September 14, 2016


Striped Bass, or Rockfish as they’re known locally, have long been a staple of the commercial and recreational fishery. As with many other species, there have been some contentious conversations over population management and the species wide range adds complications of jurisdiction. In the most recent stock assessment, it was determined that the spawning stock biomass (SSB) was below threshold, indicating the stock is overfished, and that mortality rates are above the threshold, indicating that overfishing is occurring. As a result, states up and down the Eastern Seaboard have been exploring various management strategies in order to correct this trend.

An overview of the most recent stock assessment can be found here. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) is expected to vote on new management guidelines at their Annual Meeting in late October 2019.

On September 25, 2019, representatives from the Delmarva Fisheries Association attended a meeting hosted by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The purpose of the meeting was to allow stakeholders to ask questions about the ASMFC’s Draft Addendum VI to Amendment 6 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass. Those that made public comments were largely divided between Option 2 and Option 3, an 18% reduction for both the commercial and recreational fishery (2) vs. a 1.8% reduction for the commercial and a 20% reduction for the recreational folks. DFA supports Option 3 largely due to the fact that the recreational fishery is responsible for 90% of the dead discards and our members feel as if the reductions should be commensurate with the size of the respective fisheries.

Representatives from the Delmarva Fisheries Association attended the April 30, 2019 meeting of the ASMFC to hear the debate on coast-wide management options. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources released a statement following the ASMFC meeting outlining their position. To view the ASMFC’s press release and motions summary for the Striped Bass meeting, please click here. To view the full ASMFC Spring Meeting Summary, use this link.

Recent news articles are listed below.

Virginia Fisheries Managers Uphold Striped Bass Emergency Regulations that Cut the Take in Half
Daily Press, September 24, 2019

Attention Anglers: Short- and Long-term Rockfish Conservation Hangs in the Balance
Capital Gazette, September 22, 2019

A Rockfish Reckoning
Bay Weekly, September 20, 2019

State Commission Approves New Emergency Regulations to Protect Striped Bass Numbers
Virginia Mercury, August 27, 2019

Striped Bass Catch Limit Options: Have Your Say
Chesapeake Bay Magazine, August 12, 2019

Changes are Ahead for Striped Bass
The Enterprise, August 4, 2019

Striped Bass Advisory System Helps Anglers Protect Species
DNR, June 25, 2019

ASMFC Says Rockfish Harvests Needs to be Cut 17 Percent
Bay Journal, May 6, 2019

Focus on “Dead Discards” as Maryland Confronts Steepest Decline in Rockfish since 1992
WUSA 9, May 6, 2019

As Rockfish Population Declines, Maryland Faces Pressure to Take Action on Overfishing
WJZ 13 CBS, May 3, 2019

Fisheries Managers Vote to Take Action on Rockfish Overfishing
Chesapeake Bay Magazine, April 30, 2019

Maryland Under Pressure to Cancel Trophy Rockfish Season
WUSA 9, April 29, 2019

Editorial: Maryland’s Rockfish Challenge
Baltimore Sun, April 29, 2019

Editorial: Reasonable Restrictions Help Rockfish Thrive
The Free-Lance Star, April 15, 2019

Wildlife Officials Have Concerns About Virginia’s Striped Bass Population
ABC 13, April 12, 2019

Panel Makes Suggestions to Save the Stripers
Maryland Independent, March 28, 2019

Md.’s Striped Bass Index Above Average, Va.’s Remains Stable
Chesapeake Bay Magazine, October 18, 2018

To stay up-to-date on Maryland’s Striped Bass Rules & Regulations, please visit this page of DNR’s website.

To see the latest from Virginia on the taking of Striped Bass, please visit this page of the VMRC website.