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I see that a slot has been proposed by Maryland. It could be that I'm missing something,
but is there any way to target around a slot that tight? I understand the idea, in a perfect world it would be nice.

My experience is that most anglers need to at least boat a fish to be sure of it's precise length, and that many fish caught gill hook on the sassy's trailer hook. Also, often they get loose/dropped & bang all aroundthe deck. Despite the best intentions, they are rarely released exactly the way they need to be to live, mush less survive and reproduce. Isn't this slot regulation setting up a very difficult situation both for enforcement and anglers? I personally would prefer to fish a more limited time period. This full season "catch release slot", if you will, seems to encourage creation of a high percentage of fish, 36-42, which will die and or have weakened immune systems.

This, please, is a very serious question, realizing their may be something I'm missing I would appreciate keeping on topic. Thanks in advance. I don't like to think that the gov. is trying to appease the conservationist and the angler, with something which sounds nice, allows the normal long spring fishing season, but is not effective?

Tight lines,

Richie
 

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I agree with you about the stinger hook issue. Those 36-42" fish are the perfect size to suck down that 9" shad and get the stinger in the gills. I would think stingers should be banned if this reg is going to fly.
 

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My opinion is that if at least 50% of the fish that are released live, than that is 50% more fish that will be around to spawn and reproduce more rockfish. --Not too mention, it will give another angler an opportunity to catch that same fish. Yes, we will have some dead fish and it is a shame that we were not able to put them in the box when they would not have lived, but the rule helps the healthy released fish continue and be around for years to come. We may need to look into the stinger hooks on trolling lures to allow the fish a better chance of surviving. This is a huge debate, but it would be nice if other states --like VA in the ocean would have similar rules. If it was up to me anything over 28 inches would have to be released and we could just keep the smaller ones for the table.
 

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Let me try and explain the logic behind it. I got this straight from Marty Gary of the DNR...

The DNR looked for the best way to achieve the numbers they have to achieve AND have as small an impact on the 'business' of fishing as possible.

Last year you'll remember, they tried a traditional 'minimum size' increase from 28" to 33"...they thought, based on the numbers, that such an increase would decrease the take...it didn't happen. We had a long drawn out spawn and the fish were around much longer than normal...so we went way over the number.

This year they had to try something else, so based on the growth charts, they realized that all the remaining fish from the record spawn in 1996 would be between 37-42" long and that they would make up a huge percentage of all the rockfish in the Bay.

So, if you do not allow them to be kept, you lower the numbers of keepers reported...and fish who do not survive release don't count against that number.

Another thing they will reduce the take would be warmer waters earlier in the season. That way some of the fish can spawn and get out before this season begins...and remember, it opens this year on the 21st, so it'll naturally be a week shorter.

So, its NOT about spawning fish...the stocks are very strong as of the last coastal stock assessment 2 yrs ago...its about reducing the number caught and kept.

Now there will be a new coastal assessment this year...results out in the fall...and it will show the impact of the mass slaughter of huge stripers down in VA and NC during the winter over the past 2 years. That study's results MAY make further changes necessary for next year for all states, but the failure of this Spring's changes will only affect Maryland.

Hope that explains it.
Ed
 

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"So, if you do not allow them to be kept, you lower the numbers of keepers reported...and fish who do not survive release don't count against that number."

I’m sorry, but a dead fish is a dead fish whether it counts against a quota or not, it is not going to spawn or ever be caught again and is wasted. I have seen too many dead cows on Turkey Point that were culled out of commercial nets in the years before the moratorium. If you are going to kill it, then it should be able to be kept and used.

Quite honestly, I don’t see how their take figures can be accurate. If there is to be any accuracy, then go back to a tag system were an angler is allowed a certain limit of fish and once he catches his limit, he is through for the trophy season. That is the way they do salmon and steelhead in some areas.

I guess that I am just dumb, but I don’t see the difference between keeping the fish in the bay in April or off of Virginia Beach or the N.C. coast in Nov., Dec. or Jan (the same goes for the northern states during the summer). They are the same fish (but pre-spawn) and they are exploited as heavily there or more so than they are in the bay during the trophy season, so how do the fishermen in Maryland wind up being the bad guys here.
 

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Be happy you have a spring trophy season this year, smart money is betting there will be a two year moratorium on large spawning fish begining next year.
 

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Can you say "politics" That is the problem.

The ASFMC is the governing body of how all the Atlantic states manage most of the fisheries and every state gets a vote at least from the way I understand it.

Maryland is the only state to have had a quota since the lifting of the moritorium because we are the major spawning grounds and we get to keep fish under 28" most of the year which is the limit in most other states.

