More on Closed Fishing Zones [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: More on Closed Fishing Zones

12-04-2001, 12:20 PM
Yesterday on the way home I heard a piece on NPR about the latest on these off limits to fishing areas. All I can say as an observer listening to the piece is this:

1. The marine science sounded professional and solid.

2. There was not a hint of anti fishing, in fact, the scientists were pro fishing, both comm and rec.

3. To support their theories they sighted how there is a 40 mile zone by Cape Kennedy closed for NASA rocket launch security for many years. The areas adjascent to it have yielded world records in sport fishing for Red Drum and a couple other species.

4. There are currently 14 such zones in the US waters and many over seas. Australia was given as a case where these things have worked.

5. The main thrust was to make more fish for harvesting not some wacko PETA-esque campaign.

Here is one other side of the coin I found today on the front page of the BBC:

I know which way I starting to lean on this issue, but I will certainly keep an open mind.

12-06-2001, 12:14 PM
Most definitely, keep an open mind. However, also try to read between the lines, ask yourself, whats missing? When you read about the 20% of the area that someone (lets ask who) wants to close,keep in mind that if you close off all state waters from Maine to Texas( as was discussed at the CCA-MA executive meeting last night ) based on the total area including all federal waters, Thats not quite 20%. So, ask yourself, when someone wants to create new rules and regulations, can't we be specific, let's understand the entire story, let's not allow something that can blow-up in our faces.
The CCA is all about conservation and preservation, so tell us why the closure is needed and how it will produce the results it was intended to produce. Yes, closing off some areas will provide sanctuary for breeding stock and baitfish, but let's understand the purpose and the potential benefit before we agree to something we don't understand. And once we see how and where the closures will take place as well as for how long, we might just support them.
Speaking for myself only, I could never agree to closures or limits unless I understood the whole story. Lets see the whole story!

12-06-2001, 04:32 PM
You can't tell me NPR is an unbiased source.

Let's look at what they want to stop - ALL FISHING. Why?

Remember that CCA made it's name by bringing back the redfish from near extinction. Why can we not be trusted as sportsman (let's not address the commercial issue right now) to be responsible for the protection of an area or species?

It would seem to me that CCA has a better track record in species protection and propagation than the federal government.

Of course, I also believe that the government was created to serve the needs and wishes of the people - not tell us what to do.

Crazy huh? ;)

12-06-2001, 08:36 PM
I live in WA.
I belong to CCA and, by default, am assigned to the MD Chapter.
CCA covers the waterfront from ME to TX.
Why they are not present in CA, OR or WA is beyond me; we can certainly use their intervention on many issues here.

I'm truly confused over Marine Protective Zones. WDFW established one last year here in Puget Sound and, on the table for this year, is establishing 4 more. To me, it seems these are being established in a very arbitrary manner. The one they established last year is just outside and to the North of Gig Harbor to protect the "bottom fish." Nobody fishes for bottom fish in the area they protected that I know of. It is a great spot for scuba divers, however.

If there's science to back up establishing these zones, then I more than likely would support it. Butl, to date, they seem to be getting a foot in the door to prevent sportfishing. I''ve not seen ANY data to support establishing them.

12-06-2001, 09:00 PM
I heard that report also and would agrue that no reference in that article or any other I've heard on NPR advocates banning fishing. All the article stated was that in areas that were closed- generally parts of offshore banks or in the case of the Kennedy Space Center as a security zone- and monitored as to the rates of fish recovery. They took the data collected from several areas that had been closed, reasons for which weren't the topic of the report, and simply stated that as the populations recovered within the restricted zones populations of fish adjacent to the reserves showed marked increases also. This was believed to be because as more dominent fish set up shop in the prime feeding and breeding areas, less dominent fish were forced outward as populations and competition for real estate increased.

What I didn't hear was a general anti/peta/skunk hugger call to close more chunks of ocean to fishing. The idea that perhaps strategic closures of certain productive nurseries may be an asset in helping to increase fish stocks across the boards was suggested. However, not before more science and input from the researchers and fisherman. There may have been some arbitrary closures in places but to date none of them effect access for inshore flyfishing as much as the monied gentry do in places like many of the high brow towns on the Nw England coast.

