The following is a press release from the Atlantic States Marine
Striped Bass Stock Assessment Indicates Healthy Stock
Total Abundance, Female Spawning Stock Biomass and Recruitment Remain
Scientific advice presented to the Commission's Atlantic Striped Bass
Management Board today indicates that striped bass management under
Amendment 6 to the Interstate Plan continues to be a success. The
remains at a high level of abundance at 65.3 million pounds, 10 percent
higher than the average stock size for the previous five years. Female
spawning stock biomass (SSB) is estimated at 54.8 million pounds and is
well above the SSB target and threshold levels of 38.6 and 30.9 million
pounds, respectively. Recruitment of young fish (age 1) at 12.7 million
close to the average recruitment observed since the stock was first
declared recovered in 1995.
The stock is not overfished and overfishing is not occurring, with 2004
fishing mortality estimated at 0.40, below the Amendment 6 threshold of
0.41. Total catch has risen to 5.2 million fish, a 33 percent increase
since implementation of Amendment 6 in 2003. Recreational harvest and
discards accounted for 72.5 percent of the total mortality, with the
majority of fish harvested by anglers in Virginia, New Jersey,
Massachusetts, Maryland and North Carolina. Commercial catch has risen
slightly to 1.42 million fish, with Maryland commercial fisheries
accounting for half of the harvest.
Based on the advice of the Technical Committee, the Board maintained
states' management programs at status quo. The Technical Committee will
continue to monitor the status of the stock and refine stock assessment
methodology as necessary. The next peer reviewed stock assessment is
scheduled for 2007.
Copies of the stock assessment will be available on the Commission
under Breaking News) by mid-November.