ASMFC 2023 Annual Meeting Summary

ASMFC 2023 Annual Meeting Summary

Taylor Vavra | Vice President

Last Wednesday, October 18, 2023, the Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board met during the ASMFC 81st Annual Meeting and approved Draft Addendum II for public comment. This will be the second addendum to Amendment 7 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass. It has become clear that the board continues to struggle with a solution to get the stock back on track and recovered by 2029. Six days prior to the meeting, the Maryland DNR (Department of Natural Resources) released the Chesapeake Bay 2023 young-of-year Striped Bass survey results. The unfortunate news is that we now have a fifth straight year of very poor recruitment, an index of 1.0, well below the long-term average of 11.1. The Maryland side of the Chesapeake Bay is by far the most important spawning area on the Atlantic coast with an estimated 65-90% of fish spawning and nursing within it. It is our belief that this board cannot and will not rebuild the stock with the provisions which arise from Addendum II. There are simply not enough new fish entering the stock and it is only a matter of time before we find ourselves witnessing a catastrophic collapse. Many anglers point to incredible fishing and while that might be the case in some isolated areas, the reality is that the 2015 year class is just that, a single year class of fish. What will follow that is exactly what we need to be concerned about, it is incredibly important to have a long term vision of the fishery.

Stripers Forever took the bold stance during the Amendment 7 process that there is only one thing will successfully rebuild the stock, an equitable (recreational and commercial) harvest moratorium. It did not become an option in Amendment 7, it was not an option in Addendum I and unfortunately for Striped Bass, it is not an option in Addendum II. Perhaps the next stock assessment will force the hand of the board, only time will tell. Between now and then, Striped Bass will suffer the consequences and we will be that much farther behind in finding a viable solution to rebuild the stock. Below are some of the main takeaways from the annual meeting. Once Addendum II is released for public comment, we will review it, do our best to simplify it and help make your voice heard in the most productive way possible.

  • The board approved Addendum II for public comment and it will be released by the ASMFC sometime on or before October 31st. Public hearings will then commence in November and continue into December. Final action on Addendum II will likely take place at a meeting sometime in January. The goal would be to have new regulations in place for the 2024 fishing season. BUT…with commercial regulations likely to be impacted, the board made it clear that it would be very difficult or impossible to do so in 2024. Some commercial seasons begin soon-after and updating tags may be undoable. More on this in our action alert for public comment.
  • Recreational options for both the ocean and Chesapeake Bay were further adjusted and in some cases simplified. There were also a few additions, most notable of which was an option to up the current slot limit to 30-33″. This is mind boggling, the board set out to protect the 2015 year class and we now have an option on the table to essentially track their growth and allow more to be removed from the stock. This will be one item to strongly oppose in your comments to the board.
  • Mode splits for charter/for-hire remain in Addendum II and it is our belief that this is a dangerous slippery slope. Equity must play an important part in the rebuilding of the stock and we all must give in order to receive. Dividing recreational anglers will only create more animosity and confusion in regards to enforcement. Again, more on this in our action alert for public comment.
  • Commercial options in Addendum II were greatly simplified and both the ocean and Chesapeake Bay fisheries will very likely see commercial quota reductions.
  • While not talked about during the meeting, the reality is that Addendum II will likely only be a bridge for the 2024 seasons. A new stock assessment is due in late summer or early fall of 2024. Given the current trajectory of stock status, we tend to believe that the results will be very bad. If that is the case, the board will go back to the drawing board in an effort to further correct and ensure a rebuild by 2029. As that time, if things continue to go as they have, we may finally see the board with no choice but to enact stronger measures in the way of seasonal closures and perhaps a harvest moratorium.

From the ASMFC:

Atlantic Striped Bass Board Approves Draft Addendum II for Public Comment to Consider Measures to Reduce Fishing Mortality in 2024

Beaufort, NC – The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board approved for public comment Draft Addendum II to Amendment 7 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Atlantic Striped Bass. The Draft Addendum considers management measures designed to support stock rebuilding by reducing fishing mortality to the target in 2024.

The Board initiated the Draft Addendum in response to the low probability of meeting the 2029 stock rebuilding deadline if the unexpectedly high 2022 fishing mortality rate continues. The Draft Addendum builds upon the 2023 emergency action by considering management measures intended to reduce fishing mortality to the target level in 2024. Projections indicate that a 14.5% reduction in total removals relative to 2022 is needed to have a 50% chance of being at or below the fishing mortality target in 2024. For the recreational fishery, the Draft Addendum proposes recreational bag and size limit options for the ocean and Chesapeake Bay regions, including options with different limits for the for-hire modes. To address concerns about recreational filleting allowances and compliance with recreational size limits, the Draft Addendum includes an option that would establish minimum requirements for states that authorize at-sea/shore-side filleting of striped bass (e.g., racks must be retained). For the commercial fishery, the Draft Addendum proposes a quota reduction option that would reduce commercial quotas by up to 14.5%, with the final percent reduction to be determined by the Board.

For measures beyond 2024, the Board will consider the results of the upcoming 2024 stock assessment update to inform subsequent management action. To enable an expedited management response to the 2024 stock assessment update, the Draft Addendum proposes an option that would enable the Board to respond to the results of the stock assessment updates more quickly, via Board action, if the stock is not projected to rebuild by 2029.

The Draft Addendum will be posted to the website no later than October 31st at A subsequent press release will provide the details on the public hearing schedule and how to submit written comments. The Board will meet to review submitted comments and consider final action on the addendum in January 2024 at the Commission’s Winter Meeting in Arlington, VA. For more information, please contact Emilie Franke, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at or 703.842.0740.

The press release can also be found at


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