The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) voted to develop new plans for reducing fishing pressure on striped bass beginning with the 2015 season. Striped bass—also known as rockfish—are the state fish of Maryland and much prized by recreational anglers in the Chesapeake Bay. The action by the 15-state commission came in response to a new assessment of the coastal striper stock, which was presented at the ASMFC’s annual meeting. Although the stock report found that striped bass are not overfished showing that overfishing is not yet occurring, it did show a dramatic decline in adult fish and that the breeding population could cross the overfished threshold in the near future. Conservation groups applauded the commission’s decision.
Wild Oceans president Ken Hinman said, “The ASMFC did the right thing responding to anglers’ concerns about the future of striped bass, concerns that are backed up by troubling trends in the science.” Tony Friedrich, executive director of the Coastal Conservation Association of Maryland added, “We are on the road to protecting striped bass for future generations.”