ASMFC Approves Striped Bass Conservation Plans

(ARLINGTON, VA)—Yesterday, the Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) reviewed and approved conservation equivalency (CE) proposals for striped bass management designed to reduce harvest by 18 percent along the Atlantic Coast.

Following a recently released benchmark stock assessment that painted a concerning picture for the status of the striped bass population, states were tasked with adopting a standard option or developing their own plans to achieve the required 18 percent reduction.

It is hoped that these plans result in the decisive action that is needed restore this important resource along the Atlantic Coast and in the Chesapeake Bay.

Following the meeting, Chris Moore, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s senior regional ecosystem scientist issued this statement.

“It was heartening to see the robust discussion on the conservation equivalency proposals for each state, with the Board dedicating a significant amount of time to the review of plans from states such as Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and Maryland. Although strong conservation equivalency proposals can help states meet conservation objectives while recognizing the unique nature of the fisheries in each state, these plans must meet the required conservation objectives and provide a means of ensuring accountability if conservation targets are not met.
“These plans are especially important in the Chesapeake Bay, where approximately 70-percent of the coastwide stock is spawned. The importance of the Chesapeake Bay to the coastwide population highlights the need for certainty that these conservation efforts will succeed.
“Unfortunately, serious concerns remain whether Maryland’s plan will achieve the needed conservation benefit. Maryland’s plan drew concerns from ASMFC’s technical and law enforcement committees for its high uncertainty in the ability to meet the management objective, and difficulty in enforcement. Similar past proposals from Maryland have failed to meet their intended conservation targets. Maryland should take a more risk-averse approach to the management of this fishery to ensure the successful rebuilding of this iconic species.”

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