Kensdock Report: Commercial fishermen lead the way to sustainable yield / Spring Weakfish

Commercial fishermen are not an enemy of sport fishermen. Bad regulations are the enemy. Sustainable yield fish stocks ensure the future of both commercial and sport fishing. Commercial fishermen supported a moratorium on weakfish, when some recreational fishing groups would not do so.

Today, Atlantic sea scallop vessel owners voluntarily contribute $10 million a year from their harvest to pay for ongoing scientific research on scallop populations.

They also earned a sustainable yield certification recently:

“This is an American fisheries success story,” said Attorney John Whiteside, who represents the ASA and led the certification effort for the industry group. “The certification is further validation for the efforts of an industry which worked together to progress from the brink of oblivion to prosperity.”

Dr. Kevin Stokesbury, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Fisheries Oceanography at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) who served as the ASA’s lead consultant through the three and one-half year review process said “The industry deserves this. It’s a well-managed fishery. It has come back to sustainable levels. The sort of cooperation offered by the scallop industry doesn’t come along every day.”

Their road to recovery included closed seasons and financial sacrifice.  Sport fishermen should  bring the same tenacity to the fish management table. Here in New Jersey it is free to saltwater fish. However,  we do not have a reliable funding source for marine fisheries management.  As the scallop fishery has proven , NJ saltwater fishermen would be much  better served by funding marine fisheries management with their own dime.

 Spring Weakfish 2014

The first weakfish of the spring  has been caught in Cape May co. NJ. They have also been caught just south of Cape May in the Delaware canal. If you are interested in catching weakfish check out the May issue of On The Water magazine:   http://www.onthewater.com/issues/

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