As a side I was training in Atlanta last year and one of the guys in my class was a service tech on equipment at Kennedy Space Center and had clearence to fish in the security zone established off shore. He says it's the best saltwater fishing he's ever seen on the Florida coast

12-07-2001, 07:13 AM
OK, say a "no fishing zone " is established in an area to protect ground fish, say this area has a depth of 200 or 300ft. If the purpose of the closure is to inhance the groundfish then whats wrong with fishing the remaining water column ?
Also, let's not loose site of the fact that these closures are not only directed at the recreational fisherman, the commercial guys will be affected as well.
We all want more, bigger fish so the idea may be a sound one, just to vague. We need much more info before anybody can make a reasonable assessment of any proposals where closure is being considered.

12-07-2001, 09:19 AM
I admit that NPR is akin to WGBH-the height of the "Harvard Bow Tie" crowd leaning to the left. They nauseate me at times too, but other times they go in depth while the rest of the media does sound bites and Jerry Springer-esque sensationalism. But that had no bearing on my fair assessment of the piece.
They were a bunch of scientists reporting data. It was dry.
I don't think we as sportsman have the resource to manage the whole east coast right now either. Here in Mass. everyone you talk to wants a higher limit than 28" for Stripers. Many favor adding 8" to that total (36"). Your almighty CCA can't evan pull that off because of lack of action by it's members and strong political lobbys and other Ma. state pol shenanigans.
When we as a group turn a deaf ear to the Marine biology community we all loose. I find it actually rediculous that anyone would fear us loosing our fishing rights. There is 1500 miles of coast line in this state alone. Fishing is the #1 most done sport in the country. If they evan tried to overdo it without sound science, they would be strung up, and I'd be first in line for that action committee.
As an example look at the hunting situation in Ol' Liberal Mass. People still hunt. Towns stop it only when the houses get too close together. Killing a warm blooded animal with bullets that could kill humans accidentally is way higher on the scale of the wackos in terms of importance than fishing, yet here in Liberal Ma. hunting persists(which I personally would defend hunters right too). Point is: if they can't stop hunting of warm blooded animals in Mass. how the hell do you think some small enviro-wacko group is going to shut down fishing in say Fla.? (a multi billion $$ recreation) No way.
Right now they are experimenting and we can afford the space. The world is polluted and the resources are abused, or overused. We should accept the help and be involved with them so we can keep an eye on them. Show me where PETA is behind this. I'd like to know if they are( or any other similar group)I don't see it.
I still haven't found out who, or what group, wants to stop ALL FISHING. You talk about sound science, well who is the group (besides PETA) and what is their interest in the NO Fishing zones. Let's get scientific about that. All I'm hearing are generalities to date. Who are they?


12-07-2001, 09:49 AM
BTW- Read about the piece here:

Here's a couple of snips from it:

"And the new studies suggest their efforts are paying off. On All Things Considered, NPR's Christopher Joyce reports that fish in these reserves are thriving and that they can become nurseries for replenishing nearby fisheries.

In his report, Joyce talks about two compelling pieces of evidence described in a study published in the Nov. 30 issue of the Journal Science. One of the marine reserves highlighted in the article is located near St. Lucia, a speck of an island in the Eastern Caribbean. Dr. Callum Roberts, co-author of the study, says generations of fishermen have fished there using hand lines or
nets, but by the mid-1990s, the reefs became almost barren. So conservationists cordoned off an 11-mile stretch of reef that prohibited fishing.

"The fishermen were skeptical at first," Roberts said. "They worried this would make their lives harder rather than better, and for the first couple of years they were right."

But now, five years later, the refuge is bursting with fish. "Catches
near the reserve are up between 46 and 90 percent, and the fishermen are happy," he observed.

Tod D
12-07-2001, 10:22 AM
Lefty - nice thread & follow up. This is truly an important issue that I think we all need to educate ourselves on.

