Striped Bass Draft Addendum Released: A Quick Summary
By Ross Squire (President, NY Coalition for Recreational Fishing; 1@32 Pledge on Facebook)
As we know, the recent striped bass technical assessment revealed the fishery as overfished with overfishing occurring. Their analyses indicated that a reduction of 17% over 2017 harvest levels is required to restore the fishery to acceptable levels.
The ASMFC Striped Bass Management Board tasked a team to develop a Draft Addendum which would include a set of options that would achieve this harvest reduction. The Draft Addendum was made public yesterday and here are the options that they arrived at for the recreational sector:
Option 1 calls for the Management Board to take no action – basically status quo. Nothing would change and the intended harvest reductions would not be achieved.
Option 2 has multiple components. It calls for the recreationaland commercial sectors to both absorb an 18% harvest reduction from 2017 levels. To achieve this in the recreational sector they have offered 3 sub-options:
2-A1: 1 fish per day @35″ minimum for ocean states which would result in 18% reduction
2-A2: 1 fish per day between 28″-34″ slot which would result in 19% reduction
2-A3: 1 fish per day between 32″-40″ slot which would result in 21% reduction
The season for striped bass fishing would be unchanged.
For the Chesapeake Bay the options include:
2-B1: 1 fish a day @18″ minimum which would result in 20% reduction
2-B2: 2 fish a day @22″ which would result in 18% reduction
2-B3: 2 fish a day @18-23″ which would result in 19″ reduction
2-B4: 2 fish a day @20-24″ which would result in 19% reduction
The fishing season for B1 and B2 would remain unchanged.
The season for B3 and B4 would not include a trophy fish season.
Option 3-A includes a 20% reduction for the recreational sector and a 1.8% reduction for the commercial sector. The sub-options are as follows for the ocean:
3-A1: 1 fish a day @36″ minimum for ocean states which would result in ~20% reduction
3-A2: 1 fish a day between 28″-33″ slot which would result in ~22% reduction
3-A3: 1 fish a day between 32″-40″ slot which would result in ~21% reduction
Option 3-B includes the following sub-options for the Chesapeake Bay fishery:
3-B1: 1 fisher per day @19” minimum (MD) or 20” (PRFC, DC, VA) resulting in a 29% reduction
3-B2: 1 fish per day @ 18” minimum resulting in a 20% reduction
3-B3: 2 fish per day @23” minimum resulting in a 20% reduction
3-B4: 2 fish per day between 18”-22” resulting in a 21% harvest reduction
3-B5: 2 fish per day between 20”-23” resulting in a 20% harvest reduction
3-B5: 2 fish per day between 22”-40” resulting in a 21% harvest reduction
Option 3-B1 and 3-B2 would have the same seasons and trophy season as 2017.
Option 3-B3, B4 and B5 would have the same season as 2017 except the trophy season would start no earlier than May 1.
Option 3-B6 would have the same seasons as 2017; same trophy season and minimum sizes except with a 40” max size limit
The entire Draft Addendum can be found at http://www.asmfc.org/files/Meetings/2019SummerMtg/AtlanticStripedBassBoardSupplemental.pdf.
So as you can see lots of options to be considered. The Draft Addendum will be a topic of discussion at the ASMFC Summer Meeting being held on August 8th. The Board could decide to accept the Draft Addendum and put it out for public comment or they can request changes to the Draft before the public comment begins. The preliminary plan is to have the Draft Addendum voted on during the October ASMFC meeting with the new regulations in place for the 2020 season.
The bottom line is that these are crucial decisions that will be made. In 2014 a 25% harvest reduction was placed on the ocean states with a 20.5% harvest reduction in the Chesapeake Bay. It did not achieve its intended goals and that is a discussion for another day.
It is important that each of us remain educated on what is going on and there are some excellent sources of information that you can rely on:
Now is the time to stay informed. Ask any questions that you might have. When prompted write those letters and emails. Attend those meetings. Strength comes in numbers and your help is sorely needed.