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My point about the blowfish was that they just dropped off the map over one winter. It wasn't like there were a few years prior where we could see their numbers beging to drop. They were all over the place and then they were gone.

Oyster crackers are in the commercial crosshairs now but there are also other factors from where I sit. Right off our dock with traps, nets or hook and line the two most plentiiful fish I could catch were flounder and oyster crackers. Flounder because they are thick and everywhere and crackers because they are pathetic swimmers and just love our quiet protected waters here at the dock. It was almost like a nursery. Crackers from thumb size and up were all over the place. I could sometimes pull six and seven up at a time in one o my drop nets ater being on the bottom for about fifteen minutes. It was the easiest fish to catch for our aquarium. Over the past few years I have watched all year long as many Cormorants sit right off our dock and do a day long buffet on those baby crackers. Relentless like a kid picking up M&M's. This past season I caught one. One freaking oyster cracker. I still think if nature is out of wack in predator/prey population it's the hundreds of thousands o cormorants that reside here all year long. Ever since I was a kid I have always paid attention to everything I could see when fishing with my dad. When I was a kid a cormorant was a pretty rare sighting. Now they can darken the skys in some of the biggest V formations I have ever seen. Some look up and say geese. Take a closer look. It's mostly cormorants and they can outswim most smaller fish that they prey on and they don't get much slower than an Oyster Cracker. Wouldn't upset me one bit to see a bounty on them. Sucks when I can sit here and watch them dive down in large numbers and come up constantly with baby tog, seabass, flounder, weakies, stripers and even decent size eels. Takes a lot of fish to keep that bloated population fed and they know just where to go to get the right size fish. The babies.:thumbsdown:
now this makes sense, well written, Yes there are a lot of reasons , for the decline of weakfish , and to hope that they will come back like they where in the late seventies is not a pipe dream , but there is work to do.
larger keeper size
less bag limit
the continued restoration of our wetlands for there hatcheries.,
That is what we can do in this state.
As these fish move south our southern states would also need to follow the same rules ,and let these young fish grow.
yes dogfish eat weakies
yes striper eat weakies
yes fluke eat weakies
yes cormorants eat weakies
and yes humans eat weakies.
The Idea of fish hatcheries in our states and releasing them into the wild , just to be marauded by other states would be futile. In the late seventies i was a young boy and just caught the end of the great weakfish run. There has been runs of fish since and even some good runs , but none like those days. In those days they were sought out by commercial guys with nets , and fake commercial guys with rods and reels , now these fake guys , my father included , would go out at night and tie up to a light house, back than they were manned by the coasties. Than these fake commercial fisherman , would put lights out over the side, this would bring up the shiners, where are they by the way. Anyway the shiners would bring up the big weakies , These fake commercial fisherman would than catch these weakies with bare shiny hooks , They would usually have big coolers or even 50 gallon drums on board , the idea was to flip the fish into the cooler or drum as fast as possible, no fighting just flip them into the boat. than they would sell them back on land . My father tells a story of night he and his brother inlaw the former sheriff of cumberland county, and few others went out . They came back with four coolers full of fish. when the tried to sell it they market was so low due to so many fish being caught. That they turned down the offer and cleaned these fish to give them away. It was 4 guys Five hour of cleaning and over 500 fish. I was a kid and I still remember that day when they brought those fish home and cleaned them . It was a big party. drinking beer laughing and having a grand old time. It was also the last time because just a few years later they fish were gone. and they never have came back like they where.
Make no mistake there are many reasons for the decline , but human is the number one reason and we need to be the number one reason for the rebuild.
I don't think any dogfish ever used a weakie to fertilize there gardens ever.
 

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Everybody has a guess but thats not good enough. The " Cycle" guys may be right but its a gamble to just sit back & wait. The answer is not easy but until some of these opinions are proven ther should be zero harvest & everything done to make sure they are not bycatch.


I think the most Important thing is to protect the water quality and marsh areas ....These have a bigger impact on any fishery than management...I live very near to Oyster Creek .....and when they have a HOT water discharge " accident"....it impacts fishing tremendously. some management is needed but not to the degree that we are gonna see in the near future. Stock depletion isn't caused by over fishing in my opinion the ocean is vast self sustaining habitat....its caused by destruction of breeding habitat and poor water quality...Barnegat bay is rated the 3 worst water quality estuary in our country.... because of the Impact of the population for so long so close to this marine habitat. But Nature can heal herself if our focus is on the right issues.


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I think the most Important thing is to protect the water quality and marsh areas ....These have a bigger impact on any fishery than management...I live very near to Oyster Creek .....and when they have a HOT water discharge " accident"....it impacts fishing tremendously. some management is needed but not to the degree that we are gonna see in the near future. Stock depletion isn't caused by over fishing in my opinion the ocean is vast self sustaining habitat....its caused by destruction of breeding habitat and poor water quality...Barnegat bay is rated the 3 worst water quality estuary in our country.... because of the Impact of the population for so long so close to this marine habitat. But Nature can heal herself if our focus is on the right issues.


