Back in 2022 every BHA Chapter from North Carolina to Maine – the entire footprint of the Atlantic Striped Bass range – advocated for conservation-minded priorities in Amendment 7 to the Striped Bass fishery management plan (FMP). Once again, the BHA Chapters that are represented on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Striped Bass Management Board have come together to urge Commissioners to initiate responsive management action (an addendum) to address the most recent projected odds of recovering the Striped Bass fishery by 2029 – which is a requirement of Amendment 7.
Why call for an addendum to the FMP?
Atlantic Striped Bass were declared “overfished”, as defined by the FMP’s abundance standards, in 2019. As a result, the FMP requires the Board to recover the fishery within a period within 10 years. Initially, data from the 2020-21 fishing years indicated that adjustments to management parameters weren’t needed (a Nov 2022 Stock Assessment projected a 78.6 % chance of recovery by 2029 – table 10/pg.20). Now, with the inclusion of data from the most recent fishing season, the projected odds of recovery by 2029 have reduced to an unacceptable 15% unless new measures are implemented (Per an ASMFC Striped Bass Technical Committee report, pg32/table1). The reduction in projected odds of recovery by 2029 is directly related to data from NOAA’s Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP), which indicated that recreational harvest more than doubled between 2021 and 2022.
In addition to considering the Technical Committee’s projections the Striped Bass Management Board is also scheduled to finalize Addendum I, which BHA’s New England & New York Chapters commented on earlier this year. Little has changed since the Board concluded the public comment period in January so BHA’s position on interstate transfer of ocean commercial quota – the management issue that Addendum I seeks to modify – remains the same.
On Tuesday, May 2 the ASMFC Striped Bass Board will convene as part of ASMFC’s spring meeting and this is likely the final opportunity to initiate responsive management action to affect regulations during the 2024 fishing season.