Bass stocks

Although I believe that fisheries management scientist work hard at trying to figure out just how many fish are left in the sea, I still think that most of their “conclusions” are just best guesses.

And two, I have a soft spot for commercial fisherman. I come from culture where you ate everything you caught and yes, because of it they are paying a steep price today. Very steep with almost barren Adriatic Sea. But commercial fisherman are a hard working bunch which have very hard quotas in place. Do they cheat? I am sure some of them do. Do some recreational fisherman cheats? Do you really have to ask?

My point behind today’s post is that I noticed that more than 4000 people watched this video. It must have struck a nerve.


Now when you are having a discussion regarding stocks, all you can voice is your “opinion”. These are not facts. These are opinion of people who spend a lot of time on the water, people we respect.


Take a look at this chart. Yes, we take more fish than commercial sector. Way more. We as a whole are more responsible for the fish wellbeing than they are. But don’t think commercial guys don’t care. If striped bass fisheries collapse again, they will take a big hit in the wallet. So they know that healthy fisheries are good for them.

Party boats and charter boats on the other hand… As long as there is something to catch, they could not care less. If there is plenty of fluke but no bass, who cares, we are sailing full anyway. They purposely target big fish to kill and  only few captains are preaching leaving something for tomorrow. To most this is a business, you get up, pick a gps spot, take your customers there and drop an anchor or drift. Then take them home and start tomorrow all over again. What species they catch, it doesn’t really matter as long as the boat is full. Why would they?

My point is, forget the charter and party boat fleet other than we should make an effort to reclassified them as commercial operators and ad their catches on the top of the commercial quota. It’s us who kill the most fish and we should admit this already and when it comes the time to set the new rules, we should be adamant we want less not more. Unfortunate in this dumb world, what we don’t want it gets to be added to the commercial side. Sick

Someone should sue the government and force them to adapt same regulations for every state. That should be a start. This is a migratory fish, for every state to make its own rules and seasons is insane. Striped bass as a gamefish to me is a no brainer. Look to what extent Florida goes to protect their fish. Gamefish status did wonders for the snook. And although I admire the commercial fisherman and find that kind of way of earning a living to be a hard but honest, they will have to accept the fact that ever-increasing population and more and more pressure on any species is not sustainable…And I do not accept their argument because they supply “the average Joe” in the seafood market with fresh fish. There obviously is not as many fish as there used to be. How in the world Costco sells tons and tons of fresh caught flounder while I have not seen one in years in mind boggling. Not that I tried. I assume that these flounder are from other places ?

Can someone please answer me where do over 1.3 million dead bass harvested by the commercial sector end up? I am not being a wise ass, seriously. I am curios as I never got a good answer to this. I have yet to walk into restaurant that had striped bass on a menu other then few places in Montauk. I have never seen one, seriously. My local seafood stores never have any wild stripers either. Where the hell to they all go?

Do they cover them with sauce and call them grouper filet? Cat foot? Fertilizer? I have no idea but it seems strange to me.

Just something to think about. The only reason we make these videos is to bring attention to what we feel is a alarming decline in the species. We let you draw your own conclusions. You don’t need some industry rep pulling the wool over your eyes, or some tree hugger on the opposite side telling you that the world of striped bass fishing as we know it is ending. Do what your heart is telling you is the right thing.. just keep in mind that not everyone has your best interest in mind. And even less people have the fishes best interest in mind. Which might be the saddest part of all this.

33 comments on “Bass stocks

  1. Greg Tucceri

    Gamefish,yes tighter regs. for the rec guys,yes. And enough of this bull with two fish a day. I my world it would be one a week, four a month. Its getting ridiculous with this already. There maybe less fish but it only makes me fish harder and release more.

  2. CRS

    Come on Zeno, do you really think fishery management decisions are based on “best guesses”? A lot more science than that goes into this field. The real problem lies in the influence of industry representatives on the votes on fishery management decisions, I hope you and everyone else realizes that.

  3. Rob G

    Is have no problem with a catch and release only fishery and I also agree that charter boats are not rec fisherman. If they are making money on the charter than they are commercial. I’m also sick of the rec fisherman posing in front of the B&T with dead fish. We need to wake up!

  4. chuckg

    Charter boats should definitely be added to the commercial catch but the economic impact of the owners and their customers on local economies should not be discounted. Its a complex world…

  5. Ross

    I have a hard time understanding how party boats are considered part of the recreational sector. What is the rationale for that classification?

