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Huntington POV: Striped Bass, Not Humans Are Eating All the Lobster

One of these guys is a lobster eating machine (updated photo)

Reading the Newsday article from March 5th on the lobster problem and the expert opinions on remedies to correct the same, gives me a case of bewilderment. The people who are the self appointed guardians of our saltwater resources labor under the delusion that the written word will cure the lobster problem.

No way will it. It was the written word that created the decline of the lobster population, when the harvesting of striped bass was restricted by law. These pundits know that the striped bass is the alpha predator of juvenile lobster and other marine fish. So what is their solution to their self-created problem? Why it is simple, put a one-year moratorium on taking lobster. Meanwhile, during the moratorium, the bass will continue to decimate juvenile lobster. Remember, lobster and stripers do not obey laws of man. They are governed by the laws of nature; big ones eat little ones.

If there were no problems with the environment, would there be a need for management? There would be no need for these committees, councils or any management.

Another solution along with the moratorium was to increase the size limit on lobster. What good will that do since the bass will still feed on juvenile lobster.

Here is an interesting scenario. A photographer took under water pictures of bass following a lobster boat and the lobster were filmed feeding on short lobster and discards and no one tried to stop them. Management cannot control the predation with the exception of limiting the lobster predators’ (man’s) income with a moratorium. Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of striped bass are feeding on juvenile lobster and other juvenile fish. I opened a legal bass and counted 1500 fluke fry in it. A south shore angler opened a thirty-inch bass that had 23 five-inch fluke in it. Gee mom, that’s where all our lobster and fluke are going. Gee mom, that is where all my tax money goes.

Henry Dam
Cold Spring Harbor

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9 comments to Huntington POV: Striped Bass, Not Humans Are Eating All the Lobster

  • mcrocker

    your story would hold more water if the included picture actually had a striped bass in it instead of a bluefish. if the return of the striped bass is the cause of the lobster’s demise, do you suggest higher bag limits of stripers? how many stipers would need to be taken out of the loop to protect the fluke and lobster? do you really believe that human management of the waters will be able to predict / alter what nature will do? human’s can’t manage themselves, let alone mother nature. there were TONS of blue claw crabs in numbers not seen in a generation on the north shore this year. striped bass eat them too…..

  • Carvel Kid

    Nice Fish BG

  • henry dam

    good point on the blue claw crab . blue claws inhabit shallow waters where as lobste anf fluke tend to be deep water fish . i have opened stripers with blue claws . lobster are the topic of the day . my son had a striper snatch a crab from his hand last year intresting . thanks

  • mcrocker

    henry, i appreciate your contributions to keep the water flowing in csh and value your effors to figure it all out. i truly believe however, that whenver man gets involved in choosing a winner in the eco system, the law of unintended consequences takes over. striped bass eat mantis shrimp, calico crabs, lobsters, bunker, eels, clams (on the hook) and worms. their return is not the cause of the lobster’s demise. i believe, but cannot prove that lobster are dealt a double dose of man made toxins in their environment. the mosquito spraying and the nitrogen run off into our waters are the likely culprit keeping them low in numbers. the sound is slowly coming back – record #s of fluke, blue claw, weakfish and sea bass have been caught. it wont be long before the real apex predator of the sound – porpoise return on a more regular basis. they will help balance it all out…

  • Bill Morrison

    Henry is correct. But the big picture that seems to elude fisheries managers is,
    you cannot manage predators AND prey to achieve the highest levels of BOTH at the same time! You will either have high levels of prey OR high levels of predators, not both. Best that can hoped for is median levels of all, but as nature goes on, even that will fluctuate.

  • henry dam

    the intresting paet is there isnt a shortage bass but rather a shortage of legal bass. i mentioned that bass eat other juvinile fish which covered tom cod ,tinker mackeral weak fish etc. i have population charts that show the decline in numerous other fish while showing a increase of the same proportion of bass.reducing bass size limit to 1972 of 17 inch and no limit till the predator and prey balance out woulf bring back tom cod winter flounder, ells and other species as for seals and porpoise , they eat on average 30-60# , of fin fish a day , not to mention pred by cormorants.in fresh water stripers you are allowed 10 –15 inch fish in sw you are allowed 2 -28 inch with a season. bass range from gulf of maine to gulf of mexico. [ one pound of bass egg is 100,000 eggs mutiply that with million spawners you have mess of reproduction . thanks

  • Bob Giordano

    Striped Bass in Trouble?

    In some areas, sentiment is there is a shortage of striped bass, especially the ones we call micros. Ask the folks up in Maine how the forecast for stripers look…..Pretty dismal is agreed across the board with each of the last few seasons getting worse and worse. The Cape and the Islands, although better, have seen better days as well. Only the Cape Cod Canal fished well last season. An overpopulation of Seals from Chatham, north have put somewhat of a kabosh on inshore bass fishing. Interest groups from those areas and poor young of the year studies in Chesapeake Bay indicate the Striped Bass may be on the verge of trouble. It’s northernmost range (Maine) as the canary in the coal mine if you will. Mycobactriosis is another major issue facing the Chessy stock. It’s not all rosey in the Striped Bass world either.

    Having not fished the sound in the 80’s when for the most part, you couldn’t SMELL a Striped Bass around the Island, was there a spike in the LIS Lobster population back then?

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