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  • By Ken Perrotte

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Approves 18 Percent Reduction in Striper Take

Updated: Feb 22, 2020

The Good Old days of Striped Bass Fishing on the Lower Potomac

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Striped Bass Board decided yesterday to address the sharply declining numbers of striped bass along the Atlantic seaboard, including the Chesapeake Bay, by requiring an 18 percent harvest reduction relative to 2017 stock levels.

The decision follows a lengthy process that began last spring when a 2018 Benchmark Stock Assessment of the species determined serious overfishing was occurring. A draft addendum featuring multiple options was developed for the ASMFC striper management plan. Twenty-one hearings were held in the 14 jurisdictions falling under the commission’s purview.

Three options were presented. Option 1, maintaining the status quo, received no support. The recreational fishing community strongly favored option 2, which called for an equal 18 percent reduction between both recreational and commercial sectors. Commercial fishermen favored option 3, which included an 18 percent reduction in total removals with the commercial sector taking a smaller percent reduction than the recreational sector.

After prolonged discussion, the board eventually voted 11-4 for option 2. Virginia voted yes, while Maryland and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission voted no.

Approved sub-options included allowing, within established seasons, 1 fish per angler per day between 28 and 35 inches in ocean waters. Public comment on this sub-option had supported, by a more than 4-1 ratio, setting a 1 fish limit with a minimum size of 35 inches. In the Chesapeake Bay, the approved sub-option was limiting anglers to 1 fish per day with a minimum size limit of 18 inches. It passed with by a 12-3 vote.

Three other sub-options allowing for two fish meeting either a minimum size or slot limits were not discussed during the meeting. Mike Luisi, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ representative on the board, said during the debate that the 18-inch minimum will pose significant issues. “It goes against the grain…I may have to abstain. Nobody is going to book a charter to catch a single fish over 18 inches,” Luisi said.

For the rest of the article that appeared in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, CLICK HERE.

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