By Bill Hall
On Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission passed additional regulatory measures affecting Virginia’s commercial and recreational striped bass/rockfish fisheries. These “emergency actions” were in response to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) 2018 Striped Bass Benchmark Stock Assessment, which indicated that the biomass of East Coast striped bass (Maine to North Carolina) has been reduced due to overfishing and continues to be overfished.
The ASMFC has developed a list of potential options to reduce the East Coast striped bass catch by 18% in a document entitled “Draft Addendum VI to Amendment 6 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan For Striped Bass,” which can found at http://www.asmfc.org/files/PublicInput/StripedBassDraftAddVI_PublicComment_Aug2019.pdf This document (one of the proposed options is expected to be approved in October) calls for an 18% reduction in the recreational catch of striped bass and a 1.8% – 18% reduction in the commercial catch, to reach the targeted striped bass population goal in 2020.
In addition to closing the Spring Coastal Striped Bass Trophy Season, Virginia has implemented the following recreational regulations:
The Chesapeake Bay Spring/Summer Striped Bass Season will begin on May 16 and run through June 15. The minimum length will be 20 inches and the maximum length will be 28 inches. There will be a one fish per person limit.
The Chesapeake Bay Fall Striper Season will begin on Oct. 4 and run through Dec. 31. The minimum size limit will be 20 inches and the maximum size limit will be 36 inches. There will be a one fish per person limit.
The Coastal (Seaside) Striped Bass Season will be open from Jan. 1 to March 31, then reopen on May 16 and run through Dec. 31. The minimum legal size limit will be 28 inches and the maximum size limit will be 36 inches. The limit will be one fish per person.
The public will have the opportunity to voice its opinion on these emergency regulations prior to the Oct. 4 Chesapeake Bay season opening during the public hearing portion of the September meeting of the VMRC in Newport News, Va.