The 2018 Striped Bass Stock Assessment revealed that striped bass are over fished
Original article by Kevin Blinkoff February 15, 2019 (Click here to read)
At the Striped Bass Management Board meeting on February 6, 2019, a presentation of the 2018 stock assessment of striped bass revealed new information about the health of the striped bass stock. The Board will reconvene in May, 2019 to discuss regulatory changes that will most likely take effect in 2020.The most important takeaway from the presentation is that striped bass are overfished, and if we continue to remove the same amount of fish that were removed in 2017 (the most recent year of data in the assessment) the decline will continue.
In the figure above, you can see that the “female spawning stock biomass,” which is the weight of mature female fish in the population, has been below the “threshold” since 2013. The threshold is a value chosen by fisheries biologists as a lower limit, below which the fishery is deemed “overfished.” Note that while the SSB has dropped below the threshold, it is still well above the levels reached in the 1980s.
This figure shows which sectors are removing striped bass from the population. In 2017, commercial fishermen were responsible for 10% of coastal removals. Recreational fishermen were responsible for the other 90%. That 90% includes 42% that were harvested and 48% that are estimated to have died after being caught and released by recreational fishermen. Based on studies, scientists estimate that about 9% of striped bass caught and released by anglers do not survive.To put those percentages in numbers, recreational fishermen are estimated to have caught 41.2 million striped bass in 2017. They kept 2.9 million and released 38.2 million. Of those 38.2 million released, it is estimated that 3.4 million did not survive.Figures and information were taken from the presentation given at the ASMFC meeting of the Striped Bass Management Board. More information about the striped bass stock can be found on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission site.