The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board recently approved Addendum VI to Amendment 6 of the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass.
The Addendum reduces all state commercial quotas by 18%, and implements a 1 fish bag limit and a 28”-35” recreational slot limit for ocean fisheries and a 1 fish bag limit and an 18” minimum size limit for Chesapeake Bay recreational fisheries.
States may submit alternative regulations through conservation equivalency to achieve an 18% reduction in total removals relative to 2017 levels.
Addendum VI was initiated in response to the 2018 Benchmark Stock Assessment, which indicates the resource is overfished and experiencing overfishing.
The Addendum’s measures are designed to reduce harvest, end overfishing, and bring fishing mortality to the target level in 2020.
Since catch and release practices contribute significantly to overall fishing mortality, the Addendum requires the mandatory use of circle hooks when fishing with bait to reduce release mortality in recreational striped bass fisheries.
Outreach and education will be a necessary element to garner support and compliance with this important conservation measure.
States are required to submit implementation plans by November 30, 2019 for review by the Technical Committee and approval by the Board in February 2020.
States must implement mandatory circle hook requirements by January 1, 2021. All other provisions of Addendum VI must be implemented by April 1, 2020.
Additionally, in February 2020, the Board will consider a postponed motion to initiate an Amendment to rebuild spawning stock biomass to the target level and address other issues with the management program.
Addendum VI will be available on the ASMFC website (www.asmfc.org) in early November.
source: Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission