ASMFC Draft Amendment 7 Has Been Approved

ASMFC 2022 Spring Meeting

Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board- Meeting & Final Action Summary

By Taylor Vavra (Vice President)

On May 4, 2022 the Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board approved Draft Amendment 7 to the interstate management plan. After more than 2 years of deliberation, hard work and public comment we now have a plan in place that will hopefully solidify the rebuilding of the stock. Did everything go as we had hoped? No, but this was still a big win for Striped Bass conservation.

During the PID portion of this process, Stripers Forever made the suggestion that we were in need of a equitable harvest moratorium (both recreational and commercial) to restore the stock. Unfortunately the ASMFC turned that around and offered only an option for a recreational harvest moratorium, something we could not support. If a harvest moratorium is put in place it absolutely needs to be an equitable one. Since the end of the last moratorium and the prolific seasons that followed, the ASMFC has done nothing but diminish the stock, ultimately leading to overfishing at a time of historically low recruitment. Many have lost faith and trust in the ASMFC’s ability to manage the stock and thus lead to us supporting what would have been the simplest and most full proof way of rebuilding it.

We were also in strong support of seasonal spawning closures as a method of protecting the SSB during the important pre spawn and spawning timeframe. Given the previously mentioned years of historically low recruitment, this would have potentially helped turn that around. There were a few reasons (outlined below) which contributed to that option failing.

Outside of those two items there are a multitude of options to be both excited about and proud of accomplishing. The overwhelming public outcry for accountability, quicker action and more conservation minded management could not be ignored by the board. To say that you played an important part in this outcome would be a major understatement. And for that, we could not be thankful enough.

Major accomplishments included; keeping the current 10 year rebuilding timeframe, keeping triggers and thresholds in place and in some instances improving them, requirements for the board to act quicker in the face of low recruitment and low SSB (spawning stock biomass) and likely most importantly, dramatically reworking CE (conservation equivalency) to limit its usage and close a loophole which previously allowed states to take advantage of it. The win on CE is enough to celebrate but as you will read below, there was so much more.

With Amendment 7 now in place the next major hurdle will be the results of the upcoming stock assessment, likely available sometime around October of 2022. Many believe we are in for some bad news on this front but only time and the data will tell. Based on those findings there is a good chance that either a moratorium or seasonal closures are back on the table as either no harvest or no target. We are fisherman too, we don’t look forward to not being able to get out on the water and chase Striped Bass. But at the same time, we need to do what is best for the fishery and if that means missing out on some fishing to let mother nature do her thing and rebuild the stock, then so be it.

Stripers Forever has been and always will be about doing what is the absolute best for the fishery, not our own self interests. We maintain a long term vision and hope of an abundant and healthy stock. The fish deserve it, as do our younger generations who have not had the chance to experience an abundant and healthy fishery.

Thank you for your continued support and for being a part of the process!

(At the bottom of this blog post you will find links to the audio and slides (YouTube video), presentations (PDF), ASMFC meeting summary and the ASMFC new release.)


The meeting started off with a fairly quick discussion and vote on the rebuilding plan, section 4.4 of Draft Amendment 7. For section 4.4.1 the board approved option B, to rebuild the SSB to target level by no later than 2029. For section 4.4.2, again the board voted to approve option B, to allow for quick board action in the event that the next stock assessment indicates that we cannot rebuild the stock within the timeframe. We supported both of these options so let’s consider this a win. This is based off the “low recruitment regime assumption”, averaging the lower years of the juvenile abundance index (JAI) or young of year (YOY) instead of including some of the higher years. This is a more conservative and realistic approach to the rebuild.

After a lunch break the board dived into the meat and potatoes of Draft Amendment 7 and started off with section 4.1 Tier 1 Fishing Mortality (F) Management Triggers. Another win here, we supported options A1, B1 and C1. While status quo options were selected, the board did not elect to approve any of the other sub options which would have weakened and allowed for longer timelines to reduce fishing mortality (F). Long story short, these were the best options on the table.

Moving on, the board then discussed Tier 2 options and with another quick vote approved sub options A2, B1 and C1. Another win across the board, we supported all three options approved. Sub option A1 did not put in place a deadline to implement a rebuilding plan. The board now must implement a rebuilding plan within two years of the SSB (spawning stock biomass) management trigger being tripped. Sub option B1 keeps in place a trigger if SSB falls below the threshold and C1 offers the shortest time frame to rebuilding if the female SSB falls below the target.

