Bluefish Update 12.11.19

Quick update from Council meeting yesterday

Just a quick update on the Bluefish action yesterday at the council. We are in the scup and back sea bass meetings today. There will be a more comprehensive update in the upcoming days. We know our readers are wondering, so here’s how it worked out.

Bluefish are overfished. Here are the actions suggested by the council to address this issue.

Sorry if the picture isn’t the best! Essentially, the council recommended that the limit go from 15 to 3 fish.

There were several motions before the final action was passed. Before we explain the final action, take a look at this graphic.

Shore anglers are in blue. Charter for hire is in red. Boat angling is yellow. As you can see, charter for hire represents very little of the overall harvest. Party boats accounted for 31,000 fish and charter for hire boats accounted for about 156,000 fish.

Ultimately, the motion that passed was a three fish limit for recs and a 5 fish limit for charter for hire. The reality is that the action was swift and decisive. The two extra Bluefish for the charter and party boat contingent won’t be the reason this actions fails to meet the desired results. It just won’t amount to a huge number of fish.

As we stated in previous articles, we expected swift and decisive action from the council on bluefish. There it is. The COASTWIDE quota in Federal waters is now 3 fish (5 for charter for hire) from 15.

Our Concerns

We have two concerns moving forward. First, the reductions were based off 2018 harvest numbers which were low. Like, extremely low.. so the reductions were lessened in relation to taking the baseline of multiple years.

Using the lowest harvest year on record since 1981 is concerning to us.

Our other concern is focused around the potential use of conservation equivalency. Bluefish are co-managed between the Council and ASMFC. That means that in state waters, CE can be applied. However, it becomes very complicated.

Let’s say a state comes back with a whacky CE proposal that would give party and charter for hire a larger quota. In order to exploit this, the party boat/charter for hire would have to give up their Federal permit. That would hurt them for other species like black sea bass and scup.

There is a big difference with this version of CE. It requires a lb for lb payback. That means that any state that uses CE and goes over their quota will have to pay it back the next year.

In other words, if this action proves to be ineffective, welcome to the world of having a 1 bluefish limit. That kind of accountability gives folks pause.

We will give an update on black sea bass and scup on the blog shortly.

5 Responses

  1. DONT SEE WHY CHARTER BOATS GET 5 PER MAN WHEN THEY FISH EVERY DAY AND THE RECREATIONAL MAN THAT FISHES ONCE OR TWICE A WEEK CANONLY TAKE 3 LAST YEAR REC FISHING FOR FLUKE WAS 4 PER MAN I ONLY HAD 2 FISH I KEPT ALL SEASON LONG ???? THE LIMITS SHOULD BE THE SAME FOR ALL FISHERMAN SAME FOR BLACK FISH REC LIMIT IS 16 In COMMERICAL IS 15 In IT SHOULD BE THE SAME RECREATIONAL WILL NEVER CATCH MORE THAN COMMERICAL FISHERMAN

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