Guy Harvey Magazine

SUM 2013

Guy Harvey Magazine is focused on fishing, boating, scuba diving, and marine conservation. Portfolios from the world's best fishing photographers, articles on gear, travel, tournaments, apparel, lifestyle, seafood recipes, sustainable fisheries.

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Page 57 of 83

BY GUEST EDITOR NICK HONACHEFSKY Bottom-Up Approach Anyone involved in fsheries management must understand that if you remove a primary food source from any species higher up on the food chain, the population of the said species will suffer and inevitably decline. The natural selection process kicks in hard. A shining example of how this concept ousted from state waters over a decade ago that use 12-in. diameter pumps, took is evinced and remedied is the recent success of management of the menhaden 30 million pounds of bunker of a single stretch along Long Beach Island alone (aka bunker or pogy) stocks in the Northeast, namely in New Jersey. Though entire during a two-week period back in 2001." books have been written on the contentious menhaden issue, here, I will solely focus on the correlation between menhaden and striped bass stocks. The interdependency of striped bass and bunker is pretty clear-cut. Bunker In the 1980s and early 1990s, striped bass stocks were trying to bounce back from near extinction levels wrought by commercial fshing. In 2002, when Jersey signed the Menhaden Protection Bill into law, prohibiting commercial netting in are the base of the Atlantic food chain and are the primary diet for striped bass. state waters (.6 to three miles from shore) when the purpose was to use bunker Prior to 2002, commercial reduction boats from out-of-state were allowed to (menhaden) for producing fsh meal, the striped bass stocks and fshery rocketed enter New Jersey waters to suck up bunker schools with reckless abandon. Prime to historical highs. A direct correlation must exist between the elimination of commercial interests of the largest menhaden processing plant, Omega Protein, bunker boats from state waters in 2002, when striper fshing was marginal at best, and its political lobbyists, have a lifeblood stake in its proftability, thus, the to present day, where New Jersey is now the premier destination in the world for undue pressure on bunker stocks. Jersey enacted a law that banned reduction trophy striped bass of 30 to 50 pounds. What used to be a near desert is now a boats from its state waters, which supply Omega Protein, efectively saving the bustling oasis in the springtime months of the Jersey Coast, when miles and miles inevitable decimation of the stocks. To give an idea of the magnitude of what of thick bunker schools are followed and fed on by tens of thousands of stripers. that translates to, according to Jim Donofrio of the Recreational Fishing Alliance, The menhaden schools are not harassed by a fotilla of purse seiners pinning them "The entire bait industry in New Jersey takes approximately 30 million pounds of in a corner and scooping them up for cross-industry uses, but pressured now by menhaden annually from Cape May to Sandy Hook, while the reduction boats we only a few sporadic netters to be sold solely as bait to tackle shops.

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