CCA Guide to Amendment 6 [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: CCA Guide to Amendment 6

08-27-2002, 07:38 AM
First of all, congratulations to CCA to getting this out to their members to communicate CCA's postion.

The purpose of this is to educate the angler as to CCA's position on
1. The acceptable fishing mortaility target for the stock
2. Should the allocation between each managment area (commercial, Chesapeake Bay and Coastal States) be changed?

Consider the following info from the mailing:

Commercial Harvest:
Chesapeake: 917,000 fish Coastal: 142,000 fish

Recreational Harvest:
Chesapeake: 689,000 fish Coastal: 809,000

Estimated population: 40,000,000

CCA supports:

1. a 3 year managment plan with the same harvest rates for each year.

2. establishing both biomass and spawning stock biomass targets

3. a more conservative mortality rate.

Anyone have any thought on this?


08-27-2002, 12:58 PM
For any that haven't seen it, this doc is up in .pdf format over at here (

If you haven't done so already, write your ASMFC reps now and let them know how you feel.


08-27-2002, 08:08 PM
Jeff, here is my take on what needs to be done in approving Amendment 6 to address biomass and age distribution:

1. Age distribution. A minute segment of the population exceeds 15 years in length. It is my understanding that they can regularly attain an age of 30 years. that is your 60-70 pound female. Why the 28-inch minimum size in MASS? Seems to me that if we had a slot limit below that size, which is the beginning of the female's egg-laying cycle, they could be protected to increase not only biomass, but to increase the population of larger fish.
2. Commerical fishing. I know this will hit a nerve with some. Why do we continue to commercially fish for this species that should be classified as a gamefish? Aquaculture is the norm now for the majority who consume atlantic salmon. I know, there is substantiated concern about strays breeding with wild stock. That issue should be addressed with strict regulations and penalities for poor performance. Market hunters for waterfowl are extinct. I recognize that they were somewhat unregulated, but are we regulating the commercial fishery in concert with biomass and age distribution?
3. Disease and forage stock. There are reports of disease affecting the stock in the Cheasepeake Bay area that may be natural, but also it may be environmental, e.g. agriculture runoff. I think the jury is still out on this one. Do we know the long term affect? Menhaden stock is being depleted in an alarming rate by commerical netting for pet food. Is this long-term effect on forage for a rebounding population being properly addressed?
4. Intercoastal regulations. There is significant disparity in regulations between the coastal states that have a striper fishery. Why can't ASMFC mandate standards between states? I suppose Maryland and Virginia will continue to have addtional quotas because of their uniqueness for 70 per cent of spawning grounds.

I laud the AFMFC for the comeback of the striped bass fishery from the early 80s, and MASS for regulating the fishery below the requirement, but am very concerned about the direction we are headed if they concentrate on biomass and not age distribution.

Hopefully, Amendment 6, will reduce the maximum sustainable quota and mandate regulations to begin a positive turnaround on the age distribution issue.

As a member of CCA (Texas chapter), what is their position on this pressing issue?


08-27-2002, 08:10 PM
Jeff, sorry for the question on CCA's postion on Amendment 6. You answered the question. I had brain fade.


08-28-2002, 08:42 AM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by jimS

As a member of CCA (Texas chapter)

That also lives in Pennsylvania... Jim, it's nice to see that someone cares enough to comment and offer some additional thoughts on this topic. Too bad it has to come from someone who lives as far away from our waters as you do. I guess it shows the lack of appreciation people have for readily available natural resources in their own back yard. Thanks Jim

All good points Jim, I do disagree on the commercial issues though. The majority of fish are killed by rec's. Aren't there already striper farms or is there even enough demand?

Please email me your schedule for next month so we can debate in person over some screaming reels.


08-28-2002, 01:32 PM

I think that you are 100% dead-bang-on!

I would go a bit further by breaking your item #3 out. I think that your second half of #3 -- "Forage Stock" is a Huge Factor. That article on Omega Protein "Harvesting" Millions of pound of Juvie Menhaden is keeping stripers Skinny. Big Fish Need Big Bait!

Just to reiterate your other points:
Slot Limits -- Yes
Game Species -- Yes (some reservations though)

I would also like to see a 100% C&R season April 1 -- June 1. Just a thought.

Marine Protected Zones -- NO

08-28-2002, 01:47 PM
Gamefish Status for Stripers is not going to happen. So far as I can tell, CCA has decided to drop-back and punt on that one.

MPA's -- (contrary to the flyer that CCA national sent out) HAVE merit and should not be rejected out-of-hand...there are instances where they have been set up (WITH input by fisherman) and proven to be effective.

Grego -- why your opposition to them?

Not sure how many of you have attended any of the hearings which DMF holds. I strongly suggest that you do so, as they will provide you with a MUCH greater insight to how decisions are actually reached. The 2 things which stand out most glaringly is:

The DMF seems more concerned with how to manage the resource from a use-perspective than a protection/stewardship perspective.

