ASMFC Atlantic Striped Bass Board Approves Addendum VI

SteelShad schoolie striped bass

The Commission’s Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board approved Addendum VI to Amendment 6 of the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass. The Addendum reduces all state commercial quotas by 18%, and implements a 1 fish bag limit and a 28”-35” recreational slot limit for ocean fisheries and a 1 fish bag limit and an 18” minimum size limit for Chesapeake Bay recreational fisheries. States may submit alternative regulations through conservation equivalency to achieve an 18% reduction in total removals relative to 2017 levels.

Addendum VI was initiated in response to the 2018 Benchmark Stock Assessment, which indicates the resource is overfished and experiencing overfishing. The Addendum’s measures are designed to reduce harvest, end overfishing, and bring fishing mortality to the target level in 2020.

Since catch and release practices contribute significantly to overall fishing mortality, the Addendum requires the mandatory use of circle hooks when fishing with bait to reduce release mortality in recreational striped bass fisheries. Outreach and education will be a necessary element to garner support and compliance with this important conservation measure.

States are required to submit implementation plans by November 30, 2019 for review by the Technical Committee and approval by the Board in February 2020. States must implement mandatory circle hook requirements by January 1, 2021. All other provisions of Addendum VI must be implemented by April 1, 2020. Additionally, in February 2020, the Board will consider a postponed motion to initiate an Amendment to rebuild spawning stock biomass to the target level and address other issues with the management program.

Addendum VI will be available on the Commission’s website (www.asmfc.org) on the Atlantic Striped Bass webpage in early November. For more information, please contact Max Appelman, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at mappelman@asmfc.org or 703.842.0740.

Reactions to the decision have been mixed, with some applauding the decision, and others questioning the effectiveness of the ASMFC’s Striped Bass Board at representing the interests of individual fishermen, given that the majority of public comment supported the 1 fish at 35 inches or greater option.

Despite the board’s decision, we won’t know the regulations for each state until February, when the board will approve proposed options for “conservation equivalency;” in other words, regulations that differ from the 28- to 35-inch slot limit that still achieve the 18% reduction in recreational harvest.

50 thoughts on “ASMFC Atlantic Striped Bass Board Approves Addendum VI

  1. Joseph S Lupton

    I like the one fish limit on ALL boats, including commercial. A 28 – 35 inch slot should help a lot to save the breeders. It has worked for the red drum.

    I really believe stopping the menhaden fishing in the Chesapeake Bay will go a long way to increase the striper stock I the Bay. If there is not enough food to feed them, why should they come into the Bay. Bluefish numbers are way down compared to twenty years ago as well. Same reason. Not enough food.

  2. Robert

    Personally, I’m delighted that the Board adopted the slot limit alternative. I suggest states enact a trophy fish tag program whereby fishermen can buy a tag for $50 or $100 once or twice a year a keep a trophy bass.

    We’ve been killing the big breeders for too long which is why we’ve trashed what had been a fully restored fishery. The slot is long overdue. Now we need to educate fishermen on how to revive and release the fish.

    1. Paul

      And who will receive the $50 or $100. No Thank you to that. Boaters and fisherman pay enough. 1 or 2 trophy tags should come with your salt water license.

  3. Bunar

    Wow – this move will finish them off. 1984 here we come again. Nothing will make it through that slot and what does will be sold for $7 -8lb I’m afraid it’s too late now. Great run of nearly 30 years though !

  4. Dennis

    I think that ASMFC grossly over states the amount of fish that die from catch and release, and they vastly underestimate the amount of illegal sales and poaching that occurs everywhere. So recreational anglers get a 50 % reduction and commercial gets 18% , again we get screwed. Make them a game fish no commercial sale anywhere.

    1. Joe v

      Spot on Dennis! These high catch and release mortality numbers are nothing but a propaganda tool for charter captains. None of the scientific studies support the high mortality rates they quote, and the ones that do are scientifically suspect(very!). A dead fish in a cooler is 100% mortality. I agree with no commercial sales anywhere. That’s a huge demand on a species that needs that kind of pressure removed. I no longer keep bass to eat. Instead I catch porgies and sea bass for the plate. (Sea bass is the best table fare from our waters.)

    2. Russ. Shock

      Get commercial taking of stripers off. The table, game fish only, 1 fish per person per day, no sale , that will help the stock REBUILD, itself, rod & reel only, no spear fishing of striped bass . No sale along the entire Atlantic coast, you can’t change rules state to state, it should be the same along the eastern seaboard, no exceptions ,no commercial, no poachers.

      1. Brian

        Catch & Release only for entire east coast. Certain sections designated fly rod only. Ban commercial fishing and sale of Striped Bass period. A picture speaks a thousand words and beautiful reproductions can be made from photos if more than a photo is needed to boost your ego.

