On Thursday, the Striped Bass Management Board approved a draft document that presents a range of options designed to end overfishing of striped bass. The proposed measures include changes in bag limits, minimum sizes, and slot size limits for recreational fishermen and reduced quotas for commercial fisheries. The document also explores the mandatory use of circle hooks when fishing with bait to reduce release catch-and-release mortality.
Proposed options for recreational fishermen include an increase in minimum size (from 1 fish at 28″ to 1 fish at 35″ or 1 fish at 36″) or a shift to slot sizes (for example, 1 fish 28″ – 34″ or 1 fish at 32″ – 40″).
Atlantic coastal states will conduct public hearings on the document in the coming weeks and the ASMFC will be collecting public feedback until September 27, 2019. We’ll share the details once they are finalized.
ASMFC Press Release:
Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board Approves Draft Addendum VI for Public Comment
Arlington, VA – The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board (Board) approved Draft Addendum VI for public comment. The Addendum was initiated in response to the 2018 Benchmark Stock Assessment which indicates the resource is overfished and experiencing overfishing. The Draft Addendum explores a range of management alternatives designed to end overfishing and reduce fishing mortality to the target level in 2020.
“The Draft Addendum is a critical first step to stem overfishing as quickly as possible and begin efforts to rebuild the biomass,” said Board Chair Dr. Michael Armstrong with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. “Following approval of the Addendum, the Board will likely initiate a new amendment to consider a longer term strategy to fully rebuild the resource.”
The Draft Addendum proposes management options for both commercial and recreational sectors in the ocean and in Chesapeake Bay in order to reduce total fishery removals by 18% relative to 2017 levels. The proposed measures include reduced quotas for commercial fisheries, and changes in bag limits, minimum sizes, and slot size limits for the recreational sector. Since catch and release practices represent a significant component of overall fishing mortality, the Draft Addendum also explores the mandatory use of circle hooks when fishing with bait to reduce release mortality in recreational striped bass fisheries.
It is anticipated the majority of Atlantic coastal states will conduct public hearings on the Draft Addendum; a subsequent press release will announce the details of those hearings once they become finalized. Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on the Draft Addendum either by attending state public hearings or providing written comment. The Draft Addendum will be available on the Commission website (www.asmfc.org) under Public Input by August 19th. Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM (EST) on September 27, 2019 and should be forwarded to Max Appelman, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St, Suite A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; 703.842.0741 (FAX) or at firstname.lastname@example.org (Subject line: Draft Addendum VI). Organizations planning to release an action alert in response to Draft Addendum VI should contact Max Appelman at email@example.com or 703.842.0740.
A PDF of the press release can be found here – http://www.asmfc.org/uploads/file/5d4c866apr23AtlStripedBassDraftAddVI_PublicComment.pdf