|Imagine this as far as the eye can see, washing up on your beach.|
This tragedy is a testament to the singlemindedness of the commercial fisherman. With a quota of 480,480 lbs of Atlantic Ocean stripers for NC, apparently they can catch enough more than enough fish to permit them to throw back the smaller ones and keep the more valuable larger fish. Moreover, the state have a minimum size limit of 28 inches (mandated by AMFSC I believe) which requires them to throw back anything less than 28.
Fisheries quotas for stripped bass are based on the estimated mortality of fish from commercial and recreational fisherman, both those kept and discarded. I can't help thinking that this massive by kill is not being properly accounted for in those statistics (if DMF just acknowledged that commercial fishing MIGHT be involved). If they were properly accounted for, North Carolina's allotment of the harvest might be substantially reduced, and the fishermen encouraged fishing methods that produce less by catch.
The Atlantic Striped Bass being slaughtered in North Carolina now, are on the their great annual migration, which will bring many of them into the Cheapeake in early spring to gorge on shad and herring and to spawn, on their way to points further north, as far as Maine, where they will summer in the ocean. At each step in the migration, commercial and recreational fisherman get a shot at them, and current management of stripers seems to consist largely of arguments between states as to how much each "deserves".
These fish cross state lines, and need some consistent management, not a "who gets 'em first, gets the most" approach, that we seem to have now.
Hat tip to Bill Curry, via Facebook.