Based on low landings and projections that the commercial striped bass fishery would not harvest its quota prior to the fish’s southerly migration, the Division of Marine Fisheries proposed on July 31 to increase the number of open commercial striped bass fishing days from two to four. Written public comment was accepted for a two-week period, and on August 15, the Division’s Director recommended taking no action at this time.
According to a press release, extensive public comment was taken into consideration, but the decision was based primarily on updated commercial landings data that show an increase in average daily landings. As of August 16, 2019, 41.5% of the 869,813 pound quota has been landed.
If landings decrease, DMF may consider increasing the number open days beginning in the latter part of September. However, if action is taken then, it will be done with the explicit intention of having 2019 landings not exceed a self-imposed 713,000-pound threshold. This threshold equates to the 18% reduction being proposed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission for implementation in 2020 to end overfishing on striped bass and achieve the fishing morality target.