    3. TK

      Agree Dennis, with regards to the stated numbers. I also believe they know this but politically they can’t say it. In our world today even a simple fact can get u destroyed in the zealot zone. The death mortality numbers are just being used as a way to cover the poaching numbers. As for making it a gamefish…I was just in South Carolina this past spring and went out with a guide to redfish. They just made it a gamefish a few year ago. Thought it was a great victory. Just created a huge new poaching ring operating differently. Now it’s mostly black market, small “recreational” fishing groups, blasting an area for three or four days and moving on to different areas before they can be caught up to, and then heading back. He said the only thing saving the fishery at all is the stocking program. While catch and release isn’t as prominent down there as it is in NE, he says a red is virtually released now. As long as there are fish there will be ways to decimate them. Sigh. Hell, I know guys here on the South Shore who don’t even like striper, but keep them and sell illegally to pay for their boat expenses and gas. These aren’t poor immigrants or blatant poachers mind you. These are middle to upper middle class folks who know about the problem, liver throught the down years, ans till do it! People are ass*****. Just the way it is. Sad.

  5. Tom F

    Dennis, I disagree with you regarding release mortality. I remove all but one set of trebles from all of my lures and have switched to inline single hooks in some cases. I also crush the barbs on my hooks to try and minimize damage. I try to handle the fish as little as possible before release. Despite all of my efforts, I still find that about 1 in 20 fish end up getting gill hooked and probably didn’t survive. And I see a lot of fishermen that don’t go to the lengths I do to try to release the fish with minimal harm. I recently witnessed one angler step on the undersized stripers he was catching while he removed the hooks and then kick the fish back into the water. I don’t think the asmfc estimate of 9% recreational release mortality is overstated at all.

  6. KNOT LOCAL

    I agree make it a
    GAME FISH, better tasting fish to be had with 1000% healthier fishery then the Striper 👍🏽👍🏽

  7. john c

    Yes, gamefish status please. Also what about doing something about the massive waste caused by bycatch of the herring and menhaden industries such as what we saw off the Cape in 2011. Legal but immoral doesnt cut it.

  8. Gerard Dombrowsky

    18% reduction for commercial and 50% for recreational?? Not at all fair especially when the commercials are killing this fishery. Also why a minimum size of 28″ in some states and a minimum of 18″ in the Chesapeake ?? Also not fair. Im moving to the Chesapeake area.

    1. Kevin Robishaw

      Commercial killing the fishery ? What are you smoking ?

    2. Kevin Robishaw

      If you don’t know why the Chesapeake fishery is different you need to do research. Just another keyboard warrior.

      1. Denboo

        Google illegal netting in Chesapeake bay and you will find many articles about the massive fraud that has gone on in the Chesapeake. Keep killing 18″ fish that never reproduced and then you can find another species to wipe out.

  9. Michael Deckard

    Too little too late the stock is collapsed and an 18% reduction is absurd it will only prolong the agony.To think that many of the public comments still want to kill breeders over 35 inches just shows the overall lack of knowledge and or greed of the charter captains and trollers in the ocean and the bays and disrespect for the resource.
    Unfortunately our fisheries management representatives are beholding to many of the commercial interests and or charter fishing captains and are unwilling to do the right thing and protect the resource. If you have any doubts go to Virginia Beach or Oregon Inlet North Carolina for the winter striped bass fishery it doesn’t exist the commercial betters and charter captains wiped them out I spent 8 years fishing down there and watched the carnage and now Virginia and North Carolina are asking for a moratorium and our ASMFC wants us to believe an 18% reduction is all we need?
    Make it a Game Fish before a 10 year moratorium is the only viable alternative!

  10. Baba Yaga

    I say no fishing at all for striped bass. You catch and release folks are just torturing those fish and killing some along the way. Take that you hypocrites.

    1. Capt Mike

      I couldn’t agree more with Baba Yaga. All year long we are assaulted with social media pics of all sizes of bass from tiny to large hanging from someone’s hand at arms length to make the photo appear larger. The constant assault on small bass with everything from fly rods to surf rods kills and stresses far more fish than the commercial fishery that targets and keeps only mature fish. In the commercial hook fishery for other species hook size is what determines what size fish gets caught. Bass should be the same with a minimum hook size and circle hooks only to reduce the small fish killing.

      1. david

        Commercial fishing for striped bass should be limited to pinhooking with circle hooks until the stock is stabilized.

