Mass. Striper Bills

Hearings are scheduled for the three bills backed by SF in the MA Legislature in Room B-1 in the Statehouse Bldg on Beacon Hill in Boston on Feb 28th at 11:00 AM. We must have as many people attend and speak in favor of these bills as possible. If you have wanted to do something to help turn around the decline in striped bass fishing, now is the time, and this is your opportunity!

You do not have to speak on each bill. Clearly the bill to conserve striped bass by ending the commercial fishery would go a long way to solving our problems. Recent correspondence with the ASMFC has confirmed that if MA ended its commercial fishery for striped bass that other states would not get the MA quota for their own commercial fisheries. Ending the allowed huge 1,200,000 pound quota, combined with the enormous illegal take of striped bass taken under the cover of the legal fishery, would put a lot more big female stripers on the spawning grounds each season. Our bill also would remove the second striper from the recreational bag limit, and that too would help save a lot of big spawners.~

Those who are currently killing and selling these fish, along with some charter boat captains who believe that bagging a second fish per customer is necessary to attract customers, will be there in force to testify against conservation. If we don’t care enough to show up in force we will certainly be defeated. No lobbying effort can make up for angler apathy. We need you on February 28th. If you are not from MA but fish here, own property here, or are from nearby game fish states that are being affected by the commercial fishery in MA, please show up and have your say.

Dean Clark and others on the MA state board have worked hard to break our key arguments down into segments. If you already know what you want to say, that’s great, but if you want to speak with Dean about taking one of the segments that you are comfortable with, the testimony is all written out for you.

After the hearing we’ll be working with our lobbyist and members to get these bills out of Committee and onto the floor for a vote. The commercial lobby will have far less influence on the general assembly, but we must get the bills out of committee to have that debate. In the 1980s the striped bass situation began to turn around almost as soon as the commercial fishery was ended. There are still a lot of large female stripers in the ocean.~ If we can stop the MA commercial fishery it will be a huge step in the right direction and impetus for other states to act. Be part of the solution!

Please e-mail us at [email protected] for more information on the hearings, prepared testimony, car-pooling etc.

P.S. If you don't see yourself as a public figure, a great speaker, or a famous fisherman, then we especially want you! Part of the commercial message is that they are just hard working, regular guys being victimized by rich playboys. The influences of commercial fishing on the management process are destroying striped bass fishing for rich and poor. We must show the politicians that stripers are important to everyone. If you want stripers to be plentiful for this and future generations of fishermen, now is the time to turn out. E-mail us today to let us know you are coming and to discuss your testimony. Bring a friend!

Dean Clark Co-chair Stripers Forever Massachusetts