    Bottom line is less fish need to be taken in total.

    Does anyone know of any statistics showing what percentage the party boats and charters make up of the rec sector harvest and discard?

  6. sonerito

    Agreed about everything you wrote. We’re talking about a complete change in attitude and the culture of fishing in general. More awareness and education… A sense of mindfulness and reason. Absolutely, fish are caught and brought to the table under a different name (which is another thing that contributes to the confusion). I would also add that the chart showing the pieces of the pie looks a bit off in regard to commercial fishing dead (by-catch) discard – I think its a lot more than that 6% – I mean come on, we’ve all seen on some show or another where they haul a net in and drop it on the deck only to see millions of different species being “thrown back”, leaving a trail of dead fish (not to mention dolphins!) Don’t get me wrong, I love to fish and eat fish just like the next guy but there’s gotta be a better model of sustainability. Fish responsibly.

  7. BigFishlarry

    I disagree with the statistics on the pie chart. Recreational mortality is almost 2 times the commercial dead discard?? I have my doubts and as always I wonder where these magical numbers come from….cause’ sure as shootin’ nobody is standing there taking an actual count… I am betting these numbers are a bit skewed. I do agree the stocks need to be managed better by both comms and recreational fishermen alike. Still waiting here in Mass. for the DMF to roll back the daily take to 1 fish instead of the 2 fish it is at now!

  8. BigFishlarry

    Could not agree more with Sonerito’s comments. Decks full of dead and dying bycatch only to be tossed overboard and basically wasted. I also am a recreational fisherman and agree with all the gentlemen in the video that the striper stocks are in fact in trouble!!! Things are not as they should be and it is obvious! How do these managers of the fisheries come by their numbers and statistics sitting in a lab or conference room someplace!! Always amazed me how they do their studies???

  9. rfd

    we’re stoopid greedy buggers, we’re our own worst enemy, and we continue to refuse to change our ways. we deserve what we get.

  10. Jeff M.

    When you’ve got charters that hook over 100 fish a day, obviously the mortality will be significant. Take a look at the fleets pounding on fish off the Virginia/NC coast all winter. Racks full of dead breeders multiplied by the large number of boats means a lot of dead fish.

    It’s shocking when you see the high number from a single commercial operation, but those recreational numbers add up, too.

  11. John

    I don’t know the answer but I do know that a federal quota is the worse solution. The environmentalist have a huge amount of power thanks to Obama and they abuse the hell out of it to advance other agendas. Look at Texas where they declare some lizard an endangered species….right in the middle of where they are exploring new oil fields for drilling. Just a coincidence, right? Remember, the nine scariest words in the English language are ‘ we’re from the government and we’re here to help.’

  12. Bob

    I was against them dropping the size to 28 inches and the slot limits. WE have to be more active to save the stripper. And I think the 6% commercal discard is way too low by what I see when I watch commercal draggers out there. Point is that better commercal fishing practices as well as recreationl practices have to be put in place. I get really annoyed when I see charter boat posts on websites showing pictures of five people with 10 large bass. I feel one would be more than enough per person. One 30 pound bass should be more than enough. I was removed from a tuna charter boat website that showed 5 people with 15 large yellowfin tuna around 50 pounds each because I told them they should practice more catch and release. They send me back an e-mail telling me they do. How, releasing all the fish they catch above the limit?

  13. Patrick

    I will say, as a chef in boston, I’ve been in many restaurants that get quite excited about serving striped bass during the comm season. Boston has become hyperobsessed with local food and so striped bass has gained a sort of revered status within the quasi fine-dining restaurants in the area. I would love to know how this seeming rise in popularity among diners could relate to a rise in awareness as to how to protect this fish and keep the stocks from falling even further. those diners may not care about comm fisherman and certainly don’t care about rec fishermen, but may care about their own eating habits and their own guilt for being part of the problem.

  14. John B

    Make it a game fish, one fish per day, with a slot limit 28″ – 36″. I’m getting tired of seeing pictures of dead breeders of 40″ to 50″ plus. And yes, the charter and head boats need to be regarded as commercial. I see a lot of charter boats coming in and the mates are cleaning shorts. When I mention their size, I get “Oh, they were gut hooked so we had to take them”. I’m also seeing a lot of small fillets coming out of coolers, that were cleaned and iced on the way in before they get to the dock. I know recs are taking shorts as well, but my gut tells me that the commercial and charter guys are under a lot more pressure to catch and keep fish. By the way, the problem is not just with stripers. We had 2 guys at my boat yard (RI) that went out for bluefin for 13 days in November to Cape Cod Bay and Stellwagen Bank. One got skunked, the other only caught 2 shorts (released). Bitched about burning a lot of fuel for nothing.

