Though bluefish have been cyclical over the ages, the current scarcity of that species certainly wasn’t helped by NMFS, the ASMFC and the MAFMC which have been transferring unused recreational quota to the commercial sector rather than practicing conservation provided by anglers releasing the vast majority of their catch. To make things worse, there was no provision for such actions in the Bluefish Management Plan which anglers fought so hard for. As a result, the limit for private anglers has been dropped from 15 to just three — though in the for-hire sector the limit is five.

Tom Fote, of the JCAA and long-time N.J. Governor’s Appointee to the ASMFC, was particularly upset by the fact that there was no mention of those transfers in the press release.

Fote said ” I was never so disappointed with Council and Commission members as I was when they failed to point out that NMFS has been transferring quota to the commercial sector from the unused recreational quota for years. Tens of millions of pounds of bluefish have been caught by commercial fishermen since the late 90’s using the so-called unharvested recreational quota. With the new MRIP numbers, it becomes apparent that NMFS should never have been transferring for all these years. NMFS, not the fishermen, has gotten us into this situation. But they will not suffer any economic impact. They will not lose any salary for the mistakes they have made. ”

I’ll have more about the bluefish situation tomorrow.

I’m sorry about the mix-up in last night’s blog when I thought it was Friday — and the correction which then made the weather forecast wrong. The Saturday forecast is for east winds at just 5 knots, but increasing in the afternoon to 15-20 with gusts to 25 plus rain and snow.

The Big Mohawk from Belmar will take advantage of the early calm to sail their reservation trip for blackfish. There is room on that trip and Monday’s by calling 732 974-9606. There was decent tog action on Thursday’s trip, including some limits.



  1. The recreational angler has gotten the short end of the stick vs the commercial sector since I was very young. Allowing the cod stocks to get completely exploited/decimated in the wake of imposing the 200-mile limit is just one of a host of failures by the NMFS, ASMFC and other councils over the years. Whether it is faulty data, questionable science or meetings held in out of the way places at 3:30 in the afternoon on a Thursday, the recreational angler has continuously fought a steep/uphill battle to get their share of declining fish stocks. Fluke regulations are so absurd that I cannot think about them without shaking my head in disbelief. The rod and reel angler is not without blame in this mess. I saw way too many cow stripers laying on the docks almost two decades ago. People wanted to kill the big cows and the charter captains let them do it almost universally. When the captain opens a cooler and there are two or three 25-35 pound bass that have been left by yesterday’s patrons, something is wrong. That was definitely part of the reason the big striped bass come back fizzled, just when it was gathering steam. Big cows ensure strong runs as they are great spawners. They need to be released for the most part. My point here is it will take changes (mostly at the federal and state level) to bring fish stocks back. Herring and mackerel stocks need to be watched closely as they are fodder for a host of species with stripers, cod and pollock being key in this scenario Allowing commercial draggers to catch tiny fluke while rod and reel anglers struggle to catch a couple of much larger (4 or more inches larger) keepers is killing what is left of the summer-time party boat fishery, slowly but surely. Make no mistake about it, the feds love the draggers and vice-a-versa. The recreational angler has a very small hand in this horrid fish stock situation. The total dollars lost to the decimation of the cod stocks is so vast that I won’t even take a guess at it. This country is suffering greatly from management that does not view the recreational sector with respect and thus, we have fisheries that are in disrepair at best.


  2. Well let’s see if we can get a couple of facts straight about the Bluefish quadrangle. According to my father back in the 40s and 50s a 5lb Bluefish was hard to come by. It wasn’t until the 60s that we saw the rebirth of a cycle what has transpired since then is the greed of the commercial fisherman as far as the Bluefish were concerned they are not a very soluble fish they’re not a very good fish to ship great distances they have a very short shelf life. So talking to a commercial Captain I know. And I will not reveal his name or boat. He said what we do is 1 Dakota is full we sweep them over the deck and lay it on the ocean in other words they’re dead. Cuz there were so many of them out there we were targeting other species I say that that is a shame and there’s nothing that can be done with them not even a bycatch what we could feed people in hospitals or whatever fervor nominal price. These are just some of the problems that we have with the commercial sector. When I say commercial I am not talking about anything but the giant supermarkets that takes a huge quantities of fish not caring about the species that they kill off. And they have a extremely strong Lobby. That’s what’s happened to our lobsters that’s WhatsApp a lot of other species of fish that you grow accustomed to. It is unbalanced quotas


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