Each year, scientists and managers from the three Chesapeake Bay jurisdictions (Maryland, Virginia, and Potomac River) review the best available data on the population of Striped Bass in the Bay in order to determine the total number of fish that can be harvested each year by commercial and recreational fishermen. We refer to this limit or cap as the Annual Chesapeake Bay Quota. For 2014, it was decided that fishermen could safely harvest 8,652,528 pounds of Striped Bass - without detriment to the Bay population. The previous year's quota was 7,589,937 pounds and for the first time in many years the quota has been increased in the Bay. This increase of approximately 14% is attributed to a large number of fish from the 2011 year class (fish that hatch and enter into the population in a given year) which are just now reaching the legal minimum size of 18 inches.
Bay-wide Allocation of the Annual Quota
After the Annual Quota is decided upon, each jurisdiction receives a proportion of the quota based on a fixed percentage.
Jurisdiction Percentage Quota (Lbs)1
Maryland 52.4% 4,530,403
Virginia 32.4% 2,804,652
Potomac River 15.2% 1,317,473
Total 100% 8,652,528
1 - Values will vary slightly due to rounding of the fixed percentage. Actual percentages are carried out to the 7th decimal.
Quota Allocation in Maryland
Maryland's proportion of the Annual Quota is further divided into a commercial and recreational quota.
Sector Percentage Quota (Lbs)
Recreational 57.5% 2,604,982
Commercial 42.5% 1,925,421
Total 100% 4,530,403
Maryland's Commercial Fishery
For 2014, the commercial Striped Bass fishery in the Chesapeake Bay will be managed under an Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ) management system. In this system, shares of the quota are assigned to the individual permit holders. The share that each fisherman receives is the proportion of the total commercial quota in pounds that they will be allocated for the season. Shares were determined based on an equal distribution of 25% of the available shares to all permit holders (baseline) and an unequal distribution of the remaining 75% of the shares to each individual based on catch history (1/2001 - 2/2012). It is the fisherman's total share (baseline + catch history) that determines their poundage allocation for the fishing year. Annual fluctuations in Maryland's commercial quota, either up or down, will result in varying poundage allocations from year to year...
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