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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here is my take on what it will take to save the Stripers in Maryland.

MISSION STATEMENT

An organization that is specifically created and 100% funded by recreational anglers that has one purpose, which is to protect and increase Striper populations for recreational use. This organization would be solely engaged in the political arena with paid full time professionals that would have the resources to compete with commercial organizations that seem to be so successful in protecting their own interests within the political process with seemingly little regard to the health of the Striper fishery.

This organization would hold no tournaments or spend one nickle on anything other than the political process. It is clear, to me at least, that money specifically directed to where it will do the most good is the surest, and sadly, the only way that the recreational community can be protected and represented within the political process.

There are a lot of Conservation organizations that claim to represent the recreational community, but to the best of my knowledge, they have never been very successful in representing us within the political arena. The current state of the fishery certainly seems to prove that thesis.

It is my belief, and I know this is shared by others, that we need representation politically if we are ever going to have the clout we deserve.

I personally would be happy to contribute significantly to this cause. Others I have talked with feel the same way.

So, I ask the question, does this organization already exist? Or, does anyone have a roadmap to get us organized politically?

Thoughts and ideas greatly appreciated.

GT
 

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what is your definition of rec... even commercial guys can hold rec licenses... IMHO anyone can have a good idea.... there are some good commercials out there and some good recs out there. As a whole WE need to band together to weed out the bad guys including (OMEGA)..... Also you can't just focus on MD since these fish migrate up and down the coast... look at NC......
 

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There are many issues worthy of attention involving the Chesapeake Bay. I am not going to list them, as they are well known. It is pretty easy for an organization to do everything but concentrate on rockfish. Ever since the MSSA narrowly failed to get Rockfish/Gamefish and the moratorium ended years ago, efforts to enhance the number of stripers available to recreational fishermen have been dismal. For many years I paid dues to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Recreational Fishing Alliance, Maryland Saltwater Sportfishing Association and Coastal Conservation of Maryland. I was hoping at least one of these groups would tackle the rockfish question. These organizations are filled with good people doing stuff for sure, some of it very worthy. I am not directly criticizing any of them. They just have not put their focus where I want it to be. I have been told a number of times by our leaders, the time is not right. When will it be right--when there are few rockfish to catch?<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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As I get older I would like to concentrate my support to one focused cause and that is rockfish. If there were an organization that held no banquets, no tournaments, and no socials but existed solely to provide quality rockfishing through working with legislators and secondarily with the MD DNR, I would support it substantially. I think many other fishermen inside and outside Maryland would do the same. The purpose of this organization would be to get it done. Yes, I am talking about a net ban. A petition is a great start, but I believe it will take more than a petition to accomplish a net ban. It will take money and lots of it. Give serious fishermen a chance to put their money where their mouth is. You may be surprised. I just cannot believe that 4,000 watermen can raise more money and have more influence than all the recreational fishermen who fish in MD. Notice I did not say MD residents. Chesapeake Bay fishermen cover a number of states. I realize that rockfish are migratory and problems exist elsewhere, but let's fix Maryland first--one thing at a time.<o:p></o:p>
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As Chuck said, does such an organization exist, can it, should it?<o:p></o:p>
 

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I would help support such an organization.I firmly believe our message needs to be heard by the general public in hopes of getting their help.Anyone with any common sense will be put off by the blatant waste created by the use of nets.
 

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Stripers Forever has part of what you are looking for.

But who has the time and the effort to lead a new group? We need someone to organize. I would certainly contribute and give of my time but an effort such as this requires much more time than I could devote.
 

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What you guys are talking about is a professional association or the dreaded LOBBY word. Located in the Washington D.C. area with easy access to the capitol. Seed money aroundn $600k to start with an office of a director, ass't to the director girl friday. and a director of communications. This is the bare amount you need to begin with to have any clout. First order of business is membership which should be the same amount as Ducks Unlimited $25. Second order of business is getting some high rollers to chip in some real bucks, 5k and up donations. There are lots of people in the D.C. area who know how this is done, you just need the bucks to begin. We have Snook groups, Tarpon groups in Florida who raise big bucks to keep those species around.
 

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I don't want to hijack the thread by any means, and you raise very good points, but the key to what you're talking about is influence. The only way to get it is to let people know that you're out there. That can be accomplished by either of two ways: 1) money (your points- which rec anglers don't have concentrated in one place right now) or 2) people (which we claim we do have right now).

