Friday, July 3, 2015

RI Black Sea Bass Regs Beyond Ridiculous

The black sea bass are all over the place and really
abundant, Yet, RI regulations only allow recreational fishermen
 to keep one a day.  It makes no sense.
I suppose we can all now cheer since you can keep a black sea bass in RI waters.  But, hold on.  The regulations now state that you can keep a grand total of 1 fish a day.  Yup, ONE fish.  And, it has to be 14 inches.  I can tell you that black sea bass are the most plentiful gamefish we have in our RI waters right now. For several years now their numbers have swelled to really big levels to the point in which they have become pests in places.  Yet, you are allowed to keep ONE a day.  It does not make any sense to most fishermen.
Regulations are set by the DEM and our Marine Fisheries Council.  The way I understand it, they are given an allotment in weight by a higher goverment agency.  The RI DEM then sets the rules such as size and bag limits.  It was described to me that the science is way behind what is actually taking place in the ocean.  For instance, scientific studies that were done years ago and still used today might show a model of decline in the black sea bass population.  Yet, we all know that is not happening.  It often takes years and years before the science catches up with what is really going on. So, we get hit with strict regulations when there is really an abundance of fish.
So, I have a suggestion....ask the fishermen what is going on! Seems simple enough to me. If they did, you would find huge agreement that the black sea bass fishery is healthy, robust and overabundant.
In this case, allowing RI recreational fishermen to keep just ONE fish a day to eat is simply ridiculous.