OK, so if you didn’t see my past post, you can find it here: https://www.indeepoutdoors.com/post/amendment-7-post-1-my-editorial-in-surfcasters-with-lots-of-information
That last post has a ton of information about different organizations views on Amendment seven.
You can also find all the information you need about writing a letter in these posts:
However, if you want a quick summary of the organizations picks, here they are in a handy chart I just made. I just updated this with BHA's positions as well.
You can see that there are a lot of similarities, and I will point out that these are also probably the biggest issues- the choices that are identical are the ones that matter most.
I also want to point out, that the American Saltwater Guide Association, or ASGA, is the group you want to agree with, and take their recommendations, if you don't feel like listening to my opinions. If you don't trust what I'm saying, or you want to go with true experts, then they are the ones to follow. Full stop. You can find all their information AT THIS LINK
So what is Jerry’s letter going to say? I made a graph below for a quick overview, but here are my “short” explanations as well.
Well right off the bat, you can see that for 4.1 Tier 1 and 2, I’m going with A1, B1, C1, A2, B1, C1. EVERYBODY agrees on this, and I do too. Without going into any rationale, I think you will find Stripers Forever does a nice job laying out why. You can find that (again) here. It's a very similar/identical rationale as ASGA, but I just found it easier to read from Stripers Forever (though, I don't always agree with that group).
The first wrinkle we see is at Tier 3, A.
After much thought, I’m going to break with my buddies at the ASGA and go with Stripers Forever on this one and picking A3. A3 is a more sensitive and cautious pick, and while I understand ASGA is saying that it could be ignored if it was tripped too much, and that this could be “burdensome” for management, I have to balk at this. It doesn’t matter how complex this is. It’s about saving the species and the industry around it. Laws are complex. That’s the way it is. So I’m going with A3.
The next option in Teir 3, is “B” and there’s also consensus here on B2. So no need to dive into it.
Tier 4, also consensus. So, I’ll be going with A.
Now, Tier 4.2 has some differences. Both ASGA and 1@32 are saying they support no closures, while ASA and Stripers Forever as both taking different options. I understand the rationale for all of this.
Frankly, this was the single hardest decision for me to make in the whole document. I do support fishing closures; they have them in all kinds of other fisheries, and they work there. In fact, they work REALLY well in some fisheries. I like that Maine closes brook trout fishing, for example- even though it hurts my angling. And lots of states do that with trout.
However, we have no idea what the actual impact of a striper closure would actually be. There is no data, and not even an estimation on it. I also think that they way the fishery is, having a two week closure is pretty unlikely to impact large swaths of spawning grounds or other areas- think about it a minute, hypothetically. If you can’t fish for two weeks, what are you going to do? You’re going to fish harder before, and after. This has been proposed for the cape cod canal. But give that a rumination for a minute. If you normally would fish the canal hard from July 1 to July 14, but now it’s closed, you’re just going to go July 14 to August 1, right? Most anglers do not fish like I do- 5-7 days a week, 7 months of the year- and will just plan their efforts around the closures. To really have an impact in the canal, you would either have to close it for very long periods- July and August completely, for example. Otherwise, there’s just too many anglers that fish around the two weeks for it to make a difference.
PLEASE NOTE- these are my OPINIONS. I do not have perfect facts to support what I’m saying here. But either does the ASMFC! That’s really, really unfortunate.
Also, as ASGA points out, it’s basically unenforceable, to have closures, if blue fish or even other species are around. How can law enforcement prove you are fishing specifically for stripers?
On the flip side, how can stopping pressure on fish who are actively breeding not help? If even 10% of those fish never see a hook because of the closure, that could be HUGE in terms of total population. Even a catch and release fishing makes no sense on top of breeding fish- case in point, some states prevent anglers from fishing on largemouth beds, and they are INSANELY plentiful and robust (largemouth bass). The places that do this, it really does help make fishing better, and that’s been quantified. So why not with stripers? So I see the reasoning here, too.
However, my honest fear is that putting pressure on MD, VA, and NJ to close areas- when they’re already really resistant to ANY regulations (well, MD and NJ anyways)- could mean we lose other tighter measures that might matter even more.
So, yes, this was a tough one for me. I really think you should read ASGA’s take on this here. They mirror my frustration with this perfectly.
In the end, hypothetically I would support B2-b in 4.2, as Stripers Forever says they do, and ASGA saysthey hypothetically would, too. I think it has merit. But as this is written, and with all the other things that are on the table, I ultimately choose to side with both ASGA and the New York Coalition for Recreational fishing on this one, and went with NA- no seasonal closures.
The next two parts of Tier 4.2 were close to consensus, with one difference. All the organizations chose C1 and C2 for part C, so there is no need to discuss that either. Again, it's not that I'm asking you take what these groups say based on blind faith. However, I do think having a united front is EXTREMELY important. If all the groups agree, with their differences in philosophy and goals, I am going with it because (frankly) I trust the ASGA, SF, and the NY Coalition.
The one difference in 4.2 was the ASGA choosing D2 while all the other groups chose D1. I read their justification for this, but I'm still confused by it and a little disappointed. I don't know why a "requirement" versus "recommended" was even an option, frankly. It should have just been required or not required- this is another frustrating part of the complication of the document.
I ultimately decided to go with the three organizations and choose D1. Why ASGA chose to go D2 seems a bit weak; this is from their website- "We reached out to several of the ASMFC commissioners and asked their feedback on this issue. Everyone responded that their state was willing and able to meet the needs of this option. ASGA therefore supports D2."
I LOVE the ASGA and what they are doing. They are CRUSHING it out there. If it meant a better result overall, I would take this position in an instant. But why can't this be required? There isn't even a metric for it, so it's not a big hurdle to get over. So why ASGA broke with the other groups and went with D2 has me scratching my head. Thank you to someone for pointing this out to me (Kurt) and making me question this part, as I had made an error in my first pass of it in this document.
For 4.4.1 and 4.4.2 we have consensus. Yeah for solidarity!
Then we get to 4.6.2. I won’t go into my feelings on “B”, because I’m just going to tell you that I agree with ASGA and Stripers Forever, picked B1-a, and see the other organizations choices as potentially fine as well. I will just add that I HATE conservational equivalency- CE. I think it’s the devil of the details, and whatever it was originally meant for, it has lost any and all credibility in my eyes. Kill it. Get rid of it, forever.
As for 4.6.2, “C” was also consensus on C3. So moving on.
For 4.6.2 “D”, we have our biggest differences of the entire document. We have 4 groups picking 3 different options. But this choice was easy for me, and I went with D3 which is what both Stripers Forever and The New York Coalition did as well. We need more buffer in all these regulation. We need to account for all the stuff that they don’t account for- poaching, myco, trawling, warming waters, invasive species (catfish, etc.) and everything else. CE is SO EVIL. If we are forced to use it, then let’s make it have as much buffer as possible.
Finally, for 4.6.2 “E”, 3 chose E2, and only the ASA chose E. It was easy for me to pick E2 as well.
So there you have it, as short and brief as I could make it. Here’s my chart.
If you have questions, you can reach out to me at email@example.com and I’ll try to help. I’ll be sharing my actual letter next week, and I don’t care if you copy it, modify it, or anything like that. More next week.