We have an opportunity to accomplish that second point right now by demonstrating how we care about rockfish, what we think about poaching and the use of gill nets. I say we show the legislators that actually make the laws that we stand behind our chatter. http://www.tidalfish.com/forums/showthread.php/299412-Gill-Net-Legislation-Update-2

Trent Zivkovich
Chair, Government Relations Committee
Coastal Conservation Association Maryland
www.ccamd.org
 

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iwould support an effort to control poachers, such as what you are reccomending. it is obvious that we need something new,,,,anthing is better than what we have now!
 

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The bottom line is we need an organization that unabashedly focuses on rockfish. Let all the other peripheral stuff for other organizations. Yellow perch, white perch, flounder and croaker are all fine but the prize for most bay fishermen is rockfish. We need a group that strips all the other stuff away and focuses like a laser beam on rockfish. It is an important enough issue to warrant its own organization. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
 

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What we need for stripers and good marine resource conservation overall is a renewed focus on science and history. For example, science told us ten years ago that myco would have a devastating impact on striped bass spawning stock biomass. Recs and comms alike ignored that science and we're now facing another moratorium to fix the evident collapse. We have decades of history strongly suggesting sustainable wildlife populations flow from good science, and that strong wildlife populations lead to good recreational opportunities. History says good recreational opportunities equal strong recreational industries, like tourism and sales. In a nutshell, good science will produce the best economic outcome. Meanwhile many of us cling to an unproven concept that untrained stakeholders and profit-motivated political desires will produce an acceptable outcome. History says that doesn't happen. History says recs can only achieve a satisfactory outcome through good science. History and science are the rec's best friends.
 

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Good points Matt, but science alone just sits there like a dead fish. An organization has to apply this science and carry the word to the right places which are the public and the legislators.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
 

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One thing I have learned in doing some of this grassroots work over the last 10 years, is that it takes huge amounts of focused effort, consistently applied over long periods of time to affect small amounts of change. Executing that change requires exceptional people willing to volunteer valuable time to affect change. Effective long term change requires good strategic planning along with volunteers who are able to respond in a professional manner when events occur. They also need the forethought to anticipate future events.

Folks who just want to send in some money in support are important too. But they are NOT the drivers of change. That approach is insufficient if you really want to impact the cause. You want to drive change? You have to commit time. Leadership.

Moving toward a paid employee model has it's hazards too, so be careful what you ask for. Employees have a commitment to themselves, their grant, their program, that often times compromise the GOAL.

So when you send money in to a volunteer organization, there is some value. When you commit to participate, it multiplies that value immensely. You have to make a personal value judgment, balanced with the rest of your life, on just how important something is to you. You have skills you've learned in your careers that are useful to these organizations. Apply them.

Or you could just keep on fishing and whine on the internet...

Is correcting the free-fall in the rockfish population important to you? Then do more than send a $25 administrative fee to an organization. DIVE IN!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Guys:

Rockfish, or Bass as our friends up North call them, are reputed to be the most economically valuable sportfish on the mid-Atlantic - Northeast coast. If this is indeed a fact, a significant amount of money is spent by commercial interests to secure, at least what they consider to be, their fair share of this pot of gold. Recreational Anglers and the health of the Striper fishery seem to get the short end of the stick in the legislative process that makes allocations of this resource.

Someone wise in the ways of politics said that when they first started to try and move legislation toward their objectives they were not surprised to find that legislators could be "bought". What surprised them though was how little it actually took to "buy" them.

My guess is that money supporting recreational interests is a fraction of what other stakeholders spend on getting favorable legislation passed. And, let's face it, they have been very successful in buying influence that is skewed toward their stakeholders interests, with the best interest of the Striper a very distant second. This imbalance has lead us to where we are today on the verge of a collapse of Striper populations.

There are more than 50,000 recreational fishermen registered on Tidalfish alone. The numbers of people fishing recreationally for Stripers dwarfs the numbers of commercial interests that have been so successful in winning the "Striper Wars" which puts us where we are today.

If we take Wino's numbers that $600,000 is a minimum to get a legislative effort off the ground, that amount of money seems to be peanuts in the great scheme of things. That's only 6,000 anglers contributing $100 each. I can't remember a trip on my boat that did not cost more than this. How much do tackle manufacturers, boat builders, tackle shops, marina's, etc. stand to benefit from a viable recreational Striper fishery? The numbers are enormous, yet we sit by and do nothing while we witness the Trawlers off North Carolina dumping thousands of dead fish over the side this Winter all made quite legal by commercial interests that have bought their way onto and control the very boards that regulate the fishery. Is it not time to finally say, as a gifted Wordsmith friend of mine so elequently put, WTF???

