On February 5, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) released the Public Information Document (PID) for Draft Amendment 7 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Atlantic Striped Bass. This is the first step in the process to gather public input as the ASMFC looks to amend the existing FMP to address several concerns with how the population is responding under the current regulatory approach.
According to a 2018 benchmark stock assessment, Atlantic striped bass were determined to be both overfished and undergoing overfishing. In order to end overfishing as soon as possible, the ASMFC implemented temporary measures through Addendum VI to Amendment VI in 2019. Addendum VI called for management actions, either coast-wide or through individual state conservation equivalencies, to reduce striped bass mortality by 18% from 2017 levels. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF), along with several partners in the angling community, supported the reduction.
With an estimated 7.5 million anglers who pursue Atlantic striped bass, it is the most economically and culturally important fish species from North Carolina to Maine. It is vitally important to communities along the mid and upper Atlantic Seaboard that striped bass are sustainably managed for abundance and to provide access for the angling public. While many factors can influence population abundance other than fishing mortality, it is clear that fishing-related mortality, including post-release mortality, needs to be reduced in order to allow the population to rebuild.
CSF welcomes the opportunity to participate in the process to find a better management approach for Atlantic striped bass. Public comments will be accepted through April 9.
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?