Attention: Striped Bass
2023 Regulations Are Changing
As many of you may know, the Atlantic striped bass population is in trouble. This is something many anglers have known for some time, but in 2019, we were officially informed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) that the striped bass are overfished, and that overfishing is occurring. In plain terms, this means that the numbers of breeding females are lower than sustainable thresholds, and we are continuing to remove/kill more bass from our waters at a faster rate than they can reproduce. It's difficult to say exactly when, but at the current rate, it is safe to say that without change we could see the end of Atlantic striped bass.
We are in a critical moment and now is our opportunity to react, based on the information we know to be true, and change the course for striped bass. And while a swift and strong conservation strategy is the obvious choice, and one that, in theory, could be relatively simple to implement, many conservation efforts are met with unfortunate opposition. Now is the time to act.
Really great news for striped bass! Finally, after a very long wait, the ASMFC did the right thing and is implementing a emergency action to protect the 2015 year class from harvest this year. The slot limit along the coast will be reduced from 28”-35” to 28”-31” inches THIS 2023 SEASON! All states have until July 1st to implement this regulation, however many states, including Maine will likely implement much sooner. Maine will be holding a webinar on Thursday May 11th at 5pm to discuss these new changes. You can join the webinar here and view the ASMFC’s official press release here.
From Maine DMR:
“At their May 2 meeting, the Striped Bass Management Board (Board) reviewed updated stock projections which showed the probability of rebuilding the striped bass stock by 2029 had decreased from 97% to 15%. This was primarily due to a significant increase in recreational removals in 2022 as the 2015 year-class moved into the slot limit. Based on this information, the Board took emergency action for the 2023 fishing year to implement a 31" maximum size limit in the recreational fishery where a higher (or no) maximize size limit currently exists, excluding the Chesapeake Bay trophy fishery. This action is intended to provide greater protection to the 2015 year-class as it moves through the ocean recreational fishery. The Board also initiated Draft Addendum II to reduce fishing mortality back to the target level in 2024. This addendum will be developed over the coming months and the Board will consider approving the document for public comment at their August meeting. “
Thanks to all the people who took the time to write to their commissioners, sign letters and spread the word. It’s great that our voice and concerns were finally heard and the board took the action needed to hopefully set striped bass on the road to recovery. That road will still be long and bumpy so please to everything in your power to practice proper handling techniques, limit air exposer, switch in single hooks, forgo the picture of schoolies and treat these fish like the extremely valuable resource that they are!
Thank you for taking the time to learn about striped bass and how you can help! Striped bass are our passion. They are the reason we founded Old Maine Outfitters. We need to work together to ensure future generations will be able to share this same passion.