The Coastal Conservation Association Maryland (CCA MD) has called upon the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) to reduce striped bass fishing mortality by 25 percent from the 2013 harvest.

The request came in a letter sent yesterday to Mike Waine, ASMFC’s fishery management plan coordinator. ASMFC is expected to mandate reduction in the harvest during its meeting late next month.

“The sooner fishing mortality can be reduced; the sooner abundance can begin to be restored,” the letter stated. “One of the enduring lessons from the last 30 years of fishery management is that delayed management often has little or no management effect. Taking the necessary reductions as early as possible is usually the best approach.”

CCA MD also called for “approximately equal relative reductions to both the commercial and recreational fisheries.”

As recreational fishing accounts for the majority of striped bass mortality, CCA MD wrote that “it is critical that managers institute measures that meet or exceed the required amount for the recreational fishery.” The association also stated its willingness to work with managers and stakeholders within Maryland to determine the most effective management options to “jump-start the recovery of striped bass.”

“Striped bass were once hailed as the single greatest fisheries recovery story on the Atlantic Coast,” said David Sikorski, chair, CCA MD government relations committee. “We hope that lessons have been learned from our experiences.

“We must reduce fishing mortality evenly throughout all sectors in order to return the stock to abundant and sustainable levels,” the letter continued. “Given the natural cycle of striped bass spawning, we believe that managers should begin to discuss a maximum size limit for all striped bass fisheries.”

“The faster the recovery of striped bass can take place, the better it will be for all sectors which pursue these fish,” the letter concluded.

Contact:

Tony Friedrich, 202-744-5013

Logo courtesy Coastal Conservation Association Maryland

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