Written by: Capt. Dave Pecci, Obsession Charters
[Editor’s note: Today is the final day to comment on the proposed addendum described below. Click here to see how you can make your voice heard.]
The numbers tell the story: the striped bass harvest from Maine to North Carolina has decreased by 7.9 million pounds since 2008, and the spawning stock has dropped by 20 million fish during the same period. Concerned anglers and conservationists have proposed and addendum to the striped bass management plan, which would reduce fishing mortality within one or three years.
Hearings have recently been conducted up and down the coast. Strong public sentiment was voiced to rebuild the striped bass stock in the shortest possible time. Despite this, commercial and charter boat fishing interests in the mid-Atlantic are lobbying the commissioner at Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) to delay if not derail rebuilding striped bass stocks. This is a well-organized and funded effort.
On October 15, the Striped Bass Advisory Panel will meet in Alexandria, Virginia, to make their recommendation. On October 29, the Striped Bass Management Board will meet in Mystic, Connecticut to take action on the addendum.
New England fishing guides and anglers are planning to attend the Connecticut meeting to support the one-year option of reducing fishing mortality. Waiting an additional three to four years to reverse this freefall is unacceptable. Our fishery in Maine collapsed in 2008, and now the rest of the coast is experiencing the same. It’s time to Save Our Stripers, by enacting the one-year rebuilding framework.
Capt. Dave Pecci guides on the Kennebec River in Maine.