    2. Devin

      You generalize too much, not all catch and release “folks” are intentionally killing fish. The chances of gut hooking a fish are basically nil if you set the hook right away. I have never gut hooked or gill hooked a fish, which shows that mortality rates can be easily controlled by proper technique

  11. Kent

    “ Make it a gamefish”
    Make everyone stop catching them but me “
    Classic
    Every-single- winter

    1. Denboo

      Game fish means everyone can catch them, just can’t sell them not to hard to grasp

  12. Bill

    Everyone wants to make it a game fish. Everyone wants a slot limit. Everyone blames commercial fishermen. All of this is BS. Recreational catch is far above and beyond commercial catch. Catch and release kills far more fish than the total catch. Bycatch is an issue, but it’s impossible to solve unless you allow the net fishermen to keep their bycatch and sell it, but change the quota to include a number-of-fish metric instead of a pounds-of-fish metric. All reductions and regulations and whatnot will accomplish nothing, however, because the entire fishery depends on the Chesapeake. Poor regulation of the Chesapeake biomass/ecosystem and inadequate constraints on the Chesapeake striped bass fishery are the prime causes of the poor condition of the coast-wide striped bass fishery. Total moratorium for striper fishing AND bait fishing for 5 years in the Chesapeake would turn the fish around.

  13. Glenn Sieber

    18″ Chesapeake Bay size limit! WHY? Up there size limit like everyone else!
    The commercials boat down there flaunt hope much they can’t get away with: and with
    minimal fines when caught. It’s big joke? They have destroyed the Summer Flounder population annd now are commercial fishing up north.

  14. BeezeChurger

    Here’s a wild idea, instead of bitching and moaning about what ever laws they decide to crap out just do your part as a recreational angler and don’t keep ANY striped bass. There are so many other species that taste better whos stocks are in better condition (black seabass, tog). You landed that 35+ pounder? Great! Snap a quick picture and let that breeder swim. The canal rats and the block island eel trollers play a huge role in keeping big breeder fish and the funny thing is the bigger ones don’t taste nearly as good. Still, do the fishery a favor and ignore this slot limit bullshit and just let everything swim.

  15. Bob R

    Change the rules to whatever you want – if no enforcement it’s meaningless – places like the canal are out of control – as for boats I will not even go there

    1. BeezeChurger

      Canal and the block island eel trollers are two of the biggest culprits

  16. Tricky dick

    How about doing something about the cormorants that are gorging themselves on the juvenile bass, flute, flounder and the thousands of bait fish they devour! Not to mention they are a health hazard up in the ponds and bays.. These things desecrate docks, swimming rafts, boats and the small rock piles that let off a sickening smell !!! Myself, I would like one 12″ fish for the frying pan.

  17. John Spero

    I am reluctant to post this but I have an OPINION also!

    My two or three fish a weekend is NOT killing a species while I watch the head boats with 50 guys leave the area I am fishing with who knows how many fish and then show back up an hour later with a entire new crew of 50 to “Fish” the afternoon run… I am not good at math but that could equal 200 fish per day from a school of 2500 fish moving through for the day/week… How many fish make it away from that massacre? Less than half? Only to meet the next inlet with the next group of head boats to knock them out…

    Ok, so I’ll start using circle hooks… That will save them….

    I don’t think there is going to be ANY good answer to any of this folks….

  18. Will S

    The two things we need the most are a reduction in commercial fishing for menhaden/bunker and more enforcement on regulations. Everyday on the sound people are keeping to many or too small fish.

  19. David

    About freakin’ time. It’s irresponsible to keep larger breeding fish. Take a picture and throw her back. Requiring circle hooks is a great idea too. But none of this matters if the DEC doesn’t enforce the regs on recreational and commercial fishermen. The NJ gillnetters who set their nets 20 feet off East End beaches should be stopped too.

    1. Catchemupkenny

      True rod and reel fisheries are sustainable. Protect the species from trawls, seines and nets and you will see a rebound. Recreational mortality is real and catch and release by rod and reel does not equate to a overall solution. Get off your high horses. The by catch numbers are scary. Stop shaming the guy next to you who keeps a fish when you may just have fed the lobsters a fish you proudly released.

  20. Donny

    Go to the cape cod canal if u want to see a slaughter of breeders , catch and release is not practiced much there , too bad

  21. APEX

    What you may not know about striper post release mortality is that many do swim away only to die within 24 hrs from the stress of a long fight, exposure to the air, poor handling, or mangled mouths, gills or guts.

    Get used to circle hooks even on your plugs and especially on your bait. The best statistics for survival involve in-line circle hooks that are snelled to your leader. Yes, the knot and offset makes a big difference. I have been using circle hook flies for four years without noticing any reduction in hookups or increases in lost fish. I don’t know how my releases fair over 24 hrs but they are still pretty lively when I remove the hook while they are still in the water. It is rare for me to get a deep hookup but when it happens, that barbless circle hook is very easy to remove even without removing the fish from the water.

    BS (before seals) I fished with fresh eels on the outer Cape beaches and learned just how effective circle hooks are. Tap Tap Tap, a turn and as that fish swims away the hook gets dragged to the corner of her mouth and she is ON. Or if you are twitchy and try to set the hook, you will pull that eel right out of her mouth.

