This is my letter to the ASMFC on all the proposed regulations within massive Amendment 7.
To the commission
I am commenting on the proposed striped bass Amendment 7.
My name is Jerry Audet and I am from the state of Massachusetts. I am an avid surfcasters who cares deeply for our striped bass fishery. Before I comment on the individual pieces of the proposed Amendment 7, I would like to make a few general comments and recommendations. I have put my specific comments to the individual questions/tiers related to Amendment 7 in a simple list for ease of data collection by the administrative staff. However, I have more comments below that I believe are important.
Briefly, here are my choices
Option A- Support A1
Option B- Support B1
Option C- Support C1
Option A- Support A2
Option B- Support B1
Option C- Support C1
Option A- Support A3
Option B- Support B2
Option B- Support no measure
Option C- Support C1, C2
Option D- Support D1
Option B- Support B1-a
Option C- Support C3
Option D- Support D3
Option E- Support E2
I also have several other comments I would like to make:
· The public information document for Amendment 7 was very complex and I believe it dissuaded public engagement. It was far too long, with too much jargon and unnecessary details. I know, for a fact, that this prevented people from engaging in the process, or submitting comments- it was too much time and effort to even read the document, let alone understand all the nuance and details, and then comment on all the choices. In the future, at minimum there should be some kind of summary document that is short enough for the average citizen to read in less than 15-minutes, which can be understood by everyone.
· The ASMFC has stated that the public is losing faith in their ability to make swift, critical decisions based on science and public input. Please, act fast and in accordance with science and the majority’s wishes: do not delay or we will lose this fishery forever.
· This is a critical moment for the striped bass, and we all- including the commission- know it. Please, consider managing the striped bass for abundance and not for yield when making your decisions. Note that the striped bass fishery is almost entirely a recreational, catch and release, fishery, and that is where the largest portion of the GDP generated by the fishery comes from. The good news is, the more fish in the ocean, the better it is for everyone: the fish, the economy, and the citizen angler..
· In the past, the ASMFC has adopted measures with low statistical chances of being successful, over very long timelines. I believe this is the wrong way to manage this fishery. We need better management and more aggressive measures that have a higher likelihood of protecting the fishery, and rebuilding and responding more quickly. I am in support of management that favors keeping “too many” fish in the ocean, and responding to low spawning years and increased effort on a year-by-year basis.
· I am in total opposition to any measure that would decrease the benchmarks the fishery is managed by. That is, we should not be lowering or shifting baselines. We have managed the population well in the past, and should never consider decreasing our population targets (SSB thresholds and triggers). A sliding base-line is unacceptable and will be the demise of this fishery!
Above all else, I ask that the ASMFC act quickly, decisively, and with abundance- not yield- at the forefront of their striped bass management decisions. We must rebuild this fishery in less than 10-years, and at all costs, and that requires immediate and aggressive action from the commission.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment, and hope that my voice will be heard, and we can save this important and beloved fishery.
Please note, my response to 4.2 in my letter is the most "controversial." Many anglers in the hearings I have attended do NOT agree with me, or the ASGA (or BHA). Many anglers would like to close all spawning areas to harvest/targeting of striped bass. You might be surprised to hear I do not support this as part of Amendment 7. However, I have chosen to align my views with the American Saltwater Guides Association. They lay out why they- and I- have chosen this regulation. I also made a brief explanation in my last post on this blog. If you disagree with me, simply delete that part of the email, and you will have to change your response to 4.2 (if you want closure, that is B2-b).