Next up were the Tier 3 options and Stripers Forever supported sub options A3 and B2. While the options we supported were not approved these options do improve on where we were at prior. A2 works off a ‘moderate sensitivity trigger’ as opposed to A3 which would be considered a ‘high sensitivity trigger’. B3 puts in place an interim F target and interim F threshold calculated using the low recruitment assumption and allows for reevaluation using those reference points. The management program then must be adjusted  to reduce F to that interim target within the timeline defined in Section 4.1 (1 year).

Lastly for section 4.1 the board discussed and voted on the Tier 4 Deferred Management Action sub options. The board approved sub option F, this was an unfortunate turn of events, the public has lost faith and trust in the board and wanted any deferred management options to be removed. This essentially creates a loophole where the board can defer action if action is already being taken in response to a different trigger. We will have to see how this plays out as things move forward. For now we have to chalk this one up to a lose, nothing horrific but this could open the door to problems in the future. We will have to cross that bridge when we get there and again speak up and hold the board accountable for their actions.

We supported sub option B2-B of section 4.2.2 because it would have provided the best protection for the SSB while they spawn. The motion on the table was for option B2-A, a required no harvest spawning closure. While not our first choice we would have been thrilled to see any type of spawning closure. Unfortunately the motion failed in a 4-11-1 vote. This was a lost opportunity to protect pre spawn and spawning fish which we believe is vital to the recovery of the SSB and stock as a whole. Many other species benefit from shortened seasons or spawning closures and Striped Bass should as well. Especially considering the stock is currently overfished with overfishing occurring, the least we can do is allow for a short window of uninterrupted spawning. There were several factors which contributed to this vote, enforcement and compliance at the top of the list. The claimed inability to enforce these closures is an excuse not to enact them, not a reason. Putting the no target closure aside, a no harvest closure is easily enforceable, especially in a place like the upper Hudson River where there are fewer species being targeted during that timeframe and a much smaller geographic area to cover. The board needs to put the fish first and let the states develop and fund the enforcement needed to make these options a reality. Compliance was another driving factor as there was a (largely unsubstantiated) claim that the current 80% compliance estimate is likely inaccurate and therefore would make this option pointless. This is largely an unfounded claim, with substantial penalties put in place on the enforcement side we believe the 80% compliance estimate is easily reachable if not surpassed. This is where gear and boat seizures could have played an important role in dissuading anglers from breaking these laws. We may be having this conversation again based on the outcome of the next stock assessment next fall.

With a unanimous vote the board approved a modified version of sub option C1 of section 4.2.2 which would make it unlawful to use a gaff when fishing for Striped Bass. This is a no brainer, gaffing fish with the current state of the stock just makes no sense. Very happy to see this option approved.

Stripers Forever supported sub option D1 would have required states to perform outreach and education. We believe both of these items are essential to reducing recreational discard mortality, potentially accounting for 50%, it is believed to be one of the biggest contributors to overall mortality. We did not want to give states the option to do so. It seems that states are aware of its importance and hopefully take the action needed. Either way we will certainly make a major effort to improve our contribution in these outreach and education efforts.

This was another easy choice and we are happy to see sub option C2 of section 4.2.2 approved. If fishing for other species on unapproved gear (think bait fishing with a j-hook for sea bass or blackfish) a by-catch Striped Bass must be returned to the water immediately without unnecessary injury.

Finally the board began to address section 4.6 Alternative State Management Regimes. This was a very important section and we were very happy with the results. First up, the board approved sub option B1-A. CE (conservation equivalency) programs would not be approved when the stock is overfished. This was a major win and will prevent states like Maryland and New Jersey from taking advantage of CE to avoid reductions to rebuild the stock. CE has no place in a fishery which is currently overfished with overfishing occurring.

Options C & D of section 4.6.2 were up next. We supported sub options C3 and D3 which operated on the tightest estimates, least amount of risk and largest buffer. We would have liked to have seen more conservative options selected but this is still an improvement and further limits and dissuades CE usage.

Another big win here in the battle to limit CE damage. Stripers Forever supported the approved sub option E2. Coast-wide reductions, like the most recent 18%, affect each state differently, some states represent a larger share than others. Up until now CE has essentially created a loophole where states could implement CE to avoid taking their full share of the reduction. Point and case, New Jersey during the last 18% coast-wide reduction. This is a bit complicated but, the condensed explanation is that option E2 requires states who choose to implement CE to take on their full share of the reduction under the coast-wide measures.

