by Ed Cherry
Chairman JCAA Striped Bass Committee
(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association October 2004 Newsletter)
An important meeting will be held on October 13th for Club Reps to review the most current technical data available pertaining to pending 2005 Striped Bass Regulations!
Please call or email Ed Cherry at 609-597-9456 or email@example.com if you are interested in attending a special JCAA meeting with Russ Allen of the Division of Fish and Wildlife on October 13th.
If you plan on attending, I need to know before October 6th the following information: your Name, Affiliation, Phone number and Email address. The time will be 7:00 PM at the JCAA offices provided we have enough room; otherwise it will have to be at some other location to be determined. Thus, the need for the information requested above. Clubs will be limited to the club reps (2) or their representatives.
JCAA's job is to keep our member clubs informed on what is impacting the resource by making information available. It is the member clubs’ responsibility to send representatives to meetings and read the JCAA Newspaper and emails so you can keep your members informed on what is happening and discussa plan of action to address these concerns. Remember, all JCAA Newspapers and Congressional Testimony since 1995 is archived at our Web site. Our web site http://www.jcaa.org has a search engine to access those articles. Just type in striped bass and you will be amazed at all the information that is available. You can also get JCAA email alerts on what needs to be done by going to the web page http://www.jcaa.org/Subscriber_Form.asp , filling in the appropriate information and clicking the SUBMIT button at the bottom. Sometimes things happen fast and we need you to react quickly.
I will contact you as to the exact time and place on the 6th or 7th of October. Email communication would be preferred
The two recent newspaper articles reprinted below highlight a survival problem of striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay. This is the major nursery for our coastal stocks! With respect to one of the concerns among many within the two articles, the following should be noted.]
The ASMFC Atlantic Menhaden Advisory Panel will meet October 28, 2004. The purpose of this meeting will be to review the proceedings and recommendations from the Atlantic Menhaden Workshop, which will be held October 12-14. This workshop brings together State, Federal and University scientists to:
It appears management boards are finally starting to recognize that there are many far-reaching factors involved in stock rebuilding and maintenance other than bag limits and fishing mortality targets. The larger implications of multi-species management demand a closer look at factors that were not previously directly factored into plans. We can only hope it is not too little, and not much too late.
JCAA has been talking about this particular problem for more than a year. I wrote an article relating to this problem in the June 2004 JCAA newsletter. It can be reviewed by going to http://www.jcaa.org/JCNL0406/0406Cherry.htm .
A solution to these problems is presented in the two accompanying newspaper articles. I will quote from one:
“Jim Price, a former Maryland fishing guide, has been arguing for years that striped bass are going hungry. "We need to kill more of these fish," he said of striped bass. "I want to see the bay get back into balance”."
The JCAA response to this solution is as follows.
Do we really need to kill more fish? Does anyone really think that killing more striped bass will get the bay into balance? JCAA thinks not! Might it not be better among many other things to try to eliminate the pollution, widespread hypoxic conditions, and re-establish a balanced menhaden age population in the bay? It appears that some people are looking at a very simplistic solution to a very complex problem.
Of course, we humans are the problem. Greed, pollution both point and non point, altered water flows and bay flushing by the building of dams, and ever encroaching human population on the sensitive wetlands and nursery areas, and just about anything else you can think of contributes to the real cause of the overall problem. JCAA does not think killing more striped bass is a real great solution to the problem. We humans seem to be doing a fantastic job doing that with our abuse of the environment.
Here is a recent newspaper article for you to consider.
Biologists are trying to find out why the survival rate of striped bass, whose numbers rebounded under strict catch limits in the Chesapeake Bay, appears to be falling. “There’s an increased concern by fisheries managers that we could be looking at some future crash” of the striped bass population, said Wolfgang Vogelbein, a scientist at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.
Pollution, disease or starvation could be at fault, biologists say. Some scientists also are beginning to ask whether the recreational-catch limits and commercial-harvest quotas, which helped the striped bass recovery, are too restrictive.
“We’ve got a rare case of a species coming back to high abundance and are now seeing things that may be problems caused by this high abundance,” said Desmond Kahn, a biologist with the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife. If the trend continues, the decline would be the first threat striped bass have faced since the 1980s, when overfishing whittled their numbers to such a point that the federal government banned fishing for the species from North Carolina to Maine.
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, composed of Delaware and 14 other Atlantic states, engineered the moratorium. It earned accolades from conservationists worldwide when the striped bass population rebounded to record highs. The Atlantic commission declared the striped bass “fully recovered” in 1995.
Known in the bay as rockfish, striped bass now support a multimillion-dollar sports fishing industry in Virginia and are regularly pursued by commercial netters. The state controls the sport and commercial harvests through quotas imposed by the Atlantic commission.
About 75 percent of the coastal striped bass population is spawned in the bay. Most of the fish live there for several years until they mature. They then join the adult population that generally migrates offshore from North Carolina to Maine, returning to the bay each year to spawn.
The commission’s estimates continue to show robust population growth. Striped bass have been reproducing so successfully in the bay, however, that the population may be able to tolerate increases in mortality, Kahn said. Yet biologists are trying to figure out why striped bass in the bay aren’t living as long as they once did.
The bay’s striped bass enjoyed a survival rate between 60 percent and 70 percent through the mid-1990s, Kahn said. That rate, however, dropped to 40 percent to 50 percent in 1998 and has remained about the same since then. Kahn said an analysis of tagged fish indicates the numbers are declining because the striped bass are dying - not because they are being harvested.
One possible cause could be a disease called mycobacteriosis, which was discovered in the bay’s striped bass in 1997, a year before striped bass survival rates fell.
At first, an estimated 10 percent of the bay’s resident striped bass were believed infected with the disease, which often leaves red sores on a fish’s flanks and attacks its internal organs. Now, more than 70 percent of the fish are infected, said Vogelbein.
Another problem could be pollution. Nutrients from sewage-treatment plants and polluted runoff from farms and development create algae blooms that leave a vast “dead zone” in the bay’s depths devoid of oxygen. Striped bass normally seek summer refuge in deep water but now must make do in shallower water that contains oxygen but is warmer than the fish prefer.
Scientists also say menhaden, which striped bass eat, have declined in population.
Jim Price, a former Maryland fishing guide, has been arguing for years that striped bass are going hungry. “We need to kill more of these fish,” he said of striped bass. “I want to see the bay get back into balance.”
[News Contents] [Top]