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Something needs to be done now regarding the overfishing of Striped Bass in VA and NC. It's easy to figure out there are many more Big Stripers being taken there, during the winter months in these states, than Maryland takes during the short Spring Season. Hundreds of boats each week, times 2 fish per person (includes everyone on the boat) equals tens of thousands of Spawing Stock fish. Support one of the many user group organizations that want to stop this overfishing!
 

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I agree. While not classified as prespawning fish, those fish are only 10-12 weeks from spawning in the MD and VA tributaries of the bay. The limit should be reduced to one fish per day and then only if over 36" for the ocean season after January 1.
Shawn
 

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Tanna-

You looked south. Have you ever looked north? Mass pulls loads of big stripers out of the water too. Yes, it is not this time of year. Remember all of the coastal states would like MD not to keep babies at 18". When you consider the 18 incher is a potential 50 pounder, you can see their point.

I am not taking sides here because I try to fish all the states and put all the fish back. My point, if there is one, is we need to look at the big picture when it comes to striper fishing. Every area seems to want "their share" and look askew at the fish all the other states are taking.

You should witness the commercial H & L fishing in Mass and see the slobs that are taken every day.

I agree with Shawn. One big slob should be enough meat for anyone.
 

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I agree with Bill. I, too, am concerned about the slaughter in VA, NC, Mass, etc. NJ outlawed commercial fishing, but then allocated the commercial quota to recs, I think, which means a catch reduction of zero (or maybe a catch increase, since it is more difficult to monitor the catch of rec fishermen).

Bottom line, we need to work with the other states, even if we think that Maryland is doing enough already, because the alternative is that we reach an impass that causes them to go right on catching as they have...and I think most of us have a pretty good instinct for where that is likely to lead the fishery.
 

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Bill I agree so much and have been trying to get the slugs that I fish with to help , at least join some conservation group but they dont. ???????????????????????????????:confused:
 

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By Angus Phillips
Sunday, January 7, 2007; Page E03

These warm winter days get me thinking about spring and the hallowed rite of trophy rockfish season in the Chesapeake. Change is in the wind on that front and bureaucracies are involved, so brace yourself.

Later this month, Maryland's Department of Natural Resources heads to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission armed with a complex proposal to do away with quotas that have regulated spring fishing for big striped bass (rockfish) returning from the sea to spawn in Chesapeake Bay.

Why the change? Simple. For the last four years, Maryland anglers have exceeded federally authorized quotas, sometimes massively. Each time they do, ASMFC orders a reduction to the following year's quota to recoup the overage. And each year, anglers, fueled in part by big-money trophy rockfish tournaments and the allure of huge fish, go over the top again, forcing another penalty the following year.

"It's like credit card debt," says the state fisheries chief, Howard King. "You never get out."

What do you do if you get so far in debt you'll never pay it back? You declare bankruptcy, which is a bit like what King and his minions will do Jan. 29, when they head to ASMFC's Alexandria offices to plead for a new system with no quotas.

Maryland wants to end the regimen under which spring rockfishing has been conducted here since 1993, when the first trophy season was approved after a five-year rockfish moratorium ended in 1990. The quota that year was 3,000 fish. It was jacked up to 30,000 fish by 1996, based on expanding stocks, then raised again in 2003.

But trophy fishing for big, roe-laden rockfish that run up to 50 pounds or more has grown so popular, the quotas are a joke. In 2005, Marylanders were authorized to take 35,944 fish but caught 65,664, almost double the quota. In 2006, the quota was 41,288 but 67,234 were caught, according to state estimates--almost 26,000 over the limit.

This year, according to King, if the state were held to ASMFC standards and forced to make up for the last two years of overages, the spring quota would be about 20,000 rockfish, a number that provokes howls of protest from stakeholders, notably charter captains who count on the spring fishery for much of their profit.

"We estimate spring trophy fishing is 45 to 50 percent of our business," says Capt. Ed O'Brien, spokesman for the Maryland Charter Boat Operators Association, who said the charter business is otherwise suffering through "steep decline."

O'Brien claims, correctly, that other states are whacking away at big rockfish all year long, and he thinks Maryland gets short-shrift.

Indeed, most of the East Coast's striped bass spawn in the Chesapeake, then migrate to the ocean when they reach maturity, returning each spring to procreate. As a result, coastal anglers from Maine to the Carolinas can catch trophy-sized fish almost all year while the Chesapeake sees them only briefly in spring.

Maryland's proposal, which also would apply to Virginia portions of the bay and the tidal Potomac below Washington, would put the Chesapeake under the same regimen as the coastal states during spring, without the special protective regulations of the quota system to protect big rock on their spawning run.

King says if the proposal is approved it would not dramatically change current spring regulations, but would simply do away with the annual accounting for over-catch and subsequent mandated paybacks.

Fair enough? I don't think so.

Here's what I think. I think that as the principal spawning grounds for the coastal stock of rockfish (Maryland's state fish), the Chesapeake and its tidal tributaries bear special responsibility to be cautious in how those stocks are handled. Because big rockfish are here only briefly, only for the purpose of spawning, Maryland, Virginia and the Potomac get special attention from federal overseers. Some of that works to local anglers' benefit, some doesn't.

For example, we get to catch smaller fish all summer long. Last year, the minimum size for rock in the Chesapeake was 18 inches, where everywhere else it was 28 inches. That's fair, because in summer we don't have big rockfish.

