Big striped bass, or rockfish, are a popular springtime catch for anglers. But the larger fish also happen to be the most productive egg bearers. (Photo courtesy Virginia Institute of Marine Science)

CBF Statement on Striped Bass Actions by ASMFC

News Release, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

(ARLINGTON, VA)—Last week, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) voted to send an update to the striped bass fishery management plan out for public comment. This update aims to address overfishing of the striped bass population in the Chesapeake Bay and along the Atlantic Coast after recent assessments confirmed that numbers of the fish are down significantly.

The plan offers numerous options for both the commercial fishing industry and the angling public to weigh in on. That includes changes in size limits, implementation of slot limits, mandating circle hooks for bait fisheries, and reductions in commercial quotas.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) Senior Regional Ecosystem Scientist Chris Moore issued the following statement.

“This is the first step in a longer process to restore the iconic striped bass fishery in the Chesapeake Bay and along the entire Atlantic Coast. Unfortunately, more detailed work to begin rebuilding the striped bass stock was delayed by ASMFC, which postponed decisions on a larger overhaul of the fishery management plan until next year.

“Both recreational anglers and commercial fisheries in the region depend on striped bass. During this public comment period, everyone who cares about the future of striped bass can participate in the process of managing this fishery.

“It’s crucial that we focus on reducing the number of striped bass that die after they are released by fishermen. Combining warm air and water temperatures with low oxygen and the handling of fish exacerbates release mortality in the Chesapeake Bay region. We encourage anglers to learn and implement best practices for catch and release to reduce harm to the striped bass population.

“Other keys to increasing the population include improving water quality under the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint and working to make sure there are enough menhaden and other food to support a growing population of striped bass.”