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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Permanent changes loom for striper anglers

Published in the Asbury Park Press 6/11/04
By:John Geiser


Single-fish limit possible even as commercial plan advances

One of the safest predictions one can make on striped bass fishing in the Shore area is that it is never going to get any better than it was in late May and early June.
The end of the run is in sight. The menhaden netters are working feverishly along the coast, and, with the water warming up and as the great schools of bunkers are caught or dispersed, striped bass catches will begin to fall off.

More significant than that, however, are the revelations that have come out of the controversy over the proposed striped bass rules and the management assessments of the stocks.

The bass stocks have been restored, but biologists said this week that when New Jersey's new rules are in place we will never go back to more liberal landings.

New Jersey was ordered to cut its mortality by 32 percent this year. The options left no room to please everyone. Lose the slot, lose fish between 28 and 34 inches, lose something, but cut back 32 percent was the mandate.

Remember the days of the 10-fish limit and 18-inch minimum? Now management officials say that, despite the restored stocks, there are not enough striped bass to allow more than a one-fish limit from 24 inches up when the coastwide plan is revisited.

Mortality is the problem. Management officials figure mortality, including hook-and-release mortality, and the stocks are insufficient to provide a coastwide limit of even two fish from 24 inches up.

New Jersey will still have a slight edge with its 310,000-pound bonus quota, but this is not a lot of fish to divide among the fishing public.

The National Marine Fisheries Service is pushing ahead with its plan to open the extended economic zone to striped bass fishing, and there are fears of the commercial impact on the stocks, if this goes through.

Currently the commercial landings are about 25 percent of the overall landings.

Capt. Sal Cursi, skipper of the charter boat Cathy Sea out of Sewaren, is watching the development of the new striped bass rules carefully.

"I wouldn't even be in the charter boat business, if it were not for striped bass," he said. "This is the fish that people are interested in catching."
 

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I think without question the simple answer is to eliminate the slot, that's what got us to good numbers, and reduce the number of takes per man. It's a no brainer. 1 fish over 28. Maybe a one trophy plus program for fish over say 40 inches.
 

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IMO we must do away with the slot fish in order for the Stripers to grow to trophy size. If we continue killing slot size fish we will see very few fish over 20lbs.

Im all for the future. If we continue this way, my kids may never have a desent shot at a trophy. Hell I dont have that good of a shot now. :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ristori: State should kick in to fund striper program
Sunday, June 13, 2004

BY AL RISTORI
Star-Ledger Staff


Proposed changes in striped bass regulations will be discussed at 2 p.m. tomorrow when the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee meets in Committee Room 9 on the third floor of the State House Annex in Trenton.

Committee Chairman Robert J. Smith has introduced A3007, which would change the catch and possession limits for striped bass by the July 31 deadline imposed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission for New Jersey to come into compliance with its Striped Bass Management Plan. The coastal standard under that plan is two bass per day at a minimum of 28 inches.

Smith's bill retains the popular 24-to-28-inch "slot striper," but to achieve conservation equivalency with the standard, the second bass would have to be a minimum of 34 inches. That leaves a gap from 28 to 34 inches that could be filled by those signed up in the bonus program, which is derived from the state's old commercial quota. That program has become controversial because the Division of Fish and Wildlife doesn't have the funding to continue it and has asked that a conservation fee be collected from those in the program in order to avoid dropping it altogether.

Most anglers and sportfishing organizations present at the recent public meetings were against imposition of the fee and felt that the state should appropriate the $200,000 or so required. As Tom Fote of the Jersey Coast Anglers Association noted, the McGreevey Administration already has doubled boat registration fees and imposed a huge increase in the cost of beach buggy permits at Island Beach State Park while leaving the Division on a starvation diet. Though all had to tighten belts during the recent fiscal crisis, the economy has turned around, tax revenues (including those from fishing tackle sales and boat fuel) are rising, and funding has been restored to the arts. It's time for the McGreevey Administration to step up to the plate for the over 1,000,000 anglers enjoying the state's most popular sport by providing an almost insignificant sum that will avoid both a needless fee and all the paperwork involved in collecting it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Senate on break, striped bass season goes on

Published in the Asbury Park Press 6/30/04
By:John Geiser


It is probable that there will be a striped bass season in the fall, despite the fact that the state Senate broke for the summer without addressing the striper rules.
The state Legislature sets the rules for the New Jersey striped bass fishery within the guidelines set down by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

The ASMFC notified New Jersey months ago that more stringent laws would have to be implemented, and Assemblyman Bob Smith, D-Gloucester, and New Jersey's legislative representative to the ASMFC, promised the commission's striped bass board that he would have new rules in place by the August meeting.

He did his part by immediately introducing a striped bass bill, and then rushing it through the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, and ultimately through the Assembly. However, nothing similar happened on the Senate side.

The Senate version of the bill was not heard in committee because there was no committee hearing scheduled before the summer recess.

Smith's bill, though supported by the majority of anglers who turned out at the state's three hearings, did not have total support among the state's fishermen. The Jersey Coast Anglers Association and the New Jersey Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, with thousands of members, both opposed Smith's measure.

Smith's proposal was: one fish between 24 and less than 28 inches; one fish at 34 inches or more, and a third fish 28 inches or over with a bonus tag.

The other popular proposal was: two fish at 28 inches or more and a third fish 28 inches or more with a bonus tag. The JCAA and the federation supported this proposal.

It is no secret that the state Division of Fish and Wildlife supports two fish at 28 inches or more with no bonus program.

Since the Senate will not meet again until September, Smith will be forced to go back to the ASMFC board the fourth week in August, and try to assure the members that New Jersey is trying.

If the board votes New Jersey out of compliance, it would not mean an immediate closure of the fishery. The ASMFC typically waits about a week or two before notifying the Secretary of Commerce who, in turn, will put pressure on the state administration, and by that time the Senate would hopefully have acted and the rules be set.


Thomas P. Fote, legislative chairman of the JCAA and a member of the ASMFC, believes New Jersey will be in compliance sometime in September.

"I didn't support this bill, but we have to move some kind of a bill," he said. "And, as I see it, we've got to do everything we can to get into compliance."

Fote said he has been concerned about the timing, whatever the bill, from the beginning.

"I've been wondering how we were going to get this passed before the recess," he said. "The Senate had no committee hearings scheduled, and, when they passed the budget, they just packed up and went home."

Tony Bogan, a spokesman for the United Boatmen, said he was disappointed that the bill was not acted upon for two reasons: 1) it will leave New Jersey out of compliance, and 2) the filleting exception for party and charter boatmen, which was part of the bill, will not be in place
 
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