The beginning of the end. Motion passes unanimously and all provisions of Amendment 7 as approved above are now effective immediately.

Amendment 7 to the the Striped Bass Interstate Fishery Management Plan (as amended today) was unanimously approved by the board. This is a huge moment for Striped Bass and a huge step forward in what we hope will be the rebuilding of the stock. While everything did not go our way, this is still a big win for Striped Bass.


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ASMFC 2022 Spring Meeting- Draft Amendment 7 Final Action

ASMFC 2022 Spring Meeting

Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board

Wednesday May 4, 2022 | 11:30 AM – 5:15 PM (1 hour lunch break included)

Webinar Link:

By Taylor Vavra (Vice President/ National Board Member)

Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon.” Tomorrow, May 4, 2022 the ASMFC Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board will meet to take final action on Draft Amendment 7. Let’s hope that there is a better future for Striped Bass beyond the horizon. At tomorrows meeting the board will take final action on Draft Amendment 7. It will put into action a monumental and comprehensive management plan with the hope of restoring the stock to abundance and preventing similar mistakes from reoccurring in the future. As expected, public comment and sentiment from individuals and organizations was largely in sync and only a few options revealed split preferences.

Stripers Forever supported the options which we believe will best serve the stock and do so in the quickest timeframe. There was good support for seasonal closures to help curb recreational release mortality, the majority in favor of spawning area harvest closures with no target closures coming in second. We will consider this a win as there were 3358 combined comments in support of the two options. We believe that no target closures would be easier to enforce and do less harm to pre-spawn and spawning fish whom could be mishandled in a catch and release scenario. Another win comes in the way of the majority in favor of a requirement for states to perform outreach and education efforts on best handling and release practices. We believe angler education is fundamental to reversing the impact of the recreational sector in regards to release mortality. Lastly, conservation equivalency saw almost unanimous support for the the most conservative options to limit and hopefully prevent the use of it by states who in the past may have taken advantage.

The supplemental materials for the meeting (link below) contains an overview and summary of the public comments received by the ASMFC. This document includes summary tables for each option and a brief descriptions of the option most favored.

We will be tuned in to tomorrows meeting and will be following up with a summary of what takes place and what we should expect in the future.


  • Welcome/Call to Order (M. Gary)
  • Board Consent
    • Approval of Agenda
    • Approval Proceedings from January 2022
  • Public Comment
  • Draft Amendment 7 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Final Approval Final Action
    • Review Options and Public Comment Summary (E. Franke)
    • Advisory Panel Report (E. Franke)
    • Law Enforcement Committee Report (K. Blanchard)
    • Consider Final Approval of Draft Amendment 7
  • Review 2022 Stock Assessment Update Projection Scenarios (K. Drew)
  • Consider Next Steps for Draft Addendum VII to Amendment 6 Possible Action
    • Motion from October 2021: Move to defer until May 2022 consideration by the Atlantic Striped Bass Board of Draft Addendum VII to Amendment 6 to allow further development and review of the transfer options
  • Review and Populate Advisory Panel Membership (T. Berger) Action
  • Elect Vice-Chair Action
  • Other Business/Adjourn


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ASMFC Draft Amendment 7: Public Comment Guide

By Taylor Vavra

Vice President/ National Board Member

As we have said before, this is now an all hands on deck situation. The period of state by state public hearings on Draft Amendment 7 of the ASMFC’s Striped Bass management plan is underway and written comments are now being accepted with a deadline of April 15, 2022. It is vital that the public speak up and let the Commission know we are not happy and that we are paying close attention to their actions moving forward. The fact is, because of your collective support for stronger conservation in the early days of this process a year ago, draft Amendment 7 was pushed farther toward stronger conservation than it would have been without your involvement.

While the state by state hearings are a welcome and valuable part of the process, they do not provide the public with the ability to fully express their commentary on draft Amendment 7. We certainly encourage everyone to attend and participate either in person or online, the polls being conducted are a new and an interesting way to gauge overall sentiment on options within the amendment. We are strongly suggesting, even if you have attended a hearing, that you also submit written comments to the Commision. Your written comments can be generated on your own time and you can choose to either select all options, as we have done below, or pick out whichever options are most important to you. Those options should be preceded by a short summary of your feelings about how the board has handled the management of Striped Bass and how you would like them to handle it going forward.