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That makes way to much sense it is a lot easier to blame comm fishing. Gee Wiz what are you thinking !!!!!!!

Very wise and well thought out post !!!
 

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Bennyslanding,

If your saying that the weakfish have been overfished I am in agreement. I do believe that you are off base in several areas. First the recreational organizations only fought for equity in the proposed harvest. Second hundreds of thousands of pounds of weakfish wasn’t the entire population of Delaware Bay weakfish. Third predation by bluefish is substantial.

I believe that if the commercial and the recreational fishermen could see into the future and recognize the collapse of the weakfish population they may have been more proactive is setting stricter limits. That being said I have seen both totally disregard the law because they felt privileged. I even know a commercial fisherman in the Chesapeake who poaches during the closed season. His family have all been watermen and he feel privileged.

Fluke populations are recovering. ASMFC set an unrealistic date for full recovery. That was their mistake just as the commercial and recreational anglers were mistaken with the health of the weakfish population. Is it more practical to change the date or close the fishery? If your too stupid to know the answer I feel sorry for you.

If I have to buy a saltwater license I will. But I won’t fool myself into believing that a penny of that money will help weakfish, fluke or any other fish. I would feel lucky if they were able to buy one additional boat and crew it with two officers who could check boats in NJ waters. I already know that the NJ government won’t do that!

I would support a saltwater license only if the current funding from the general fund would never be reduced and the money collected only went to the NJ DEP for use in the sport. Remember what they did with the money collected for the beach buggy pass on IBSP? General fund!

Just my two cents.
Old-guy
 

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While I think that there are many factors that work against the weakfish, you have to remember that many of the fish in the croaker and drum family do run in cycles. The fact that they went from one of the easiest fish to catch to one of the hardest over a winter is what has me stumped. I'm sure a bunch of factory ships didn't come in and vacuum them all up in 2001. It is widely known that hard winters kill the speckled trout off in mass numbers down south, where they become scarce for a few years and then they come back strong again within a few years as long as the water temps stay moderate. I have to believe the weakfish are suceptible to things like this as well. All the combined man made factors (as well as the dogfish plague) would have a slightly more gradual effect on the stock, not some overnight phenomenon.
 

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I have read just about all the post on this thread and what I get out of it is that everyone is too blame and I believe that to be true, you can not blame just 1 group, everyone is to blame, recreational fishermen, comm fishermen, builders, pollution and natural cycles, we need stronger laws and stronger enforcement in all categorys to protect are natural resources in my life time I have seen at least 3 major cycles of weakfish prior to the mid 70's they were scarce then they reappeared in massive numbers & size then disappeared in the early 80's, reappeared in the early 90's and again in the early 2000's, I believe no one group could of caused this, it has to be everyone combined
 

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some very good points in this thread....benny, I have heard similar theories regarding American Shad that run the Delaware in the Spring.....in particular, I remember being told that shad netters were thought to have been able to harvest entire spawning schools of shad in one pull....for example, in one good pull of a net a commercial shad fisherman may deplete an entire school of shad that frequent one particular area of the Delaware; once harvested the absence of this particular body of fish would leave a very specific area of the river (at a specific time) devoid of shad....i do not know of any recorded data to support this hypothesis, but it sounds like it COULD make sense....applying this type of theory to what you said impacted CMC weakfish (netting), especially when the species was already on a downward trend in terms of biomass due to numerous other factors------sure, i believe it could have had a huge impact!
 

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Discussion Starter · #71 ·
some very good points in this thread....benny, I have heard similar theories regarding American Shad that run the Delaware in the Spring.....in particular, I remember being told that shad netters were thought to have been able to harvest entire spawning schools of shad in one pull....for example, in one good pull of a net a commercial shad fisherman may deplete an entire school of shad that frequent one particular area of the Delaware; once harvested the absence of this particular body of fish would leave a very specific area of the river (at a specific time) devoid of shad....i do not know of any recorded data to support this hypothesis, but it sounds like it COULD make sense....applying this type of theory to what you said impacted CMC weakfish (netting), especially when the species was already on a downward trend in terms of biomass due to numerous other factors------sure, i believe it could have had a huge impact!
There is not a doubt in my mind that this is exactly what happened. I hold the ASMFC exclusively responsible. A commercial fishing friend told me he caught over one million weakfish in one set, with a federal observer onboard. He also told me he has the ability to catch 90% of the Delaware bay black drum. He knows the location of their winter yard. This commercial fishermen chose not to over fish the weakfish and the black drum because he knew it was the right thing to do! Note, The ASMFC only recently limited the amount of weakfish that could be harvested!
 

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I think the most Important thing is to protect the water quality and marsh areas ....These have a bigger impact on any fishery than management...I live very near to Oyster Creek .....and when they have a HOT water discharge " accident"....it impacts fishing tremendously. some management is needed but not to the degree that we are gonna see in the near future. Stock depletion isn't caused by over fishing in my opinion the ocean is vast self sustaining habitat....its caused by destruction of breeding habitat and poor water quality...Barnegat bay is rated the 3 worst water quality estuary in our country.... because of the Impact of the population for so long so close to this marine habitat. But Nature can heal herself if our focus is on the right issues.


