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DEC Seeks Stakeholder Input to Develop Striped Bass Fishing Regulations

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DEC Seeks Stakeholder Input to Develop Striped Bass Fishing Regulations

Public Input Received Through a New DEC Survey Will Help Gauge Anglers Preferred Options

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced a new tool to help encourage stakeholders to provide input on several options for the 2020 striped bass fishing season. DEC launched a new online survey to gain public opinion on options developed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) to address striped bass overfishing.

DECs Striped Bass Fishing Survey [ https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/5baa12b32b5846f4b837640bc8fc640d ] allows anglers to select the preferred ASMFC striped bass management options (below) and provide suggestions for developing commercial and recreational regulations for the 2020 fishing season. The survey is accessible through Monday, Oct. 28, 2019. A paper survey is available by request to FW.Marine@dec.ny.gov or by calling (631) 444-0450.

ASMFC Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board released Draft Addendum VI (PDF) [ http://www.asmfc.org/uploads/file/5d5c081eStripedBassDraftAddVI_PublicComment_Aug2019.pdf ] to Amendment 6 of the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Atlantic Striped Bass that addresses the finding that the striped bass resource is overfished and experiencing overfishing. ASMFC has drafted different options to reduce striped bass harvest. A summary of ASMFC draft options for New York State are:

*Option 1:* Status Quo

* Current regulations in the Marine and Coastal District (south of the George Washington Bridge) are a 1 fish bag limit; a 28 total length minimum size limit; and an open season from April 15 through December 15.
* In the Hudson River region (north of the George Washington Bridge) current regulations are a 1 fish bag limit; a size limit of either an 18-28 total length slot, or greater than 40 total length; and an open season from April 1 through November 30.
* Note: Status quo will not help to address the recent decline in the striped bass resource.

*Option 2:* Equal Percent Reduction to Both Recreational and Commercial Sector

* Both the commercial and recreational sectors would take an 18 percent reduction from 2017 levels.
* Under all sub-options, states have the flexibility to develop alternative regulations through conservation equivalency, including the allocation of the required reductions between the commercial and recreational sectors.

*Option 3:* Commercial Sector Takes a Smaller Percent Reduction than Recreational

* The current fishery is predominantly recreational with the sector accounting for roughly 90 percent of total harvest by weight since 2004.
* The commercial sector would take a 1.8 percent reduction in quota and the recreational sector would take a 20 percent reduction from 2017 levels.

Hudson River Region

Potential options for the Hudson River have not yet been developed. Hudson River options must be considered under conservation equivalency and the guidelines have not yet been developed by the ASMFC. As DEC works with ASMFC to develop these options, the input we have received from the survey will assist DEC with developing the most preferred options.

Circle Hook Provision

In addition to reducing the harvest levels of striped bass, ASMFC may also consider implementing regulations that encourage or mandate anglers to use circle hooks when targeting striped bass with bait. A circle hook is defined as a non-offset hook where the point is pointed perpendicular back towards the shank. Circle hooks can reduce the rate of gut-hooking and decrease the likelihood of puncturing internal organs if the hook is swallowed.

Conservation Equivalency

Conservation equivalency allows states flexibility to develop alternative regulations that address specific state or regional differences while still achieving the goals and objectives of the FMP (18 percent reduction from 2017 total removals). Under Amendment 6 to the Striped Bass FMP, a state may submit a proposal for a change to its regulatory program for any mandatory compliance measure. It is the responsibility of the state to demonstrate that the proposed management program is equivalent to the measures selected through this addendum. All conservation equivalency proposals are subject to Striped Bass Technical Committee review and Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board approval.

Draft Addendum Public Comment Period

Anglers and other stakeholders are also encouraged to provide input on Draft Addendum VI by providing written comments on the ASMFC proposals. Public comment will be accepted until *5 PM (EST) on Oct. 7, 2019*, and should be sent to Max Appelman, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St, Suite A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; 703.842.0741 (FAX) or at comments@asmfc.org (Subject line: Striped Bass Draft Addendum VI).

www.dec.ny.gov/press/press.html

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