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REPORT ON THE SEPTEMBER 30 ASMFC STRIPED BASS BOARD MEETING

Striped Bass Board met on September 30 in Peabody MA. There were no new tables or charts produced for this meeting. This was very disappointing to the advisors and the board members. We had been led to believe that the revised tables would be available at this meeting. This left the advisors with few options beyond status quo. The Technical Committee will be meeting in the middle of October in Annapolis to review the VPA number and have the final charts and tables ready for the ASMFC Annual Meeting October 19-23. The Board did pass a motion which I have included below. This motion means that we will begin 1998 with the same commercial and recreational quotas that existed in 1997 except for states that were more restrictive that required by Amendment 5. These states will be allowed to adjust to the minimum requirements of Amendment 5. In early December the Stock Assessment Workshop for the National Marine Fisheries Service will finally get to look at the SSB model and the VPA. They will evaluate both models and comment on the assumptions made in these models. Some people would have preferred that an outside agency conduct this peer review. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is taking advantage of the fact that the National Marine Fisheries Service already has a process in place. The SAW/SARC report is usually presented to the first federal fisheries management council meeting that has a vested interest in the species. Since New England Marine Fisheries Council would be the first one meeting in January that is usually the council where this would be presented. Since we need a board meeting in January or February, the ASMFC may be asking for a special presentation.

According to the motion that was passed at the Board meeting, if the models are accepted, then there will be an opportunity for the producing areas to come in with proposals to increase their fisheries in 1998. There was a lengthy discussion about whether the ASMFC would need to hold new public hearings and complete the original hearings on Addendum 2. Some state
directors made the point that if only the producing areas would receive an increase in 1998, this would be covered under Addendum 1 to Amendment 5 and would not require new public hearings. I found this insulting.

When Addendum 1 went to public hearings, the overwhelming recommendations from the public was in opposition the option that the Board chose to implement. The excuse was given was that this was for only one year and an entire new addendum or amendment would be in place for 1998. Any change in the plan for the producing areas effects the Delaware Bay and Hudson River in addition to the Chesapeake Bay. States that fish in Delaware Bay and the Hudson River, with the exception of Delaware, have not been in agreement with the management plans proposed by those who fish in the Chesapeake Bay. Yet the ASMFC, which by and large produces plans that are endorsed by the Chesapeake Bay, would like to impose the very same plans on the other two producing areas. Delaware has been successful, with the support of the Chesapeake Bay states, in implementing the Chesapeake Bay's management regime in Delaware Bay. This maximizes the catching of small fish. New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania are not in agreement with this management philosophy. Unfortunately, the results of this is that Delaware is allowed to catch additional small fish while New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania are not catching any. This is incredibly unfair to the anglers from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania and detrimental to the attempts to revitalize the stocks of the Delaware Bay. Again this rewards the states who are less concerned with conservation by allowing them to harvest fish that are not caught by anglers from states with more conservative plans. Plans for the Delaware Bay should be resolved by the Delaware River Commission, which has been in place much longer than the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. All the states involved should participate in developing a plan that will impact fairly and equitably on everyone. No one state should be allowed to reap the benefits of another states conservation. JCAA feels very strongly about this and will be petitioning our governor to sue the ASFMC for unfair allocation in our producing areas if some action is not taken to resolve this matter.

The motion below will be brought before the Striped Bass Board at the ASMFC
meeting in Hershey, PA and then forwarded to the policy board. You need to
request that your state have a public hearing if there is any attempt by
the ASMFC to allow an increase in the producing areas for 1998. Write to
the governor of your state with copies of your letter to the your
congressional representatives, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries
Commission and your state director.

JCAA represents many fishermen who live in Pennsylvania but fish in New Jersey waters or on the Delaware River. After some requests by Pennsylvania organizations and clubs who attended the Joint Strategic Meeting, Pennsylvania was given its own Striped Bass Hearing. This is truly a first step in the right direction. However, Pennsylvania did not send a representative to vote at the Striped Bass Meeting. There was also no advisor present at the Striped Bass Advisors meeting. It doesn't do any good to have a state hearing if no one shows up to represent you at the ASMFC meetings.

Motion Passed by Striped Bass Board on September 30,1997: