If you do, then plan to be a part of the April 8 public hearing for the Bluefish Allocation and Rebuilding Amendment, which is being conducted by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council.

There are seven items to be discussed, presented and commented upon, among which include the modification of allocations between the recreational and commercial sectors, revising the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) objectives and goals, revise how the FMP accounts for management uncertainty, revise the quota transfer process, and initiate a rebuilding plan.

That the bluefish resource can use some “work” is definite, as stocks have reportedly plummeted and recreational catches in particular have taken a hit. It was only a few years ago, if memory serves 2014-17, that it was pure pandemonium along the beaches, jetties and inlets, and in the bays, as swarms of blues ranging from five to 15-plus pounds, including loads in the 18-20 pound class roared in mid-April and stayed well into May before moving north. Choppers, slammers, crocodiles, gators, gorillas….they were all over the Jersey shore scene. Pure rod ‘n reel carnage, and tackle shops couldn’t keep diamond jigs and silver metal spoons on the pegboards. It was impossible not to catch bluefish. A lifetime fishing experience, for sure.

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Then poof, the run disappeared. It didn’t just slow, it vanished. The inshore fishery also suffered, as the always reliable bluefish, saviors of a slow day with stripers or flounder, were few and far between. That included fish of all sizes, from cocktails to crocodiles.

Yes, the species is cyclical, but barring a fisheries miracle, it’s highly doubtful that the aforementioned historic springtime run will return, this year or the next. Hope I’m wrong on this one.

Draconian measures were taken to give the resource a break, the bulk of it falling on the recreational sector with the daily limit dropped from 15 blues to three for individual anglers whether fishing from land or private boat, and five if fishing from a party or charter boat.

Tom Pagliaroli

Well, this April 8, 6pm-8pm, virtual public hearing will hopefully get Ship Bluefish Resource righted. This will be held via GoToWebinar, accessed by smartphone, tablet or computer. Public comment is encouraged. Those interested in commenting are urged to utilize computer voice over internet (VoIP) so questions can be asked and opinions presented. Technical help setting up and logging in is available at 703-842-0714.

To attend in listen mode only (you will not be able to comment), call 1-866-901-6455 and enter access code 140-544-592.

Written comments will be accepted through April 23. For online, it’s https://www.mafmc.org/comments/bluefish-allocation-rebuilding-amendment; via e-mail mseeley@mamfc.org; fax 302-674-5399; or regular mail to:

Dr. Christopher Moore, Executive Director Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council

800 North State Street, Ste. 201

Dover, DE 19901

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