Striped Bass Regulations Set to Change in 2015


striped bass, rockfish, cape henlopen state park, gordons pond
“Boots” and a big striped bass in Cape Henlopen State Park on herring Point beach

The other day I sat home and listened to the webinar of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commision (ASMFC) conference for deciding the new striped bass regulations.  I followed a few friends that were there on Facebook for live updates, as I listened to the meeting.  It was civil, yet heated as anything involving many states with both commercial and recreational interests when it comes to any fishery.  The striped bass debate has been an on going one for many years.  I have been talking to people until I am blue in the face about the issues with low spawn numbers and a decline in the spawning biomass (large females) in general.   This is something many people just do not want to hear, but in the long run they are the ones to complain first when there is an issue.  I have heard people say there is no problem, we need to do something, government needs to leave my fish alone, and my favorite … scientists don’t know what they are talking about.  The reality has been for a few years, that the bass were in trouble and it was great to finally hear something was going to be done.  I am proud of the fact many recreational anglers from all states stepped to the plate and commented publicly that we need a heavy reduction immediately.  The goal of this reduction is to increase the spawning biomass, that is the migratory bass which are primarily female, as soon as possible.  Instead of gradually over three years, which in many opinions is just too little to late.   In short a 25% reduction was set forth for the East coast catch which are the migratory fish, and a 20.5% reduction for the bay fisheries, by the ASMFC council.   The board also voted for 1 fish per day at 28 inches or a conservation equivalent to the 25% reduction. What this means is the individual states have the option to set their creel limits to meet this reduction.  Despite the opposition to these ideas it was a victory for the fish in my opinion.  Now we will have to look towards the forage fish (bunker and herring) so this increased biomass will have the food to survive and live long healthy lives.  The ASMFC has a tough job trying to help sustain the balance of nature, while keeping the needs or wants of man in check.  Sometimes I hear people say we just need to stay out of it and let nature take its course, unfortunately, if we did not have limits, there wouldn’t be any fish left.  There is a great first hand article written by Ross Squire from 1@32 pledge.

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Fish On!!

Rich King

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