Striped Bass Managers Vote to Take Action

Changes to striped bass regulations intended to halt overfishing are expected for the 2020 fishing season, but what those changes will be remains to be decided.

At the spring meeting of the Striped Bass Management Board on Tuesday, managers voted to initiate development of an addendum to reduce fishing mortality in 2020 and begin rebuilding the Atlantic striped bass stock. The action was taken in response to the most recent stock assessment, which found that striped bass are overfished.

The approved motion tasked Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) staff with developing options that would include:

** Minimum fish size for the coast and a minimum fish size for the Chesapeake Bay
** Slot limit that would prohibit harvest of fish over 40 inches
** Mandatory use of circle hooks when fishing bait coastwide to reduce discard mortality
** A provision that states could use seasonal closures in conservation equivalency proposals
** Apply needed reductions equally to both commercial and recreation sectors
** Apply needed reductions proportionally based on total removals in 2017 to both commercial and recreational sectors

It is expected that a draft addendum will be reviewed by the Board at their August meeting before being put out for public comment.