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Federal water rockfish?!

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Log onto Let Us Fish - Home to sign petition and keep abreast of initiative to open federal water to striped bass fishing.


Recreational and commercial fishermen in the Ocean City area are in the process of forming a group that will begin the process of looking into opening federal waters to striped bass fishing. An online petition is being designed and should be up shortly, according to Colin Campbell, one of the founding members of the group. The initiative is hoping to convince government officials and agencies that the time has come to begin this process. Federal waters have been closed to striper fishermen since the moratorium in 1985.

Stay tuned to this site for updates.

Editors note: I sent this letter to State Senator Jim Mathias and urge anyone interested in this initiative to do the same. Letters can also be sent to any or all State Representatives, State Senators, Congressmen and Senators.

Senator Jim Mathias

Miller Senate Office Building, Room 401

11 Bladen St.

Annapolis, <ACRONYM title=Maryland><ACRONYM title=Maryland>MD</ACRONYM></ACRONYM> 21401

Dear Senator Mathias,

As you know, a group of commercial and recreational fishermen are interested in urging the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to open Federal waters to striped bass fishing. It is confusing to most anglers how, back in the 1980’s, a moratorium was rightfully placed on all striped bass fishing based upon up-to-date scientific data, yet the fishery has not been reopened based on scientific data that, according to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, declares the striped bass fishery “rebuilt”, not “overfished” and “overfishing is not occurring”.

“Through the hardship and dedication of both commercial and recreational fishermen, the stock was rebuilt and today’s watermen again harvest striped bass in great number. Recreational harvest has grown steadily since the reopening of many state fisheries in 1990, peaking above 2.7 million fish in 2006. Under the current management program, commercial harvest has averaged nearly 1 million fish annually.

The most recent stock assessment for striped bass was completed in 2009. The update assessment indicated that striped bass are not overfished and overfishing is not occurring. Since 1982, the striped bass population has increased from less than 9 million fish to over 70 million fish in 2004. While abundance has declined some since then, spawning stock biomass (the metric for determining if the stock is overfished) remains well above the threshold and target levels.” Source: ASMFC website

Contrary to the belief of many conservation-minded individuals and groups, both commercial and recreational fishermen are interested in keeping our marine resources strong. Commercial fishermen depend on the resources to put bread on their family’s table and recreational fishermen have repeatedly shown their willingness to preserve the ocean’s bounty for future generations. However, for some reason the striped bass fishery has been highjacked by various special interest groups and our politicians and government agencies have shown no interest in doing what is right. Fishermen have dutifully adhered to the closure of the striped bass fishery, but now is the time to open it back up, even if it means adjusting the current size and creel regulations for striped bass. Fishermen are tired of unnecessary and unfair regulations.

Many recreational fisherman and others feel that opening federal waters to commercial fishermen would “decimate” the stock. With all due respect to those harboring these feelings, I just don’t feel their concerns are justified. I am not in favor of increasing the striped bass quota for commercial fishermen, so since they are currently operating under a hard quota system, opening federal waters, in theory, would not increase the number of fish caught commercially. I do support a change to the commercial regulations that would not restrict the number of striped bass caught per day and instead allow commercial fisherman to catch as many fish per day as they can, up to their individual quota. This just seems like common sense to me.

Opening up federal waters would also create a tremendous economic benefit to every town along the Atlantic Coast. In Ocean City for example, an entire new industry would be created. Charter boats would see the benefit of an additional season, hotels would see an increase in off-season bookings, restaurants would have increased diners in November through January and tackle shops would obviously see an increase in business. All of this affects industries that have been hurt, some critically, during our recent economic recession.

We know that this is an uphill battle, but someone has to start the ball rolling and our small group out of Ocean City is willing to lead the way. We feel confident that in a short period of time, this initiative will gain steam and it will become obvious that the loudest voices we currently hear (CCA, MSSA, RFA, Chesapeake Bay organizations, etc…) do not represent the feelings of the majority of commercial and recreational fishermen along the coast. Our newly designed online petition, which will be generated shortly, will back-up this point.

Representing the recreational fishing community on our committee will be myself, Colin Campbell, Jim Rooney and Jeremy Blunt.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at 410-213-2200 or email me at

Thank you for your time, Jim. You have always been a friend to the fishing community and we appreciate it very much. We look forward to you assisting us in this initiative.


Larry Jock "

Coastal Fisherman - Sportfishing and Boating Newspaper in Ocean City, Maryland

Idk how i feel about this...

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