Sunday, March 09, 2008

Stripers Forever on Striped Bass Stocks

Conservation organization Stripers Forever has taken issue with a recent Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission stock assessment for Atlantic Striped Bass that says things are peachy and no action is necessary.
This information appears designed to reassure the public that all is well with striped bass, but Stripers Forever believes an in depth review is warranted. Our concerns with the stock assessment center on the fluctuations that these statistics have had over the last five or six years, and what we perceive to be the determination by fishery managers to put a positive spin on striped bass stocks in spite of some serious negative indications.
A big issue is shrinkage in the numbers of large breeder females within the bass population
It isn’t the probable inaccuracy of the stock assessment that concerns us most. We recognize the extreme difficulty in making accurate and consistent stock assessments. At the Striped Bass Game Fish Symposium 2006, one of the panelists, a fishery Ph.D. and one-time Director of Marine Fisheries for a large southern state, told attendees that these stock assessments were accurate to no more than 50% in either direction and could be even farther off than that! What does bother us is the ASMFC’s lack of recognition that this fishery is slipping away, and that the recreational industry depends on high quality fishing for its vitality.
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