As I noted this morning, the ASMFC had their Striped Bass Policy Board meeting, and the crew from the NY RFHFA was on hand ready to make a public comment, but strangely enough everyone in the audience was told they could make a public comment on anything else but the SB - BITZ! Oh, but Jamie Pollock, all 5 foot 1 or 2 inches, who is the head of 'Shark Angels' did, but that is just another strange story that I will not get into....and yes, during the striped bass discussion!
From the beginning it was apparent that this would be another agenda item where it was apparent that a 'number' of people on the Commission would not take any position (seemingly made before the start of this meeting) on an opening of the Block Island Transit Zone. In keeping this short it can be summed up by almost all the Commission members that spoke, that they were very concerned by the timing of this motion due to being so close to the results from the striped bass benchmark assessment - which we now told will be coming out at the end of November.
For those who are asking, "so what does this mean," essentially much will depend on the direction of a number of the biological indices are heading (SSB, overall biomass, etc.), and only then with the SB - BITZ opening will be discussed for further action. The timetable on this will now be set for the February meeting of 2019.
"Much ado about nothing?"
For now, but Captain Joe King Cod, Captain Anthony Testa Sr. and his sons along with myself spent the two hours listening to the "blank and blank show" that was put on (statements repeated such as this could be the start of a full EEZ opening and opening pandora's box). What really turned a few heads was in what came out of the pie-hole of Tom Fote representing the interests of New Jersey, and maybe Captain Joe can comment on this because I am holding my tongue for the time being.
One thing that was accomplished was in talking with Captain John McMurray of 'One More Cast Charters' where both sides clarified their positions on a few fishery issues. That was a positive, and I am publicly stating that here. We spent a good time in talking face to face, and I have always felt that this is the way fishermen should handle issues where there are differing interests and opinions.
We have to thank Mike Falk who is the proxy for Senator Boyle, and it is once again great to see the support from his office for fishermen and fishing families on Long Island. Much thanks Mike, and Senator Boyle for all your time and support on this.
Another thanks has to go out to Captain Capt.Tom Mikoleski of Grand Slam Charters - MTK., who has been extremely helpful and a wealth of honest information on what goes on with the striped bass fishery off of Montauk and Block Island. Thanks Tom!
It was also great to Pat Augustine there. Pat has always been a friend of fishermen and the fishing industry, and both his knowledge and demeanor is needed in discussing what is a very heated topic amongst fishermen.
I also have to mention that NYS DEC Director Jim Gilmore came over to Captain Joe, Captain Anthony and myself and shook hands with everyone and thanked us for attending. Jim gave the group from the NY RFHFA more than a few minutes to discuss and go over this issue, and it was one of the other 'positives' for attending the meeting.
Now I should also report on a few sightings at this time with the ASMFC meeting, and yes Mr. CW himself was there, but I believe he was catching a few winks and never said hello to us. Boo - hoo. Maybe next time CW when you have rested up.....
Oh, what would a striped bass meeting in the once Empire State be without an Arnold Leo showing.
There was also mention at the start of the striped bass discussion on a letter sent in by Congressman Lee Zeldin on this issue. This is a big deal, and much thanks to Congressman Zeldin for his continued efforts here...and that is THANKS from all of us.
In getting back to the final motion, in the last image you can see there the language of the motion in that there will be a DELAY on any further action until such time....yada, yada.... and this had the full support of the Commission.
At this point, what can we say other than a few of us indulged in the free stocking stuffer's for those who attended (water, pens, lip balm and coke...the soft drink of course, though maybe the other stuff would of helped here), and to our surprise in paying 52 dollars to park for 2.5 hours in a midtown Manhattan garage.
Folks, that is the update and there is more to say, but please continue to make public comments in support of the SB - BITZ on the federal register.