Class 6: STRIPED BASS
As a recreational fisherman in Massachusetts, I would want to lift the ban off of federal waters. Unlike commercial fishermen in Massachusetts, who have a quota of 1,128,577 lbs of striped bass for this year, recreational fishermen do not have a quota. Therefore, we catch significantly more striped bass than the commercial fishermen. In 2009, it was estimated that commercial fishermen harvested 1,138,291 pounds (against a harvest quota of 1,107,118 pounds) of striped bass. Recreational fisherman harvested about 4.5 million pounds of striped bass. That’s four times as much striper for recreational fisherman that commercial fishermen! Last year, commercial fishermen already went over the quota for striped bass without the federal waters even being open. So why would they care if the federal ban is lifted? They still won’t be able to keep any more fish than they are already keeping. For the recreational fishermen, however, lifting the federal ban would make a big difference. They would more bass. Recreational fishermen are the only ones who stand to benefit from lifting the ban, and that’s why, as a recreational fisherman, I would support this motion.
Personally, I would be in favor of lifting the ban as well. As long as the striped bass population is closely monitored (and it seems to me from the amount of government documentation that is out there that it is very well monitored) I think it would be okay to open federal waters to striper fishing. Like I said above, I don’t think it would make a big difference for the commercial fishermen, but the recreational fishermen would be able to fish more. More recreational fishing means more economic stimulation. One site claims that recreational fishing added 1.16 billion to state economy compared to 24.2 million for commercial fishing in 2004. It also claims that recreational fishing created 10, 986 jobs compared to 524 in commercial fishing. To me, the only downside to opening federal waters that I can see is a decreasing fish population, and close monitoring would take care of this problem.
- Sabrina Liu