Secondly, the DMF has made it clear for years now that they feel strongly that since our neighboring states have different (and some would argue more lax guidelines), that rather than take a more farsighted approach and become MORE conservation minded with our management of the striped bass fishery, the Commonwealth should be sensitive to the fact that fishers (recreational primarily) might go to other states because they have less restrictive limits; and be driven more by how to keep/attract the economic benefits derived from having more people fishing in Mass than elsewhere.

Lastly, let us not kid ourselves. We all care about striped bass. We doubtless have differing views on how best to manage that resource. But it is naive of ALL of us to hold to the notion that the commercial fishery should bear the brunt of the responsibility. It is clear (or ought to be) that the rec fishery has the greatest impact AND is the source of the highest mortality rate (including Catch & Release boys & girls).


08-28-2002, 06:44 PM
There is no evidence to support a lack of concern among anglers, the problem is the approach. It would be great if we could all dive into the numbers and data and arise with our own unified objectives to solving the issues, but that ain't gonna happen in the real world.

How many people commercially harvested those fish, and over what period of time? How many recreational anglers, what period of time?

What was the return per pound into the economy for each commercial fish vs. recreational?

What are the powers that be recommending and why?

I have not read this amendment yet and this is not a comment on this or any particular document - but all too often there are reams of data providing a basis for conjecture but no clear, concise and decisive actions proposed for the masses to refute or support.

You need to move the masses to get anything done, and being such a diverse array of people from all walks of society bonded only by a common form of leisure squeezed in between survival mode activities, we need more than research results to pull together to act on a cause. The people vote with $$ contributions on faith where we can't take direct action, but we could take more direct action if it were not so vaguely defined if at all.

Commercial folks on the other hand are bonded by survival itself - harvesting fish. IMHO therein lies the challenge.

What exactly are the authorities proposing?

And you never said... what do YOU think about all this?


08-28-2002, 07:01 PM
Hmmm... 110 pages, just downloaded it. I was hoping to print it but I respect trees too much. After an 11 hour work day I am not going to be effective at gleaning the crux of the matter anyway, and I still have an hours drive just to get to supper.

Perhaps the best first step is to have someone (anyone) who has reviewed the amendment provide a concise, qualified summary so all of us can get involved?

Rhetorically (yet all of the above is true)...


08-29-2002, 08:03 AM
I think it's a little late in the game for thousands of sportsman to start formulating and campaigning their own opinions.

While I refuse to blindly follow CCA, I do heartily support their position on Amendment 6.

What's that old saying, "Don't worry about the devil you know, worry about the devil you don't know..."?

I think if people just sit on their hands and let someone else make the decision for them, this is going to come back & bite them in the butt like the MPA's . A year ago nobody thought they would pose a problem. Now the Florida fisheries are under heavy attack based on non-scientific data to close down large areas of water.

Gamefish status for stripers? Why?

The problem is the recreational fisherman. THe Chesapeake area is responsible for 45% of stripers killed. 45%, right where they spawn. Doesn't make much sense to me.

Let the fish grow for a few years, 3-5 and then see what we're looking at for numbers & sizes.


08-29-2002, 08:05 AM
Oh yeah, there's no lack of concern, 123 reads on this posting, 9 replies...

08-29-2002, 08:50 AM
Roop --

You seem to be on the same anti-MPA wagon as GregO. I agree that MPA's are not the answer in a variety of scenarios, but they have in fact WORKED. The Dry Tortugas Reserve in Florida for instance. Set up with input from scientists, rec & commercial fisherman, and a success.

Best to probably shift the MPA discussion to a different thread. But the opposition to MPA's is concerning as I worry that much of it is based on the "freedom to fish" propaganda that CCA National sent out -- much of which was simply not accurate.

Fund-raising correspondence is often hyped in order to generate a response, but hopefully people are able to look past the rhetoric and see what is actually going on.


08-29-2002, 09:07 AM

Good points & I want to respond at length, so I'll try to do so from home this evening (back to work).


Definately a good thread!

08-29-2002, 05:31 PM
Juro is "spot on" in his first reply. Here is the rub, according to CCA VA Exectuive Director Richard Welton, "The commercial guys want more fish, the recreational guys want bigger fish and management guys want things to stay the same."

I'm not sure where the bass fit in this picture, but for sure we all agree they cannot be the loser in this hyperbole between special interest groups.

MPAs deserve another thread. I've got an opinion on those too.

Incidentally Jeff, your CCA MASS director, Blackwell, is listening to input, and by the sounds of things, he is the man.


08-29-2002, 07:10 PM
As I read this, I am beginning to glean the crux of the amendment but it took 20 pages to begin to filter the 10 words or less. If someone could condense this into a more consumable form for "normal" people it would sure get more people involved!

But anyway, if I am not mistaken, the problem statement is:

The current management plan needs to be updated because of the following concerns:

a) too many fish are being caught via the current plan (we think)
b) there are not enough big fish in the population (we think)
c) there is no alignment of management across states (we know)

These are reasonable, but I suspect it's hard to prove (a) and (b) one way or the other.

