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.