- A recent stock assessment for Atlantic striped bass determined that the fishery has been overfished since 2013, which prompted the adoption of an addendum to the previous amendment to end overfishing in 2019 and begin developing a new amendment (Amendment 7) to end overfishing and rebuild the stock.
- Amendment 7 to the Atlantic Striped Bass Interstate Fishery Management Plan was adopted by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission on May 4, putting in place a management strategy that should be more responsive to changes in the stock abundance than in years past.
Why it matters: With an estimated 7.5 million anglers who pursue Atlantic striped bass, it is the most economically and culturally important recreational 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 access by the angling public. Unfortunately, a recent stock assessment determined the fishery is overfished and undergoing overfishing, resulting in the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission implementing a new management amendment for striped bass to rebuild the stock and provide better fishing opportunities along the entire Atlantic Coast in the coming years.
On May 5, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) passed Amendment 7 to the Atlantic Striped Bass Interstate Fishery Management Plan. Amendment 7 will address challenges with the management of Atlantic striped bass through a comprehensive update of the current management strategy that has failed to account for recent declines in stock abundance.
According to a 2018 benchmark stock assessment, Atlantic striped bass were determined to be both overfished and undergoing overfishing. In response, the ASMFC implemented temporary measures through Addendum VI to Amendment 6 (the most recent amendment to the plan that was implemented in 2003) in 2019. Addendum VI called for management actions, either coastwide or through individual state conservation equivalencies, to reduce striped bass mortality by 18% from 2017 levels. CSF, along with several partners in the angling community, supported the reduction.
Similarly, CSF and members of the angling community recently supported the overhaul of striped bass management through Amendment 7. Changes under the new amendment, among others, include:
- Requiring a rebuilding plan within two years when a spawning stock biomass trigger is tripped
- Updating a recruitment trigger that requires management adjustments based on striped bass young-of-the-year data
- Preventing individual states from deviating from ASMFC approved management measures under what is known as “conservation equivalencies”, or CE’s, when the stock is overfished
- Requiring states to account for the often large uncertainty in the recreational harvest data under the Marine Recreational Information Program when they are able to use CE’s
- Basing the rebuilding projections on the more conservative low-recruitment scenario when the 2022 stock assessment data is available
While the current stock of Atlantic striped bass is in better shape than when moratoriums on harvest were implemented in the 1980’s, recent downward trends in the fishery illustrated that the previous Amendment 6 was not performing as intended. A new management plan was required to reverse recent declines in population abundance and ensure we have a robust, sustainable striped bass fishery tomorrow and for future generations.
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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?Vote Here
- Increase the number of states with discounted license tailored to specific groups. (6.06%)
- Increase access to public lands. (24.63%)
- Provide more information for new participants. (3.89%)
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- Engage youth through hunter and conservation programs in schools. (43.26%)
- I feel we have enough sportsmen and women and do not believe R3 programs are necessary. (9.26%)