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What size fish are killed or impacted worse by these discharges? Lot’s of spikes to be had the big ones seem to be gone.
 

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Anyone fishing the upper bay in the spring around the triangle will see one of the problems, lots of porpoise and lots of big tide runner breeders floating on top of the water with their bellies ripped out--I guess for the eggs, and also the same porpoise chasing the weakies right up on the mud flats where they die---also I've caught stripers with sometimes as many as 3 weakies in their belly---also have seen guys back in the day with burlap bags full of weakies (breeders) just sitting in the sun of no use to anyone, and I've also seen 4 and 5inch weakies by the thousands floating on top of the water with a comm boat dumping it's nets, the fish were sometimes over a mile long----yep, their is a problem, it's greed on peoples part, and stripers, and porpoise(I've even seen them in the last few years right up against Bree Zee Lee's sea wall hamering the weakies-----there has to be some meaningful managment, something with some teeth that will deter the abuses that we can control-----good luck getting that done:huh::thumbsdown:
 

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Don't Listen to Benny

Benny is an enviro nut who pretends to be a big fishing advocate. He spices his posts with just enough factual info to make them sound ok... However, if you search his posts, you'll find that his history proves his primary goal is to shut down fisheries.

I'm all for conservation and there is a big problem with several fisheries, but I just don't trust him.

If CaptTB or some of the other guys started a similar post... Ok. But not from Benny...
 

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Benny is an enviro nut who pretends to be a big fishing advocate. He spices his posts with just enough factual info to make them sound ok... However, if you search his posts, you'll find that his history proves his primary goal is to shut down fisheries.

I'm all for conservation and there is a big problem with several fisheries, but I just don't trust him.

If CaptTB or some of the other guys started a similar post... Ok. But not from Benny...
I agree 100% I checked his post for the past 4 or 5 months today and was going to reply to a post that got deleted. An enviro tool would be the proper term.
 

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There is not a doubt in my mind that this is exactly what happened. I hold the ASMFC exclusively responsible. A commercial fishing friend told me he caught over one million weakfish in one set, with a federal observer onboard. He also told me he has the ability to catch 90% of the Delaware bay black drum. He knows the location of their winter yard. This commercial fishermen chose not to over fish the weakfish and the black drum because he knew it was the right thing to do! Note, The ASMFC only recently limited the amount of weakfish that could be harvested!

How do you count over one million weakfish?:huh: Sounds like a bunch of crap to me. If you were to count one fish a second it would take you like 11 1/2 days to them!:D It must have been one big *** boat to catch one million weakfish.:razz:

Your full of crap and have an agenda but are man enough to come clean here. I asked you why you are hell bent on a fish hatchery for weakfish but you will not answer me? You have some finacial or interest in it?
 

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Those are good questions, but personally, I think it's more fun to just call someone an "Enviro Tool". :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #79 ·
Benny is an enviro nut who pretends to be a big fishing advocate. He spices his posts with just enough factual info to make them sound ok... However, if you search his posts, you'll find that his history proves his primary goal is to shut down fisheries.

I'm all for conservation and there is a big problem with several fisheries, but I just don't trust him.

If CaptTB or some of the other guys started a similar post... Ok. But not from Benny...
GoNavy, Obviously you do not know me. Nothing could be further from the truth! I have caught more fish and killed more deer legally under fair chase than most people on the planet! I spent enough time to catch over one hundred keeper flounder last season and catch one of three specs caught in Cape may co.. I have won a few and participated in many fishing tournaments both big game and back bay tournaments like lucky bones flounder. My family has been involved in hunting , commercial fishing, recreational fishing for 5 generations in Cape May co. NJ and continue to be avidly involved today. I am long time personal friends to some of the biggest players in the commercial fishing industry today.Due to my back ground I am able to post information that some people do not want posted on this site and others. I am all for utilizing our natural recourse via harvesting sustainable numbers of fish and game. I am not for abusing our natural resources via over harvest and repeating the same mistakes of the past. I look forward to meeting with Governor elect Chris Christie's staff to discuss the benefits of a saltwater license. I do not get a dime for writing these post or lobbing our legislators. I do it because I love to catch fish and I know exactly what most be done to dramatically improve our saltwater fishing in New Jersey.
 

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How do you count over one million weakfish?:huh: Sounds like a bunch of crap to me. If you were to count one fish a second it would take you like 11 1/2 days to them!:D It must have been one big *** boat to catch one million weakfish.:razz:

Your full of crap and have an agenda but are man enough to come clean here. I asked you why you are hell bent on a fish hatchery for weakfish but you will not answer me? You have some finacial or interest in it?

Yeah thats it, he has money in a particular company that will benifit from a hatchery.:huh: I agree with benny and think we should develope hatcheries for ALL species. SOMETHING has to be done because it ain't like it used to be and no sign of fish coming back. This year a bunch of guys got excited because of 14inch weakies off of Brigantine...thats pathetic. Bite lasted about a day and that was it:wave:
I feel sorry for you younger guys, you'll never know what it was like.
 
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