Got an opinion about striped bass management in the state of New Jersey? On Tuesday, December 5 from 6-8 p.m. at the Stafford Township Municipal Building at 260 East Bay Avenue in Manahawkin, NJ you’ll get your chance, as the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) will host a meeting to review changes to striped bass management to reduce fishing mortality as proposed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC).
The Atlantic coastal states of Maine through Virginia have scheduled hearings to gather public input on Draft Addendum II to Amendment 7 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass, which considers management measures designed to support stock rebuilding by reducing fishing mortality to the target in 2024. Tuesday’s meeting in Stafford Township will be the final in-person opportunity to hear the proposed options in New Jersey and to gather information prior to the December 22 comment period deadline.
At a previous webinar hosted by New Jersey, several commentors spoke out on a variety of options not included in the official Draft Addendum II to Amendment 7, including elimination of New Jersey’s Striped Bass Bonus Program, and instructional striped bass “handling” workshops to be undertaken prior to being able to target striped bass. What ASMFC is proposing for public comment are recreational bag and size limit options for the ocean and Chesapeake Bay regions, including options with different limits for the for-hire modes.
According to ASMFC, 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. the Draft Addendum also 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 commission’s Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board.
To help anglers and recreational fishing industry members navigate the options presented by the ASMFC, the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) has created a Guide to Draft Addendum II for Atlantic Striped Bass in PDF form. According to Mike Waine, ASA’s Atlantic Fisheries Policy Director, the industry trade organization is advocating for (1) maintaining the 28 to 31-inch slot for the ocean fishery, (2) implementing a maximum size in the Chesapeake Bay, (3) complementary reductions in the commercial fishery and (4) no mode splits meaning same regulations for private and charter.
For more information on Tuesday’s hearing at the Stafford Township Municipal Building, call Joe Cimino at 609-748-2063. Click here for directions to the meeting.