Updates from ASGA

We hope you are all healthy! We at ASGA are doing our best to forge ahead during these unprecedented times. We were thrilled to see our guides allowed back on the water as part of states’ Phase 1 re-openings. This was a huge victory for all fishermen up and down the coast.

In conjunction with the Phase 1 re-openings, we are also still trying to address shortcomings in COVID-related benefits to guides, including Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and unemployment assistance. The situation varies wildly state by state. We are working in areas that are experiencing the greatest problems to ensure that payments are coming, including retroactively from when stay-at-home orders kept folks tied to the dock.

Some fisheries issues have come up recently. We have written blogs on the President’s May 7th Executive Order as well as some new research on striped bass migrations that could have significant management implications.

Last week, comments were due on proposed 2020 and 2021 management measures for bluefish, which as you may recall were found to be overfished in last year’s assessment. You can read our submission here. While we appreciate the quick action by the Mid-Atlantic Council to develop these proposed regulations, we do have a concern or two.

We finally got some good news on the fisheries front. Captain John McMurray, ASGA’s President, was selected to be on the Striped Bass Workgroup for the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. As you may recall, ASMFC has begun the amendment process for striped bass management. This process is of great concern to us. It is a big relief to know that John is embedded in the workgroup. His experience and leadership will be have an enormously positive impact on these critical discussions.

Finally, ASGA has shifted gears in our approach to engaging with our membership and followers. We have been using Zoom webinars as well as Facebook Live events to share relevant information. In parallel with our conservation and management work, we are also rolling out a series on fishing tips from our member guides. The first fishing-focused webinar will be this Thursday evening, June 4, at 8pm EST. You can register here.

We will follow up with a webinar on June 10 at 12pm EST featuring two NOAA Fisheries economists to discuss how the preferences of striped bass anglers can be used to improve management. In layman’s terms, the folks at NOAA are starting to figure out what recreational fishermen really want out of the fishery, and how that information can help balance the needs of anglers with the health of the resource. This is good news for conservation-minded fishermen! You can register here for this webinar.

Even though things are a little crazy right now, we are still working for our guides and the resource. All the best to you and yours! We won’t stop fighting for a better future for all.

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