Here is the important part. Stripers Forever is not providing a form letter for you to copy and paste and send to the ASMFC. The reason behind this is the board has made it clear that form letters from organizations will not carry the same weight as those submitted by individuals writing in their own words. We could not disagree more with this policy. Capt. John McMurray (NY representative on the board and ASGA president) contested this openly with the board but unfortunately they choose to stick to their guns on this policy. It is vital that your comments be written in your own words. And while we provided some reasoning for our choices below you should not feel obligated to do the same in your submission to the commision.

Stripers Forever members were unified in our position that a ten-year equitable (recreational & commercial) harvest moratorium was needed. Many agreed with us, including other conservation groups and like-minded individuals, and they joined us in speaking out. The ASMFC took notice, and while they rejected the idea of a moratorium, significant changes were made to important provisions like restrictions on conservation equivalency, shorter triggers for mandated action, and a tacit acknowledgment from the Commission that recreational anglers have lost patience with twenty years of failure on the part of the ASMFC. We may be revisiting the implementation of a moratorium once the results of the next stock assessment are released in October 2022.

Our recommendation is to use these hearings and your letters to the Commission to turn up the heat. Let them know you are disappointed, angry, and paying close attention. Demand action and accountability to the Striped Bass’ dominant constituency. There are tens of thousands of us who want to see Striped Bass restored to abundance. We will no longer tolerate their failure. The bottom line is, your participation is more important than ever before, be part of the process!

Thank you for your support and dedication to the cause.

You may submit public comment by attending a public hearing held in your state or jurisdiction or mailing, faxing, or emailing written comments to the address below. Comments can also be referred to your state’s members on the Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board or Atlantic Striped Bass Advisory Panel; however, only comments received at a public hearing or written comments submitted to the Commission will become part of the public comment record.


Emilie Franke
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission
1050 N. Highland Street, Suite 200 A-N
Arlington VA. 22201

Email: (Subject: Draft Amendment 7)

Fax: (703) 842-0741

For reference, here are few common terms which will help you better understand the language used within many of the options.

  • F– Fishing Mortality Rate
  • FMP– Fisheries Management Plan
  • JAI– Juvenile Abundance Indices
  • SSB– Spawning Stock Biomass
  • TC– Technical Committee

The goal was to be as brief and clear as possible while still providing some reasoning for the options supported. Here are the options that Stripers Forever will support in our formal letter to the ASMFC and options we suggest our membership also support:

4.1 Management Triggers
TIER 1 OPTIONS: Fishing Mortality (F) Triggers

Option A: Timeline to Reduce F to the Target– SF supports Sub-option A1 (status quo): Reduce F to a level that is at or below the target within one year.

        • Reasoning: We believe that wherever possible the board should move as quickly as possible to reduce fishing mortality. Sub-option A1 offers the shortest timeframe to get it back below the target.

Option B: F Threshold Triggers– SF supports Sub-option B1 (status quo): If F exceeds the F threshold, the striped bass management program must be adjusted to reduce F to a level that is at or below the target within the timeframe selected under Option A.

        • Reasoning: Best of the two sub-options, action will not be taken under B2 unless a two year average of F exceeds the F threshold.

Option C: F Target Triggers– SF supports Sub-option C1 (status quo): If F exceeds the F target for two consecutive years and female SSB falls below the SSB target in either of those years, the striped bass management program must be adjusted to reduce F to a level that is at or below the target within the timeframe selected under sub-option A.

        • Reasoning: Best of the three sub options in regards to action trigger in the least amount of time. C2 requires 3 years of F exceeding F target and C3 has no trigger related to F target.
TIER 2 OPTIONS: Female Spawning Stock Biomass (SSB) Management Triggers

Option A: Deadline to Implement a Rebuilding Plan– SF supports Sub-option A2: Two-Year Deadline to Implement a Rebuilding Plan. The Board must implement a rebuilding plan within two years from when an SSB-based management trigger is tripped. A management trigger is not considered tripped until the Board formally reviews and accepts, if necessary, the results of the relevant stock assessment.

        • Reasoning: This option puts in place a two-year deadline to implement a rebuilding plan. A1 (status quo) does not put in place a deadline to implement a rebuilding plan.

