February 2018 Public Comments
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02/12/2018 10:24:21
Steven Witthuhn
Black Sea Bass Recreational Management Measures
I listened to the last Commission Board meeting webinar, on the Black Sea Bass regulatory process. It was nothing short of (legal) organized crime. the management process, in my opinion, has lost it's credibility in managing a "rebuilt stock". Those of us that listened in on the webinar, heard the Northern Region states (NY-CT-RI-MA) now have the deck stacked against them. The vote was stacked, when it came time to vote on a motion for the whole region. The stock has definitely moved north along the coast to the northern region.
With the current path of management, I can assure you that NON-COMPLIANCE will continue to flourish out of control, based on the availability of fish the upcoming season. My job, as a New York state advisor in the fishery management process, is to instill a belief in working within the process for the recreational fishermen and the For-Hire sector in order to maintain sustainable fish stocks.
The methodology used for setting the Black Sea Bass allowable catch, MUST BE REVIEWED in order for fishery management to claim, they have and use the BEST SCIENCE for setting quotas, is no longer believable. All fishermen are asking for is an HONEST interpretation of National Standard One:..."the optimum yield from each fishery for the United States fishing industry". We ask for a fair and equitable use of the resource. "We the people" are experiencing an over managing of the resource, and in turn, "we the people" see and experience on the water what is essentially a rebuilt fishery, being managed poorly by the Mid-Atlantic council. The matter of managing the fish where they WERE in the south rather than where they ARE in the north. By looking backward rather than forward, ASMFC is forcing the states with the fish to reduce landing, while allowing states where the Biomass is lower to increase harvest, which is nonsensical on its face.

Respectfully
Steven R Witthuhn
Charter Boat Captain
New York MRAC member
AP BSB MAFMC
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