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September 21, 2007

ASMFC Calls for New Striped Bass Limits

Despite the fact thatmany anglers on the East Coast are enjoying some of the best stripedbass fishing in years, the predominance of small fish and theincreased take of large, spawning-age fish has many groups concerned,among them the Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board of the AtlanticStates Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). In light of recentcatch and population statistics, ASMFC has proposed that all statesreduce their fishing mortality of large stripers (those eightyears old or older, and 28 inches and larger) by 14 percent inthe year 2000 in order preserve the fishery.

"It was a toughdecision, but one that had to be made," said board chairmanJohn Nelson of New Hampshire. The board's announcement came afterit received scientific advice in August that fishing mortalityhad exceeded ASMFC's targets in 1997 and 1998, and that the 1998mortality figures equaled the commission's definition of overfishing.Specific ways to implement the board's proposal and approval ofthose proposals by the states is expected to take place this month.