    I don’t need another picture of me and a fish. I looked a lot better decades ago and now the fish look better than I do. Those old pictures please me far more than any new ones might.

    1. TMCD

      The commercial guys are killing em. I see down riggers dragged behind boats with umbrella rigs attached…….deadly. Just crank up the handle with 200 lb wire attached and up comes a christmas tree full bass. Draggers going over the same spot getting hundreds of short bass, than discarding them , mostly dead. Repeating the process two or three times, only to keep a few porgies.
      Than the gill nets, the in my opinion worst thing ever, especially along the ocean beaches. Boats stringing nets every quarter mile following the schools of bass migrating west. I’m fishing Montauk and the beaches of East Hampton, what goes on is pretty appaling. Nobody ever says anything and it’s business as usual year afer year. These fish dont stand a chance!

  22. John

    Too bad the honor system doesnt go very far among lying fishermen. “I was just inside the 3 mile line”

  23. BeezeChurger

    yes please do the world a favor and do not post pictures of your decrepit body

  24. Tabanus Sp

    Oh well might as well weigh in:
    1. Have used circle hooks for years and when fishing live Mack’s it has been a 50-50 shot of the classic circle hook hookup or gut hooked. When it comes to circle hooks there many opinions but I haven’t read a peer reviewed study of the use of circle hooks while fishing live Mack’s on stripers.
    Would have much preferred a slot limit of say 22-28 inches and leave the over 30” fish out of the creel count.

  25. Trevor

    My least favorite are the Fly guys that brag about how they caught 94 rats on a tide. Good for you at least half of those fish are dead

  26. joel

    its funny how recreational guys can fish all week and still complain. lets limit them to 2 days a week.

  27. chris

    Catch and release for all — including commercial. I would also like to see a rule where any fish above 28 inches, as an example, cannot be removed from the water … similar to rules for Tarpon in Florida (no Tarpon above 40 inches can be removed from the water). People need to understand the value of these fish alive. Lastly, would love to see poachers held accountable. First time take away boat and gear. Second time, you’re doing time or delegated to trash clean up along the water….or both.

    1. Dave

      ASMFC doesn’t really know how to manage striped bass…bottom line. I’m assuming the population has been on the decline for years. In CT it was 2 fish at 28”+ then it changed to 1 fish at 28”+. Now it’s a slot limit. Next it will be 1 at 35”+. Then it will be 1 fish on every third Monday 50”+. Then complete moratorium for 5 years. I’ve kept 1 to 2 bass per season the last 20 years. Sucks for me.

  28. Inland Bobber

    so no one is stating anything about the estuaries that have breeding fish are running up to breed, people are pulling the breeders out of those rivers for not only the plate but local tournaments. STOP it my god it does’t take a rocket scientist.
    It much bigger than on the beach or the commercial or the guides.
    and if were going to reply on our government to figure this out we’ll all be dead and gone.Look at the Cod seriously were our own worst enemy.
    its up to us , file your barbs down better yet don’t buy a hook with a barb or a treble hook. That will help … besides can you buy a barb less hook and would you ?
    and let em go no keeping fish at all on these fish for 5 years, that’ll help solve it

    and yes don’t fish out the bait fish stock its ALL relevant
    yes I do go to the cape often to fish for this majestic fish.
    god bless ….

  29. Eric

    I am at a loss ! How hypocritical is it for this site to promote new regulations to help the striper fishery and at the same time give fishing reports that show the charter boats slaying the 40-50 lb breeders? How many pics have we seen of huge stripers filling bicycle baskets at the Canal?
    You can’t have it both ways! If a pic of a fish out of the water comes in…. DON”T PUBLISH IT! Stop giving people their 15 minutes of fame for holding up a breeder and then writing an article that demands we have slot limits to protect the breeding stock.
    How about leading by example !

  30. john Barrell

    The problem in the north east is there are too many fishermen and not enough species around to take the pressure off the striped bass. Double tripping (limit before work and another limit after work is way to common. And everyone keeps their mouths shut about it. Game wardens dont have a crystal ball. They need informants to tell them what going on and who is doing it. Charter captains letting their customers keep an extra limit for the captain and the mate and then doing that twice a day has to stop. In Florida with most species captain and mate are not allotted a limit when they are on a charter. Fishing in the EEZ ? dont get me started . Your all doing it and everyone cracks jokes about where they are fishing. The feds need to get serious about enforcing the EEZ and develop their own law enforcement not just ask the state conservation boats to go offshore and do it for them. A slot limit will work but NO trophy fish tags. The whole idea is to protect the big girls that have 40 million eggs in their bellies. Why would you then create a tag that gets them killed? Peer pressure is needed to stop all the wink and nod poaching going on. Every one of you know some family member or guy from work who brags everyday about his poaching. Yet how many of you called the info in to law enforcement. If you keep your mouth shut you are just as bad as the poacher.

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