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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Board will decide tomorrow

Published in the Asbury Park Press 8/17/04
John Geiser


The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's striped bass board will decide tomorrow whether to declare New Jersey out of compliance or not with the striped bass management plan.
Thomas P. Fote, one of New Jersey's representatives on the commission, said the board could vote either way.

"We don't know how they'll vote," he said. "I'm going to try to convince them to wait. They gave New York a couple of week's grace; so we'll just have to see what they'll do."

A bill that would set the rules at one fish at 24 inches to less than 28 inches and one fish from 34 inches up has already passed the state Assembly. It would meet the ASMFC's requirements.

Action failed to take place on a companion bill in the Senate because that body had no committee hearings scheduled before the summer recess.

The state Legislature is scheduled to be back in session in September, and Fote hopes to persuade the ASMFC that a bill will be passed and be in place by Sept. 22.

If the board decides to vote New Jersey out of compliance, the fishery will be shut down temporarily after notification by the Secretary of Commerce. If the bill is passed, the fishery will reopen with fish from 28 to less than 34 inches off limits unless a bonus plan is put into effect.

Unfortunately, the bonus quota is only 310,000 pounds. Some of that has already been consumed, and whatever is left will fail to support the fishery for very long.
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Ristori: ASMFC takes aim against New Jersey
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
BY AL RISTORI
Star-Ledger Staff

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) meets this week in Arlington, Virginia, and one of the items on tomorrow's agenda involves New Jersey's failure to comply with the Striped Bass Management Plan.

New Jersey commissioners will be fighting for time so the legislature can complete action on new regulations which will meet -- or be the conservation equivalent of -- the two at 28 inches daily coastal standard. If the ASMFC forwards their non-compliance designation to the Dept. of Commerce, our striped bass fishery could be shut down by the federal government until we come into compliance.

That action was taken last month in regard to New York fluke, and the Empire State quickly came into compliance by going to an 18-inch minimum before a federal closure would have come into effect on Sept. 3.

As anglers who have applied for a Bonus Card are aware, the Division of Fish and Wildlife has stopped issuing them. In addition to the lack of funding issue, there's now also a concern about the new striped bass regulations passed in the Assembly. Rather than the standard two at 28 inches, that bill retains the slot by making the other bass in the limit a minimum of 34 inches.

Though we've never come close to filling the Bonus Card quota, which is derived from the old commercial allocation, the only way it would be possible to keep bass between 28 and 34 inches under the proposed regulations would be with the Bonus Card - and that could result in quickly filling the quota.
 

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steve i hope they get this under control . i had sent away for my bonus tags awhile ago they never sent them back i think they might of known what was going to happpen thats why they never sent them to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Shore area anglers steaming over possible loss of important catch

Published in the Asbury Park Press 8/18/04
By:John Geiser


A substantial number of Shore area striped bass fishermen are steaming over the pending legislation that will eliminate the 28- to 34-inch fish from the harvest in New Jersey.
The 28- to 34-inch striped bass is arguably the most important fish to Shore area boat and beach fishermen. A law providing for the harvest of two bass at 28 inches and up would have provided maximum use of this size.

The Spring Lake Live Liner Fishing Club has voted to press for passage of a law allowing for the harvest of two fish at 28 inches and up, but it is an uphill struggle. Legislative support is not easy to obtain.

A bill has already passed the state Assembly providing for one fish between 24 and less than 28 inches, and one fish 34 inches and up.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is expected to decide today whether New Jersey is complying with the commission mandate to cut the harvest or is trying to dodge the issue.

The state should have had rules cutting the harvest of fish by now, but the fact that the Senate went on summer recess without passing a new striped bass law leaves the state vulnerable to being declared out of compliance with the coastal management plant.

Ironically, two fish at 28 inches is the daily harvest limit recommended by the ASMFC, though it approved the alternative of one fish at 24 to 28 and one fish at 34 and up.

Bob Matthews, former president of the Spring Lake club, said the members thought for months that "two-at-28" was the preferred choice because the Jersey Coast Anglers Association and the New Jersey Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, representing thousands of fishermen, supported it.

Further, the state Division of Fish and Wildlife revealed that it, also, preferred two fish at 28 inches and up.

"We were shocked when a bill was introduced in the Assembly for one slot fish (24 to less than 28 inches) and one 34 inches and over," he said.

Joe Pallotto, president of the Asbury Park Fishing Club, said the excuse that a bare majority of anglers at three poorly attended hearings wanted a slot fish and a big fish over two at 28 was unacceptable.

"Something's got to be done about this," he said. "The stocks are at a record high, and we're going to have less than ever."

Pallotto said the will of the majority of anglers in New Jersey should govern the rules of the fishery.

"We've got more members in our club than attended all of the hearings put together, and we all voted for two-at-28," he said. "And we weren't alone. All of the clubs in the Jersey Coast Anglers Association supported this option and this was passed on to the state Legislature."

Pallotto said the threat of being out of compliance does not worry his club members.

"Vote us out of compliance for a couple of weeks - shut the fishery down for awhile - but let's get this thing right," he said. "We're going to have to live with this for a long time."

Capt. Phil Sciortino Jr., Tackle Box, Hazlet, said the charter boat captains in the Bayshore area do not want to lose the 28- to 34-inch fish.

"In a normal year that's what we catch the most," he said. "Most of the beach fishermen and private boat guys are going to have a problem catching fish over 34 inches. They'd rather have two at 28 inches and up."

Sciortino said the bulk of the fish caught in the 10 years that he has been a charter boat skipper have been 28 to 34 inches.

"We'd like to keep it the way it is - slots are nice - but if we have to give something up, most guys will give up the slot," he said. "That's the way it used to be, and, we can live with that. It won't hurt anyone's business, if we can't keep a slot fish."

Capt. Sal Cursi, skipper of the charter boat Cathy Sea out of Sewaren, said the 28- to 34-inch striped bass is "very important" to his charter business.

"Two fish at 28 inches would cover us from April right on through the season," he said. "We'd have the 28- to 30-inch fish early, and then two big fish in May, June and July.

"You also have to remember that in Raritan Bay, if you catch a slot fish, you can't fish in New York waters," he said. "You're restricted to Romer Shoal and this side; you can't go over the line."

Cursi said he believes all Raritan Bay charter boatmen and most private boatmen would rather have two fish at 28 inches or above
 

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Only those that really cared about the fishery showed up at the meetings. All those that didn't attend had something more important keeping them away. They were probably watching television and were hoping some one else would speak up for them. It is like fishing, you got to be there the participate.
 
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