Someone out there knows how to put an organization such as this together and has a passion for Stripers that all of us share. I don't know how to get there, but sitting by and watching others destroy this fishery does not seem to be an option.

We need to get involved by supporting this cause. The question now is, who has the time, credibility, passion and authority to take up the challenge and lead this process.

GT
 

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Good points Matt, but science alone just sits there like a dead fish. An organization has to apply this science and carry the word to the right places which are the public and the legislators.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
Its true Bill. Fortunately history allows us to know that without real science, recreational fisheries will fail. That's a powerful message. I think we're talking the same thing though i.e. the road to change goes though legislators. The message we carry down that road matters too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
One thing I have learned in doing some of this grassroots work over the last 10 years, is that it takes huge amounts of focused effort, consistently applied over long periods of time to affect small amounts of change. Executing that change requires exceptional people willing to volunteer valuable time to affect change. Effective long term change requires good strategic planning along with volunteers who are able to respond in a professional manner when events occur. They also need the forethought to anticipate future events.

Folks who just want to send in some money in support are important too. But they are NOT the drivers of change. That approach is insufficient if you really want to impact the cause. You want to drive change? You have to commit time. Leadership.

Moving toward a paid employee model has it's hazards too, so be careful what you ask for. Employees have a commitment to themselves, their grant, their program, that often times compromise the GOAL.

So when you send money in to a volunteer organization, there is some value. When you commit to participate, it multiplies that value immensely. You have to make a personal value judgment, balanced with the rest of your life, on just how important something is to you. You have skills you've learned in your careers that are useful to these organizations. Apply them.

Or you could just keep on fishing and whine on the internet...

Is correcting the free-fall in the rockfish population important to you? Then do more than send a $25 administrative fee to an organization. DIVE IN!
Great points. I do not believe you can overvalue the contributions volunteers make to the causes they feel deeply about. I guess the ideal candidate would be someone with deep pockets and unlimited time that makes a full time commitment to the cause. Not sure how realistic that is. Moving any cause forward is most likely to be a "grinding process" and I wonder how you keep the momentum going without a paid staff to pay attention to the details and pull the volunteers together?

GT
 

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Chuck your idea is great but first you need a group to raise seed money, to then create the association that gets in the face of the politicians, and lobbies then hell out of them like every other special interest group does. My fear is from what I see getting 6000 people to put up a hundred bucks for seed money is where the real problem is. Jut look at Tidal fish and see how many people are not subscribers and that is what 15 or 20 bucks. I don't get what the problem is with bay fishermen when it comes to getting involved, their hobby is at stake. You get another moratorium on
rockfish and a whole lot of boats will sit idle and I can hear the *****ing now. When we had the last moratorium we had big Blues and Trout to make up for the closed Rockfish, now you got nuttin honey.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Chuck your idea is great but first you need a group to raise seed money, to then create the association that gets in the face of the politicians, and lobbies then hell out of them like every other special interest group does. My fear is from what I see getting 6000 people to put up a hundred bucks for seed money is where the real problem is. Jut look at Tidal fish and see how many people are not subscribers and that is what 15 or 20 bucks. I don't get what the problem is with bay fishermen when it comes to getting involved, their hobby is at stake. You get another moratorium on
rockfish and a whole lot of boats will sit idle and I can hear the *****ing now. When we had the last moratorium we had big Blues and Trout to make up for the closed Rockfish, now you got nuttin honey.
Steve:

When I take a look at how CCA and MSSA have dragged their feet in getting behind the Gillnet Ban it reinforces my belief that we need an organization 100% devoted to representing recreational interests as well as Rockfish preservation. I personally believe these two goals present no conflict.

Interestingly enough I called Paul Haertel yesterday regarding his charge that 43% of maryland's active Watermen were issued a "fisheries Violation Summons" in 2008. I was interested to learn that The JCAA and it's Director, Tom Fote who were successful in getting Rockfish designated as a Gamefish in New Jersey have done so with incredibly little money. According to Paul, JCAA has one full time paid office staffer and another part timer. Tom Fote, who has devoted many years of his life to this cause receives not one dime of compensation.

Where do we find a Tom Fote to lead the charge?

Given MSSA and CCA'S "Tepid" response to the petition who would I rather give my money to? Each of you should ask yourselves the same question.

GT
 
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