The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board has initiated development of Draft Addendum III with the goals of reducing striped bass fishing mortality (F) up to 40% and further protecting spawning stock when it is concentrated and vulnerable. The addendum was initiated in order to allow managers to promptly respond to the results of the stock assessment update in the fall if necessary. Provisions of the addendum, if passed, could be implemented prior to the start of the 2012 fishing year.
The Board’s action responds to recent trends in the fishery and resource, including a 66% decline in estimated recreational catch from 2006 to 2009; a 25% decline in estimated striped bass abundance from 2004 to 2008; and lowered recruitment in recent years. Additionally, states in the northern extent of the fishery have expressed concern over decreased availability of striped bass as a result of the diminished water quality in the Chesapeake Bay during the summer months that may also contribute to increased prevalence of mycobacteriosis in striped bass.
Draft Addendum III will propose a range of fishing management measures including, but not limited to, adjustments to commercial and recreational minimum size (for jurisdictions outside Chesapeake Bay and Albemarle Sound/Roanoke River), reductions in annual coastal commercial allocation, reductions in recreational bag limits, revisions to the target F rate (for Chesapeake Bay and Albemarle Sound/Roanoke River), and reductions on fishing for striped bass in known spawning areas during the spawning season by at least 50% (for jurisdictions bordering the Hudson River, Delaware River, Chesapeake Bay and Albemarle Sound/Roanoke River).
The commercial and recreational fishery is currently managed through Amendment 6 to the Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan. The Amendment, passed in 2003, allocates the coastal commercial quota and set a two fish bag limit and a 28 inch size minimum for the recreational fishery, with the exception of the Chesapeake Bay fisheries, Albemarle Sound/Roanoke River fisheries, and states with approved alternative regulations.
The Draft Addendum will be developed for preliminary review by the Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board in August. For more information, please contact Kate Taylor, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at email@example.com or 703.842.0740.