Resolved, Whereas the illegal harvesting of striped bass has the potential to undermine the sustainability of striped bass populations on the Atlantic Coast; and
Whereas the illegal harvest of striped bass has the potential to reduce the economic opportunities of commercial fisherman who are legally participating in the fishery; and
Whereas at the February 2012 Atlantic States Marine Fishery Commission (ASMFC) Striped Bass Management Board meeting a motion was passed to initiate the development of an addendum to incorporate the recommendations made by the Interstate Watershed Task Force (IWTF) and the ASMFC Law Enforcement Committee (LEC) on reducing the illegal harvest of striped bass; and
Whereas the IWTF and LEC recommended that all Atlantic States and jurisdictions implement a uniform commercial tagging system where striped bass are harvested and landed for sale; and
Whereas the IWTF and LEC recommended that all fish harvested for sale be tagged immediately upon possession at the point of harvest; and
Whereas the IWTF and LEC recommended that the States and jurisdictions issue a set of number tags based on a sound scientific sample of the average (mean) weight of legal-sized fish harvested in open season for that type of gear divided into the weight quota; and
Whereas the IWTF and LEC recommended requiring all unused tags to be returned on annual or seasonal basis and prohibit license renewal if unused tags are not returned; and
Whereas the IWTF and LEC recommended the implementation of license revocation or suspension as a primary penalty for state or federal violations;; and
Whereas the IWTF and LEC recommended that states and jurisdictions’ law enforcement officers have real-time access to tag numbers issued to each fisherman; and
Whereas at the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission 2012 Summer Meeting a motion was made to approve the IWTF and LEC recommendations for a uniform commercial tagging program at the point of harvest; and
Whereas a motion was made by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to substitute for this option to tag at the point of harvest; and
Whereas this motion was practically for no action to be taken now and for the states to act at their own discretion at a later date; and
Whereas that motion passed by an 8 in favor, 7 opposed and 1 abstention and thus a motion for no action was accepted;
Therefore be it resolved that the Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Commission working with the Massachusetts Director of Marine Fisheries adopt the recommendations made by the Interstate Watershed Task Force and the Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Commission Law Enforcement Committee to implement a striped bass commercial tagging program at the point of harvest.
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