The New York Coalition for Recreational Fishing is writing this to present our views and sugestions concerning reduction in striped bass mortality. We applaud information found in current comunications indicating that the ASMFC intends to reduce mortality by 40%.

Similar to other clubs, organizations, conservations groups and media editorials; the Coalition is, and has been, concerned about a dramatic decline in the stock sizes and migrations runs of striped bass; as well as documentations showing an erratic and generally poor recruitment pattern.

The following represents a summary of our positions and recommendations:

  1. 1. Minimum Size: We suport a 32" minimum harvest size in the marine district. Furthermore, we believe this size limit should be increased to 28" in the spawning estuaries. It is time to correct the action taken years ago when a sudden and dramtic decrease in the minimum size from 36" to 28" was instituted. It was a mistake. It was too much, too soon and send a bad psychological message to anglers. At the time, many anglers were opposed to the new minimum size and urged a more conservative approach be taken. This is to implement a wait and see policy in which the minimum size would be lowered 2 inches at a time and each reduction in the minimum size be followed by an extensive evaluation of stock sizes.

  2. 2. Bag Limit: We believe a one fish per person per day for all users of the resource including party boats and charter boats is appropriate.

  3. 3. Reduction of the commercial harvest: We applaud the share of the proposed 40% reduction.

  4. Options:
    1. Quotas
    2. Seasonal closures
    3. Reductions of by-catch
    4. Seasonally, during spring and fall migrations, move draggers farther off the beach to reduce by-catch waste.

  5. 4. Prohibit Possession of striped bass in winter along the entire coast.

  6. 5. Reduce mortality on the spawning ground during the spawning period.

    1. Significant increase in minimum size.
    2. One fish per day per person
    3. Daytime possession only.
    4. No possession during peak 5 day period of spawning.

  7. 6. Poaching: Althought the striped bass management plan does attempt to account for poaching, the plan has never properly addressed the high level of poaching that occurs in the inner cities of Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston. Each year, millions of very small fish are poached; ending up on dinner plates, local restaurant menus, and most significantly, in local markets and sidewalk displays in these inner cities.

    Historically, enforcement has been challengeing for a variety of reasons including a lack of adequate numbers of conservation police, ignorance regarding the problem among local police, a lack of cooperation from local residents and city judges who dismiss charges rather quickly and arbitrarily, complaining that they have "murders, rapes and drug dealers to deal with." Of course we understand the importance of dealing with the crimes noted, but preservation of living resources is also important to our entire society.

    We suggest the problem might be anaged ore efficiently and effectively with the pplication of more creative enforcement strategies, such as:

    1. Involve Fish and Wildlife. Effective enforcement might be easier to achieve in Federal Courts.
    2. Combine enforcement agency personnel for periodic sweeps of appropriate areas. A task force with officers from the DEC (or equivalent), city police, state troopers and federal agents would be more effective and send a sincere message of commitment to poachers.

  8. 7. Increased federal funding of mycobacteriosis research: The goal would be to both develop strategies to eliminated the organism from the environment as well as discover effective treatment approaches of diseased striped bass that could be carried out in the estuaries.

  9. 8. YOY Trigger Mechanism: It has taken almost a decade for managers to react and consider taking action following a noticeable decline in the stocks. Thus it is clear that the new (current) YOY trigger is not effective. We suggest that the management plan return to the original YOY trigger, and that other protocols be tightened to ensure a more rapid and effective response to declining stocks.

Thank you for consideration. The Coalition believes we are at a critical crossroads in striped bass management. It is the right time to correct prior mistakes and modify the plan with reduced mortality targets that will allow for a more stable fishery. We know many fish species cycle in abundance and this is true of striped bass; but a lower year-to-year mortality would reduce the severity of downturns because the population would be larger, longer. Finally and to emphasize, the decline began in the early 2000s, yet we are only attempting to change the regulations in 2013! The response time to poor recruitment and declining stocks must be faster.

Yours truly,

William Young
President NYCRF

 The Montauk Surfcasters Association is a non-profit organization that:
Preserves and protects the privilege to fish on Long Island.
Represents MSA on the Fishing Advisory Board, an ad hoc committee which advises New York State on matters affecting surf fishermen such as permit regulations, beach access, fees, habitat & use of State Parks.
Represents fishermen on matters affecting the use of Suffolk County Parks
Lobbies elected officials on regulations affecting the fishery, habitat protection and other environmental matters.
Monitors State and local candidates for office and informs membership on issues affecting fishermen.

Annual activities of the M.S.A include:
Spring and fall clean-up of the beaches surrounding Montauk Point; participation in National Beach Clean-up Day; spring clean-up at Cedar Beach.
Annual poster contest in Montauk as part of Oktoberfest.
Annual picnic at Suffolk County Park - Third House.
Participation in fishing seminars.

• Annual membership dues are $15.00 for adults 18 years and older; $20.00 for family.
Members in good standing receive a quarterly newsletter.
Six meetings per year: Four meetings held on the first Saturday in May, June, October and November in Montauk; two meetings held in Islip on the first Saturday of January and March.

President: Willy Young
1st. Vice President: Ken Dobos
2nd. Vice President: Mike Lang
Treasure: Paul Valenti
Communications Director: Jay Blatt
Recording Secretary:  [Open]
Membership: Maryann Young
Website Maintenance: ShadoeFX Web & Graphic Design
Original Website Design: Peresh Dave

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