Last week, the striped bass community spent a major milestone toward recovering its striped bass stock. During the last ASMFC meeting, almost all the alternatives supported by the tape bass community in general were approved and finalized in Amendment 7. Two key points from the meeting were the clear impact of public comment on ASMFC decision-making and measures that have many vocal conservatives optimistically attempting to recover the strippers’ stock – largely by adopting a conservative reconstruction plan and setting up fences for conservation equivalence.
“This was a big step forward in preserving the striped bass. The stock estimate scheduled for release in October will tell us what we need to do to rebuild this iconic fish. – Tony Friedrich, Vice President of the American Saltwater Guides Association and Director of Policies.
Read more about Amendment 7 and the measures adopted by ASMFC in this article by ASGA and the press release below from ASMFC!
Press release from the Atlantic Maritime Fisheries Commission:
The Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Commission approved Amendment 7 of the Interstate Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) for the Atlantic Basin. The amendment sets new requirements for the following components of the FMP: management incentives, conservation equivalence, measures to address recreational release mortality, and the stock reconstruction plan. The latest estimate of the stock of the striped bass revealed that the stock was overfished and that overfishing was happening. This finding required the Board to end overfishing within one year and rebuild the stock by 2029. Amendment 7 strengthens the Commission’s ability to achieve the reconstruction target by implementing a more conservative recruitment impetus, providing more formal guidance about uncertainty in the management and implementation process measures created to reduce recreational release mortality. This Amendment is based on the action of Annex VI to address overfishing and to begin reconstruction in response to the assessment findings.
“On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank all those who contributed to this amendment process in recent years to address these important management issues. This includes ASMFC staff and state and federal partners who served on all the various committees involved in the development of Amendment 7, as well as the Advisory Panel. “I would especially like to thank the former Chairman of the Board, David Borden from Rhode Island, for his leadership during most of the process,” said Board Chairman Marty Gary with the Potomac River Fisheries Commission. The Board is grateful for this extraordinary public participation and believes that the actions we took through Amendment 7 reflect most of the priorities of the stakeholders. the reconstruction of this iconic species. ”
Amendment 7 sets out an updated recruitment management incentive, which sets out when the Board is required to make managerial adjustments based on the bass data of the year’s youth.
The updated recruitment trigger is more sensitive to low recruitment than the previous trigger and requires a specific management response to the power of the lower class of the year. The response requires a reassessment of fisheries mortality management incentives to calculate low recruitment. If one of them causes travel after the revaluation, the Board is required to take action to reduce fishing mortality.
Amendment 7 also updates the stocks of egg stock biomass by setting a timeline for the implementation of a reconstruction plan. The board must implement a reconstruction plan within two years from the moment an egg stock biomass booster is ignited.
For conservation equivalence (CE), which provides states with the flexibility to adapt management measures, Amendment 7 does not allow CE to be used for most recreational sea bass fishing when the stock is overfished. Amendment 7 also sets out restrictions on the use of Marine Recreational Information Program data for CE proposals and sets out the overall reduction / liberalization of the percentage that a proposal should achieve, including the required uncertainty coverage. These restrictions aim to minimize the risks due to uncertainty when CE is used for sea bass fishing with unmanaged quota lines.
Since recreational release mortality is a major component of annual fishing mortality, Amendment 7 introduces a new device limitation that prohibits striped sea bass scratching when recreational fishing. This new restriction, along with the existing circular hook requirement when recreational fishing with bait, aims to increase the chance of survival once a striped bass is released alive. Furthermore, amendment 7 requires that striped bass caught in any unapproved collection method (e.g., caught on a J hook with bait) must be returned to water immediately without unnecessary injury. This provision, which relates to accidental capture, was previously a recommendation in Annex VI of Amendment 6. For Stock Reconstruction, Amendment 7 addresses the forthcoming stock estimate of 2022 and how it will inform efforts to meet the deadline. 2029. Given the concerns about recent low recruitment and the possibility of continuing low recruitment, Amendment 7 requires that stock revaluation forecasts for 2022 use an assumption of low recruitment to conservatively calculate this future opportunity. Amendment 7 also establishes a mechanism for the Board to respond more quickly to the results of the 2022 assessment of whether action is needed to achieve stock restructuring by 2029. All provisions of Amendment 7 enter into force immediately, except for gear limits. States must implement the equipment restrictions by 1 January 2023. Amendment 7 will be available on the Commission’s website by the end of May.