Stripers ForeverConnecticut - here is a matter of the greatest importance for the future of striped bass. Representative Richard Roy of Milford, CT has introduced
HB #5506 which would overturn CT?s long-standing game fish law and make it legal to commercially fish for striped bass in CT! This would certainly be a blow that striped bass don?t need, and it would make it much more difficult to finally achieve the coast-wide game fish status for striped bass that Stripers Forever is working towards with its Massachusetts game fish bill.

We understand this bill has been introduced largely to reduce the number of striped bass in CT waters so that they will not eat all the lobsters. According to a 1999 study by the Univ. of Conn. the lobster population crashed from record high numbers ? that coincided with record numbers of striped bass ? because the waters of the Sound became too warm.

We urge all SF members to do their utmost to defeat this bill. Send Representative Roy both an e-mail, a postal letter, and make a phone call to his office today. His name in paragraph one above is a link that will provide complete contact information. Let him know that you live in CT, that this bill will be very harmful to the sport that you love and to the recreational industry in CT that depends on good striped bass fishing. Tell him that you want him to withdraw this legislation today.

Here are some talking points if you want to say or write more:
1. The striped bass are already under too much pressure. Fishing quality is already substantially worse than it was 5 or especially 10 years ago. This is reducing fishing participation and harming the guiding and tackle industry.
2. Commercial fishing has been shown to create an illegal market in addition to the legal one that puts far more pressure on the resource than planned.
3. The State of Connecticut has no commercial quota for striped bass and any such quota would have to therefore come by reducing the current recreational season and/or bag limits which are already very restrictive by historical standards. In 2003 CT had 473,000 marine anglers, 212,000 of whom primarily targeted striped bass. This legislation would be unfair to them since it would give a very few people a disproportionate share of a scarce public resource.
4. Professionally produced socio-economic studies have shown that recreational use of this resource is many times more valuable than commercial sale in terms of economic activity, taxes generated, and jobs created.
5. The State of Connecticut has a strong warning against regularly consuming striped bass taken from Long Island Sound. These fish should not be sold to consumers.
6. The University of Connecticut has determined that the lobster problem is due to water temperature issues and not predation by striped bass. Before warming temperatures in the late 1990s record numbers of both lobsters and striped bass coexisted in the Sound.
7. Since 1980 Maine, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and New Jersey have made striped bass a game fish protected from the pressures of commercial fishing. Legislation is now pending in MA to accomplish the same thing in that state because of the points made here. CT should not overturn years of positive precedent in the conservation of striped bass.

Remember: E-mail, and Write, and Phone Call!

What else can you do in addition? If you are as upset with this as we are, take the same steps above with your local legislator ? and if you know them by all means go see them ? explain your concerns, and ask them to help you convince Rep. Richard Roy to withdraw this legislation as soon as possible. You can find your CT legislator at this link.

Also, forward this e-mail to all of your fishing friends. Ask them to do the same thing and to go to the Stripers Forever website and become a member ? free as always ? so that we can help them stay on top of this issue too.

While we urge you to use your own words, please?do not be insulting or negative towards commercial fishing or to Representative Roy. Dwell on the facts above and the benefits of a robust recreational fishery for striped bass.