10 September 2008

ASMFC Says Stripers are Thriving:

Striped bass fishermen should be pleased to know that scientific advice presented to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board indicates that striped bass management “…continues to be a success…an independent panel of fishery scientists concluded that striped bass are not overfished and overfishing in not occurring. The assessment estimates that the resource
remains at a high level with spawning stock biomass (SSB) at 55 million pounds, well above the target level…of 38.6 million pounds, respectively. Estimates of juvenile abundance showed
several years of strong ‘recruitment,’ with the 2003 cohort being the strongest in the time series.” Sort of fancy science language for: they think the bass are doing well.
If you need to read something to put you to sleep at night, see the full report at:

The problem with this report is that it overshadows serious problems that are showing up, particularly in the Chesapeake area, as a result of destruction of the menhaden, one of the stripers’ main food sources. As we reported in our post of 30 August ["The Importance of An Oily Little Fish"] “Tidewater,” a fisherman from Centreville, MD, writes: The high-rollers out of Virginia are harvesting over 100,000 metric tons of bunker a year and almost all are taken from the lower Chesapeake and just outside of the Chesapeake in the ocean …. The consequence of this harvest of menhaden is that the Chesapeake has lost a great portion of not only the forage fish for stripers in this breeding sanctuary, but also the quality of the bay...."

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