Although it's not entirely clear what they mean by this. Chesapeake Bay Mag,
Fishery Managers Set Deadline on Rockfish Rebuild
At its 2021 Annual Meeting last week, the Atlantic Striped Bass Board of
the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) took a positive step
toward rebuilding our beloved rockfish stock from its currently depleted
The move came in response to news from the Maryland
Department of Natural Resources (MD DNR) that its 2021 Juvenile Striped Bass
Index was 3.2, well below the annual average of 11.4 for the third
consecutive year. In fact, it has been below average for ten of the
past 16 years. Virginia’s index of 6.30 was closer to, but still below, its
long-term average of 7.77.
Concern about rockfish has been
building for at least five years, and ASMFC’s Striped Bass Board initiated
development of a new amendment (number 7, but the first since 2003) to the
fishery management plan last winter. The Board’s May meeting sketched out
six priorities for the Commission’s Plan Development Team to build into the
amendment. The team submitted its draft for Board approval at last week’s
We in the recreational community have been warning that stripers have been on a slide for at least 15 years, while managers (always a couple years behind on the data) kept assuring us that things were not only hunky but also dory.
There has been plenty of debate about ways to reduce
fishing mortality and rebuild the stock, but until now, there has been no
concrete, enforceable timetable set for the task. But Meghan Ware, a fishery
manager from Maine, made a motion to rebuild “within 10 years of learning
that the stock had become overfished,” which condition the most recent
coastwide survey had already confirmed in 2018. Thanks to the bad news from
the Chesapeake, Ms. Ware’s motion also required the Board to assume low
recruitment when working out appropriately restrictive levels of commercial
and recreational fishing mortality for the next seven years.
motion was a formal acknowledgment that the clock was already ticking on a
required rebuild. The job for Amendment 7 of the Atlantic Striped Bass
Management Plan will now begin with a formal rebuilding plan. Ms. Ware noted
that any further delay could make the process more difficult and force
draconian cutbacks in all fishing for this iconic species. She also said
noted that public comment last winter had overwhelmingly called for a
concrete rebuilding plan, whatever the cost in the immediate future. No one
wants to go back to the dark moratorium days of the late 1980s.
Ware’s motion, tasks ASMFC with drafting specific rebuild options on the
required, now seven-year timetable. In other words, despite a lot of fishery
management jargon, the time has come for the rubber to meet the road.
So is this kind of like Mom saying she was going to count to ten, and if we weren't being good by then she was really going to do something? I foresee a moratorium in the future.
The Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Danielle Rose Russell up on time at The Other McCain.
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