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Monday, November 14, 2011

Striped Bass Assessment: Not Overfished and Overfishing Not Occurring

Striped bass are one of the most sought after fish by recreational anglers along the Atlantic coast.  Recreational landings were estimated to be as high as 30.5 million pounds in 2006 to as low as less than 750,000 pounds in 1989. With recruitment levels that averaged 9.5 million fish from 1982 through 2010 show the popularity of this fish in the harvest of a sizable number of the available population each year.  The commercial harvest, though lower than the recreational catch adds another 139,000 pounds to 7.06 million pounds to the take, depending on the year.  We're still riding high on on the The 2003 year class of 20.8 million fish, the largest since 1982.

Though striped bass are assessed as a single stock there are three distinct stocks of fish that make up the population: Hudson River, Delaware River, and Chesapeake Bay.  The overall stock abundance has decreased each year since 2004, especially in areas dependent on the Chesapeake Bay stocks.  This clearly illustrates the need to manage each of the three primary populations separately or at the least and perhaps simplest, manage the fishery  like the entire population was in the condition of the worse of the three.

Copies of the stock assessment update are available on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission website at www.asmfc.org.

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