At its 2021 Annual Meeting last week, the Atlantic Striped Bass Board of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) took a positive step toward rebuilding our beloved rockfish stock from its currently depleted condition.
The move came in response to news from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MD DNR) that its 2021 Juvenile Striped Bass Index was 3.2, well below the annual average of 11.4 for the third consecutive year. In fact, it
has been below average for ten of the past 16 years. Virginia’s index of 6.30 was closer to, but still below, its long-term average of 7.77.
Concern about rockfish has been building for at least five years, and ASMFC’s Striped Bass Board initiated development of a new amendment (number 7, but the first since 2003) to the fishery management plan last winter. The Board’s May meeting sketched out six priorities for the Commission’s Plan Development Team to build into the amendment. The team submitted its…