The untold weakfish story

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In complete disregard of common sense. The ASMFC allows the commercial sale of weakfish to continue.

The Fishermen magazine published a story recently about what happened to the weakfish in the Delaware Bay. The story was missing a couple of very important facts. Maybe” they were cut by  the editor , explain later. The most glaring fact, is the warning issued by the Atlantic Marine fishery biologist prior to the collapse of the weakfish stock. The 2005 Weakfish technical committee report : ” In the scenario without management action, weakfish became near extinct after 2010. The weakfish board had 4 management plan options in 2005 , ranging from a moratorium to statuesque. They decided on statuesque.
This was a continuance of years of poor weakfish management decisions. That included unlimited harvest quotas by commercial and recreational fishermen until 2010. There is not a fish stock on planet earth that could withstand that level of pressure. In 2009 a grass-roots letter writing campaign was started by Cape May NJ sport fishermen, tackle shops, marina owners and charter boats, demanding a moratorium on weakfish. The effort quickly spread along the entire east coast. Thanks to the effort , the most conservative weakfish regulations in history were implemented in 2010. This has resulted in the return of a fishable weakfish population in Cape May NJ, for skill sharp” anglers. However, they fell short of a moratorium. This allowed the market for weakfish to remain open today. A 1000 pound per trip commercial take in NC and a 300 pound per trip coast-wide. Coupled with a recreational 1 fish limit. This is the reason the weakfish haven’t fully recovered in the Delaware Bay and elsewhere. A 2015 weakfish stock assessment will be available in the next few weeks. Management options and public comment will follow.

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