Fisheries Managers Vote to Take Action on Rockfish Overfishing

By Chris Dollar for Chesapeake Bay Magazine

[dropcap]C[/dropcap]hanges are coming to the East Coast striped bass fishing rules in response to overfishing. But what changes, exactly? The public will have a chance to weigh in.

Phot: B. McCarthy

On Tuesday the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) unanimously approved a number of options to reduce striped bass fishing mortality along the Atlantic coast and in Chesapeake Bay. The proposal, an addendum to the existing striper management plan, is necessary due to an alarming decline in the population of this iconic sport fish, as previously reported by Bay Bulletin’s Wild Chesapeake column.

Fisheries biologists have determined that rockfish are being over-fished, which triggers action to make coast-wide changes prior to the 2020 fishing season.

During the nearly four-hour meeting, opinions and suggestions varied among commissioners as to how to achieve the necessary reductions. But all of the commissioners agreed that action needs to be swift to slow the decline and begin to rebuild the stock.

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