Fisheries Commission Looks to Manage Dropping Rockfish Populatio - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Fisheries Commission Looks to Manage Dropping Rockfish Population

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

DELMARVA- The goal is to save the striped bass population on the east coast. 

But many waterman fear that further restrictions could affect their livelihoods. 

Chesapeake Bay Foundation Eastern Shore Director Alan Girard says the dropping rockfish population are in need of some regrowth.  The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is looking to manage that population through these regulations. 

"It's critical for the bays ecological health, it's critical economically for the region is well so it's important that species be managed carefully," Girard said. 

Girard says these changes to the management plan would mainly focus on recreational fisherman. 

"About 70 percent of the population uses the Chesapeake Bay for spawning and 90 percent or more of the population coast wide that is caught comes from recreational fishing," Girard said. 

But charter boat Capt. Shannon Pickens says this could potentially hurt his business, depending on how strict the restrictions become. 

"A complete shutdown of the industry would certainly put someone like myself out of business. But I do believe that it's a number of different issues from water quality to different mismanagement's to different numbers of stock assessments," Pickens said. 

Pickens says he already sees people becoming hesitant to fish because of the changing regulations. 

"Now everybody is kind of standing by to wait and see what happens. The majority of the people when they get off the boat, book for the following year and that's not happening now because of that. So already it's starting to affect business," Pickens said. 

The fisheries commission's decision will be worked out within the coming months, but no changes will take effect until next year. 

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