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WASHINTON TIMES.....sorry



Sport vs. commercial fishing a big issue


By Gene Mueller


Who is more important, recreational anglers or commercial fishermen? The question never entered anyone's thought process 50 years ago, but in an age that recognizes not only the economic powerhouse that sport fishing has become, plus the need for recreation and relaxation brought about by high-pressure 21st century jobs, it is time to address a growing issue.
For example, in Chesapeake Bay country, where the striped bass (aka striper or rockfish) ranks supreme among tidal water fans, sport fishermen outnumber commercial fish netters by 400-1 in Maryland and an even higher ratio in Virginia. Yet both states' politicians habitually ignore the wishes of the sport fishing community, citing the need to (a) provide stock for fish markets or (b) preserve a rich Chesapeake Bay tradition.







In the 1990s, an important elected Maryland official -- asked to help create a law that would give the striper gamefish status, thus protecting it forever from the netters -- mentioned the need to preserve the rich tradition of commercial fishing. I reminded the politician that well more than 100 years ago, it was a Maryland and Virginia "tradition" to own slaves. Why can't other traditions be abandoned as well?
Now, here comes Stripers Forever, a nonprofit, Internet-based membership organization (www.stripersforever.org), that advocates eliminating all market fishing for wild striped bass, reducing overall mortality and managing the expanded resource for recreational/personal use fishing.
Stripers Forever hired Southwick Associates, Inc., based in Fernandina Beach, Fla., which specializes in collecting and analyzing socio-economic information on fishing and hunting for state fish and wildlife agencies and for manufacturers of sportfishing and hunting/shooting equipment.
Southwick found that managing wild striped bass on the Atlantic Coast as gamefish and replacing the commercial harvest in the marketplace with fish raised through aquaculture would boost the U.S. economy by $1.78 billion and support more than 14,400 new jobs.
Focused on the year 2003, the latest for which the best data were available, the Southwick study shows the recreational fishery for wild striped bass includes 3,018,361 anglers from Maine to South Carolina and has a direct retail sales value of $2.41 billion spent on fishing tackle, boats and motors, guides/charters, travel and food. The total economic activity generated -- including 63,278 full-time equivalent jobs -- was more than 26 times greater than that produced by the commercial harvest of wild fish.
Please read that once more: Sport fishing along that East Coast stretch mentioned above produced an economic activity 26 times greater than that generated by the fish netters and fish sellers.
The Southwick Study also shows that in 2003, the sales in pounds of "hybrid" striped bass raised through aquaculture were 61.6 percent higher than the reported harvest of wild stripers sold by commercial fishermen and that fish farmers easily could provide enough product on a year-round basis to replace all wild stripers sold seasonally in the marketplace at roughly the same retail price.
"The wild striped bass is far and away the most popular and valuable sport fish on America's East Coast," says Brad Burns, president of Stripers Forever. "Gamefish status has already allowed two popular inshore marine species -- the redfish and the Florida snook -- to flourish in southern waters and attract growing numbers of anglers whose impact on local economies is significant."
Burns is correct when he says the precedent for bestowing gamefish status on the striped bass is there and it's working.
"As the Southwick report shows, the targeted recreational striper fishery -- estimated at more than 11 million angler trips a year -- is already about 160 percent larger than the targeted fisheries for redfish and snook combined," Burns added.
The rockfish protection group supports legislation at the state or federal level similar to HR 1286, a bill proposed by Rep. Frank Pallone, New Jersey Democrat, that would eliminate all commercial fishing for wild striped bass everywhere.
Stripers Forever also is in favor of using funds raised through the sale of a dedicated recreational striped bass stamp to buy out licensed commercial netters. But before receiving a buyout, they must document that a significant portion of their income is derived from historical landings of wild stripers.
That alone would put the kibosh on the fish netters. Historically, watermen transact business in cash only. Many won't accept checks, which might trace economic activity. Because of strict cash-only transactions, they also tend to under-report incomes, which could haunt them if the gamefish-rockfish movement begins to take hold.
•Look for Gene Mueller's Outdoors column every Sunday and Wednesday, and his Fishing Report every Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected]
 

