by Mike Burke

(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association - April 1997 Newspaper)

This past January, I attended the ASMFC meetings in Atlantic City. Actually it was my first meeting. Call me naive, if you will but I actually expected to find a group of people who wanted to do what was best with the fishery resource. Although earnest individuals do exist, they are the minority. The majority was a bunch of back-door dealers doing everything possible to circumvent the process established to protect the fisheries in order to serve their own purpose. To help you better understand the current situation of the striped bass fishery, I want to share with you a few things I noticed:

  1. This fishery was "considered" restored when the total weight of the entire striped bass stock reached an arbitrary preset level. This was accomplished by a whole lot of small, young fish. And not when, as assumed by most, there existed an abundance of fish evenly distributed in each age class.
  2. The commercial industry loves 18" fish. It is my opinion that restoring this fishery beyond 18" fish was never in the minds of the ruling powers within the ASMFC. Every pound of striped bass within the "sustainable harvest" will be killed. Under the auspices of restoring this fishery faster, we have for years gladly accepted more stringent regulations then required of us. As a result, the mortality rate on 28" and larger fish has gone up and even more restrictive regulation are being hinted at. With the smaller fish, which we have protected, the mortality rate has decreased causing the sustainable harvest to increase. Which is what opened the door for this recent commercial harvest allocation increase.
  3. It doesn't stop there! Currently, the striped bass stock size is determined by "scientists" using a method called "Spawning Stock Biomass". Sometime in the near future, they will be switching to "Virtual Population Analysis". This is no more than throwing away the old numbers and stirring up the pot to produce a more commercially desirable sustainable harvest.

Are you ready to speak to your congressman yet ?


Dear Congressman _______________,

I am outraged with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's continued mismanagement of fishery stocks. They have consistently and systematically ignored the recreational angling public. Their latest feat of increasing the striped bass commercial allocations against the advise of their own advisory board and the overwhelming cries of recreational angling community is intolerable. Congressional Bill H.R.393 has been reintroduced by Congressman Frank Pallone. This bill will eliminate the sale of striped bass along the east coast and allocate it for personal consumption only. I urge you to help put an end to this charade and sign-on as a co-sponsor to Congressional Bill H.R.393.

Respectfully yours,

Call and Write, Today!

(Toll Free 1-800-972-3524)....Ask for the congressman's office......Then, ask for the Congressman's aid responsible for fishery management issues.

Status of H.R. 393 Striped Bass Game Fish Bill:

New Jersey Co-sponsors:

Congressman Frank J. Pallone, Jr.
Congressman Robert E. Andrews

New Jersey Representatives NOT signed on:

Congressman Bob Franks   Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen
225 Cannon House Office Building   228 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-3007   Washington DC 20515-3011
Phone: 202-225-5361   Phone: 202-225-5034
Fax: 202-225-9460   Fax: 202-225-3186
E-mail:   E-mail:
Congressman Frank A. LoBiondo   Congressman Robert Menendez
222 Cannon House Office Building   405 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-3002   Washington, DC 20515-3013
Phone: 202-225-6572   Phone: 202-225-7919
Fax: 202-225-3318   Fax: 202-226-0792
Congressman Mike Pappas   Congressman William J. Pascrell Jr.
1710 Longworth House Office Building   1722 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515   Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-5801   Phone: 202-225-5751
Congressman Donald A. Payne   Congressman Steven R. Rothman
2244 Rayburn House Office Building   1607 Longworth House Office Building
Washington DC 20515   Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-3436   Phone: 202-225-5061
Fax: 202-225-4160    
Congresswoman Marge S. Roukema   Congressman H. James `Jim' Saxton
2469 Rayburn House Office Building   339 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-3006   Washington, DC 20515-3003
Phone: 202-225-4465   Phone: 202-225-4765
Fax: 202-225-9048   Fax: 202-225-0778
Congressman Christopher H. Smith
2370 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-3004
Phone: 202-225-3765
Fax: 202-225-7768

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