Our quota the last 2 years was 45,000 trophy fish. We exceeded it two years ago by alledgely catching 60,000 fish and Maryland raised the minimum size to 33" to get back to the quota. A long spring in 2006 and again we alledgely over caught the limit by catching 70,000 fish last year

Maryland approached the ASFMC and tried to get out of the Quota system we were under but lost the vote 7-6. We did get it changed to a "Target" whcih some people consider significant. This year that Target is 30,000.

Our DNR now had to figure a way to be able to reach that target of 30,000 fish and get the proposal past the ASFMS techincal board. Their numbers figure that the largest number of spawners this year are going to be fish between 36 and 43". So if we have to throw them back, we still get to fish, the charter boats keep their businesses going and hopefully we do not catch over 30,000 fish and get in trouble again.

The DNR also does not beleive there is a significant mortality rate to releasing the rockfish in the spring because the waters are cooler.

The rockfish stocks have leveled off the last several biomass surveys with the next one due in 2007. Those numbers will tell us if the carnage off the Carolina and Virginia coasts have hurt the stocks. If the carnage has hurt the rockfish then all the states will be hit next year. If the stocks are still sound and we stay under the target, the target may go away and we get counted with the rest of the states.

One of the things the Maryland DNR wants us to do is fill out the volunteer Striped Bass Survey on their web site so they have amunition to go in a fight for our share of the catch. The link is here http://www.dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/survey/sbsurveyintro.shtml

They used a similar survey for flounder to keep Maryland size limits down compared to neighboring states which some even have their fisheries shut down for a period of time this year because they did not have info to help themselves out which Maryland did because of people doing the flounder survey.

So please fill out the survey for yuor good and bad trips so they have a better idea of what we are taking.

So basiccally your right Jerry, it has more to do with politics and not the health of the rockfish.
 

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slot

My only comments on this are as follows:

1. VA bay slot is 28-32" for released fish which is a smaller window than Maryland's. (I don't know or care the point of a 4" slot for released fish)
2. I generally just try and trust that whatever the rules they employ will safely manage the fishery. For all the questions about rockfish and the negative impacts of catch and release the fishery seems to be thriving. Is the problem that the released fish may be harmed or just that you can't keep them? -not directed at anyone just a thought.....
 

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What you're missing is timeliness.

It's too late to complain about this decision. Where were you when they were trying to decide what to propose?
 

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I am still waiting for the ASFMC to explain the difference between a migratory fish kept in the summer off of Mass, kept in the spring in Bay, or kept in the winter off of NC. Once you kill a migratory breeding fish it is gone no matter where it is caught and kept during its migratory run. Why they continue to use Maryland fisherman as the whipping post is beyond me.

NJ has a 2 fish per person limit and 3 with a trophy tag that you can renew once. We have all read about the market for bass in Mass. etc. While I dont mind a slot limit or a 1 fish per person per trip limit, I find the 30,ooo fish limit on Maryland silly with no such limits elsewhere. This especially considering that over the past number of years that Maryland rec fisherman are allowed to keep less than half of what other states are allowed. These are migratory fish..

:soapbox:
 

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As best as I can understand it it's somewhat like this. Simply put, we're trying to meet the target and this is an effective, low impact, easily enforcable way to do so. As far as actually having an impact on the enviroment and the fish well, thats another issue all together.

I am not saying it's right or wrong, I am just saying it's the way it is.
 

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I know last year we had very few fish in the low 30" or so. We did have a few quite a few 35"-37". But the day was usually over in 2-3 hours. We had 3 people on most trips. First 3 fish caught went in the box and that was the end of the day. No chance of killing anymore cause the lines were in and we were headed for the docks. Now I'm curious this year how many "extra" fish will we have to go thru to get the size we need. I'm still confused on the decision

As far as measuring the fish in the water...we have the same issue offshore with tuna. Difference is in the bay at least you net the fish if you put it in the boat for pics, to measure etc. With tuna it's stuck with a gaff and has no chance of survival once you make the decision to put a gaff in it. So you better be right about the size when you gaff it.. 27" ? 28" ? hard to tell...

We have both sides of the boat marked and get the fish along those marks to size it while in the water. I'm sure it will be easier with a rock than a tuna..If its short it never has to leave the water
 

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The whole spring trophy season has always been bad resource management, we all know it but noone wants to admit it.

