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Fellow Anglers,

Below is a draft action plan that needs more angler input to further refine and develop. They are listed in order of what we think the priority should be but your input is needed. This represents an initial cut at the VSSA Action Plan that will be developed over time with more input. Send comments to [email protected] or use the contact us tab on ifishva.org.

Please take a few moments to look this over and see if we are on the right track. Our goal is represent you, the angler so this action plan will be what the VSSA will focus on the near future. Thanks.

Fishery Issues.
1. Rockfish. Summer season for schoolies. (MD gets summer access, why not VA?).
2. Menhaden - Significantly reduce or eliminate industrial scale allocation. Attack more at federal levels than state level.
3. Require better management of nets, recs and comms.
4. Speckled Trout. Gamefish only.
5. No fish should have unlimited take. All fish should have limits.
6. Cobia. Too much pressure especially on big cobia during bay spawn. Plan to reduce take.
7. Gray trout. Review stocks, closer management.
8. Flounder. Study issue and develop position.
9. Red drum. Gamefish only.
10. BSB. Winter access.
11. Croaker, Spot, roundhead. Help develop FMP with reasonable limits.
12. Tog. Adjust spring season to account for cold winters.
13. Bluecat. Increase limits, too many bluecats.
14. Bluelines. Work with MAFMC to reduce overfishing in mid-Atlantic.
15. Small Sharks - So many small sharks in the bay, consider limits for small sharks.

VSSA Other Issues.
1. Get VSSA brief and rep to all fishing clubs.
2. Review VSSA calendar to open membership ASAP.
3. VSSA representative at all fishery management meetings.
4. Develop plan for membership drive.
5. Recreational fishing license money used for intended purpose.
6. Establish strong working relationship with VMRC (get listed on VMRC page).
7. Develop VSSA fund raising plan.
8. VSSA rep on VMRC committees (FinFish, RFAB, etc).

Virginia Saltwater Sportfishing Association (VSSA)
ifishva.org
joinvssa.org
https://www.facebook.com/groups/IfishVA/
 

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Set Menhaden as #1 priority and most of the rest will take care of themselves.

Plus, hard to argue you need to take more rockfish in a summer season when at the same time arguing that you need to reduce menhaden fishery because there aren't enough rockfish.

I think Cobia need to be higher. With all the increased pressure + take in the past 2 years, I see a crash coming soon. It would be nice to be pro-active for once.
 

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Agree with both of jrocket's ideas.

Rockfish don't need additional pressure at the moment, especially in the heat of the summer when release mortality can be higher.

Cobia is one of the strong points of the bay fishery right now, along with large drum and a few others. Let's not screw it up.

I like the idea of taking menhaden to the federal level. State politics favor omega, but perhaps the Feds will be more willing to act.

Also like the issue of license money used solely for fishing purposes. I spoke in the spring to an RFAB member who resigned in disgust after the governor raided the fund to pay for other stuff. Not cool.
 

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Good stuff! You know the Bay Rapers are tops on my list but honestly, I can't figure out why MD allows the rockfish take that they do other than, they have protected the menhaden from the Bay Rapers aka Omega Catfood so, they are building a sustainable fishery that we are incapable of.

R
 

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The governor raiding funds has always been and issue and I doubt it will change. I remember Gov. taking money from Va retirement system to fund building projects..
Remember the lottery was supposed to be used to support schools?
 

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Good stuff! You know the Bay Rapers are tops on my list but honestly, I can't figure out why MD allows the rockfish take that they do other than, they have protected the menhaden from the Bay Rapers aka Omega Catfood so, they are building a sustainable fishery that we are incapable of.

R
The sustainable striped bass fishery isn't in that good of health in Maryland. Summer striped bass suffer from mycobacteriosis. This is a wasting disease of the internal organs in striped bass believed to be caused by malnutrition. The cause is believed to be a lack of oily fish like menhaden in their diet.It is believed that 60% of the striped bass population in the Chesapeake Bay are infected with this disease. In later stages of the disease , obvious red/pink, inflamed skin lesions are apparent on striped bass.I believe the reason the striped bass season is now open during summer is quite frankly, That's about all that's left to fish for anymore, especially in the upper Chesapeake.It's pretty sad that the only game fish in the upper Chesapeake Bay to fish for in the summer are 60% diseased striped bass.The upper Bay wasn't always like that.I know fishermen that are old enough "90s" that still fish today that used to catch 3-4 # croakers at the mouth of shallow creek,just north of the Patapsco River in Baltimore in the "1930s" when the water was clean and grass beds grew there. We've come a long way since then All down hill.
 

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Capt Nick, excellent points of which you are spot on. One slight correction, the cause of myco in rockfish was due to the restocking programs conducted to help reestablish the rockfish. Because of this, Mycobacteriousis is commonly referred to as "Fish Hatchery Disease."

It is a slow growing disease and usually doesn't kill its host unless, and as you so apply put it, the host is stressed from malnutrition!

Thanks for chumming in, I think we need to keep pounding people's eyes and ears with the facts of this and other troubled species of the Bay ecosystem so, we can get some traction on this and get it turned around before it's too damn late!!!

R
 

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Thanks for that info on "Fish Hatchery Disease" That's the first I've heard of it? Marylanders would gladly give up fishing for stripers during summer if they had the luxury of going to the Annapolis Bay Bridge and catching cobia, red drum, flounder, trout, spade fish, sheep head, king fish, etc. Unfortunately, stripers are the only game in town. We wish we had what you've got.All of the other species that used to come up are gone now.
 
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