States Take Positive Action to Conserve Atlantic Striped Bass Fishery
Sportfishing industry applauds proactive response to address declining Atlantic striped bass
Alexandria, VA – October 31, 2014 – In a move overwhelmingly supported by the recreational fishing industry, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission approved implementing a 25 percent striped bass harvest reduction for coastal states for both the commercial and recreational fishing sectors within one year. The Chesapeake Bay jurisdictions’ percentage is set at 20.5 percent. The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) strongly supports this harvest reduction, which will help to safeguard the striped bass fishery and increase its abundance before the stock were to reach overfished levels and drastic reductions would be needed.
“Striped bass is arguably the most popular and important saltwater fishery to the sportfishing industry, so it’s critically important that managers get it right,” said Mike Leonard, ASA’s Ocean Resource Policy director. “While the stock is significantly healthier today than it was when the fishing moratorium was enacted in the 1980s, declining trends in the fishery are causing concern. We thank the commission for proactively responding to this challenge. Their action will help ensure that the striped bass fishery remains strong, which is crucial to the coastal communities and businesses that depend on it.”
To achieve the 25 percent reduction, the commission supported reducing the coast-wide recreational bag limit from two fish to one fish while keeping the size limit at 28 inches. However, through conservation equivalency measures, individual states can meet the 25 percent reduction by implementing alternative regulations, including bag limits, size limits, slot limits and/or trophy regulations.
“Working with ASA and Southwick Associates, Big Rock Sports surveyed our fishing tackle dealers from Maine to North Carolina and the overwhelming consensus was that immediate reductions in striped bass harvest were needed,” said Gary Zurn, Big Rock Sports’ Senior Vice President of Industry Relations and chairman of ASA’s Government Affairs Saltwater subcommittee. “Now that the reduction is agreed upon, we look to the individual states to work with the entire recreational fishing community to help determine which recreational fishing regulations are most appropriate to achieve the new targets.”
“Our industry cannot be successful without healthy and abundant fisheries, which is why we continue to support good management actions that put conservation first, while recognizing the needs of the individuals and businesses that depend on the resource,” said Leonard.
Leonard further said, “We know it wasn’t an easy process for the commission to arrive at this decision, however, in the end, they got it right. The Atlantic striped bass fishery is a shining example of what good fisheries management is all about.”