Wanted to comment that I thought Chris made a nice point in his post regarding NE shore access. In reflexively responding 'no way!' to any and all perceived attempts to curtail fishing do we risk lumping together the 'not in my backyard/beach/marsh' efforts throughout much of NE to limit public shoreline access w/ (potentially) legitimate efforts to protect and grow fish stocks? Don't want to infer too much from Chris' comments, but that was my take on where he was going.

12-07-2001, 11:49 AM
Not to backtrack but...

Any organization is biased in some way, thus the ability and need to organize. The more organized things become, the more apart the group becomes from being "the people".

This concept of "the people" is interesting. 10% of the time it's the most important human concept on Earth. But at the same time it's also everyone, no one, everything and nothing and 90% pure propaganda. I'm not sure you can equate organizations and "the people".

Government is an organization, and if nothing else it's tangible, structured, sanctioned and essential. It's "the people's" job to keep government from stabbing us in the back - and it's the government's job to keep us from shooting ourselves in the foot. I think the national park system was a pretty good example of that.

I think commercial species exploitation and industrial habitat destruction are good examples of the people needing intervention. Goes both ways I guess. I hope the balance holds.

I think the CCA is a perfect example of that balance.

Originally posted by Roop
You can't tell me NPR is an unbiased source.

Let's look at what they want to stop - ALL FISHING. Why?

Remember that CCA made it's name by bringing back the redfish from near extinction. Why can we not be trusted as sportsman (let's not address the commercial issue right now) to be responsible for the protection of an area or species?

It would seem to me that CCA has a better track record in species protection and propagation than the federal government.

Of course, I also believe that the government was created to serve the needs and wishes of the people - not tell us what to do.

Crazy huh? ;)

12-07-2001, 01:35 PM
Terry - just to be argumentative. A little, TEENY, piece of the evidence that says CCA MA and it's membership aren't totally to blame: the VA legislature wouldn't budge on their size or catch regulations either one or two years ago unless Massachusetts bumped down. We had just gone back to 30", been there for a year or so, and this was raised as part of the problem. So, in essence, I guess you COULD say CCA is contributory by not being able to sway a legislature seemingly connected at the hip to a far more vocal or powerful commercial lobby and it's unwillingness to err on the side of the fishery.

I suppose the archives on different BB's can be researched to substantiate this. I suppose meeting minutes and such can be accessed from committees in the various states under respective information acts to support or subvert this information.

12-07-2001, 02:06 PM
Trying to cut to the core of the issue, I have absolutely no doubt at all that it's a good policy to shut down fishing in those areas where it's devastating the population. We must not forget Chesapeake Bay's striped bass spawning ground moratorium and the profound effect it had.

When discussing fishing, we can't compare commercial seining to a recreational flyfishing season either. Stopping one will have a much more emphatic effect on a population than the other in fact I would argue that a typical fish population could withstand fly fishing without measurable harm while it often can't survive a large scale commercial harvest.

So if they cut the million ton per year harvest of sand eels in the North sea to 500,000 tons, I would think that's good. If they say we can't flyfish on Cape Cod because it traumatizes the fish, well then that's when it's time for a revolution. :D


12-07-2001, 02:19 PM
Interesting points.

Will jump into this tomorrow after I check my information.


12-07-2001, 10:36 PM
My point in regards to access was that, at this point, I think we have more to be concerned about from the money folks buying up shore front property and then restricting parking and weigh points near them. Just look at the complaints about fisherman parking on the causeway, the difficulty of access on the Brewster side not to mention some of the north shore. The most important thing is to make sure we are heard when the powers that be sit down to draw the lines as to where, how and when fishing will be allowed.

I will say that Maine has held its ground for the in regards to the Kennebec striper nursery. It is right up there with the Chessepeek for spawning production. While we watched Massachusetts ease lenght, bag and commercial regulations on stripers Maine held fast and only after populations improved markedly did we change from one fish 36+" to a slot of one fish between 20" + 26" OR one over 40"- AND no commercial taking. You can't get striper in a restaurant here. Also, the Kennebec is closed to the use of bait and keeping fish until July first. You are required to fish with a single treble on a lure all season. These regs extend from the first impoundment in Waterville to an imaginary line drawn across the mouth of the river from Popham to Newagen. The elver fishing has also been restricted as well increasing the sand eel populations and in turn giving the yung fish a good chance at bulking up for the run south.

