An updated estimate of the striped bass population along the Atlantic Coast released yesterday shows improvements in striped bass numbers, but fishery managers remain cautious. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) at its annual meeting this week accepted the updated striped bass stock assessment for use in making decisions to manage the fishery.
The assessment found that the striped bass population along the Atlantic Coast is no longer experiencing overfishing, but numbers remain below the management threshold, indicating further rebuilding of the population is required. If fishing rates remain low, there is a nearly 80 percent chance the striped bass population could reach healthy levels by 2029.
CBF Senior Regional Ecosystem Scientist Chris Moore issued the following statement.
“After alarming striped bass population declines in recent years, it’s encouraging that some things are moving in the right direction. New fishery measures are working to prevent overfishing and reduce the number of striped bass that die after being released. But we still have a long way to go to rebuild a healthy striped bass population, as shown by continued low numbers of juvenile striped bass in Maryland’s annual survey.”
“Here in the Chesapeake Bay region, efforts to reduce release mortality and improve water quality are paramount to helping ensure the continued recovery of this species. Recent studies have shown a lack of suitable habitat for striped bass in Chesapeake Bay during the summer due to high water temperatures and lack of oxygen. Increasing our pace of pollutant reductions and ensuring our fishing seasons are designed to reduce stress on fish in summertime are critical to helping restore this iconic Bay species.”
Editor’s note: The updated striped bass stock assessment can be found in the ASMFC report starting on page 55.