The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) has announced that the 2013 Atlantic striped bass benchmark assessment indicates that stocks are not overfished or experiencing overfishing relative to the proposed new reference points defined in the assessment.
Although the stock is not overfished, female spawning stock biomass (SSB) has continued to decline since 2004 and is estimated at 128 million pounds just above the SSB threshold of 127 million pounds, and below the SSB target of 159 million pounds. Additionally, total fishing mortality is estimated at 0.20, a value that is between the proposed new fishing mortality threshold (0.219) and fishing mortality target (0.18). The Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board approved the benchmark stock assessment for management use.
Projections of female SSB and fishing mortality suggest that if the current fishing mortality rate (0.20) is maintained during 2013-2017, the probability of the stock being overfished (SSB less than the SSB threshold) is high and increases until 2015-2016, but declines thereafter. This trend is driven by the lack of strong year classes currently in the fishery, and the emergence of the strong 2011 year class that matures into the spawning stock in 3 to 4 years. Despite recent declines in SSB, the stock is still well above the SSB during the moratorium that was in place in the mid-1980s.
Read more about the 2013 Striped Bass stock assessment.