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Striped Bass Action Alert!

Posted on August 06 2019

Striped Bass Action Alert!

On Aug 8th the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will meet and help decide the fate of the striped bass population. No doubt we need more fish, and to accomplish that the American Saltwater Guides Association needs support.

Here is exactly how you can reach out to the state commissioners and provides a summary of talking points.

Striped Bass Action Alert
The American Saltwater Guides Association supports HR 2236. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission meets at 8:30 A.M. on August 8th to discuss the status of striped bass. There are two items on the agenda that require your participation. Furthermore, the fundamental basis for decision making is flawed in this process. The effort to end overfishing and the overfished status is based on data that is two years old and the suggested action is required to have only a 50/50 probability of success. We strongly suggest that ASMFC take a more conservative approach to the critical issue. We have one chance to turn the stock around. Doesn’t it make sense to have a greater than 50/50 probability of success? We recommend a much higher threshold of success in order to ensure the viability of the important species on the Atlantic Coast.

ITEM 1:

Consider Draft Addendum VI for Public Comment

Addendum VI will address the overfished and overfishing status of striped bass.

Overfishing: The current fishing rate which results in a higher harvest, or fishing mortality rate, than the stock can sustain over the long term. This is the rate at which fish are being killed by fishing

Overfished: This is the status of the stock. There is less biomass (fish in the water) than needed to maintain the stock at a sustainable level of abundance over the long term.

ASFMC is required by Amendment 6 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass to reduce the fishing mortality rate to a level that is at or below the target within one year. In other words, we have to end overfishing (the rate of fishing removal). The other relevant requirement laid out by Amendment 6 is the requirement to rebuild the stock in no more than ten years. In other words, fix the overfished status. Amendment 6 must be followed. ASMFC is bound to this. However, we have discussed the lack of ASMFC’s accountability at length before.

Action for Item 1:

Tell ASMFC that they must adhere to their OWN POLICIES and end overfishing within one year and rebuild the stock within ten years.

Item 2:

Main Motion: Move to initiate an Amendment to the Atlantic Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan to address the needed consideration for change on the issues of fishery goals and objectives, empirical/biological/spatial reference points, management triggers, rebuilding biomass, and area-specific management. Work on this Amendment will begin upon the completion of the previously discussed Addendum to the Management Plan

What does this mean in plain speak?

There are states that don’t want to end overfishing or rebuild the overfished stock, as the management plan requires, because that would require harvest cuts. They would like to avoid such cuts by lowering amount of fish that the management plan requires be left unharvested (lower the biomass target and threshold). That paragraph condensed should read, “We want to lower the amount of fish in the water forever.”

Action Item 2:

Tell your commissioners that an amendment that could lead to a lower biomass threshold is unacceptable.

Maryland will lead the charge on this effort. They will argue that the target and threshold is too conservative and unattainable. Maryland has overfished by 213% in the last several years. How do we know that the target and threshold are too conservative when one state has chronically overfished since the recent reductions?

Summary:

· Approach the issue with a greater than 50/50 probability of success
· End overfishing and rebuild the stock in no more than 10 years
· Reject any effort to lower the biomass reference points through the amendment process.

Send your emails in today to your commissioners.

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