I would argue that one of the reasons the fishery is hanging in there so well and not dropping off from the easing if regs on the lower coast is because our nursery is so well protected. I saw a lot of young fish up here this year.

We need to talk seriously and loudly when the fisheries people start stirring but not assume that just because NPR said there were interesting stats coming from a few test cases that fishing will go away. I thought it was good news all in all but as yet not much of a threat.

12-10-2001, 09:34 AM
Just goes to show money doesn't always talk. No hidden message in that - :(

12-10-2001, 01:34 PM
I heard this morning that the fisheries folks are meeting later this week in Newburyport, MA to discuss Marine Protective Zone selection for the east coast. Just wondering if the sport fishing crowd is going to have any representation by CCA or anyone else there to listen in and offer our angle?

12-10-2001, 01:38 PM
Ok, as long as there not meeting to CLOSE Newburyport by adding PI to a no fishing zone. Then I would be totally against them. ;)


12-10-2001, 04:25 PM
This is great. (sarcasm intended). I hope you're kidding about the East Coast areas.

We can't even get a coastal agreement on striped bass management but a federal decision to close waters seems to move like wildfire!

I remember peoples reaction a year ago being something like, "It's not going to happen in my favorite waters."

For an educational, clear position on the NO FISHING ZONES and their growth since the first one was established, check out the following link:


12-10-2001, 04:48 PM
I recently joined CCA in Maine because I thought it would be a good thing to support an organization that lobbies for rec. fishermen. When I got the news letter, I was afraid I had made a mistake. The editorial regarding the "no fishing zones" read like something issued by "Wise Use"(a conservative lobby group bought and paid for by mining and logging interests posing as outdoors men). The news letter used many of the same appeals that I have read in editorials supporting jet skis and criticizing "no motor zones". Hmm, I hope I'm wrong, be it seemed like CCA is in bed with the boating industry. I am opposed to the"my right to fish no matter what" mentality. Every one should be willing to make sacrifices to nurture abundant fishing. The striped bass resource has come a long way in a short period of time. These gains were achieved trough good management and sacrifice. No doubt the CCA had a role in this, and I hope I am wrong about their stand against the "no fish zones" I will go to the next meeting and check them out.
Also, I don't think that the Kennebec has even 1/20th the spawning productivity of the Chesapeake or the Hudson. I hope in time it will be a significant contributor.

12-10-2001, 04:56 PM

Remeber, no two CCA chapters are the same. I had a similar experience here where the local meetings were just a gathering to talk, have dinner and listen to a guide or author talk. Little if no conservation issues were raised.

That's why I plan on supporting the Cape Cod chapter. Brain Case is running it and I expect him to provide some very strong stewardship.


12-10-2001, 05:29 PM
There was no indication as to what locations may or may not be considered for closure other than it was offshore and concerned mainley fish stocks and commercial fishing. I just thought with the direction this thread seamed to be heading I'd throw in that I heard a meeting was planned and that if anyone thought that sportfishing may be impacted that I'd pass it on. If anyone hears what comes of the meeting(s) this week, as I will, to let us all know.

Eddie you are correct in the fact that the Kennebec is 1/5 the nursery of the Chessepeke. Merrymeeting Bay pales in size compared to the the Chessie also. However, it is very productive. My point was more to the ecology surrounding the resource as an example of some pretty effective mangement.

12-10-2001, 05:31 PM
Isn't the Fisheries meeting really targeted toward commercial fishing zone management? I am not aware of any specific Atlantic coastal zones where sportsmen harvest by hook and line would have population impact, although as a whole it has a huge impact. Commercial fishing would be another matter altogether, zone management would be very appropriate if coordinated with fish behavior and habitat. Zone restrictions like the offshore banks make all the difference in the world and are a big part of keeping the stocks abundant.

I would be 100% in favor of no-fishing zones provided they are imposed on cornerstone forage species like menhaden. I would support them 100% for sport angling if they were applied to known sportfishing impact areas, but I can't think of any (ocean) areas of that nature. There are really no distinct zones where angler impact can be localized, but there are many zones where commercial harvest can be identified as key:

North Sea sand eel fishery. Menhaden fisheries - albeit not really localized. Striped Bass netting in Chesapeake and Hudson Rivers. Open seas salmon netting in the Greenland fishing grounds.