    Of course, this is from the worse striper fisherman in New England. Since retiring, I’ve been more active fishing from shore, boat, and kayak. Not willing to fish the surf at 2 AM in a N’oreaster or going out in the boat at night with live eels, I’ve caught and released a lot of shorts but have never caught a “keeper”.

  15. tony b

    i said sink there bots,,im so glad that most of there boats are GONEEEEEEE,now we got to hint other and bring back the old day ,

  16. TRisser

    Statistics are statistics and they tell the story weather we want to hear it or don’t want to hear it. Recriational fishermen catch and kill more bass on purpose and by accident. Sad but true! I have always thought national, not state, management was nessisary to really bring fairness to this topic. Managing it similar to migrating birds like ducks, geese, and does. It really is a national resource and not a state resource. As part of that a tagging sysmem similar to game animals would reduce recriational catch if it happened in the surf or on a boat. Purchase a license and get 4-6 tags for the season. You want to keep a fish then tag it. This would not be perfect but at least make people think before they keep a fish. You could then give a quota of tags to party boats for the season. Use them up in a month than they are done for the season. You can at least start to regulate recriational catch. This is just one idea but I never hear a system like this mentioned anywhere.

  17. Legasea

    I agree and pray fisheries management wakes up soon enough to save this precious resource. I have been noticing the same decline that Bill has referenced both from the surf and my boat.

  18. Ron Mattson Sr.

    I live and fish for Striped Bass in Maryland/Virginia/North Carolina and will tell you Z that most of the restaurants in those states serve Striped Bass. And to make things much worse,there are little or no viable checks on where those Striped Bass come from. It is a huge illegal catch that is not talked about. Where do you think the illegal netters are selling their Striped Bass?

  19. Gilly

    The SAME rules, regulations, limitations, restrictions, what have you, SHOULD be implemented and enforced along the ENTIRE east coast and not applied differently per state. The stocks are in danger as a WHOLE and should be treated as such. Some things are inevitable and If a complete shutdown is required, than so be it. Band-Aids find a way of falling off after a while.

    I also don’t believe any of the numbers, data or graphs provided by these agencies, it’s too difficult to get accurate data. It’s not their fault that even fairly accurate numbers are hard to come by. They get tasked with a responsibility and can only work with what they have. Regardless of the task or responsibility, they have to make and provide their best possible assumption based on the best data they can obtain. Again unfortunately, the data is bogus. How does one truly obtain the type of data to actually make an accurate assessment? IMPOSSIBLE. The can’t admit that right? Who would say “I don’t have” or rather, “I really can’t get”, the data necessary to provide the correct answer. They’d be out of a job, so they HAVE to say SOMETHING right?

    It’s the guys-n-gals out there day in/day out who are seeing or experiencing what’s actually going on with the stock. But even a phone-call poll, email/snail-mail survey will not get you accurate data. Striped-Bass must reach a low population in order for the issue to be addressed. If they find a solution (without closing the fishery) that helps rebound the stock, they should stick with it and not increase the take. If changing sizes and quantities make the difference, DON’T CHANGE THEM BACK, ONCE THE STOCK HAS REBOUNDED. Imagine what the stock would look like if they hadn’t bumped things back up? Be a LOT more 70, 80 and even 90#ers being caught again.

  20. Matt

    The oceans ecosystem is unbalanced a complete closure so things can return to normal is a must … That goes for everything from bait fish, shellfish to game fish. Its time commercial interets like Iomega be forced to move to farming to turn their profit. The oceans are a public resource and should no longer be stripped mined for corporate gains. Stocks need to be preserved for future public use. People will loose thier jobs / lively hoods but the risk of total calapse seems far more dangerous then someone accepting they have to make a career change.

