Action Plan --from Stripers Forever

Here is SF’s action plan in MA for 2013… These initiatives can really help our favorite fish now and in the future. We will not be filing our game fish bill this session, but instead have some exciting new alternatives that will help us work towards the final goal of game fish.
#1. SF is petitioning the MA Division of Marine Fisheries to reduce both the commercial and the recreational harvest – pounds of fish kept by fishermen – by 50%. Here is a LINK to our on-line striped bass conservation petition. Please open the link and lend your name to the petition, then send it to all of your fishing friends and ask them to do the same. #2. SF needs your help in getting co-sponsors for the bills on our legislative agenda. Each one is very important to the future of striped bass, which today is so much in doubt. Please read each of the bills below, and, if you agree with them, we ask you to phone – if possible – or if not, to e-mail your legislators in both the House and Senate, and tell them that you want them to co-sponsor these bills. You can find all the contact information on your legislators here: http://www.malegislature.gov/. If you have any correspondence with your legislators, please forward it to stripers@whatifnet.com and our lobbyist will follow it up and try to secure their support. We have all witnessed the huge decline in striped bass. The MA recreational catch is down nearly 90% from 2006, and this year’s Chesapeake young of the year was the worst in recorded history. Please do this now for the striped bass. SF’s legislative agenda for this session – HD means in the house and SD in the senate:

  • HD 714 and SD1123, An Act Relative to the Conservation of Atlantic Striped Bass -The main thrust of this bill is to save fish by removing the recreational fishermen from the commercial striped bass fishery. All fishermen who have not maintained an average of 1,000 pounds or more of reported landings over the last 5 years will not be issued commercial permits. This will reduce the number of permit holders from about 4,000 to a little more than 200! This reduction will have the added effect of cooling off the under-the-table, cash sale commercial fishery since, without a permit, people will not able to transport commercial quantities of striped bass so they can be sold. It will also reduce the quota by a little over 300,000 pounds or nearly 30%. The bill also prohibits any new entries into the fishery and ends the fishery completely in 2025. As each license is retired the quota for that license will be removed from the total remaining quota. The bill also provides for further conservation measures to be taken if the condition of the fishery continues to deteriorate.
  • HD716 and SD1050, An Act Protecting the Legal Harvest of Striped Bass -
Beginning in 2014 the ASMFC is requiring all states including MA to adopt a tagging system in its commercial fishery. MA is the only state completely without one, and MA officials have created a loophole, against the advice of the ASMFC Law Enforcement Committee, whereby the fish can be tagged when they are sold and not at the point at which they are captured. This bill requires that the commercially caught striped bass must tagged at the time they are caught.
  • HD705 and SD1064, A Resolve studying the loss of revenues of the Commonwealth –
This bill will command the MA department of revenue to study and analyze the well documented drop in participation in the recreational striped bass fishery in MA, especially the 40% drop in out of state anglers, and how much that drop has cost the Commonwealth in lost revenue. The committee will then forward its findings to the Division of Marine Fisheries together with recommendations for enhancing the revenues derived from the recreational striped bass fishery.

Complete copies of the legislation are available on the SF website at this LINK.