Fisheries Commission Recommends Further Cuts in Striped Bass Quo - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Fisheries Commission Recommends Further Cuts in Striped Bass Quota

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CAMBRIDGE, Md.- Another year and another reduction in the number of striped bass that can be caught and kept in the Chesapeake Bay.

Striped bass populations up and down the Atlantic coast are declining, according to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.  So in recent years, the quota for fish has been cut along the coast.  But with watermen on the Eastern Shore complaining the report did not cater enough to the Chesapeake Bay's needs, some changes have been made to next year's reduction.

In 2015, the bay's watermen will take a further cut into their quota.  2013 saw a 14 percent cut of the 2012 quota, 2015 will see a 20.5 percent cut from 2012.

It doesn't sound like much, but watermen like Burl Lewis say that hits their wallet hard.

"We're going to lose a fifth of our quota right off the top for 2015," Lewis said. "Right off the top, that's a pretty heavy hit.  Especially when we have a lot of rockfish in the bay that are eating our crabs. We don't have a problem with the rockfish population, if there is a problem with the rockfish population, it's not here."

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources said the restrictions are higher than they requested, but they appreciate the ASMFC working with them to lower it to a manageable level for both the watermen and the charter fishing industry.

As of right now there is no reference point the ASMFC has for how this fishery is doing in the Chesapeake Bay.  In a release, it said the technical committee is working to establish those bay specific reference points for future management of the Chesapeake's striped bass fishery.

Watermen hope that means limitations could one day be lifted.

The ASMFC's release on the new recommendation can be found by clicking here.

The DNR's response can be found by clicking here, and a statement found by clicking here.
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