Looking beyond coastal areas, any exploitation of anadromous fishes at dams, waterfalls, shipping locks, etc - are capable of major damage to specific populations by anglers. We should levy restrictions on these areas for sportsmen wherever possible. In many cases we already do.

Once again, as a whole sportsmen have a big impact especially in MA but within localized areas it would achieve nothing. Zone mgmt is for commercial fisheries, broad ranging rules are best for sportsmen - like an inter-coastal mgmt system. This would be best managed by the Federal authorities IMHO. In fact, I feel that the root of the problem is that state governments can't get their act together and need an intervening authority.

12-11-2001, 06:08 AM
Part of Stellwagen may be a place where it could be done around here. I kinda like the idea of leaving some areas alone. Eddie and Chris is CCA involved in the effort to remove the Fort Halifax Dam at the mouth of the Sebasticook. That would give stripers access to some of their prime historic spawning grounds.

12-11-2001, 08:36 AM
I was thinking about this last night, there are several different issues here being rolled into one. Don't really have time right now to dig into it but I strongly believe that someone like Tim Watts who has demonstrated a clear understanding of the status of the marine environs would be a valuable resource to share his knowledge as a moderator of a conservation/ environmental forum.


12-11-2001, 08:37 AM
The position of CCA is not to stomp all over the idea of Marine Protected Areas, "MPA's". But to have the abillity, and the right, to review the intended closures and the supporting evidence as to why the closure has been proposed. This is not a "not in my backyard" issue, it's a decision that we as conservationists want to understand and potentially support. Please don't fault the CCA for trying to protect the rights of fishermen, it's what we are ! There are some locations that may deserve this type of protection, Stellwagon Bank may be one of them, however, that is just my opinion, not neccessarily that of CCA.
We, at CCA, are a GROUP and therefor need the support of many to atain a voice loud enough to be heard, but, also, even to formulate our stand on these types of issues. My individual opinion may not be what we as a group intend, although I'll allways freely give it out (never been one to withhold them, just ask my wife). So, please, if you are interesed in these issues, WE NEED YOU, come to the next CCA-Cape Cod meeting.
It will be held at the OLD INN in West Dennis, 6:30pm, Tuesday, January 8th, 2002.
The speaker will be Tony Stetzko, with a video and slide presentation and his views on fishing the beach. Bertha will also attend.
In addition to the speaker, a lively disscussion will be had with regard to MPA's as well as an update on the ASMFC Amendment #6 to Striped Bass Management Plan, the NEFMC proposed changes to the Groundfish allocation, the new changes to CCA-Ma and the implementation of the New England Regional Director and Management Staff.
Also, a quick review of the newly installed officers as well as positions need to be filled, both locally and regionally.
Cost of dinner and speaker is $20.00, and bucket raffles will be held with some great fishing tackle and related items up for grabs.
With the Mid-cape location for this meeting and the prodding by the lower Cape guys, we're expecting a large turnout for this evening, so, Please call me to make a reservation for dinner as well as to attend the event. 617-543-8354. Before January 6th if possible!
Remember, you don't have to be a member to join in.

12-11-2001, 08:52 AM
Historically, area closings are knee jerk reactions done in haste (redundant).

The upcoming meeting in NBPT has all the implications of effecting recreational area closings MORESO than it's effect on commercial closings - it is this scribe's understanding that CCA MA, of which I am a member , opposes the connection of any such closings of grounds to recreational pursuits, when combined with commercial restrictions.

provides no substantive information on when meeting convenes.

Further information may be obtained (depending on what has been discovered) by contacting Kent Jackson of CCA MA -

Personally, it is incumbent upon us all to show our concern and opposition to any closing which affects recreational harvest. We portray ourselves to be resource minded and, in doing so, should make that view clearly known to NEFMC. Argumentatively, we do not cause the same level of consumption or reduction of the resource.

I believe the window on this is very narrow (as this is written).