On the flip side, Chesapeake anglers have special rules for chasing spring trophy rockfish, and are under tighter regulations than elsewhere on the coast where there is no quota.

That seems fair, too. Big rockfish that make it back here in the spring, bursting with eggs, deserve better than to be chased down by hordes of anglers, many motivated by big cash prizes in fishing tournaments.

The spring fishery in Maryland has turned into a commercial gold mine. Everyone likes to catch big fish and there are plenty of them here, and charter skippers and tournament organizers have been reaping the benefits. But do anglers really need to kill all those fish to enjoy the abundance? I don't think so.

Up and down the coast, more and more sport fishermen are adopting a philosophy of catch-and-release, and fisheries managers here would do well to promote that rather than constantly pushing, at the insistence of stakeholders, to kill more fish.

Two years ago, I was with Capt. Ed Darwin on his charter boat Becky D when two of the biggest stripers I've ever seen took the hook. We got both to the boat--a 46-incher and a 48-incher--and held them up long enough for photos, then let them go to swim free and spawn again. It was a significantly more satisfying experience than if we'd chopped them into chunks and stuck them in the freezer.

"I don't know why anyone keeps big fish like that," said Darwin, who has fished these waters for over half a century.

Last spring, Maryland's Department of Natural Resources tried to dampen enthusiasm for spring trophy rockfish tournaments by banning them for the first two weeks of the season. Everyone complied except one--Boatyard Bar & Grill in Annapolis, which opted for a catch-and-release tournament so it could hold it on opening day.

The tournament was a success with no drop in participation. And at the end of the day, instead of lines of people dragging big dead fish into the bar to be weighed, there were crowds of folks showing off photos of gleaming, healthy stripers back on the way to the spawning grounds.

The DNR Web site says the agency's mission is to "preserve, protect, enhance and restore Maryland's natural resources for the wise use and enjoyment of all citizens." That sounds like a prescription for conservative bag limits and active promotion of catch-and-release to me, not more dead fish in a pile.

I'm not a real fan of Angus, but he pretty well hit the nail on the head.
 

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I for one would really like to know how they claim to have good reportable numbers on what the recreational angler catches! I know they state they use a formula or something based on the commercial catch but that's garbage! Get good number and then look at what you have... They have no clue if the receational angler exceeds their quota.....
 

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That makes me feel good that all those fish we caught this pass weekend were released to swim again. I have no problem with C/R and the 1 fish limit.
 

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Designate all rockfish over a certain size as a sportfish. Create a slot size like what was done for redfish. Make the regulation a federal law, so that all states along the atlantic coast abide by the same rules.
 

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If a yearly quota is established and then exceeded, what does that say about the total number of fish? The only reason the quotas are exceeded is because the fishing is better and better each year than the biologiest predicted. If the quotas don't have any effect on the total take and the fishery continues to thrive in spite of the exceeded limits, the quotas are useless and should be discontinued. As proven over time, the numbers have no relation to the current or future health of the species.

When the fishery starts to decline, either in total numbers or trophy sizes, it's time to tighten the regs. Until then, why mess with a good thing??
 

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If a yearly quota is established and then exceeded, what does that say about the total number of fish? The only reason the quotas are exceeded is because the fishing is better and better each year than the biologiest predicted. If the quotas don't have any effect on the total take and the fishery continues to thrive in spite of the exceeded limits, the quotas are useless and should be discontinued. As proven over time, the numbers have no relation to the current or future health of the species.

When the fishery starts to decline, either in total numbers or trophy sizes, it's time to tighten the regs. Until then, why mess with a good thing??
I dont' think they should wait for the decline to take action... what I do think is they need to have something in place to get a good reading on the number of fish the recreational fisherman is actually taking..... Again, they say we exceeded our Quota but how in the He!! do they know this...... commercial fishing I can see, they must have to submit a catch record but we as recreational anglers are not required to report our daily or weekly catch reports.....
 

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Until the new numbers come out from the feds, the present ones say recs are not over catching and keeping. Close to the maximum but not over.

The amount of big fish are more then they have been in a long while.

As far as making the Striped Bass a game fish, WHY? The commercial catch is 28% of the total. Discards alone, from the rec user group, are more then the total commercial catch.
 

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I emailed the DNR twice asking for the compilation method of how they come up with these figures and have never received anything more than the "normal" email reply that they got my message and would get back to me in the future. I would like to know for CERTAIN how these figures are computed. I tend to think it's some WILD estimate that is in no way close to being accurate.
 

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It's funny to me how Angus only tells part of the story. For example Virginia admits to catching 360,000 trophy sized fish. Is that fair? I think not. Maryland charter boats are loosing fall trips to the Virginia charters because the numbers of large fish in Virginia are so great. Proof of that is right here on this board when you read the reports from the CBBT. Even if the regs about the Maryland Quota change I believe the one per person will stay. That is why I believe we would still keep the 18 inch fish over the summer. Just wanted add a few statements from the other side.
 

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I agree it is unfair that MD is the only state that the main time to catch these big fish is during the spawn but you must look at the fact that once the fish enter any spawning areas coast wide they are protected. Many other states do need tighter regs but they will only get those if our representatives make a case to the feds since they set the ocean regs and the abuse is in the ocean.
 
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