No NY reps at the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission meeting related to stock assessment for striped bass

This came in the email from Charles Witek ,chairman of the Costal Conservation Association Atlantic State Fisheries. By the time you are done reading, the steam will coming out of your ears. There has to be some way to reach out to our governor and voice our displesure.




By Charles Witek


Right now, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is holding a four-day meeting in Philadelphia related to the upcoming benchmark stock assessment for striped bass. That benchmark assessment, which will probably be completed next spring, will be used by fisheries managers to determine how striped bass will be managed for the next span of years–perhaps until 2020 or so.

Representatives from every important striped bass state, and maybe from every state with a declared interest in striped bass are there—except for New York, which is unrepresented.

New York was supposed to send three people. Andy Kahnle, from the Hudson River unit, who sits on ASMFC’s Striped Bass Technical Committee, Carol [I don’t recall her last name] from DEC’s Marine Bureau, who addresses coastal striped bass management issues and Cathy Hattala, who deals with bass up on the Hudson (DEC Marine Bureau Hudson River Unit). ASMFC would have paid for all travel expenses.

Today, I got a phone call from Dick Brame, who is Coastal Conservation Association’s Atlantic States coordinator and thus attending the meeting as an observer. He told me that three Technical Committee members came up to him and asked why New York was not represented at the meeting, given the importance of striped bass to New York and the importance of New York’s Hudson River spawning grounds to striped bass. Cathy Hattala tried to participate in the meeting via “Webinar”, but apparently the connection was so bad and so time-delayed that she could not effectively take part. As a result, data related to New York’s striped bass fishery (and, I assume, related to things such as the Hudson River abundance index, although I don’t know that for sure) could not be considered at the meeting.

Apparently, the no-show was a result of the governor’s prohibition on travel; even though the travel would have been paid for by ASMFC, the DEC folks couldn’t go.

One would think that a meeting discussing the future management of a fish as important to New York’s anglers as striped bass, should have been important enough for Cuomo’s office to permit travel, particularly when the costs of such travel will be picked up by ASMFC—and particularly when New York’s Hudson River hosts the second-largest spawning population of striped bass on the coast. However, that was not the case. Instead, New York anglers and New York’s striped bass fishery were effectively unrepresented.

This is the sort of thing that the public never hears about, and probably should.


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20 comments on “No NY reps at the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission meeting related to stock assessment for striped bass

  1. Tom Kline

    It’s a sad day when political agenda trumps conservation efforts. I’m honestly disgusted and embarrassed that our governor’s office couldn’t come to some reasonable terms to allow for the representatives to travel (…like having the ASMFC pay for them like every other coastal state). For NY not to be represented in this effort is unacceptable. If our political office is supposed to be representing the needs of the public then what are they doing right now? I ask because our representatives are missing from the cool kids table where all the major decisions are made, and they had a formal invitation. I for one feel that the public needs to be more aware of this, because it’s completely ridiculous.

  2. Matt H

    Wow, this is very disheartening to hear. Hopefully everyone remembers this when Cuomo is up for re-election.

  3. DonR

    Zeno, I generally don’t care much for the other “piss-n-moan, mud slinging” type striper forums but has this been sent around the web? I’m sure fisherfolk everywhere would like to know.

  4. Chef

    It is sad to see that everyday that goes by someone who is part of something important or has the chance to be, doesn’t give a rats *** about the world anymore. All they care about is the money in their pocket and the rest of us are just hoping they open their eyes. Sorry to have heard this story…

  5. Barry D Thomas Sr

    its only in Phila,NOT HOUSTON Crist is that a Full tank of gas? 1 hour on a train? Does not sound to me that those people care to much past thier paychecks (if they get one)

  6. Tim

    I’ve been in on the last few entries. I’m also “in”to removing all of the bureaucratic nonsense so that some good work can be done to save one our most prized resources!!!!

  7. Glenn H

    This is a sad situation for New York fisheries!!!All three representatives should be ashamed of themselves..Very sad day.Thanks for all you guys at SJ for keeping us up to date with this..

  8. harv

    Standard someone can’t drive to phili. I drive to thr god dam cape every wk 8 hrs and $200 for gas. Let’s put a letter together and send it to cuomo

  9. matt viggiano

    It goes back to one thing all of the politicians are corrupt and unless it benefits them they don’t give a F…sorry.I guess Cuomo is not a fisherman.

  10. Ted C

    The real question is that how do people that obviously dont care about the topic get into this position, and stay there? Shame on us for not finding better people (votes, etc) that would be willing to devote their careers towards better, smarter conservationist thinking. Zeno does his part passing this news along, but ultimately its up to each one of us to do more.

  11. John

    Would you be able to post Cuomo’s email address. I’m sure a few thousand emails from angry voting constituents voicing their displeasure with the way his Administration mis-handled this will at least assure that this doesn’t happen again.

  12. Steve K.

    Shameful. Has everyone in gov’t stopped giving a shit? I’m in Mass and that seems to be the case around here when it comes to the conservation of the striped bass.

  13. Charles Witek


    Just to keep things clear, it’s not as if the DEC reps didn’t want to attend the meeting. They were prevented from doing so by Cuomo administration travel restrictions, even though ASMFC would have reimbursed the state for every penny spent for travel and lodging.

    For you waterfowlers out there, I understand that the same thing happened at a recent Atlantic Flyway conference (sort of a similar process, but for ducks; the health of the various species is reviewed and hunting regulations for the upcoming season are set.) Every state on the flyway had at least one attendee at the conference–except for New York.

  14. John P

    I wonder what the implications of the NY team not going really are. Does it mean the Hudson stock will not be counted and decisions will be made without that data? Does it mean the remaining delegation will kick the can down the road on any decisions to cut back on harvest, because of belief that the Hudson stock might be offsetting a lower Ches stock? Does the NY delegation represent a breath of fresh air on management that will now be absent?

    Without knowing exactly what was to be accomplished in those four days – a re-work of formulas and models vs stock assessments and go-forward options, its hard to know if this is something that justifies getting too outraged.

    I do understand the outrage over local news reports of politicians and public employees at off-sites in fancy locations, with Facebook and Twitter photos ending up in the press.

  15. Charles Witek

    The best way that I’ve heard last week’s meeting described is as the foundation on which the stock assessment, and ultimately the regulatory framework, is built. As in a physical building, if the foundation is out of shape, or some of the concrete blocks are broken, the building won’t stand very well.

    New York brings various data to the table, including a trawl survey which has replaced the old haul seine survey (one of the things that this shows, besides levels of abundance, is the size composition of the stock). I understand that the tech committee was trying to understand the correlation (or lack thereof) of the two surveys, but that the web connection made it impossible to answer the various questions being asked (there was something like a 15-second delay) which were necessary to understand the data. Thus, a full understanding of that data, as well as other data provided by NY, was lost.

    The purpose of this meeting was to determine what data inputs are going to be used in the models. Essentially, you’re trying to avoid what was once referred to by the acronym “GIGO”–Garbage In, Garbage Out. To the extent that data developed in NY is not used, or is misused, in the model, the quality of what comes out of the model is lost. In many ways, New York is a pivotal striped bass state, as it receives the full impact of the coastal migration, and also hosts the Hudson population both in the river and along its coasts (the latter in conjunction, primarily, with New Jersey and Connecticut.) So yes, it was important that New York’s data be properly presented and vetted, because that data can have a real impact on the model’s outputs, and if that data isn’t properly addressed, or if there is a flaw in the data that isn’t picked up by the committee, the model’s output will be flawed as well. That could cut either way, with the model indicating a stock which is either in better or worse shape than it really is.


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