Option B: SSB Threshold Trigger– SF supports Sub-option B1 (status quo): If female SSB falls below the SSB threshold, the striped bass management program must be adjusted to rebuild the biomass to the target level within an established timeframe [not to exceed 10-years].

        • Reasoning: B2 offers no trigger related to the female SSB threshold. We believe that while an F trigger would likely be in place it is also important to keep an eye on and take corrective measures if the female SSB is in trouble.

Option C: SSB Target Trigger– SF supports Sub-option C1 (status quo): If female SSB falls below the target for two consecutive years and the fishing mortality rate exceeds the target in either of those years, the striped bass management program must be adjusted to rebuild the biomass to a level that is at or above the target within an established timeframe [not to exceed 10-years].

        • Reasoning: Again, C1 offers the shortest time frame to rebuilding if the female SSB falls below the target. C2 requires 3 consecutive years and C3 contains no management trigger related to the female SSB target.
TIER 3 OPTIONS: Recruitment Triggers

Option A: Recruitment Trigger Definition– SF supports Sub-option A3: The recruitment trigger is tripped when any of the four JAIs used in the stock assessment model (NY, NJ, MD, VA) shows an index value that is below the median of all values in the respective JAI from 1992-2006, which represents a period of high recruitment, for three consecutive years. The high recruitment reference period used for this trigger may be adjusted as recommended by the TC during benchmark stock assessments. This trigger alternative has a higher sensitivity than both the status quo trigger and sub-option A2 (Figure 1). This trigger alternative would have tripped six times since 2003: NY in 2006; MD in 2008; MD in 2009; MD and VA in 2010; NY in 2013; MD in 2014 (Table 2).

        • Reasoning: The status quo (current trigger) has only been tripped once in the time period between 2003-2020, clearly it is not sensitive enough based on where the stock is currently at. A2 would have tripped the trigger 3 times in that same time period. A3, while classified as a “high sensitivity trigger”, would have tripped the trigger 6 times in that same time frame. As with the other options supported, we believe the board needs to operate with more caution moving forward, being aware of and addressing years of low recruitment ASAP.

Option B: Management Response to Recruitment Trigger– SF supports Sub-option B2. If the recruitment trigger is tripped, an interim F target calculated using the low recruitment assumption is implemented, and if F from the terminal year of the most recent stock assessment is above the interim F target, the striped bass management program must be adjusted to reduce F to the interim F target within one year.

        • Reasoning: In the past, the board has failed to adjust F to account for both good and bad year classes (recruitment). With several recent years of poor year classes we need the board to be more responsive to these shifts. B2 puts an interim F target adjustment in place if the recruitment trigger is tripped.
TIER 4 OPTIONS: Deferred Management Action

-SF supports Option A (status quo): No Deferred Management Action. If any (or all) of the management triggers are tripped following a benchmark stock assessment or assessment update, the Board is required to respond to that trigger regardless of when the last management action was implemented in response to any management trigger.

        • Reasoning: We cannot support any options which allow the board to defer action if a management trigger is tripped. Options B-F all allow for deferred action by the board in the event of a management trigger. Given where the stock is currently at, overfished with overfishing occurring,  the “Board’s concern about the frequent need for management action due to triggers tripping with each stock assessment update or benchmark” is quite frankly, absurd. Stock assessments are typically conducted every 2 years (COVID delayed the last one) and benchmark assessments every 5 years. If the board needs to convene and take action more frequently to maintain a healthy stock then so be it.
4.2 Recreational Fishery Management Measures
Option B. Effort Controls (Seasonal Closures)

-SF supports Sub-option B2. Spawning Area Closures: The Board can select either or both of the following sub-options B2-a and B2-b. Multiple states currently have spawning closures in place with closure boundaries defined by those states. Existing spawning closures would be applied toward meeting the requirements of the selected option(s).15 Spawning area closures during the spawning season could contribute to stock rebuilding by eliminating harvest and/or reducing releases of spawning and pre-spawn fish. Reducing releases during this time is particularly important to reduce stress and injury to fish as they move into lower salinity spawning areas. If new information on the timing of striped bass spawning is available in the future, the TC would conduct a review of that research and recommend changes to the timing of spawning closures if needed. If this option is selected, CE would not be permitted.

