By CAPT. DAVE MONTI The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) met at the end of January to take a final look at Draft Amendment 7 to the Striped Bass Management Plan before releasing a final version for public comment. The management plan aims to rebuild the stock moving forward.
In 2003, when Amendment 6 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass was adopted, the striped bass stock was healthy. Female spawning stock biomass was at the highest level ever recorded, overfishing was not taking place, and successful spawns were regularly replenishing the striped bass population.
However, according to a 2018 striped bass stock assessment, striped bass are “overfished” (depleted) and “overfishing” (fishing at a rate that would continue depletion) is occurring. Additionally, the striped bass spawning success in Maryland, the single most important spawning ground, has been far below average for the past three years.
Both fishery managers and stakeholders are depending on the new amendment (Amendment 7) to turn things around.
For a detailed explanation of provisions in Amendment 7 visit an article by Charles Witek at www.conservefish.org. Another article written by Capt. John McMurray, president of the American Saltwater Guides Associaton, can be found at www.saltwaterguidesassociation.com.
Public hearings on Amendment 7 for the Striped Bass Management Plan will be held online in Rhode Island Tuesday, March 15, 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and in Massachusetts on Monday, March 21, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Visit www.asmfs.org for details.
The NOAA Fisheries Inclusive Fisheries InternSHip (IN FISH!) program is now accepting applications for the summer 2022 program. Launched in 2021, IN FISH! is a paid summer internship for diverse undergraduates interested in careers in: fisheries, marine and environmental sciences, resource management, education and outreach.
“We are excited about putting together another class of talented students who are considering careers in the kinds of science and management we do in NOAA Fisheries,” said Nicole Cabana, deputy director of NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center. “We know that a lot of bright, hard-working undergraduates are interested in the work we do, and we look forward to hosting students from colleges and universities across the country, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority Serving Institutions,” she said.
The 2022 IN FISH! class will be announced in mid-March. Staff will visit campuses to meet potential applicants in January and early February, if pandemic conditions permit travel. In the meantime, IN FISH! staff are available now via video conference to answer questions and to talk with interested students and faculty. Inquiries about recruitment and application may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Want to enhance your fishing effort with a new fishing app? Then you should download AnglerCatch for free.
AnglerCatch, the electronic recording catch and effort software developed by the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association and its partners Rhode Island DEM and Harbor Light Software is now available in the app store to be downloaded for free on smartphones or tablets available in your devices' app store.
Fran Karp, chief executive officer of Harbor Light Software, said, “The goal of the two year project is to serve as a pilot project, constantly receiving angler input and fine tuning AnglerCatch so it works better for anglers.” The app is being tested by RISAA members and non-member anglers with the aim of improving the app with angler input. The hope is that the app will be used by anglers this season and then expand in years three and four as additional funding is being sought to further develop the app coastwide.
Greg Vespe, RISAA Executive Director, said, “AnglerCatch will help anglers’ provide more accurate data to fish managers while providing a logbook that can help enhance an anglers fishing efforts. The data anglers collect will supplement the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) used to estimate recreational fishing catch and effort.” So every time the app is used anglers are making a contribution to conservation and fish abundance.
Vespe said, “The angler log book feature of AnglerCatch will enhance fishing by providing information on past fishing trips to help develop fishing strategies and tactics to catch more or larger fish on future trips.”
Reports on species caught in any given month, tide and wind when the bite was on (and off), and the types of baits and lures that seem to work best are only some of the helpful information points that can be logged. You can put a lot of effort into entering log information, or none at all and just report your catch and effort to help fish mangers manage better.
AnglerCatch will eventually take advantage of the information already at your disposal on your smartphone and put it into one convenient application. In future iterations, the hope is that you will be able to check tides, moon phases, regulations, weather, etc. as features are added or linked to AnglerCatch.
Conor McManus, Chief of Marine Fisheries for RI DEM, said, “The goal of this pilot program is to provide an additional source of data that can be used to complement MRIP data. We are particularly interested in better characterizing recreational discard data on a number recreationally-significant species. The aim is to have complementary data to help guide management decisions pertaining to State fishing seasons and regulations.”
The data will be shared with RI DEM Marine Fisheries and other fisheries managers to fill in data gaps for certain species/fishing modes, provide alternate metric for managers to compare with catch estimates generated by NOAA Fisheries MRIP, and to help refine recreational fishing regulations and allocations.
Watch for AnglerCatch and Harbor Light Software at the March 11 to 13 New England Saltwater Fishing Show at the Rhode Island Convention Center. They plan to have a booth and you can attend their seminar to learn how recreational fishing data is collected to estimate recreational fishing catch and effort.
The aim is to have you download the AnglerCatch app to your smartphone and take it for a test drive before you leave the seminar or show.
As temperatures rise we are starting to see some open water in ponds, like Onley Pond at Lincoln Woods. Fishing at Massachusetts and Rhode Island ponds that had safe ice was outstanding this year. Carbuncle Pond in Coventry had been yielding some nice bass for anglers through the ice,” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside, RI.
Dave Monti holds a captain’s master license and charter fishing license. He serves on a variety of boards and commissions and has a consulting business focusing on clean oceans, habitat preservation, conservation, renewable energy, and fisheries related issues and clients. Forward fishing news and photos to email@example.com or visit www.noflukefishing.com.
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