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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
did you know that dec regulations prohibit the use of gillnets in great south bay from may 1st to may 31st?

the best intention of this regulation is to protect the weakfish from commercial fishing pressure until they have had a chance to spawn.

unfortunately, this reg leaves the weakfish vulnerable in april.

in warm years such as this one, the weaks arrived in mid-april, have not spawned yet, and are being LEGALLY removed from the great south bay by commercial gillnets!

WHEN WILL THIS MADNESS STOP?

set,
opinari
 

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Hi Opinari,

I hate seeing all those net floats sitting out there too. Traditionally, in my experiences, the big spawners don't come into the bay until the last week of April. This year doesn't appear to be any different, even with the warm weather. While I began catching them about a week and a half ago, they were were all only 16-22 inches. I was beginning to get concerned that I hadn't seen any of the big ones and that maybe they had come in really early and did get caught in the nets. Apparently not, because yesterdays reports show that there were just three caught between 9-10 pounds. It looks like they are hear right on schedule. The nets will be out in a week.

While I would be very happy to see the net season shortened to mid April, I don't think the DEC would be too obliging on that complaint. Maybe after a couple of seasons like this, we could argue that the breeding season has changed due to weather patterns and the netting season should be changed accordingly, but I don't think it will happen based on just one season.

I'll second the nomination of that bill!

Chris
 

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I was involved in a bill that would extend the closed season from mid-April through Mid-Jun. There was some interest in the Assembly for the bill but no takers in the Senate, and it died.

I think a more important issue is the suggestion that the by-catch on weakfish be increased from 150-pounds to 300-pounds during the closed season. That has a potential of turning it into a directed fishery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
thanks for showing you care

doughboy,

weakfish reach sexual maturity at about a foot in length. while the largest females are very important to the long term success of the population, the smaller ones are also important and should also be protected during the pre-spawn/spawning period when they are so vulnerable in great south bay. btw - that is a good observation about the males croaking with their modified swim bladders.

nor'east george,

i suppose you feel the proposed increase in the allowable bycatch from 150#s to 300#s during the closed season is more important because that proposal is currently on the table.

where, geographically, would that proposal take effect?

in great south bay, how (by what method)
would there be a directed fishery for weakfish during the closed season? they can't trawl or gillnet at all, so there is no bycatch possible with those methods. i would not worry about pinhooking, and i don't know that potting would be all that effective either.

set,
opinari
 

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Opi,

I think George means that if the by-catch limit is raised that will make it a defacto commerical weakfish fishery, regardless of calling it by-catch.

Jaiem
ArtsNFlies.com
 

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The complete Public Information Document (PID) on Amendment 4 to the Interstate Management Plan for Weakfish can be found at http://www.fdny.net/weakpid.pdf The public comment period is over but once recommendations are in place there will be a set of coast-wide hearings to gather public input on the plan. I believe the timetable is to have everything in place for new coastal regulations by next year.

I am the New York State recreational advisor on the Advisory Panel (AP) for weakfish and there?s a meeting set the week of May 20 for both the AP and the board to hammer out what options will be given for final public comment. I?ll keep all of our Noreast.com users informed throughout the process.

I recommend you read the document as it provides some great insight into the plan and history behind it.

Remember, this is a coast wide plan bringing many players with different agendas to the table trying to reach a common goal of continuing the restoration of the fishery. Some sticky points will be minimum size limits and whether or not there should be an increase in the coastal minimum size and bag limits and the increase in commercial by-catch.

There is also going to be an effort from North Carolina to re-introduce the fly-net fishery that was eliminated a few years ago. Many on both the board and the AP feel the closing of that fishery is what has helped bring back the weakfish, and that opening this fishery again would be a set-back. Although I?m not all that familiar with that fishery I?ve been told that it consisted of mostly 6-8 inch juvenile weakfish, and I can?t imagine that being anything other than destructive.

New Yorkers for the most part should like what they see in the PID because some of the suggestions would bring other states in line with our already restrictive measures. At 6 fish at 16-inches we have both the largest minimum size and lowest bag limit of all the states involved in the fishery. For example NJ and DE have a 14 ?inch minimum and a 14-fish bag limit, and if you look at the figures you will see that NJ takes more weakfish than NY, CT, RI and MA combined. The rest of the NE states all have 16-inch minimums but no bag limit except for MA, which has a 12-fish limit.

As you head further south the restrictions both NC and VA have 12-inch minimums during parts of the season. So as you can see it?s not going to be an easy task to satisfy everyone, but the important thing is that we find a way to continue the rebuilding of this once vibrant fishery.

Opinari,

These recommendations will not effect our local regulations that include the current Great South Bay spawning closure, but they could affect our gill-netters by allowing them an increase in the by-catch from 150-pounnds to 300-pounds.

At the hearing last week I listened to a number of gill netters explain that they get them as a by-catch during the summer closure and that they get up to $1.50 per pound that time of year. My problem with that is a 300-pound by-catch will instantly become a directed fishery. As for the pin hookers, they are not allowed part of the by-catch because that would be considered a directed fishery. There was some debate as to whether or not that was fair to the commercial hook and line fishermen and it may be addressed in the final public document.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
weakfish pid

nor'east george,

thanks for the reply.

i did see the weakfish pid on www.asmfc.org, the other day. despite my compulsive readng affliction, i haven't taken the time to study it yet. it is a somewhat intimidating document, at first glance. i did notice that you were serving on the advisory panel.

first, i would like to thank you for your service on the panel.

i would also like to thank you in advance for keeping us nor'east readers
informed as the process unfolds.

it is kind of odd, on this site we thoroughly discuss management issues about fluke, flounder, striper, cod, blackfish, porgy etc., but (since i have been a member, anyway)we have not had much discussion of weakfish management.

set,
opinari
 

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I boat in Bellport bay near the Carmens river and sometimes see the gillnet boats picking up the nets. Other times I see floats closely spaced on the surface and am not sure if it is a gillnet or just traps. I am afraid I am going to snag the net with my lower unit. How can you tell the diference?

Thanks;
Treypescatorie
 

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I am begining to think OPINARI's concern are right on!

This is the worst start to May fishing for weaks I have seen in the last 10 years. We fished for three hours early this morning and got one 22 inch fish. I tried practically the whole box, but only had a pink 4 inch twister tail produce. I did see a few more caught, on other lures as well, but nothing compared to previous years at this time.

About a week ago I was fishing a hole further up in the bay than Ocean Beach and a guys was bailing them one after the other while I only caught one (talk about humaliating). So, I wasn't sure if it has just been me having bad luck or what.

But, from talking to others at the ramp and reading reports, guys are getting a few large ones occasionally, and a few more smaller fish, but not enough or with any regularity. I would be interested to see how the gillnetter's 2002 April catch compared to the last three years.
 
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