Striped Bass Scientists Look at Raising Size Limit

report released today by the Striped Bass Technical Committee (TC) of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) projects that an increase in the minimum size for the coastal striped bass fishery from 28 inches to 35 inches in 2020 would be necessary to have a 50% chance of meeting the fishing mortality target. The projection was made as a first step in determining a management response to the recent striped bass assessment finding that striped bass are overfished and overfishing is occurring.

The TC found that a 17% reduction in fishing mortality from 2017 levels would be necessary to have a 50% chance of achieving the fishing mortality target.  They then developed an example management change to achieve this reduction in total recreational removals (while assuming commercial removals would also be reduced by 17% through other management actions.

They found that while keeping the bag limit at one fish and without changing season lengths, an increase in minimum size limit from 28 inches to 35 inches would achieve a 17.5% reduction. In Chesapeake Bay, the minimum size would have to increase from 19″ to 21″ in Maryland, and from 20″ to 22″ in Virginia.