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OMC Great post of this article. Politicians just don't get it until the money is brought into the picture in an accurate way. I believe the only reason recreational fishermen don't have more influence is because of poor organization and not having well financed PACs to lobby the legislators. The commercials have been doing this for years and they are so few in number but still exert their influence by hosting many 'info sessions' to give their side of the issue.
The ongoing debate over menhaden in the Bay is astonishing to me because the overall benefit to the states and its Voters can be best served by favoring the recreational angler views. More money spent is great for the local economy, not having your resource exported to another state so a Very Few can profit.
Thanks to Stripers Forever for funding this study as well. I hope it gets to the decision makers to digest.
 
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2 Questions

1) To whom do the striped bass belong?
2) What percentage of the striped bass harvested are by recreational fishermen?

I'll answer the 2nd one first.

The 2004 info from the NMFS indicates that the recreational fishermen harvested 25+ million pounds of striped bass that year. The commercial harvest was 7 million pounds.

1st question answer

The striped bass stock belongs to all, not just the recreational fishermen. If a person doesn't fish, does that mean he or she is not entitled to eat any striped bass? If a non fishermen wishes to pay someone to catch a fish for their consumption, should this be denied because they are not a recreational fisherman?
 

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Capt. Mike,

To whom do largemouth bass belong to, smallmouth bass, whiitetail deer, elk, Canada Goose, Mallards, etc.? Which of those species are commercially harvested? "Wild" game is available commercially in restaurants and markets but they are annimals raised specifically for market. With aquaculture now supplying over half of the striped basss in the market place and the industry capable of supplying 100% at a competitive price, why should there be a commercial catch of wild fish stocks. Look what happend to Atlantic Salmon. How often did you see Atlantic Salmon at the Giant seafood counter when the market depended on wild fish? Now it is just about the cheapest seafood you can buy.

Commercial fish stocks around the world are declining due to increasing commercial harvest. We can not continue to "manage" fisheries at commercial exploitation levels at or more commonly exceeding maximum sustainable yield. There are to many other factors such as global warming and pollution that makes MSY management a recipie for disaster - look at what happened to the New England groundfisheries that still have not shown any significant recovery since their collapse over a decade ago.

Guy
 

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Let's see, 7 million plus 25 million equals 32 million. 7 divided by 32 - hmm - commercials take 22% of the harvest (according to your numbers)

400 to 1 ratio sports to commericals. So commercials are 1/4 of one percent of the people fishing.

Those guys are pretty efficient.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Sorry Reds..the numbers are in. Are you saying that you don't want to boost the economy by almost 2 billion dollars and add almost 15,000 jobs? That doesn't seem right?
All you need is $40 and a blood worm to catch a striper. The rich guys want them all arguement isn't correct.
Furthermore, aquaculture is the way to go. What are the least expensive fish in the supermarket? Catfish, tilapia, and salmon...all raised via aquaculture.
The facts have been presented in a structured and fair study. I'm just glad that the study was done and that the truth is there for everyone to see.
 

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Hey guys. Guess what you gotta feed those striped bass in captivity???? You got it, fishmeal.....more specifically, in the US that would be menhaden fishmeal. Its a never ending web we weave. Looks like capt george bought his Omega stock just in time.
 

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"Kent SeaTech Corp. in San Diego, the world's largest producer of hybrid striped bass and the company's largest customer ....... a 50-pound bag can feed 200,000 inch-long fish. Pellets contain fish meal and marine lipids, soybean meal, grain products, flour, mineral and other ingredients, according to company literature. "

50lb bag feeds 200,000 inch long fish....that's not bad. I'd rather see the bunker go to that cause than lipstick.
 

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I would agree that it is a good use for the resource. However, I would disagree that fishmeal is used in lipstick. Also, I am well aware what is in a feed ration. I have spent alot of years working in the feed industry. That 50 pound bag, for how long does it feed 200,000 inch long fish? 1 day or until they are harvested? That is an important question.

I am not arguing against aquaculture, in fact I think it is a good idea. It is just ironic that there is an arguement to support aquaculture so commercial fishermen will no longer net wild striped bass, by the same people that want to save menhaden.
 
