Below is a letter of mine that was published in today's Connecticut Post about strengthening protections of important forage fish like menhaden and river herring.
As a recreational angler who grew up on Long Island Sound, I appreciate and count on responsible management of our fish populations. So I tip my cap to Leah Schmalz of Save the Sound for her recent op-ed about reauthorizing the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act ("A federal opportunity to rebuild New England's fisheries," Sept. 28). The MSA's efforts to end overfishing and rebuild depleted fish populations are beginning to work, but much more needs to be done.
What really strikes a chord with me as an angler is the MSA's emphasis on protecting our forage fish, which are the little fish that big fish depend on for food. It doesn't take a marine biologist to correlate good fishing in Long Island Sound with a strong presence of important forage fish like menhaden and river herring. If things like overfishing, bycatch and habitat destruction keep depleting the ocean's forage fish, then the fishing here in the Sound for our game fish that rely on them for food -- including favorite quarry like striped bass, bluefish, weakfish and fluke -- will suffer greatly.
Rebuilding fish populations is a marathon, not a sprint. It may take years or even decades to undo the harm we have done, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't act now. I hope to someday see my children and grandchildren experience the tug of a big striped bass in Long Island Sound just like I've been fortunate to have had. That's why I urge Connecticut's U.S. senators and representatives to lead efforts to reauthorize and strengthen the Magnuson-Stevens Act.