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· Premium Member
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I?m not sure I agree with the natural predator theory, but I am sure that there were many more people fishing back in the 70?s and 80?s. For example, according to numbers kept by the National Marine Fisheries Service there were over 800,000 people fishing in 1984 and today there are less than 450,000. There are a lot more private boat anglers around today but the party boat fleet has declined to about 10% of what it was back then as has boat rental stations.

No one is certain as to what exactly needs to be done to restore the fishery, but I personally think we should start by shutting down the spawning season to commercials, just as it is for recreational anglers, and eliminate dragging them as they enter and leave the bays. I?m not sure it?s a cure all but it would definitely be a step in the right direction.

What we really need is for recreational anglers to take an interest in this fishery the way we did striped bass, then and only then will we see a return of this once popular fishery.
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