  21. Bill Kacinski

    Ahhh statistics, there’s an old saying among statisticians…you put crap in (#’s), you get crap out. Statistics are only as good as the work put in to get the numbers…talk to any deck hand on any commercial boat and they will tell you of the horrific by catch they make ON A REGULAR BASIS, from fingerling weakies to infantile fluke flounder and short stripers, all floating dead in their wake every time the net is dragged back onboard…I spoke with a former deck hand who worked a net boat and quit after a day onboard BC of what he had seen was morally objectionable as far as by catch goes…kinda hard to measure that accurately when they shovel it overboard as fast as possible so the net can be reset…that pie chart is pure garbage…not say we shouldn’t do our part…and we do..for the most part.
    As far as end user usage for Stripers…how hard is that to trace and why isn’t it common knowledge where they end up? For Christ’s sake, we know where our oil comes from, that’s millions of years old, what refineries it goes to, in what volumes, and what it is refined into and sorted and sold to distribution centers for resale…
    if it sounds aloof, looks sketchy, and numbers look skewed, something is rotten in Denmark despite our best efforts to conserve OUR recreational fishery…its always been an uphill struggle for us because the commercial guys stand to lose $ if it were regulated and enforced properly…too many people look the other way and make excuses and guesses why things are the way they are…there’s an overwhelming amount of work, data collection, and investigation to be done by Recreation Anglers who don’t have the resourced to conduct said efforts properly…so we rely on crap data that’s available to us, and everyone who has looked at that pie chart, I’m sure said “really? We are taking more fish?” ” doesn’t seem to add up”…and most likely it really doesn’t…Good Guys Finish Last

  22. Adam

    I agree the Bass need to be managed.
    I remember the 18 ” limit as a boy then the decline in the 80’s.
    I think by-catch is a serious issue as well as head/party boats keeping two 28″ bass per person.
    Another valid point is the creation of Eastcoast uniform regulations so we all are in alignment.
    There is nothing wrong with keeping a bass for the table, it is a family meal we treasure.
    With that being said i have witnessed many release every bass they caught this fall in MTK & that is commendable.
    My point is if your not gonna eat it release it.
    Then limit party boats to a 36″ limit…. any thing else is a photo & a release.
    The only blame we share as surfcasters is the ego of posing with a trophy we never consumed.
    The part boats & by-catch data need t be scrutized or it’s back to the 80’s.

  23. rfd

    this is not a commercial or political problem or issue. it’s about sport fishing culture. there is no valid way to control cultural ethics en masse. it must be changed at the source, by each of us. until that day arrives, expect to see the eventual near extinction of the striped bass … and in turn, then other species as well, since we’ll do to the bluefish the same thing we’re doing, and have done, to stripers.

  24. Richard aka Woodwker99

    As Pogo said….I have met the enemy and he is us….There is no easy answer to this problem. if party boats are commercial, then they go under and cry that they are forced out by regulation and so increase the unemployment and small businesses closed by the government Statistics (more Republican fodder). If they are allowed to continue then Striped Bass are doomed. We need to sue the government to make one season, size, number coast wide (on both coasts). And by the way Striped Bass has been called a problem fish as their numbers are so high that they eat sea trout that populate some California rivers and are a more popular local fish.Which is why game fish status is so hard to get.
    Again as I said there is no easy answer to the problem. and answers have to be thought out as to what our actions will do to other fisheries. give game fish status to Striped bass, then flounder, Fluke, Tog, Tuna, etc…see where I’m going with this?
    Again as Pogo said…I has seen the enemy and he is we.

  25. Dave Whitney

    No doubt stripers are in trouble. So many rec guys are all about fish on the table. How about instead of spending thousands on gear gas and bait ect, go buy a pound at the fish market. Those fish can swim away!

  26. Tony Marchisotto

    All we can do is practice conservation. Catch & release. Write the ASMFC & your representatives in Congress & state your views & concerns. Join organizations that represent the benefit of the striped bass. It may be time for a moratorium…

  27. tom crowley

    I was at the Point for a week in Oct. Show a video of that circus .Both on the beach and in the water. Multiply by the length of its range .Then we can blame no one but ourselves.
    I saw a guy jump into the surf after someone elses released fish.

  28. CTMatt

    I don’t know why but I find it hard to believe recreational dead discard is 3 times more then commercial. That number seems to be really off.

  29. Dan Sharoh

    Make it a slot, 28-36″ hell only reason i keep a bass is to eat it and the Sub 20lbs. taste a whole lot better

    Commercial waste numbers are off, nobody is weighing a deck load of dead bycatch being swept back into the sea.


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