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Commercial Striped Bass Quota Increased

September 21, 2007
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The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) approved Amendment 6 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass and voted to increase the coastal commercial quota on striped bass by 42 percent. According to the ASMFC, the increase represents four percent of total striped-bass landings from recent years. But the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), which is opposed to the increase, calls the increase “an astounding 950,000 pounds.” The ASMFC cites a 57-million-pound female spawning stock biomass, well above the target of 38.6 million pounds established by Amendment 6. The commission notes that triggers based on statistical estimates would initiate management-board action if the female spawning-stock biomass falls too low or the fishing mortality rate climbs too high. The CCA maintains that this measure will do nothing to ensure a restoration of the true historic age and size distribution for the striped bass stock, in light of historic statistics indicating the fish can live up to 30 years and grow to 70 pounds. The ASMFC also recommended that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) open the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to striped bass fishing. The EEZ has been closed to striper fishing for 14 years. For more information on Amendment 6, visit www.asmfc.org.

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