Feds Threaten Future of Striped Bass Fishery
Submitted by Ted Williams on Fri, 05/05/2006 - 06:37.
From the Recreational Fishing Alliance. Great to see them on the opposite side of an issue from the dead-on-the-dock guys for once. Congrats REC! Feds Threaten Future of Striped Bass Fishery For the past fifteen years there has been a moratorium on the harvest of striped bass in federal waters - the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Now, federal fishery managers are considering lifting the ban. According to many experts, such action could prove devastating to the entire East Coast striped bass population and would effectively set fisheries management back more than a quarter-century. In the early 1980's, the Atlantic striped bass fishery collapsed from commercial overfishing. Pressure from coastal members of Congress and the U.S. Commerce Department helped give fishery managers the push they needed to restore the fishery to levels not seen since colonial times. Currently, the Atlantic striped bass fishery generates $6.625 billion and supports 63,278 jobs for the recreational marine industry and is one of the most popular and significant East Coast fisheries. "When you look at fisheries management over the past 30 years, the striped bass is without a doubt the biggest success story," said Jim Hutchinson, Jr. of The Fisherman Magazine. "Such a proposal just defies logic, and threatens to undo all that great success," he added. "This is typical of federal fisheries management; doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result," said Jim Donofrio, Executive Director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA). "Opening the EEZ to striped bass harvest would surely collapse the fishery again. This time, striped bass must compete with an over-protected spiny dogfish population which eats every fish that swims near them. Add on the problems with menhaden forage in the Chesapeake Bay nursery, and these fish may never recover," said John DePersenaire, Director of Government Affairs and Marine Policy for RFA. NOAA Fisheries must not be allowed to lift the EEZ moratorium. RFA is urging all anglers and recreational marine industry individuals to contact their members of Congress and the Secretary of Commerce and let them know that lifting the moratorium is "a reckless proposal at best." To find your member of Congress by state, please visit: http://www.congress.org/congressorg/directory/cong... To write or email Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez: Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez Office of the Secretary Room 5516 U.S. Department of Commerce 14th and Constitution Avenue NW Washington, DC 20230 Email: CGutierrez@doc.gov