Live Bluefish Matter

Live Bluefish Matter

Anglers and bluefish have a complicated relationship. We call them “yellow-eyed demons” when they show up in the surf, attacking lures meant for striped bass. And we call them worse things farther offshore, when they show up to ruin shark baits and mangle carefully-rigged—and expensive—ballyhoo intended for tuna. But when they burst through the surface […]

Hope & Hype At The Recreational Summit

Hope & Hype At The Recreational Summit

On March 28 and 29, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), with the cooperation of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Service (ASMFC), held the 2018 Recreational Fishing Summit in Alexandria, Virginia. Such summits have been held every four years or so. I’ve attended the last few, and in previous years was underwhelmed, as the programs […]

Fisheries Management: Checks and Balances

Fisheries Management:  Checks and Balances

Somewhere back in grade school, we all learned that the United States government is composed of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches. All three branches have equal standing; none is superior to the others. Article I of the Constitution of the United States vested all legislative power in the Senate and House of Representatives. Article […]

The Allocation Morass

The Allocation Morass

Everybody wants more fish. Commercial fishermen make more money when they can harvest more product, while recreational fishermen have long cast envious glances at the commercial harvest, and tried, by various means, to convert some of those commercial landings into their own. It’s not just an inter-sector conflict. In both commercial and recreational fisheries, there […]

Fisheries Management: Reinventing The (Square) Wheel

Fisheries Management:  Reinventing The (Square) Wheel

Photo: Striped Bass Saltwater fisheries management is a relatively new science. Freshwater fisheries managers have been developing population models and experimenting with various management measures for years, but on the Mid-Atlantic coast, we never saw any such models until 1997, when a virtual population analysis was used to assess the striped bass stock. Fisheries management […]

Managing Fish? Show Us The Numbers

Managing Fish? Show Us The Numbers

One of the hottest issues in saltwater fisheries management is who—state or federal agencies—should have the power to manage the fish. Federal fishery managers have a record of success. In 2000, 92 federally-managed stocks were overfished and 72 were subject to overfishing. By the end of 2016, thanks to the efforts of federal managers, only […]

Creating A Crisis for Gulf Red Snapper

Creating A Crisis for Gulf Red Snapper

In 2017, at the behest of some federal legislators and angling-related organizations, the Department of Commerce (Commerce) reopened the private-boat recreational red snapper season in the Gulf of Mexico, even though agency officials knew that such action would lead to significant overfishing and delay the recovery of the red snapper stock. Representatives of the recreational […]

Court Watching Over Red Snapper In Gulf

Court Watching Over Red Snapper In Gulf

On December 20, the parties in a federal lawsuit challenging the Department of Commerce’s (Commerce) decision to reopen the 2017 private boat red snapper season in the Gulf of Mexico reached a settlement that should bring an end to the litigation while protecting the red snapper resource. For those unfamiliar with the facts leading up […]