Striped Bass Report from Winter ASMFC Meeting

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ASMFC STRIPED BASS REPORT

1) Fisheries terms
2) How did we get here?
3) Stock assessment
4) Decisions at last ASMFC meeting
5) Next steps

 

1) Fisheries Terms

SSB: Spawning Stock Biomass, Striped Bass 7 years old and 28”

(F) The variable used for fishing mortality. Simply put this is how many fish we kill by fishing. This number includes a 9% allowance for fish released that die (Recreational Discards)

(F) Target: The number of SSB bass that managers should hit (manage to)

(F) Threshold: The fail safe number that SSB can’t fall below. There are management triggers that are activated if the SSB falls below the threshold. Stock is then considered “overfished”

(M) Natural mortality.
2) How did we get here?

1) SSB peaked in 2003 – since then a steady decline

2) By 2007 anglers in northern New England began to see extreme declines in stripers

3) A motion for an addendum to reduce harvest was tabled in 2011 pending the new assessment.

4) Interstate managers  have documented an increase in M for resident Chesapeake Bay stripers probably due to disease caused by poor nutrition, likely lack of menhaden, and note that this is an additional reason to be conservative.

 

3) Stock Assessment

1) Stock Assessment released in August 2013

2) Confirms population is in serious decline

3) SSB falls below (F) target and within 3000 tons of threshold

4) Very good chance that at the current rate of removal the threshold will be crossed in 2015 or 2016

5) Current fishing mortality reference points (F) were too high

6) Population decline a combination of fishing mortality (F) and poor recruitment (see graph)

YOY Striped Bass

7) Stock assessment adopted by board.

 

 

 

 

4) Decisions at last ASMFC meeting (and what they mean)

1) Addendum for the new (F) target and threshold. (hopefully adopted in May)

Old target F = .30 allows for 26% removal

Old Threshold (overfishing)F= .34 allows for 29% removal

New Target F = .180 about a 40% reduction in current fishing 16% rate of removal

New Threshold F = .219 19% of adults

2) Action delayed until January 2015

Logically, the average angler would assume going from two fish to one fish would equal a 50% reduction in recreational harvest. This is NOT the case. Average success rates per angler, per trip vary state by state. In the ocean, this success rate is approximately 1.3 fish harvested per angler, per day. A reduction to one fish would only equal a 30% reduction of harvest. Currently there is no “number” for the Bay. The delay gave managers time to formulate an accurate catch rate per trip per angler for Maryland. Our catch rate should be significantly higher than that of the Ocean. Furthermore, by delaying the action, the Striped Bass Management Board will most likely use the 2013 harvest numbers as a baseline for the reduction. The harvest numbers in 2013 should be much higher than those in 2012. This is a good thing. A 40% reduction based on 2013 could save hundreds of thousands of SSB stripers over 2012.
5) Next Steps

1) ADOPT THE NEW REFERENCE POINTS

The draft addendum will be finalized for public comment at the February ASMFC meeting. Hearings will be held in March and April along the coast. ATTEND THESE MEETINGS!! Argue for the lower reference points because the opposition will be there to argue against.

2) Rubber hits the road

The May meeting of ASMFC will also see the Striped Bass Board finalize another addendum that will have various options to achieve the reductions. Do we go to one fish? Slot limits (conservation penalty= shorter seasons? Size increase? Season Reductions? Gamefish?

3) Regulatory addendum released by May meeting, hearings in June and July, adopted in August, compliance in January 2015

Comments (2)

  1. jerry czosnowski

    Please discontiue the overfishing of strped bass and the sumsiquent decline of the recreational industry as a whole. The marine industry which I have first hand knowledge is showing signe of suffering to the point where only the high wage earners are able to continue fishing for pleasure.We who are not endowed with the money to maitain a boat and all the cost are not going to continue to fish if there are no fish to be caught. Stop keeping the syock to a minimum. Let the species rebound and watch the money flow tho the small businesses that rely on recreational fisherman to maintain their lively hood.

  2. Joe Anonuevo

    I love the effort put into this organization and agree with what you guys represent. I’m sure all of you are aware that recently poachers got away with over 500+lbs of stripers out of the Patapsco. This really hit me hard because that’s where I’d do the majority of my late summer to fall fishing. I’d always hope every time I’d dip a line into the water I might hook into a 40lber I’ve been hoping for since I was a kid. It hurts seeing all those fish dead in the nets on the news. This season is gonna be a tough one. I told everyone I took fishing that if we’re fishin in the spring for stripers it’s gonna be all catch and release until August. Till then we all have to suffer lose of this resource. If I had a say I’d say ban gill nets in the bay. Most fish that get trapped into the nets especially undersized ones usually die of asphyxiation.

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