The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) issued the following press release after last week’s summer meeting:
Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board Approves
Draft Addendum VI for Public Comment
Arlington, VA – The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board (Board) approved Draft Addendum VI for public comment. The Addendum was initiated in response to the 2018 Benchmark Stock Assessment which indicates the resource is overfished and experiencing overfishing. The Draft Addendum explores a range of management alternatives designed to end overfishing and reduce fishing mortality to the target level in 2020.
“The Draft Addendum is a critical first step to stem overfishing as quickly as possible and begin efforts to rebuild the biomass,” said Board Chair Dr. Michael Armstrong with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. “Following approval of the Addendum, the Board will likely initiate a new amendment to consider a longer term strategy to fully rebuild the resource.”
The Draft Addendum proposes management options for both commercial and recreational sectors in the ocean and in Chesapeake Bay in order to reduce total fishery removals by 18% relative to 2017 levels. The proposed measures include reduced quotas for commercial fisheries, and changes in bag limits, minimum sizes, and slot size limits for the recreational sector. Since catch and release practices represent a significant component of overall fishing mortality, the Draft Addendum also explores the mandatory use of circle hooks when fishing with bait to reduce release mortality in recreational striped bass fisheries.
It is anticipated the majority of Atlantic coastal states will conduct public hearings on the Draft Addendum; a subsequent press release will announce the details of those hearings once they become finalized. Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on the Draft Addendum either by attending state public hearings or providing written comment. The Draft Addendum will be available on the Commission website () under Public Input by August 19th. Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM (EST) on September 27, 2019 and should be forwarded to Max Appelman.
Speaking of striped bass, this morning couldn’t have started any better for me when I got to the beach at first light. I was reeling in my second cast on open beach and already starting to walk toward a more likely spot when my Storm Big Bug popper was nailed almost in the wash. I was sliding a 25-inch striper out of the water wnen Vinny D’Anton arrived and said “They’re here. We should have a good morning.” Long story short — no one raised another fish before I left to give Point Pleasant Canal a try for blackfish.
Some sandworms left over from fishing with Chuck Many Friday evening were immediately attacked in the canal — but by the young-of-the-year sea bass that have arrived in force. It’s hard to get through the 5-7-inch sea bass with soft baits. I released a couple of tog to 14 inches yesterday morning on the slack, and a 13-incher today among all the sea bass. Green crabs are the best bet for blackfish in the canal as usual.
Though the weather forecast kept many anglers home, it was a very fishable day. Capt. Ron Santee said he hit the change of tide just right in the morning, and there was a good pick of keeper fluke as everyone went home with a fluke dinner from the Fishermen out of Atlantic Highlands.
The Queen Mary from Point Pleasant had mostly sea bass on Sunday, but also a surprise tuna.
Jon Falkowski of Linden fished aboard the Misty Morn from Morgan yesterday and was pleased with the results. He had a keeper fluke plus nine shorts. There were seven keepers among nine fares — which isn’t bad for Raritan Bay this year.
Scott Leadbeater has been frustrated by the lack of bluefish to cast to in the bay from his 20-footer out of Atlantic Highlands he managed a consolation prize of two legal fluke in Swash Channel and at the towers.
The forecast is for northwest winds at 5-100 knots in the morning.