In early May the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) will convene for their spring meeting, at which time we’re expected to see their Atlantic Striped Bass Board finalize Amendment 7 to the Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan (FMP). Under the current management plan, which was approved in 2003, we’ve observed a historically abundant stock degrade to overfished levels, and little has been done to curb overfishing or reverse this declining trend. To put it simply – management changes are needed, and the stakes for the future of the Northeast’s most iconic recreational fishery couldn’t be higher.
Unlike most regulatory proposals, where a specific set of measures is presented and interested parties can either support or oppose them, Draft Amendment 7 is structured more like a menu of options that the Striped Bass Board can pick from to build the plan that will manage Striped Bass for decades to come. Some of the options could assist with the recovery of the overfished stock and strengthen protection moving forward, and others could allow the current management practices to continue, or worse. You can learn more about BHA’s priorities for inclusion and our rationale for each of them in our Amendment 7 Priorities post. Because the draft doesn’t actually propose a specific direction it’s difficult to know which way the Board is leaning – so the only way to ensure a positive outcome for the future of Atlantic Striped Bass is to speak up now!
ASMFC is accepting public comments on Draft Amendment 7 until April 15th at 11:59 PM, and here are 3 ways that you can weigh in to help recover and protect Atlantic Striped Bass:
Fill out BHA’s Action Alert to send a letter to the ASMFC
At the bottom of this page there’s an Action Alert that you can use to easily send a letter to the ASMFC Staff, who will aggregate all public comments to present to the Board during their spring meeting in May. All of BHA’s priorities – which we feel are the best options to recover Stripers now and protect them for the future – are included in that letter.
Send Comments directly to ASMFC’s Staff
You can draft your own letter to send in to the ASMFC with your top priorities for inclusion in Amendment 7 and perspectives on how they should manage the fishery. Comments can be emailed to [email protected] with “Draft Amendment 7” in the subject line. All comments are helpful, but the most effective strategy is to be specific about exactly which of the presented options you would like to see included when the Striped Bass Board finalizes Amendment 7 in May. As previously mentioned, you can learn about BHA’s priorities for inclusion in our Amendment 7 Priorities post.
Contact your ASMFC Commissioners
The Striped Bass Board is made up of Commissioners who represent coastal states from North Carolina to Maine. Each state has three Commissioners (and some also have proxies), and they will all get together in early May to review the public comments that the ASMFC’s staff has received and vote on what to include in Amendment 7. If you live in one of the states that has a seat at this table, you should reach out to your Commissioners directly and let them know your priorities. Ultimately, they will be casting the votes that determine the future of Atlantic Striped Bass. You can find their contact information on ASMFC’s website here.