-SF supports Sub-option B2-b. No-Targeting Spawning Closure Required: All recreational targeting of striped bass would be prohibited for a minimum two-week period on all spawning grounds (not necessarily the entire spawning area) during Wave 2 (March-April) or Wave 3 (May-June), as determined by states to align with peak spawning. States will determine the boundaries of spawning ground closures. Closures prohibiting recreational targeting on spawning grounds have already been implemented in Maine (Kennebec River), New Jersey (Delaware River), and Maryland (Chesapeake Bay) during part of Wave 2 and/or Wave 3 (Figure 4).

        • Reasoning: This is an important one! And while this is a complex section of Amendment 7 we believe it is vital to the recovery of the SSB and stock as a whole. Sub-option b2-a would prohibit harvest but allow for catch and release, b2-b would be a no targeting  closure and would provide the best protection for the SSB while they spawn. The option is somewhat open ended with the language calling for a “minimum two-week period,” we would like to see it closer to a four or six week period in order to see the best results and gain the most protection for the SSB. Many other species benefit from shortened seasons or spawning closures and Striped Bass should as well. Considering the stock is currently overfished with overfishing occurring, the least we can do is allow for uninterrupted spawning. The argument that Striped Bass would be a bycatch while fishing for Bluefish or other species is mostly null as Bluefish do not show up in great numbers until after this timeframe. The uncertainty regarding these options surround the definition of the spawning areas and the possibility that states may need to work together to provide the most amount of protection for the SSB as they stage ahead of the spawn and then move up into the river to do so. The best example of this is the case of the Hudson River where fish stage in Raritan Bay, New Jersey before ascending the Hudson River to spawn in NY. In a best case scenario this targeting closure would not only protect the spawning grounds but also the areas in which the SSB congregates prior to spawning, they go hand in hand. Despite these uncertainties we support these options with the hope that the TC and board will work together to develop these areas. Overall these options err on the side of caution but with the Striped Bass SSB and stock as a whole being in such a dire situation, we believe any gain, no matter how big is worth the risk involved.
Option C. Additional Gear Restrictions

-SF supports Sub-option C1: Recreational anglers would be prohibited from using any device other than a nonlethal device to remove a striped bass from the water or assist in the releasing of a striped bass.

-SF supports Sub-option C2: Striped bass caught on any unapproved method of take would be returned to the water immediately without unnecessary injury.

        • Reasoning: These options are a no brainer. Let’s prevent the use of gaffs for removing fish from the water in the event that they would need to be released as slot limits require more fish to be released. C2 would require non circle hooked fish (J-hook when fishing for other species) to be returned to the water as soon as possible and with careful handling. Both of these measures combat recreational release mortality which has been determined to have a large effect on F.
Option D. Outreach and Education

-SF supports Sub-option D1: States would be required to promote best striped bass handling and release practices by developing public education and outreach campaigns. States must provide updates on public education and outreach efforts in annual state compliance reports.

        • Reasoning: Another easy option. States collect license fees and we believe some of that money should be spent on angler education and more specifically catch and release best practices. Option D2 only recommends that “states continue to promote best striped bass handling and release practices by developing public education and outreach campaigns.” We believe that this should not just be a recommendation but a requirement. Angler education is an essential method to help curb recreational release mortality and ultimately help rebuild the stock to abundance.
4.4.1 Recruitment Assumption for Rebuilding Calculation

-SF supports Option B: Rebuild female SSB to the SSB target level by no later than 2029. F rebuild is calculated to achieve the SSB target by no later than 2029 using the low recruitment regime assumption as identified by the change point analysis.

        • Reasoning: As we have mentioned, young of year over the past 3 years has been well below average. Combine this with the fact that Addendum 6 only addressed mortality and not rebuilding the stock and now we are in a terrible spot. The writing has been on the wall for years, if you were on the water it was clear that the stock was in trouble. Option B bases the rebuild of the SSB on the ‘low recruitment regime assumption,’ more in line with the poor year classes previously mentioned. It would likely achieve a lower level of removals and require more restrictive management measures.
4.4.2 Rebuilding Plan Framework

-SF supports Option B: If the 2022 stock assessment results indicate the Amendment 7 measures have less than a 50% probability of rebuilding the stock by 2029 (as calculated using the recruitment assumption specified in Amendment 7) and if the stock assessment indicates at least a 5% reduction in removals is needed to achieve F rebuild, the Board may adjust measures to achieve F rebuild via Board action.

