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Coastal Conservation Association New York ("CCA NY") has given its full support to a bill recently introduced by Senator Vincent L. Leibell
(R-Putnam County) that would outlaw commercial fishing for striped bass on the Hudson River.

For many years, the commercial striped bass fishery on the Hudson River was closed due to PCB contamination in the fish. However, as efforts to clean up the Hudson moved forward, PCB levels in the fish have dropped. As a result, the State of New York has looked into the possibility of reopening the commercial bass fishery on the river. As of this date, a decision is
still pending.

CCA NY strongly opposes such an opening, in order to protect both the fish and those who might buy them. "Although PCB levels in striped bass are lower than they once were," says Alan Evelyn, President of CCA NY, "they're still high enough that the state's Department of Health advises children and women of childbearing age not to eat the fish, and tells others eat no more than one meal per month. We can't understand how the state could even consider selling tainted bass
to unsuspecting consumers."

The Hudson River is one of the most important striped bass spawning area on the Atlantic coast, producing about 25% of the entire coastal population. That being the case, CCA NY believes that it is imprudent to create a commercial fishery on the river. Charles Witek, Fisheries Committee Chairman for CCA NY, notes that "A recent study indicates that, unlike the bass that spawn in Chesapeake Bays, those in the Hudson are not subject to wide swings in recruitment. While such a regular pattern insulates the Hudson fish from an extremely bad spawning season, it also means that fishery managers can't depend on one good spawn to remedy the damage caused by overfishing. Thus, it is only prudent that Hudson bass be managed with extra caution."

Finally, CCA NY notes that the striped bass contributes far more to the economy of the region as a recreational, rather than a commercial, species. "I've lived in the Hudson Valley all my life," states CCA NY Chairman Scott Emslie, "and I've seen all sorts of area businesses benefit from the striped bass fishery. A lot of people spend hundreds of dollars on bait, food, gas
and lodging, then let every fish they catch back into the river to spawn and come back next year. A commercial fishermen has to kill his catch to make money, and then it's only a couple of dollars per pound. The current legislation shows that Senator Leibell, who also lives in the Hudson Valley, recognizes this important truth."

For further information, contact Charles Witek, Fisheries Committee Chairman, at 212-552-1029 or write to CCA NY, 1265 Broadway, Room 411, New
York, NY 10001

Respectfully,
George R. Scocca
Publisher, Nor'east Saltwater
 
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