- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Stripers Forever, the sport fishing and conservation organization, doesn’t mince words.

It’s doing all it can to stop the commercial netting and selling of wild striped bass (rockfish) to Marylanders and Virginians. The organization says the resource should be managed for the 3 million-plus recreational striper fans from Maine to North Carolina.

If the states are worried about loss of income, taxes and other fees, they should relax. It has been proved time and again that sport anglers provide far more jobs, profits and taxes - for the state and private businesses - than commercial fish netters.

Even though the striped bass management board of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission says Atlantic striped bass are not being overfished, Maryland — one of the most important states when it comes to providing annual spawning grounds for the rockfish — says the Young of the Year (YOY) index is 3.2. That’s well below the long-term average of 11.7.

The index is an annual measurement of the number of juvenile striped bass taken in haul seines over a broad area in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay. This year was one of the lowest since 1990.

“Striped bass born in the Chesapeake Bay make up a very high percentage of all the stripers that migrate up the Atlantic Coast every year,” says Brad Burns, president of Stripers Forever. “So the fact that this year’s YOY came in at 3.2, compared to the long-term average of 11.7, indicates that the coastal striped bass population is not as ‘fully recovered’ as some fishery biologists would have us believe.

“The problem is that the current catch levels and quotas are based on a theoretical abundance of fish that most fishermen simply aren’t finding. Despite the clear downtrend in striped bass population numbers and the low replacement rate, the fishery managers are still not pushing for reductions in catch quotas.”

Don’t forget to go goosin’ - The Maryland Department of Natural Resources said the Atlantic population of Canada geese can be hunted starting Nov. 15. These are the migratory birds, not to be confused with an earlier hunting season for resident populations of geese. The Atlantic Canada goose season comes in two parts. The first runs through Nov. 28, followed by a hunt from Dec. 18 to Jan. 24. The daily bag limit is two.

Banding crews on the Ungava Peninsula [in eastern Canada] encountered large numbers of goslings, indicating that gosling production was good,” said Larry Hindman, the DNR’s waterfowl project leader. “The high proportion of juveniles in the fall population should make for great goose hunting as birds should decoy well during the first couple weeks of the hunting season.”

Be aware - To prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease, Virginia’s Department of Game and Inland Fisheries wants hunters to know that importing or possessing whole deer carcasses - or specified parts of carcasses - is prohibited if the deer or elk was shot in a state or Canadian province in which the disease has been confirmed.

It has been found in Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report on Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected] Also check out Gene’s Inside Outside blog on washingtontimes.com.

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