reply to this email or contact me at 978-660-4053.
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