Thursday, February 13, 2020

02.13.20 Big meeting tonight....

So tonight the New Jersey Fisheries council is having a public meeting as they attempt to iron out regulations for the striped bass fishery. As well known, by angler in NJ, and up and down the east coast, our state, and Maryland also, are a laughing stock.

NJ will decide on the slot size, closed seasons, and the Bonus Tag system-all trying to justify and meet a 18% CE, or reduction.

I won't be able to make it, and its killing me, but I thankfully have a full patient load today and tonight.....thanks for all who are going!

Here's the agenda-

·       "“The New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council will consider two options for the striped bass recreational harvest, (1) one fish of 28 inches to 35 inches per person per day, or (2) one fish of 28 inches to 38 inches per day, said Lawrence Hajna with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) press office. Hajna said the second option is pending a Conservation Equivalency approval by ASMFC.

·       In an effort to keep the lower end size of the slot at 28 inches, that decision by ASMFC could allow New Jersey the ability to implement a maximum size limit of 38 inches on a one fish bag limit. Final word on striped bass regulations, including the future of New Jersey's Striped Bass Bonus Program (SBBP), should occur when the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council takes up the final striped bass options at 5 p.m. on Thursday at the Stafford Twp. Municipal Building on 260 East Bay Avenue, Manahawkin, NJ. The meeting is open to the public, and the public is encouraged to attend in order to provide final input for a vote.

·       According to the the latest tallies from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the SBBP in 2019 accounted for less than 15% of the overall allotted commercial quota of 215,912 pounds, by way of just 5,382 tagged 24- to 28-inch striped bass for a total of 31,239 pounds. The New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council is expected to take up bluefish regulatory changes as well this Thursday in Manahawkin.

·       Hajna said the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council will be considering two options for the recreational striped bass bonus tag program, which is derived from the state’s allocation of the commercial quota: “One fish as 24 inches to 28 inches per tag per day opening May 15, 2020 and closing December 31, 2020, or one fish of 24 inches to 28 inches per tag per day opening September 1, 2020 and closing December 31, 2020,” Hajna said by email on Tuesday afternoon, adding that staff will present several options that were reviewed with the Advisory Committee for public information and potential comment.

·       “Once an option is selected an approved by the Marine Fisheries Council, it will be sent to the DEP Commissioner for final approval,” Hajna added."

      My friend and guide Capt Paul Eidman plans to speak and has outlined his talking points-

·       My talking points for tomorrows meeting in New Jersey. Please show up and speak up. 
·       Support the coastal standard of 28"-35"
·       Follow Connecticut example and suspend the bonus tag program until stock recovers
·       Delay the opening of the season in Raritan Bay until May 1. Protect the pre-spawn fish that will head up the Hudson.
·       Cooperate and reciprocate with New York on regulations due to our shared fishery
·       The Hudson spawning stock needs more protection now than ever
·       Increase funding for conservation law enforcement
·       Create and fund angler education program on catch & release (virtual or in person)