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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As for the state's missed August 1 regulatory deadline for striped bass: Internet chatrooms are rampant with fishing folks thinking we are ?out of compliance.?

This is not true, technically. Currently there is a recommendation of noncompliance in effect.

Talking with Megan Gamble, Striped Bass Fisheries Management Plan Coordinator for the ASMFC, I was given the timetable for a true out-of-compliance designation.

By the by, such a designation would place a bassing moratorium on the state, during which it would be illegal to even target bass. Clam fishing in the surf would be all but outlawed, as would continuing to plug an area after catching a bass or two, since your intent would seem to be bass-seeking.

Admittedly, a total moratorium is only a very distant possibility but I want to offer the federal angle on things, as they now stand.

The ASMFC will meet August 16 ? 19 in Alexandria, VA. The striper issue will be on the 18th. Things can happen very quickly at this meeting.

First, the Interstate Fishery Management Program Policy Board will meet and consider the Recommendation of Noncompliance. Should NJ not have its striper stuff together, this board will immediately pass a finding of noncompliance to the full ASMFC.

Should the commission find the state out of compliance, the moratorium countdown begins.

The ASMFC has ten days to submit a letter to both the secretaries of Commerce and the Interior. It is the Secretary of Commerce who would make the final decision on what should be done. That decision must come within 30 days.

In calendar terms, the Secretary of Commerce could make an out-of-compliance decision between early September and early October.

Once again, this is only a dooms day scenario -- but it could play out.

It should be emphasized that the ASMFC is not in the moratorium business. If pushed, the commission would obviously need to show its legal powers and use this no-fishing device. However, implementing a moratorium would be contrary to the intent of the ASMFC, which is to work toward conservation through cooperation by all the member states.

It is highly unlikely the state Legislature will drop the bass ball, leading to a moratorium.

More info if needed:

As most bass anglers know, as of August 1 the state of NJ was supposed to have implemented new striped bass regs. No surprise, it didn?t happen.

The state Legislature, which is the only group that can OK new bass regs, took a summer break without voting a route to take to bring the state into compliance with poundage cuts demanded by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Interstate Management Policy Committee.

Essentially, two primary suggestions (with some luggage attached) were presented to Trenton before the break. When all was said and done ? and there was a lot of last-minute saying and doing ? the bass regulation subject became so complicated that the legislators couldn?t assimilate the data in time to make a fair decision before summer recess. Truth be told, I don?t blame them.

The popular vote among anglers favors a switch to a bag limit comprised of a slotfish between 24 and under 28 inches, plus a keeper bass of 34 inches or larger. This option allow for a safe eating-sized bass (low PCB content) to be kept.

Another option presented by some fishing organizations, including the Jersey Coast Angler Association, is a bag limit of two bass over 28 inches with no slot fish. This option is based on the danger of poundage overtures with a slotfish. This option also offers a more easily understood bag limit schedule, with 28 inches being the size of any keepable bass, including a trophy tag bass.

I purposely waited to bring in the trophy tag bass quota, which is based on poundage awarded the state for the commercial catch. Since the state has established a gamefish-only designation for striped bass, this commercial poundage goes over to the recreational sector. It has been annually divvied out via a somewhat underutilized trophy tag program, run by the NJ DEP?s Division of Fish and Wildlife (Division). That program ran fairly smoothly and quietly until this year.

What many consider a profound under funding of the Division has led to a money shortage that in turn has spurred the Division to seek fees for the handling of the trophy tag program. Such a fee, to get at fish that already belong to the anglers, was (and is) fully unacceptable to virtually all fishing sectors, not because the Division doesn?t deserve the money but because the fishing realm already puts astounding amounts of money into the state coffers, especially through the boating sector. It?s not a stretch to say that without the sportsman dollar the state of New Jersey and all its programs would fall into fiscal ruin.

Combine the above options and the trophy tag troubles and you can see why this issue remains legislatively complex as the Legislature resumes its duties.
 

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Very informative article, only one question

The popular vote among anglers favors a switch to a bag limit comprised of a slotfish between 24 and under 28 inches, plus a keeper bass of 34 inches or larger. This option allow for a safe eating-sized bass (low PCB content) to be kept.
Isn't this what we have now plus a bonus tag fish over 28"? How would this be a switch, or am I missing something?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I was told by the Division of Fish and Wildlife that we are currently under the regulation: a slotfish (24 to under 28 inches), one bass at or over 28 inches, plus a bonus tag bass over 28 inches -- though I don't know the status on that tag fish right about now. I believe old tags are being honored. Anyone? The 34-inch minimum size for a keeper bass is only one option being considered.
 

