2012 Virginia black sea bass regulations will include a 12.5 inch minimum size, possession limit of 25 fish, and open seasons from May 19 – October 14 and November 1 – December 31, according to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC).
After reviewing 2011 black sea bass recreational data, the Commission’s Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Management Board modified the percent that states may liberalize their 2012 recreational management measures to achieve the 1.32 million pound (942,857 fish) harvest limit for the 2012 fishery.
Since the Board’s approval of Addendum XXII and the resultant 2012 state recreational management measures in February 2012, new 2011 recreational harvest estimates were released by the National Marine Fisheries Service. The data indicates the projections used to form the basis of this year’s regulations under estimated the 2011 harvest. Coastwide recreational harvest for the 2011 black fishery is now estimated at 713,478 fish (versus the initial estimate of 654,142 fish).
Based on the stock projections completed in 2011, the black sea bass stock is not overfished and overfishing is not occurring. The projections indicate the stock is at about 111% of its biomass target.