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Entries in fisheries management (158)

Wednesday
Aug162017

Largemouth Stocked as Smallmouth Killed at Elkhead Reservoir

The war on bass in the West has taken a conciliatory turn in Colorado, at least. Responding to public outcry at the possible loss of the warmwater fishery in Elkhead Reservoir, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) and volunteers with boats stocked 120 largemouth bass, weighing 3 to 6 pounds each, during June.  

Earlier in the year, 125,000 fry were added to the fishery in northwest Colorado, while 680 yearlings were released in 2016, the first bass legally stocked in the fishery since the 1980s.

"We are increasing stocking for more opportunities for anglers to catch alternative species in place of the species that we are trying to reduce for downstream management," said CPW biologist Tory Ayre.

Meanwhile, CPW also sponsored a June 24-July 2 tournament, offering financial incentives for anglers to remove as many smallmouth bass and northern pike from the Yampa River impoundment as possible.

What's going on? Why stock largemouth bass and kill smallmouth? Resource managers believe that the latter and pike escape over the spillway and threaten recovery of four federally endangered species: humpback chub, bonytail, Colorado pikeminnow and razorback sucker. CPW is mandated by law to protect those native fish.

Initially, biologists considered poisoning the 900-acre reservoir and restocking with more desirable species. But opposition from local anglers convinced them to take another approach, which includes a net across the spillway, an annual "kill tournament" for smallmouth and pike, and stocking with largemouth, bluegill, and crappie.

"It's great, we appreciate the CPW's help," said volunteer Norm Fedde. "We know they are for the sportsmen, but the federal government is not."

For the week-long tournament, which has no entry fee, CPW tagged one smallmouth bass and one pike, each worth $1,500. Additionally, the agency gave $750 each to the anglers who caught the most of each species, as well as a variety of daily prizes.

To the south, meanwhile, CPW sponsored the third annual "kill" tournament for smallmouth bass July 7-30 at Ridgway Reservoir in Ridgway State Park. The fish were illegally introduced there about a decade ago, and also pose a risk of escaping into rivers to threaten native species.

"A primary mission of Colorado Parks and Wildlife is to work to sustain native species," said John Alves, senior aquatic biologist for CPW's Southwest Region. "Colorado's anglers contribute significantly to our work and we greatly appreciate their support in helping us to maintain the state's fisheries."

Tuesday
Aug012017

More than 5,000 Lionfish Removed From Florida Waters

Already this year, more than 5,000 invasive lionfish have been removed from Florida waters as part of the annual  campaign that runs from Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day on May 20 and ends Sept. 4.

"There’s still plenty of time to compete in this year’s Lionfish Challenge," said the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

"Over 5,000 lionfish have been removed from Florida waters thanks to the program, including nearly 3,700 recreational fish removals and more than 1,200 pounds commercially (equates to about 1,400 fish)."

The challenge rewards lionfish harvesters with prizes such as T-shirts, tumblers, heat packs for stings, pole spears, an extra spiny lobster per day during the two-day sport season, and much more. It only takes 25 lionfish (or 25 pounds commercially) to qualify for the program and the more lionfish you enter, the more prizes you will receive. Plus, all participants are entered into a raffle to win even more prizes such as Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium gift bags, ZombieStickz pole spears and customized ZooKeeper Lionfish Containment Units.

The persons with the most lionfish at the end of the competition will be crowned the Lionfish King or Queen (recreational category) and the Commercial Champion at the Lionfish Safari tournament in St. Petersburg the weekend of Sept. 9.

To find out how to participate in the challenge, go here.

Sunday
Jul232017

Rebuilding Flaming Gorge's Smallmouth Fishery

Hoping to help revitalize the smallmouth fishery in its portion of Flaming Gorge, Wyoming implemented catch-and-release, effective January 1 of this year.

“The catch and release regulation implemented on the Wyoming portion of the reservoir is intended to keep the remaining bass in the water so they can spawn every spring and help rebuild the bass population as burbot numbers decrease," said biologist John Walrath.


"Fall netting data suggest burbot numbers are no longer increasing at an alarming rate but instead may be slightly decreasing.  The catch rates of the larger and older burbot have definitely decreased in recent years.”

Burbot predation is believed to have been a primary cause of the disappearing smallmouth population. From 2003 to 2013, bronzeback catch rates declined by  97 percent in the northern third of the impoundment, where burbot densities were the highest.

Tuesday
Jul112017

Modern Fish Act Introduced in Senate

The recreational fishing and boating community praised the Senate introduction of the “Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017” (Modern Fish Act), which would improve public access to America’s federal waters, promote conservation of our natural marine resources and spur economic growth.

A companion bill, H.R. 2023, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on April 6.

“On behalf of America’s 11 million saltwater anglers, we thank Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), John Kennedy (R-La.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.),” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Sportfishing Policy.

“Recreational fishing is a tradition worth safeguarding through proper management policies and a critical component of the U.S. economy, with an annual economic contribution of $63+ billion. With a bipartisan bill introduced in both chambers, we are hopeful the Congress will ensure all Americans have fair and reasonable access to our nation’s marine resources by passing the Modern Fish Act.”