        • Reasoning: A new stock assessment will be published in October 2022 and depending on the outcome it may have a massive impact on the measures being put in place by Amendment 7. It is an unfortunate situation and likely could have been avoided if the board took action sooner but it is a concession we should be willing to make to prevent a further delay in developing and putting into action an addendum to Amendment 7. As noted it appears the board is willing to allow some sort of public involvement in the process. “Under this option, public comment could be provided during Board meetings per the Commission’s guidelines for public comment at Board meetings, and/or public comment could be provided in writing to the Board per the Commission’s timeline for submission of written public comments prior to Board meetings.”
4.6.2 Management Program Equivalency (Conservation Equivalency or CE) | Option B. Restrict the Use of Conservation Equivalency Based on Stock Status

-SF supports Sub-option B1. Restrictions: CE programs would not be approved when Sub-option B1-a: the stock is at or below the biomass threshold (i.e., overfished). CE programs would not be considered until a subsequent stock assessment indicates stock biomass is above the threshold level.

        • Reasoning: While we were hoping to see conservation equivalency completely removed from the management process, that is not an option within Amendment 7. The TC has stated that the implementation of CE in the management process is unquantifiable and will likely cloud the regulations put in place by states to reach the overall reductions necessary. Option B, sub-option B1 provides the most limitations to the use of CE by states, some of whom have taken advantage of it. The stock needs to be managed for abundance and therefore we need to let the Commision know that CE has no place in a stock that is overfished with overfishing occurring. If you only choose to speak on or select a few options from A7, this should certainly be one of them.
4.6.2 Management Program Equivalency (Conservation Equivalency or CE) | Option C. Precision Standards for MRIP Estimates Used in Conservation Equivalency Proposals

-SF supports Sub-option C3: CE proposals would not be able to use MRIP estimates associated with a PSE exceeding 30.

        • Reasoning: This is the most conservative option available as as stated in Amendment 7 “NMFS warns that ‘[MRIP] Estimates should be viewed with increasing caution as PSEs increase beyond 30. Large PSEs—those above 50—indicate high variability around the estimate and therefore low precision.'”. We want to make sure the CE is only accessible if tightest estimate and least amount of risk.
4.6.2 Management Program Equivalency (Conservation Equivalency or CE) | Option D. Conservation Equivalency Uncertainty Buffer for Non-Quota Managed Fisheries

-SF supports Sub-option D3: Proposed CE programs for non-quota managed fisheries would be required to include an uncertainty buffer of 50%.

        • Reasoning: An uncertainty buffer refers to the previously mentioned unquantifiable results of states putting CE in place as pointed out by the TC. What this means in simple terms is, if a state wants to make use of CE they will need to plan for a buffer to account for possible overages of F. In other words it could be thought of as a tax for using CE. This will hopefully discourage states from using CE in the first place. We would like to see the biggest buffer possible (50%) put in place to dissuade states from trying to use CE. If they do opt to use it the 50% buffer would hopefully counteract the potential overages in F.
4.6.2 Management Program Equivalency (Conservation Equivalency or CE) | Option E. Definition of Equivalency for CE Proposals with Non-Quota Managed Fisheries

-SF supports Sub-option E2: Proposed CE programs would be required to demonstrate equivalency to the percent reduction/liberalization projected for the FMP standard at the state-specific level.

        • Reasoning: This is a bit convoluted but the bottom line is that this essentially undoes an unfortunate series of events that transpired during the addendum 6 process. New Jersey felt that the coastwide 18.5% reduction based on harvest was unfair as it translated to a larger reduction for them due to the complication of the slot limit. The board sided with New Jersey who then ultimately failed to meet its goals and in the end took no reduction.

This concludes the section of draft Amendment 7 options for which the ASMFC is seeking public input. This was a beast of a document and we did our best to distill it into something of value for our Stripers Forever members. Our greatest hope is that you be a part of the process and make your voice heard, no matter what your opinion may be. If we all band together and let the commission know we expect accountability and change it may happen. We will be working hard to generate awareness about Amendment 7 through our normal communications channels. Sign up to receive our emails (free) and follow us on Instagram (@stripersforever) as well as Facebook. As we move beyond Amendment 7 look for updates on all legislative action regarding Striped Bass, especially the next stock assessment in October 2022.

Thank you again for your support!


