Wicked sarcasm aside, I am delighted to report — in case you have not yet heard — a major victory for striped bass conservation. We — those who understand the calamitous state of the striped bass fishery and the need to manage the resource sustainably — won, and won big. This week the ASMFC’s Striped Bass Board approved two historic actions to conserve the prolific 2015-year class and to improve the probability of rebuilding the striped bass stock by 2029. The Board initiated Addendum II and enacted an Emergency Action, which will implement a 28-31” slot for the entire coast effective as soon as possible and no later than July 2nd, 2023.
A hale and hearty thank you to all who have been sending in letters and emails and making their voices heard!
Here are more details, taken from a release from our friends at the American Saltwater Guides Association:
“The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Striped Bass Board Takes Decisive Action to Ensure Striped Bass Rebuild by 2029
ASGA applauds The Striped Bass Board’s unprecedented action to implement emergency action to address 2023 fishing season.
Arlington, VA—Earlier today, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Management Commission’s Striped Bass Board approved two historic actions to conserve the prolific 2015-year class and to improve the probability of rebuilding the striped bass stock by 2029. The Board initiated Addendum II and enacted an Emergency Action, which will implement a 28-31” slot for the entire coast effective as soon as possible and no later than July 2nd, 2023. Development of Addendum II will progress throughout the summer, but the included language has great promise. Had the Board not acted today, the odds of rebuilding would have remained unacceptably low at around 11-15% due to the dramatic increase in recreational harvest in 2022. While the road to striped bass recovery is still a long one, the Board’s strong conservation-minded action today can give the entire striped bass community hope that this stock will rebuild and that the Board can make the hard but necessary decisions to manage striped bass.
ASGA is incredibly thankful for the thousands of anglers, brands, and fishing guides who spoke up for the health of the stock and called on the Striped Bass Board to take action. The Striped Bass Board was not required to make any changes today—the Board’s action today represents an incredible moment for conserving and effectively managing the striped bass fishery.
“The conservation community spoke, and our voice was heard”, said Tony Friedrich, ASGA’s VP and Policy Director. “Fisheries management is a long arduous process. Science informed us that there was little to no chance of rebuilding the stock under the current system. We unified the community with one voice that demanded a better future for the resource and our children. Thanks to every angler, brand, and guide who spoke up and to the conservation-minded Striped Bass Board members who voted for the health of the resource.”
Over the next few months, ASGA will continue to monitor and provide updates on the ASMFC’s work on Addendum II. Rest assured, the striped bass stock is in a far better place today than a month ago, but it is far from rebuilt and out of the weeds. Thank you to everyone who shared their voice throughout this process and to those on the Striped Bass Board who took the bold step to ensure this iconic species remains on track to rebuild. ASGA will be following every step of the Addendum II process this summer and keep the entire striped bass community updated.
The Entire ASGA Team”