New Jersey fishing advocates are hoping to prepare angler's and business leaders to give input on the management of a popular salt water marine species.

The New Jersey Chapter of the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA-NJ) is hosting a free forum this month aimed at explaining the science of managing the striped bass population. RFA-NJ Managing Director Jim Hutchinson said they're bringing in Fisheries Biologist Russ Allen of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's (NJDEP) Division of Fish and Wildlife on April 23rd.

"You know, we have this benefit of having Russ giving his time on April 23rd to come in and kind of lay out the statistical information about striped bass," said Hutchinson. Where it is now? You know, what the biologist and the statisticians are looking at?"

Hutchinson calls the striped bass an iconic species that was nearly harvested to extinction. In fact, he said the quest to protect the sustainability of the species is what led to fisheries management laws in the first place.

"It's our true game fish, explained Hutchinson." "There's no commercial harvest of striped bass and there's no commercial sale. So, individual salt water angler's, recreational fishermen themselves, really care very much about striped bass."

Striped bass fishing that takes place in the Spring and Fall, during its spawning season, also has a huge economic

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impact on the Jersey shore, so much so that Hutchinson called it the most popular game fish along the coast.

"The tackle shops, the charter boats, even the hotels and motels, people will book entire weeks or weekends to be at the Jersey shore during the striper run," Hutchinson said.

The forum is in advance of the Spring meeting of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), which will be taking up the discussion on whether to change the population protections currently in place for stripers.

Hutchinson said "there could be options on the table to reduce the recreational harvest for New Jersey fishermen." It could mean a reduction in the bag limit, it could mean a reduction in the size limit and there's a very possibility it could be nothing," he explained.

The forum is being held Wednesday, April 23rd from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Holiday Inn on Route 72 in Manahawkin. For more information call 888-JOIN-RFA or visit