The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) will hold a public hearing on a draft addendum to the Atlantic Striped Bass Interstate Fisheries Management Plan at 6 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 11 in the DNREC Auditorium, 89 Kings Highway, Dover. The hearing will give the public an overview of the draft addendum, which proposes new fishing mortality reference points as recommended by the 2013 stock assessment, along with three options in associated management measures to reduce fishing mortality to a level at or below the proposed target within one or three years.
The addendum is in response to results of the 2013 Atlantic striped bass benchmark assessment, which suggested fishing mortality in 2012 was above the proposed target, and female spawning stock has been steadily declining below the target since 2006. This means even though the stock is not overfished and overfishing is not occurring, striped bass spawning stock is approaching its overfished threshold and stock projections show that spawning stock will likely fall below the threshold in the coming years. A similar decline has been observed in total harvest.
The addendum includes management options to reduce recreational and commercial harvest along the coast and in the Chesapeake Bay under three reduction timeframes. The options are:
· Reducing fishing mortality to its target in one year with a 25 percent reduction from the 2013 harvest numbers starting in 2015; or
· Reducing fishing mortality to its target within three years with a 17 percent reduction from the 2013 harvest numbers starting in 2015; or
· Reducing fishing mortality to its target within three years with a 7 percent reduction from the 2013 harvest for three consecutive years starting in 2015.
Specific options to be considered to achieve the necessary reductions include bag, size, slot and trophy size limits for the recreational fishery, and quota reductions for the commercial fishery.
The draft addendum is posted online at www.asmfc.org/files/PublicInput/StripedBassDraftAddendumIV. Anglers and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on the addendum either by attending state public hearings or providing written comment. Public comment will be accepted until 5 p.m. (EST) Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014 and may be mailed to Mike Waine, ASMFC Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St, Suite A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; faxed to 703-842-0741, or emailed to email@example.com, with Draft Addendum IV in the subject line.
For more information on the plan, visit www.asmfc.org. For more information on Delaware’s public hearing, please contact the Fisheries Section at 302-739-9914.
Delawareans unable to attend the Delaware hearing are welcome to attend the Commission’s public hearing in Maryland at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25 in the Cadby Theater, Kent Humanities Building, Chesapeake College, 1000 College Circle, Wye Mills, Md.