Happy New Year, everyone! I’ve already started sharpening and replacing hooks in anticipation of the new season. I’m forming a plan to gear up for some light tackle, back-bay stuff in the early Spring, whenever that may be—I suppose it depends on what, if any, kind of winter we have. Until then, I’m working on a couple posts of striper porn and stuff I’ll be reading/researching/studying during the offseason—things to make decent use out of the downtime from surf fishing (or pier fishing, or boat fishing…).
More immediately, however, we have until January 4th to send in comments on menhaden management to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. It’s very important to make our voices and wants/needs known to the Commission (if you need a refresher on WHY it’s important, take a look at the post below this one or read up on Captain John McMurray’s article here). It won’t take much time to send them an email, and in fact you can copy and paste my own comments below if you like. If you were out on the water this fall, then you probably saw a lot of life out there. Even if you don’t fish, there was whale watching in the Rockaways and in the East River, and bird watchers were happy too. There was just a lot of life out there, and there’s a good chance that’s partially because of the menhaden reduction we fought so hard for back in 2012. There’s a vote on an amendment that will determine kind and scope of future menhaden management coming up and we only have until tomorrow to send comments to the Commission. You can also take a few minutes to sign the Pew Public Trust’s Action Alert (which is very easy and painless to do, too).
Send emails to:
Fishery Management Plan Coordinator
1050 N. Highland St,
Arlington, VA 22201
(Use subject line: Menhaden PID)
Dear ASMFC Commissioners,
As you well know, back in 2012 many recreational anglers fought hard for better regulation of menhaden. We won that battle and were rewarded with a 20 percent reduction in the quota. Since that reduction we’ve seen a big increase in the numbers of menhaden, and experienced some of the best fishing in years along the shores of Long Island, New York City, and New Jersey. However anecdotally, we’ve seen more whales in New York waters feeding on more peanut bunker than we’ve seen in a long time—and while the science hasn’t made a direct connection to the increased abundance of this all-too-important bait fish to the better regulated fishery, those of us on the water believe we are seeing positive results from your decision to reduce the quota.
Since 2012 you’ve also increased that quota 10 percent, with another 6.5 percent increase scheduled in the new year. We of the Brooklyn Urban Anglers Association, a fishing group in New York City, do not believe increasing the quota back to pre-2012 numbers without an increase in management is the answer. We are just beginning to see what is possible with better management of menhaden across the board—better for the fishery, the recreational anglers, the recreational industry, whale watchers, and boat captains have all seen the potential benefits this fall. This is why we support Option D for Amendment 3, and we believe this is the best long-term solution for menhaden management.
At the recent New York ASMFC meeting there was a consensus to close the bycatch loophole which allowed caught menhaden to not count toward the quota. We also support the closing of this loophole.
We also support reducing the Chesapeake Bay cap (Issue 8), as the number is currently unattainable and, at least on paper, results in the potential to take as much menhaden as possible out of a crucial nursery area, not just for forage fish, but for larger predatory fish as well.
The Brooklyn Urban Anglers Association is a group of dedicated citizens who fish all of New York City’s waters, from Prospect Park and the East River, to the Rockaways and the upper Hudson. We were established in 2009 with the vision of expanding awareness of New York City’s fishing history, the life found in its waterways, and the benefits of responsible conservation and clean rivers. We believe we are on the cusp of seeing the beginnings of potential long-term benefits of menhaden management. Please consider the impacts of your decisions regarding Amendment 3.
Brooklyn Urban Anglers Association