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Here's numbers for you. 10-12 percent of the population. That is the amount of recreational fisherman. The 22 % (actually 24%) represents the amount of striped bass 88 % of the population, that do not catch fish, consume.

I’d say 10-12 % percent of the population harvesting 76 % of the Striped Bass is what?. Greedy?
 

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[q] That alone would put the kibosh on the fish netters. Historically, watermen transact business in cash only. Many won't accept checks, which might trace economic activity. Because of strict cash-only transactions, they also tend to under-report incomes, which could haunt them if the gamefish-rockfish movement begins to take hold.[/q]

-------Always gotta get a a little bit of TRASHY copy into a story, Since when did cash become a unaceptable tender---& how in world, does this practice affect the out come of the proposed bulk of this story beats me---These paragraphs were unwarented----[sad][sad]
 

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Yes the trash talk takes away from any case he is making.

Going back to the question I asked in the last post. The feed conversion for a striped bass can range from 1.5-3.0. So lets use 2 as a mid to low end number. If striped bass are being fed to 20 pounds, that would be 40 pounds of feed per striped bass. Now 50% of the ration is fishmeal on average, you have 20 pounds of fishmeal per striped bass. So given the above, your 200,000 fingerlings are going to consume, on average, 4 million pounds of fishmeal in their life. The 50 pound bag for 200,000 fingerlings, is just to feed that nursery stock before they are grown out.

My point is, that anyone in the aquaculture industry will tell you that the increased global production of farm raised fish has put an unbearable demand on global production of fishmeal. The prices are high, and it is acknowledged that there will be shortages. The growth in aquaculture is coming at the expense of global baitfish stocks. So it is a double edged sword for those groups who profess to want to save menhaden while at the same time increase demand for the resource.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
[Q]Purdue1 originally wrote:
I would agree that it is a good use for the resource. However, I would disagree that fishmeal is used in lipstick. Also, I am well aware what is in a feed ration. I have spent alot of years working in the feed industry. That 50 pound bag, for how long does it feed 200,000 inch long fish? 1 day or until they are harvested? That is an important question.

I am not arguing against aquaculture, in fact I think it is a good idea. It is just ironic that there is an arguement to support aquaculture so commercial fishermen will no longer net wild striped bass, by the same people that want to save menhaden.

[/Q]

"Menhaden oil is mixed with other fats in cooking oil, shortening and margarine,
... plasticizers, alkyd resins, oil for paint and even lipstick. ..."

The same oil that is used in the fishmeal is also used in lipstick. There can be a balance.
 

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That is true. I was only discussing fishmeal at this point because fish oil is a seperate product, and more easily substituted in a fish ration. One thing to point out is that fish oil is not used in fishmeal. Oil and meal are seperated during the reduction process. The oil goes to certain uses and the meal to other uses. Granted there is some residual in meal that can't totaly be extracted but none is added on a normal basis.
 

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The menhaden oil is also sold for chummng purposes. Charter boat Captains add it to razor clams and its also dispenced with drip bottles by some chummers.

Its available at BASS PRO for $14.99 per gallon. How many menhaden does it take to get a gallon of oil? Anybody know the answer? Remember folks MENHADEN REALLY MATTERS!

I got BUSHWACKED TODAY! U.S. TO allow new roads into wild forests.

Norm
 

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My father was a commericial fisherman for over 30 years, so I see both sides.. Now I am the recreation fisherman, I hate to say it but I like the way the season was when it first opened in the 90's. How could they possibly check the quota for Recreation fisherman now? The trophy season alone will be huge.. 20-30 lb fish every single day.. I have been 6 times and caught on my boat over 20 fish... I didn't report those numbers to anyone. So I also believe the numbers are wrong for both commericial and recreation fisherman... My 2 cents...
 

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Lets see...give the recreational fisherman total use of a resource because of econimc impact. Hmmm...ok lets stop the commercial harvesting of rockfish and we'll stop the recreational harvesting of crabs. That should go over real well. [excited][excited][excited]
 
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