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Amendment 7: Post 1, My Editorial in Surfcasters with lots of information


Many have asked me what my take is on the striped bass amendment seven, and what my choices were going to be for each option.


Let’s start with a letter I wrote in for the upcoming Surfcasters Journal #73, which will get you started with all the information. Then, I’ll make my own thoughts clear in a post immediately to follow this.


Here is the letter, and as soon as this goes live, my comments will be, too.


Look for a give-away announcement in the next week or so for any and all that comment.

___

To you, the reader


You may or may not be aware that there is a huge decision about to be made as to the management of striped bass. For a many years now, the fishery has been managed under Amendment Six by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). You have likely heard, and experienced, that the fishery is both over-fished, and over-fishing is occurring. This is beyond politics, and determined independent of the commission by a panel of non-partisan scientists. In 2020, new regulations went into place that sought to curb harvest and reverse the decline of our beloved fish. However, much of the framework of Amendment Six remained in place, and the commission decided it was time to over-haul it, to try and revive the fishery long-term.


Now, the ASMFC is seeking comment on a totally new amendment, Amendment Seven. This is even more important than the last time around, because Amendment Seven will be what dictates the management of the striper for many years- potentially decades. Amendment Six was put in place in 2003.


The good news is there are some really great proposals in this Amendment Seven. We are close to getting some real change that could finally end the downward slide, and return us to the incredible fishing we once had.


All the details for the proposed changes can be found in an incredibly long and intense document, which clocks in at 180 print pages. This behemoth is at times both hard to understand and very technical, even for someone with a science degree. You can find that document here: http://www.asmfc.org/files/PublicInput/AtlStripedBassDraftAm7forPublicComment_Feb2022.pdf


Here is a rundown of the proposed regulations directly from the ASMFC. It’s not exactly a short video, but it covers everything thoroughly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjUw92-Xl-4&ab_channel=ASMFCvideos


We frankly don’t expect you to read it the document, or even watch the whole video. It’s a shame, because this is going to turn away a lot of anglers that just don’t have time to sort through that much jargon, decide on 18 different regulations with multiple tiers and sub-options, and then try to write it all down in an email. To me, an 18-page document would have been too much; let alone a 180. Complex or not, there has to be another way. In my opinion, it’s yet another failing of the ASMFC.


However, we really want you to speak up for your fishery. We have to speak up. If we want to be fishing in 20-years, we need to get control of the fishery right now. We can turn this around, but we can’t wait even one more year.


We at Surfcasters hope you’ll stand up for the fishery, but your decision on the regulations is up to you. We just ask that you get involved. Engagement is the key point- numbers matter- and “engagement” can be as simple as sending an email.


This is a very, very important moment. It could be the tipping point at which history records us saving the fishery, or letting it slip away from us. Amendment Seven has seriously great potential; we’re so close! Isn’t that worth just a few minutes to write an email?


How to make your decision, and where to send your email:


Some subscribers may not trust one source or another, so I encourage you to do your own homework. However, I can recommend four organizations with well-thought out, varying opinions.


The first is the American Saltwater Guide Association (ASGA). The ASGA has been a real driver behind organizing recreational anglers, and has been helping explain to the public what is going on in easy to understand ways for several years now. You can find their suggestions here: https://saltwaterguidesassociation.com/striped-bass-amendment-7-public-comment-guide/ . I will note, the ASGA also has a podcast (The Guide Post) which breaks down the document over multiple episodes, and I found this helpful. Further, many professional organizations across media, industry, and non-profit are taking using the ASGA to guide their decisions.


The second is the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), which is a very large national recreational angling association. They take many identical positions as the ASGA, but with some critical differences. You can find their suggestions here: https://keepamericafishing.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/1.-ASA-STB-Amendment-7-Comment-Guide_FINAL-3.7.22.pdf . I know of several large organizations that are using the ASA’s guidance in making their positions.


Stripers Forever is another organization who has release their take on Amendment 7. You can find their suggestions here: https://www.stripersforever.org/asmfc-draft-amendment-7-public-comment-guide/

Stripers Forever does a great job with their rationale, and I appreciate that they have “stepped up their game” in recent years. I was getting frustrated with them, but they are doing a good job again in my eyes.


Finally, the large Facebook group 1@32 Pledge page and the NY Coalition for Recreational Fishing have endorsed a slightly different set of regulations, and you can find their thoughts in Ross Squire’s letter, here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/433685153423751

If you disagree with these, that’s fine! We- the crew here at SJ- just want you write your letter. The important part is to get involved now, at this critical step- before it’s too late.


Please, consider how important this fishery is to you, and write your letter prior to the April 15th deadline, and submit it to comments@asmfc.org

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Congratulations to Mike Sjoholm for being randomly selected to win the prize-package for the Amendment 7 give away. Thank you to everyone who sent in your letters, and also who entered the give away.