Draft Amendment 7:

State by State Public Hearing Schedule:

ASMFC Atlantic Striped Bass Draft Amendment 7 Presentation (video):

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ASMFC Draft Amendment 7- Statewide Public Hearing Schedule

States Schedule Public Hearings on Atlantic Striped Bass Draft Amendment 7

Arlington, VA – The Atlantic coastal states of Maine through Virginia have scheduled hearings to gather public input on the Atlantic Striped Bass Draft Amendment 7. Some hearings will be conducted via webinar and some hearings will be conducted in person. Additional details on participating in the webinars can be found later in this release.

Webinar Instructions:

Please note that in order to comment during virtual webinar hearings you will need to use your computer or download the GoToWebinar app for your phone. Those joining by phone only will be limited to listening to the presentation and will not be able to provide input. In those cases, you can send your comments to staff via email, U.S. mail, or fax at any time during the public comment period. To attend the webinar in listen only mode, dial 951.384.3421 and enter access code 269-324-049.

To register for a virtual public hearing webinar please click HERE and select the hearing(s) you plan to attend from the dropdown menu. Hearings will be held via GoToWebinar, and you can join the webinar from your computer, tablet or smartphone. If you are new to GoToWebinar, you can download the software by (clicking here) or via the App store under GoToWebinar. We recommend you register for the hearing well in advance of the hearing since GoToWebinar will provide you with a link to test your device’s compatibility with the webinar. If you find your device is not compatible, please contact the Commission at (subject line: GoToWebinar help) and we will try to get you connected. We also strongly encourage participants to use the computer voice over internet (VoIP) so you can ask questions and provide input at the hearing. If you are joining the webinar but will not be using VoIP, you can may also call in at 951.384.3421, access code 269-324-049. An audio PIN will be provided to you after joining the webinar.

For those who cannot attend any in-person or virtual hearings, the Commission will also post a recording of the hearing presentation on the Commission’s YouTube page so that stakeholders may watch the presentation and submit comment at any time during the comment process. This recording will be available in late February; a subsequent press release will announce the availability of the recording.

The schedule issued on February 16 has been revised with the follow changes: Maryland’s public hearing that was scheduled for March 28 has switched from an in-person hearing to a webinar hearing; New York has added an additional in-person hearing scheduled for March 23 in New Paltz, NY.

The public hearing details are as follows:

Tuesday, March 8
In-person Hearing
4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Potomac River Fisheries Commission &
District of Columbia Dept. of Energy and Environment
Hearing Location:
Potomac River Fisheries Commission
222 Taylor St, Colonial Beach, VA 22443
Martin Gary, 804.224.7148
Daniel Ryan, 202.597.1244

Wednesday, March 9

Webinar Hearing
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Virginia Marine Resources Commission
Pat Geer, 757.247.2236

Thursday, March 10

Webinar Hearing
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife
John Clark, 302.739.9108

Monday, March 14

Webinar Hearing
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
New Jersey Dept. of Environmental Protection &
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission
Joe Cimino, 609.748.2063
Kris Kuhn, 814.359.5115

Tuesday, March 15

Webinar Hearing
5:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Rhode Island Dept. of Environmental Management
Jason McNamee, 401.222.4700 x2772414

Wednesday, March 16

In-person Hearing
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation
Hearing Location:
NYSDEC Division of Marine Resources
123 Kings Park Blvd (inside Nissequogue River States Park), Kings Park, NY 11754
Maureen Davidson, 631.444.0483

Monday, March 21

Webinar Hearing
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries
Michael Armstrong, 978.282.0308 x109

Tuesday, March 22

Webinar Hearing
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Connecticut Dept. of Energy & Environmental Protection
Justin Davis, 860.447.4322

Wednesday, March 23

Webinar Hearing
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Maine Dept. of Marine Resources
Megan Ware, 207.446.0932

Wednesday, March 23
In-person Hearing
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation
Hearing Location:
NYSDEC Region 3 21 South Putt Corners Road, New Paltz, NY 12561
Maureen Davidson, 631.444.0483

Monday, March 28

Webinar Hearing
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources
Michael Luisi, 443.758.6547

Tuesday, March 29

Hybrid Hearing
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
New Hampshire Fish and Game
Note: This hearing will be held in a hybrid format. To virtually attend this hearing, please follow the webinar registration instructions.
You can attend in person at this address:
Urban Forestry Center
45 Elwyn Road, Portsmouth, NH 03801
Cheri Patterson, 603.608.6637

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Newbury, MA 01951

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