I remember the first striped bass meeting I attended at Stony Brook many years before my involvement with The Fisherman Magazine. Now that I think about it, it had to be at least six or seven years ago. Fast forward a few years, I was encouraged to attend a striper meeting at Bethpage. This meeting was a bit different than I remembered the first one I went to. The gathering ended up being standing room only and I found myself a nice spot in the back of the room to observe it all. The beginning of this meeting, like most was an array of slides with probably too much information for me to decipher at the time. After the slides were completed, the podium was opened and this is when the real action took place. Surf fishing clubs, charter and party boat captions, commercial fishermen—they all turned out—and in force. I’ve never witnessed such disagreement before! One by one, these individuals came up and spoke their piece on what they thought about the state of the fishery at the time and what they though should happen regarding the regulations.
Now, you’d think that there would be a solid split of opinion between the commercial and recreational sector. Well, this was not the case at all. The commercial side was all on the same team but when it came to the recreational fishermen, it seemed that they split teams two or even three times—they couldn’t get on the same page.
Fast forward to present times and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission had come up with a Draft Amendment that proposes new options to the FMP to help rebuild the stock and significantly update the management program. The written public comment period runs until the 15th of this month. I attended a meeting on March 17th that once again was a showing of slides and time for public comment at the end. While this meeting did not boast such a robust turnout, the split among the same sector was evident once again. The commercial turnout was not nearly as large but the recreational anglers had a clash of opinion again. Of course as I watched this all unfold I couldn’t help but think back to some years ago when I similar situation occurred. Why can’t we try to work together more as opposed to work against each other in the same industry? In the long term, we both do want the same thing—more fish! Let’s get organized for the future and try to come to some sort of mutual understanding. We’ll get a lot more accomplished.
As I stated before, it’s coming down to the wire for the public comment period for the Draft Amendment 7 Public Comment Period. The physical showing for the meeting was a bit lackluster but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to voice what you have to say. Public written comments will be accepted until April 15, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, and should be sent to Emilie Franke, FMP Coordinator, at 1050 N. Highland St., Suite 200 A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; 703.842.0741 (fax) or at email@example.com (Subject line: Draft Amendment 7).