The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) approved measures to reduce striped bass fishing mortality in the Chesapeake Bay, and along the Atlantic Coast. The measures are a reaction to a decline in the population of rockfish. Biologists working in the fishery have determined rocks are currently being overfished.
The actions will make coast-wide changes prior to the 2020 fishing season.
This action comes as Virginia’s fishery board closed their recreational trophy season. At Tuesday’s meeting, a member of the Virginia delegation mentioned the possibility that Virginia may consider issuing mandatory tags that anglers would need to keep just one trophy rockfish, 36 inches or longer.
Final options under consideration in the addendum are:
- Minimum fish sizes for the coast and the Chesapeake Bay.
- Slot limit to prohibit the harvest of fish over 40 inches.
- Mandatory use of circle hooks when fishing with bait to reduce discard mortality.
- A provision to allow seasonal closures in conservation equivalency proposals.
- Reductions applied equally to both commercial and recreational sectors.
The ASMFC will ask for public feedback and adjust the plan before making a final decision at its October meeting.