My opinion? To me, there's no such thing as catching too few fish. When it comes to quotas, reduce away! I haven't killed a fish all year, although I probably will before the season's done. I would be satisfied with a one-striper season, so I am the wrong guy to ask. But if we do, the commercial fishery quota had better be reduced accordingly. My released fish is worth a hell of a lot more to the economy than any fillet.

But that's just my opinion, it doesn't really matter. To others, there's too many fish swimming free - they genuinely believe that there is no intrinsic value in a living fish - only price per pound in a dead one. But I digress...

My opinion on (a): Yes, let's lower the quota, proportionately for recreational and commercial angling. Good idea, even if wrong we will err on the side of safety.

(b) All the evidence appears anecdotal and somewhat unconvincing but if there is a belief that larger fish are less prevalent in the population, even if it's anecdotal, we should do whatever we can to reverse that trend. I am not sure what makes "biomass" good or bad but I assume having an age mix that is most like natural populations is best. If our practices alters the mix, then hell we should act to remedy that.

My opinion on (b): GO FOR IT! Controlling how, when, where and how big I keep my one fish per season doesn't bother me one bit, whatever the powers that be think is best for the population I will do.

(c) Here are several national and regional organizations working to create a unified management scheme when each state or region often does whatever the heck they want. Frankly, if it were not for the ASMFC, CCA, state and regional authorities working together it would be even worse, so we should be thankful this effort even exists I guess.

My opinion on (c): Everyone knows that the states are not aligned on striper management, and all of these organizations would probably do a much better job of reaching their objectives if this was made #1 priority.

If this was resolved in 2002 and no changes in quotas were made, it would be a banner year for striped bass management and would have a bigger long term effect than (a) and (b) combined.

I plan to invest more time in reviewing this massive document, for those who are also willing to invest in learning about the situation you can find the .pdf document at: (link off the front page)

I would suggest the executive summary (which is so long I would get fired if I had written it) and the Statement of Problem (page 2) for starters.

08-29-2002, 07:14 PM
Oh and no, the recreational flyfisher is NOT the problem :smokin:

08-30-2002, 08:02 AM
GregO - Thanks

Jared - I'd like to see what you have to support the MPA's. I have to admit that I followed it based on the reporting of the Florida Sportsman staff so I may be biased.

JimS - Yep, Blackwell is the man, my impression is that he is pretty much the major influence in CCA in New ENgland + he's a great guy.

Juro - People need to support CCA or some other organization, I don't care as long as they make sure their voice is heard - per MattB.

At this point in the game, how much impact will thousands of individual opinions have? Not as much as supporting one of the existing organziations.

Combined Chesapeake & Coastal Kill numbers

Commercial: 1,059,000
Recreational: 1,498,000

While fly fishermen may not be the leading recreational killer, recreational is still the leading killer of stripers. Recreational fishermen need to smarten up & work in partnership wth the commercials.

08-30-2002, 04:47 PM
Finally getting some breathing room at the office (most folks are gone!) and reviewing the "angler's guide". Kudos to CCA - man it goes a long way to simplifying the actual amendment (110 pages). I posted a synopsis in the announcements section with hopes of getting more response.

Anyway Roop -

I see one number in the CCA Analysis that I am at odds with...

The Recreational estimates CCA provides for deaths of striped bass after release (coastal areas other than Chesapeake) is 834,000... the harvested fish estimated is 809,000 - so that is to say that 25,000 more fish died after release than after being thrown in a cooler??

No wonder the recreational percentages look so lopsided.

Don't get me wrong, I am ALL FOR the CCA's conservative approach and do everything I can to get it approved...

but I would need to see some evidence before having any confidence in that discard mortality estimate. Has anyone seen the approach of deriving that number? Are people really that bad at C&R out there? I fish my butt off thru the year and I don't see it.

If this is true, then isn't the biggest reduction in mortality achieved by regulating angling methods that have proven higher survival and ramping up education on C&R efforts (like the ones recently launched?).

09-05-2002, 11:33 AM
Best overall call to arms out there if you haven't already read it:

12-06-2002, 10:16 AM
No action has been taken since the November ASMFC meeting on Amendment 6 to the Striped Bass Management Policy; however, here is a reply I received today on its status from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission:

"The Draft Amendment was discussed at the Board's November meeting but no action was taken on it. The Board's primary emphasis at its last meeting was to review the 2002 Stock Assessment, which is currently being peer reviewed by the Northeast Stock Assessment Review Committee. The Board wanted to finalize and approve the assessment before it took any final action on Amendment 6. The Advisory Panel and Board will be meeting on December 18 & 19, respectively to review the public comment, the outcome of the peer review and suggest final revisions to the Plan. Depending on how lengthy and substantive those revisions are, the Board may or may not approve the final document."

In a related item, it is my understanding that Mass is leaning toward a recreational daily limit of one bass over 28" and one over 40".