Arlington, VA— [On January 31, 2023], the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) voted in favor of postponing action on Draft Addendum I to the Striped Bass Interstate Fishery Management Plan to conduct additional technical analyses on the impacts of commercial transfers for the ocean fishery. ASGA is disappointed that the Board failed to dispense of Draft Addendum I and ignored an overwhelming mandate by the striped bass angling public.
Based on preliminary data from the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP), landings were substantially higher in 2022, compared to 2021. ASGA is deeply concerned that these preliminary estimates will prompt a management action at the May Board Meeting to successfully rebuild the striped bass stock by 2029. Unfortunately, the Board will now also be distracted by Draft Addendum I on top of other, and far more consequential, management decisions.
“Over 98% of the nearly 2,000 public comments supported Option A,” said Tony Friedrich, VP and Policy Director of the American Saltwater Guides Association. “It was extremely disappointing that this option was never discussed at the hearing. The Striped Bass Management Board should not be allowed to operate in a bubble and completely ignore such significant participation in a public process. The striped bass community wants accountability and the prompt rebuilding of striped bass.”
From the onset, ASGA opposed Draft Addendum I, because increasing fishing mortality, no matter how trivial, on a stock under rebuilding is nonsensical and irresponsible. Our number one priority for striped bass, which is adamantly shared by many in the recreational community, is to rebuild this stock back to its former glory. The ASMFC Striped Bass Board continues to ignore the writing on the wall when it comes to what the public wants by failing to manage the striped bass stock cautiously and for abundance. ASGA will be paying very close attention as MRIP estimates are finalized and to the Board’s discussion at the May Meeting.
The American Saltwater Guides Association works to promote sustainable business through marine conservation.