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Attention: Striped Bass

Addendum II - Public Comment Needed!

Updated 11/27/23

As many of you may know, the Atlantic striped bass population is in trouble - big trouble actually.  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 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.  At the current rate, it is safe to say that without major change we will likely 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.  That is why we need every voice available to stand up and speak for striped bass. Now is the time to act!

Addendum II

The ASMFC has released their final version of Draft Addendum II for striped bass for public comment.  The goal of this document is to reduce fishing mortality by adjusting recreational measures and commercial quotas.  While these approaches are good (assuming the correct options are chosen - more on that below), they still likely will not be enough to change the course for striped bass.  This year marks the fifth consecutive year of trouble spawns for striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay, and once the 2024 stock assessment comes out next year, additional action will likely need to be taken. 

 

A message from the ASMFC regarding Addendum II

 

"In May, the Board initiated the Draft Addendum in response to the low probability of meeting the 2029 stock rebuilding deadline if the unexpectedly high 2022 fishing mortality rate continues. The Draft Addendum builds upon the 2023 emergency action by considering management measures intended to reduce fishing mortality to the target level in 2024. Projections indicate that a 14.5% reduction in total removals relative to 2022 is needed to have a 50% chance of being at or below the fishing mortality target in 2024. For the recreational fishery, the Draft Addendum proposes recreational bag and size limit options for the ocean and Chesapeake Bay regions, including options with different limits for the for-hire modes. To address concerns about recreational filleting allowances and compliance with recreational size limits, the Draft Addendum includes an option that would establish minimum requirements for states that authorize at-sea/shore-side filleting of striped bass (e.g., racks must be retained). For the commercial fishery, the Draft Addendum proposes a quota reduction option that would reduce commercial quotas by up to 14.5%, with the final percent reduction to be determined by the Board. "

 

"For measures beyond 2024, the Board will consider the results of the upcoming 2024 stock assessment update to inform subsequent management action. To enable an expedited management response to the 2024 stock assessment update, the Draft Addendum proposes an option that would enable the Board to respond to the results of the stock assessment updates more quickly, via Board action, if the stock is not projected to rebuild by 2029."

 

There is a lot to unpack here, but thankfully the good folks over at the American Saltwater Guides Association (ASGA) have broken everything down for us. Old Maine Outfitters is a proud supporter of the ASGA and is aligned with their approached on which options in the Addendum give us the best chance for helping striped bass. In short, those options are:

 

  • 3.1.1 Ocean Recreational Options: Option B - 1-fish at 28-31″ with 2022 seasons (all modes).

  • 3.1.2 Chesapeake Bay Recreational Options: Option B1 - 1 fish at 19-23” across all CBAY jurisdictions with the same 2022 seasons. 

  • 3.2.1 Commercial Quota Reduction Options: Option B with a 14.5% reduction to both the Ocean and Chesapeake Bay Quotas.

  • 3.3 Response to Stock Assessment: Option B - Board Action. 
     

That said, our best bet to save striped bass is for every angler to educate themselves and participate in these public comments. Please find education resources below.

 

Resources

 

Public Comment closes December 22, 2023!

 

Don't hesitation to reach out with any questions! info@oldmaineoutfitters.com or message us on Instagram!

Thank you!

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.

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