Friday, November 7, 2008

Striped Bass Given a Pass by Commissioner LaPointe

Striped bass anglers present at the recent Maine Department of Marine Resources meeting complained about the poor striped bass fishing in Maine during 2008. Guides, charter captains and individual fishermen gave testimony describing how poor their fishing season was. Several guides said they had a 40 to 60 percent drop in business and fishing day catches were down in numbers and size of fish. Instead of catching 40 to 100 fish per day, many reported average catches of less than 10 per day. Commissioner George Lapointe listened along with his staff. The message of the Maine Department of Marine Resources was that the striped bass populations along the Atlantic Coast was scientifically sound and not in trouble or headed for another crash. The Department then went to a meeting with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and didn't present a case representing the desires of the fishing public of Maine. It appears that the Commissioner has no intention of fighting for Maine Striped Bass fishermen. But he certainly will like the income that will result from a new saltwater fishing license. Maybe our saltwater fishing permit money would better represent Maine saltwater fishermen by participating in the Federal Government's fishing registry program instead of having a state fishing license program. Something to think about. I have previously been in support of a state saltwater fishing license, but if the Maine Department of Marine Resources isn't going to advocate vigorously for recreational fishing on our coast, I might have different thoughts. Actions always speak louder than words.

Also discussed at the public meeting where the issues of near/inshore, large boat pogie fishing this past summer and gill netting issues on the New Meadows River. According the the Department, both issues are being looked into.

So, what has been done? Not much.