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the trophy tags in an anglers possession can still be used but new tags will not be issued. So, if you have 2 tags in your possession, your entitled to 2 trophy tag fish between now and the end of the year. Once their gone, your done. The regs, at this time, are the same as they were last year and all spring. 1 fish over 28", 1 fish 24-28", and if you got a bonus tag and want to use it - a second fish over 28". Subject to change at any minute however.

The trophy tag program should be changed to make the third fish a trophy. Make the fish have to be over 34" or over 36". This will cut down on the amount of paperwork and mailings needing to be done by NJDEP and lessen the funding need. The fact the program is under utilized is a good thing. We shouldnt need to maximize the poundage each year like the commercial sector does. Leaving some in the ocean cant be a bad thing can it? NJ actually conserving - what a concept.

As for the new regulations - please could we just go to 2 over 28" like everyone else on the coast. Why is NJ re-inventing the wheel trying to keep the slot fish. I understand a 24" is more valuable as a food fish over larger specimens, but the difference between 24" and 28" is negligible. No one is forcing you to eat 30lbers.

NJ getting to keeps NY's released "slot fish" is silly and MD keeping my released 30" does what? The bottom line is more dead fish over a broader age range. Ive got to think some continuity in the Atlantic States regulations is a good thing. Easier to manage, easier to enforce, etc.

The powers that be within the State (RFA, JCAA, etc), local fishing clubs, and all of these bulletin boards were close to evenly split on which option was preferred for NJ. No clear voice was there to choose the direction and the bottom line is, only 1/4 to 1/3 of the fishermen are gonna be happy with the new reg, which ever option is chosen. That was reason enough for me to fall back on the ASFMC recomendation of 2 fish @ 28", just like every other state has done.

Wheels are round and work wonderfully, dont fix it if it aint broke. Bass stocks have stormed back in the past 10 years with a 2 fish over 28" regulation in place. The big fish have returned the past 2 springs along the surf and the past several falls in the del bay. In the name of Mr. Paul McCartney, I vote for "LET IT BE".
 

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Anybody Know This Anwser ???
--------------------------------------------------
I just picked this Question up from another
site and its a good one...
Here it is:
"My question is - how does this affect the NJ charter and party boat fleets that target striped bass? I'm not sure how their bonus tag program works on the for-hire boats - but are their tags still good for an unlimited amount of striped bass? Are they no longer allowed to give a tag to a customer just like tackle shops are no longer allowed"

If Any Charter Captains Can Anwser This,It
Would Be Much Appreciated...

Thanks In Advance......
 

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Originally posted by NIGHTSTRIKES:
Anybody Know This Anwser ???
--------------------------------------------------
I just picked this Question up from another
site and its a good one...
Here it is:
"My question is - how does this affect the NJ charter and party boat fleets that target striped bass? I'm not sure how their bonus tag program works on the for-hire boats - but are their tags still good for an unlimited amount of striped bass? Are they no longer allowed to give a tag to a customer just like tackle shops are no longer allowed"

If Any Charter Captains Can Anwser This,It
Would Be Much Appreciated...

Thanks In Advance......
Answered My Own Question.,,,
Apparently the Charter Boats are alloted a number
of cards each season. And Now Do To The Closure
of the StripedBass Bonus Program once those cards
are used up,thats it just like the Weigh Stations
(tackleshops)in the program they will not be
issued additionial cards to use for the rest of
the season....

Of Course this is subject to change based on
what happens over the next couple of months
with the Remainder of New Jersey's Striped
Bass Season still in question...
 

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I would like to see all the states in the area ( NJ, DE, NY, MD, VA, and PA ) with the same rules. It only makes sense to me.

Dave Isanski
 

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NJ doesn't have a comm fishery for bass but we are getting shafted.
Like I said before we would lose the bonus program. In the next couple of years it will be down to one fish then no fish.
The comm boys down south are the ones that need to be stopped, but the politics down there have their back. NJ isn't gonna win the battle.
 
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