 For years, the recreational fishing community has been hindered by antiquated policies that restrict access to public waters, hurt the U.S. economy and detract from conservation goals. The Modern Fish Act addresses many of the challenges faced by recreational anglers, including allowing alternative management tools for recreational fishing, reexamining fisheries allocations, smartly rebuilding fish stocks and improving recreational data collection. The bill aims to benefit fishing access and conservation by incorporating modern management approaches, science and technology to guide decision-making.

"When passed, this landmark legislation will modernize the federal regulations governing access to the public’s natural resources by boaters and anglers,” said National Marine Manufacturers Association President Thom Dammrich.

“The Modern Fish Act will achieve many goals, the most important of which is getting more Americans outdoors and enjoying our wonderful natural treasures,” added Mike Nussman, president of the American Sportfishing Association.

“This bipartisan legislation includes key provisions that will adapt federal fisheries management to manage recreational fishing in a way that better achieves conservation and public access goals. Recreational fishing provides many economic, social and conservation benefits to the nation, and with this legislation, the federal fisheries management system will better realize those benefits.”
  
“The Modern Fish Act offers reasonable solutions to a management system designed primarily for commercial fisheries but which has failed to address the needs of millions of saltwater anglers,” said Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President Jeff Crane. “The simple adjustments in this bipartisan bill would continue to ensure conservation of our nation’s saltwater fisheries, while finally establishing greatly needed parity for the recreational fishing community.”
 
“The Modern Fish Act would fix key issues in the law governing marine fisheries that keep recreational anglers from enjoying access to healthy fisheries,” said Jim Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance.
 
The coalition supporting the Modern Fish Act includes American Sportfishing Association, Center for Sportfishing Policy, Coastal Conservation Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, International Game Fish Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Recreational Fishing Alliance, The Billfish Foundation and Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.

Thursday
Jun292017

Council Appointments Show Recreational Fishing, Boating Priorities for Trump Administration

Members of 2017 Regional Fishery Management Council confirm that recreational fishing and boating are important to the Trump Administration, according to advocacy groups.

“Today’s appointments to the Regional Fishery Management Council are exactly what the recreational fishing and boating community needed from the Trump Administration,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Sportfishing Policy.

“America’s 11 million saltwater recreational anglers have been an afterthought for too long, but thanks to the leadership of President Trump and Commerce Secretary (Wilbur) Ross, the tide is changing. It is clear the Administration is committed to making sure America’s public resources remain public and that healthy natural resources are available for future generations.”

Appointments include Steve Heins of New York to the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, Chester Brewer of Florida to the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, and Phil Dyskow of Florida, Dr. Bob Shipp of Alabama, and Dr. Greg Stunz of Texas to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.

“The recreational fishing community along the Gulf Coast has found itself at a severe disadvantage in recent years due to an unbalanced Gulf Council,” said Patrick Murray, president of Coastal Conservation Association. “The Administration heard our calls for action and they have delivered. We look forward to the progress to come and better access to healthy marine resources for America’s recreational anglers.”

 “The Trump Administration understands the need for balance in our fishery management system because they care about jobs,” said Mike Nussman, president of the American Sportfishing Association.

“Saltwater recreational fishing in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico is the backbone of our industry and supports almost twice as many jobs there as the commercial industry. Creating more balanced Councils in these regions in particular was absolutely the right thing to do.”

Heins is a life-long angler who has worked with both sectors of New York’s fisheries. After 29 years of service, he recently retired from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. Heins has a track record of working with the New York fishing community to build consensus and achieve management and policy decisions that are in the best interest of fisheries resources and the people who depend on them.
 
Brewer has more than 35 years of experience with recreational fisheries issues. As a member of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) and Chairman of the Advisory Panel Selection Committee, he has broad knowledge regarding the fisheries in the Southeast region and brings with him experiences from the recreational fishing sector. In addition to his work on the SAFMC, he  serves as Chairman Emeritus for the Florida state chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association, a board member of the West Palm Beach Fishing Club, and a member of the board of the Palm Beach County Fishing Foundation. Previously, he served 10 years as Recreational Advisor to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna - U.S. Section.
 
With diverse knowledge of marine fisheries issues and proven business leadership, Dyskow retired following a successful career with the Yamaha Marine Group, culminating in his 13-year tenure as President. Dyskow has now devoted much of his free time toward fisheries conservation and management efforts. He has served on the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee and on the National Boating Safety Advisory Council.
 
Dr. Shipp is considered one of the foremost experts on red snapper, triggerfish ,and other species of concern to Gulf Coast anglers. He has served on the Gulf Council for 18 years, including as Chairman of the Council, and also has served on the Council’s Science and Statistical Committee. As Chair Emeritus of the Department of Marine Science at the University of South Alabama, he brings a scientific and pragmatic perspective to difficult fishery management issues.
 
Dr. Stunz, one of the foremost authorities on Gulf of Mexico marine science, brings a balanced perspective to federal fisheries issues. Dr. Stunz is the endowed chair for Fisheries and Ocean Health and executive director of the Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation at the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies. He is also a professor of Marine Biology at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi College of Science and Technology and is an author of more than 40 scientific papers in national and international journals.