November 4, 2019

Measures to Conserve Striped Bass Approved by Fisheries Managers

On October 30, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board (Board) approved an addendum to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass to prevent overfishing and harvest of Atlantic striped bass from North Carolina to Maine.

Specifically, the Board approved Addendum VI to Amendment 6 of the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass that seeks to reduce fishing mortality in both the commercial and recreational sector by 18%. This Addendum also implements a one-fish bag limit and a 28”- 35” recreational slot limit for ocean fisheries, and a one-fish bag limit and an 18” minimum size limit for Chesapeake Bay recreational fisheries. The goal of the Addendum is to end overfishing by reducing fishing mortality to the target level in 2020.

In advance of the decision, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) and seven partners in the fisheries-conservation community sent a letter to the Board in support of balancing striped bass management decisions across both the recreational and commercial fishing sectors. The letter stated, “We support equal burden sharing for both user groups in the 18% reduction in mortality deemed necessary by the ASMFC Striped Bass Technical Committee. We also support the mandatory use of circle hooks when fishing with bait across all states and jurisdictions to reduce discard mortality.” Current data indicates that catch and release practices are contributing significantly overall to striped bass mortality, which in part can be addressed by the implementation and usage of circle hooks. Addendum VI will also require the use of circle hooks beginning in 2021 when fishing with bait to reduce release mortality associated with recreational striped bass fishing.

“Atlantic striped bass management has been successful under cooperative, state-based management through the ASMFC,” said Chris Horton, CSF’s Fisheries Program Senior Director. “We’re at a critical point in this management endeavor which requires further reductions in harvest, across the board, to ensure the flexible, state-based management model continues to be successful in managing striped bass for today and tomorrow’s recreational anglers.”

CSF will continue to work towards reducing striped bass mortality across the board, maintaining individual state flexibility through conservation equivalencies and ensuring the future sustainability of this iconic East Coast fishery. 

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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