An important side note that came out of the ASMFC striped bass public comment meeting on Sept. 16 was the concern over poaching expressed by recreational anglers. Several speakers said they believed large numbers of bass were being caught, kept and sold illegally, and that loss of these fish was not accounted for in mortality figures used to estimate the current striper population.
At the meeting, ASMFC Fishery Management Plan Coordinator Mike Waine confirmed there is no procedure for factoring poaching into current population estimates unless an event is cited and documented by law enforcement officials. The undocumented illegal harvest has led many recreational anglers to favor regulations even more restrictive than required by law, such as bumping the size limit upwards from its current 28 inches to 30 or 32 inches while reducing the take to one fish per angler each day.
During the discussion, state Sen. Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore) promised New York State Department of Environmental Conservation would look into the poaching problem in New York waters. If that promise holds true and eventually results in some kind of estimated poaching numbers being considered in the management of our striper stocks, that may be the most important point to come from this specific meeting. Ultimately, noted Waine, strengthening penalties and enhancing enforcement to deter illegal harvest is probably the best way to address the issue.
It should be noted that ASMFC, in 2013, did take a significant step in that direction by implementing a mandatory commercial tagging program to track fish through the marketplace and recommended increasing penalties for illegal harvest. But significant poaching still persists and needs to be addressed.
If you have yet to add your voice to the chorus of recreational anglers commenting on Draft Addendum IV to Amendment 6 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass, you must do so by 5 p.m. on Tuesday. Send e-mails to Mike Waine, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at email@example.com. To view the striped bass management proposals, go to www.asmfc.org.
Tiny ticks no small matter
With the lush undergrowth of summer fading as the temperatures fall into the 50's and 60's, over the next few weeks, there's a rush to the woods by those who love the great outdoors. But beware, tick season never ends.
In our area, ticks are active even during the coldest months, so there is never a break in the threat of contracting Lyme disease or other tick-borne illnesses. There are, however, several measures you can take to protect yourself. For starters, stay on trails and avoid high grass. Pull sock tops over pant cuffs as high as they will go and choose silky materials like a nylon jogging suit over jeans or cotton pants to which ticks stick with ease. Wear long sleeves with tight-fitting cuffs.
For bug spray, choose either a DEET or permethrin-based repellent. DEET can be used on exposed skin while permethrin is used only on clothing. DEET deters ticks, permethrin kills them on contact.
Lastly, perform body checks for ticks in the field, at the car, back home, in the shower and before you go to bed. Pay particular attention to the back of the knees, under the belt, under the arms and around the ears.