Bert
 

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The Stocks will continue to get better even with Mortality rates High, I think the issue should be the amount of Menhaden that are being Netted. This is the Sorest issue we can have. No bait, No fish. Rockfish are Strong survialist , they travel Hundreds of miles to spawn and return every year. Millions of them, But without a food source you have nothing to look forward too. You want to talk about Mis-Managed, Omega-3
Who gives a ****, eat your Veggies and you'll live just as long if not longer longer, leave the Bait alone and we will fish well into the future... Stripers Need Omega fats more than us Humans anyway
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Season length, selective gear, and legal culling

Ph said,
"Our DNR now had to figure a way to be able to reach that target of 30,000 fish and get the proposal past the ASFMS technical board. Their numbers figure that the largest number of spawner's this year are going to be fish between 36 and 43". So if we have to throw them back, we still get to fish, the charter boats keep their businesses going and hopefully we do not catch over 30,000 fish and get in trouble again."

In my opinion, what you're saying is that the charter boats business requires a certain window of opportunity. I don't see any other logic in your arguments.

My point is:

1) We now have legally approved culling!!

2) The stocks are fine, several informed parties said. So why do anything much less government endorsing culling??

3) Why not simply a shorter season. Start it a week later and end it a week earlier. Less fish killed. Compliance is easy to monitor!

4) Why are gear restrictions not discussed? A large fish will swallow a six inch sassy often deeper, and a 40 inch fish loves a 12 inch sassy just like a 45 in fish. I don't get it.

5) Apparently the "you are lucky to have a fishery" comment is out of line. All the experts and the ASMFC say the stocks are strong.

6) What about the kids that come on my boat? I guess I have to teach them how to cull?
But a few deserving pictures first?

I just don't get it. Are we instituting management measures for the sake of doing something much more tricky than adjusting the dates of fishing to a 30,000 catch SEASON, based on current CPUE? I just don't get it - now 18, 28, and 42" are all lengths with legal implications.

I have honestly yet to hear an understandable management answer.
 

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Richie... you've missed the boat.

It's not about conservation, its about quota.

Where were you when they were trying to decide what regs to set to reach 30,000 fish?

This is water under the bridge now. A good learning tool for next year, but pointless armchair finger pointing this year.
 

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Ph said,
"Our DNR now had to figure a way to be able to reach that target of 30,000 fish and get the proposal past the ASFMS technical board. Their numbers figure that the largest number of spawner's this year are going to be fish between 36 and 43". So if we have to throw them back, we still get to fish, the charter boats keep their businesses going and hopefully we do not catch over 30,000 fish and get in trouble again."

In my opinion, what you're saying is that the charter boats business requires a certain window of opportunity. I don't see any other logic in your arguments.

My point is:

1) We now have legally approved culling!!

2) The stocks are fine, several informed parties said. So why do anything much less government endorsing culling??

3) Why not simply a shorter season. Start it a week later and end it a week earlier. Less fish killed. Compliance is easy to monitor!

4) Why are gear restrictions not discussed? A large fish will swallow a six inch sassy often deeper, and a 40 inch fish loves a 12 inch sassy just like a 45 in fish. I don't get it.

5) Apparently the "you are lucky to have a fishery" comment is out of line. All the experts and the ASMFC say the stocks are strong.

6) What about the kids that come on my boat? I guess I have to teach them how to cull?
But a few deserving pictures first?

I just don't get it. Are we instituting management measures for the sake of doing something much more tricky than adjusting the dates of fishing to a 30,000 catch SEASON, based on current CPUE? I just don't get it - now 18, 28, and 42" are all lengths with legal implications.

I have honestly yet to hear an understandable management answer.
If it were about management there would be no spring trophy season. It's about political appeasement of disperate user groups.

Bert
 

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Richie... you've missed the boat.

It's not about conservation, its about quota.

Where were you when they were trying to decide what regs to set to reach 30,000 fish?

This is water under the bridge now. A good learning tool for next year, but pointless armchair finger pointing this year.
Crow makes a good point. This year's season is what it is. However, nothing is preventing you from not using stinger hooks or trebles, releasing fish while still in the water unless obviously a keeper, not C&Ring after you've caught a limit or not fishing the Spring at all, if the season makes you uncomfortable.

At the risk of sounding like I'm deflecting the problem (and sollution) onto others, I don't think that Maryland's spring season is the primary threat to big Striped Bass. I think it's the VA, NC and MA seasons where many, many more large Stripers are slaughtered. For my part, I'm satisfied that the current MD Spring regs (while far from perfect), combined with some common sense respect for the stock's future (no trebles, stingers and only in-water release of all but those fish I expect to keep) will allow me to adequately do my part to maintain a reasonable, sustainable harvest of these big fish.

Now if anglers in other states would only follow our example.....
 

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We now have legally approved culling!!
I don't know where you come up with this one.

The immediate return to the water of an undersized fish as prescribed in the regulations is not considered culling.

The practice of retaining one fish and then returning it to the water in exchange for another is culling. Culling Striped Bass is and will remain illegal in the State of Maryland.
 
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