Chesapeake Bay Striped Bass kill to Increase 14% in 2014

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources recently announced that the Chesapeake Bay harvest quota would increase by 14% in 2014.  The text of the release and information on the splits between jurisdictions and recreational/commercial allocations can be found below.  The reason is simply that the 2011 year class had a high young of the year count, and managers feel that the extra biomass is there to catch.  The Bay had been harvesting less than the quota allowable under the ASMFC quota because production of young striped bass has been poor.Stripers Forever’s board disagrees with this increase as do most of the fishermen and fishing groups that we have spoken with.  While 2011 may have produced a good young of the year count, we did not see the volume of very small stripers along the coast that would indicate an overly large year class.  Survival of young Chesapeake Bass is an issue considering the disease and water quality issues the Bay faces.  Beyond that we know that the 2012 and 2013 year classes were poor, so there is not much in back of this one year class.  Additionally the ASMFC stock assessment just confirmed that striped bass are far less abundant now than just a few years ago.  We are already near or in a state of overfishing, and we have fished the stock at above the target rate consistently for years.  It seems like reductions are called for and not quota increases.

We can lay this on the doorstep of the commercial fishery.  If striped bass were a coast wide game fish the recreational community would have vetoed these increases for certain.

Here is the announcement.

                          Maryland Department of     Natural Resources Fisheries Service

 Annual Chesapeake Bay QuotaEach year, scientists and managers from the three Chesapeake     Bay jurisdictions (Maryland, Virginia, and Potomac River) review the best     available data on the population of Striped Bass in the Bay in order to     determine the total number of fish that can be harvested each year by     commercial and recreational fishermen.  We refer to this limit or cap     as the Annual Chesapeake Bay Quota.  For 2014, it was decided that     fishermen could safely harvest 8,652,528 pounds of Striped Bass – without     detriment to the Bay population.  The previous year’s quota was     7,589,937 pounds and for the first time in many years the quota has been     increased in the Bay.  This increase of approximately 14% is     attributed to a large number of fish from the 2011 year class (fish that     hatch and enter into the population in a given year) which are just now     reaching the legal minimum size of 18 inches.

Bay-wide Allocation of the     Annual Quota

After the Annual Quota is decided upon, each jurisdiction     receives a proportion of the quota based on a fixed percentage.

Jurisdiction

Percentage

Quota (Lbs)1

Maryland

52.4%

4,530,403

Virginia

32.4%

2,804,652

Potomac       River

15.2%

1,317,473

Total

100%

8,652,528

1 –     Values will vary slightly due to rounding of the fixed percentage.      Actual percentages are carried out to the 7th decimal.

Quota Allocation in Maryland

Maryland’s proportion of the Annual Quota is further divided     into a commercial and recreational quota.

Sector

Percentage

Quota (Lbs)

Recreational

57.5%

2,604,982

Commercial

42.5%

1,925,421

Total

100%

4,530,403

Maryland’s Commercial Fishery

For 2014, the commercial Striped Bass fishery in the     Chesapeake Bay will be managed under an Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ)     management system.  In this system, shares of the quota are assigned     to the individual permit holders.  The share that each fisherman     receives is the proportion of the total commercial quota in pounds that     they will be allocated for the season.  Shares were determined based     on an equal distribution of 25% of the available shares to all permit     holders (baseline) and an unequal distribution of the remaining 75% of the     shares to each individual based on catch history (1/2001 – 2/2012).      It is the fisherman’s total share (baseline + catch history) that     determines their poundage allocation for the fishing year.  Annual     fluctuations in Maryland’s commercial quota, either up or down, will result     in varying poundage allocations from year to year…
To read entire     letter please go online to:

http://www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/commercial/stripedbass/pdf/2014quota.pdf

 

To read up on ITQ in Maryland go to:

http://www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/commercial/stripedbass/itq.asp

 

 

 

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Stripers Forever | 209 Winn Road Falmouth, ME 04105
stripers@stripersforever.org

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