2008-09 MD Rockfish – Striped Bass Season Extensions Approved

Non-quota Management Approved for the First Time

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Striped Bass Management Board (ASMFC) approved Maryland’s request to extend the 2008 and 2009 recreational striped bass seasons. The decision also approved an alternative non-quota based management strategy for the fishery’s spring season. The ASMFC approved this strategy for the first time in 2008, but limited this only to the 2008 fishing season.

“Every year, hundreds of thousands of anglers take to the waters of the Chesapeake Bay in pursuit of Maryland’s favorite catch, striped bass,” said Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary John R. Griffin. “Extending the striped bass fishing seasons increases the opportunity for visiting and resident anglers to catch the big one and support local charter boat captains, fishing guides, tackle shops and other sportfishing related businesses.”

The ASMFC’s vote extended management of the Chesapeake Bay spring trophy striped bass fishery by creel, size and season limits for 2009 and subsequent years until stock assessment determines that corrective action is required for the coastal migratory striped bass population. Maryland regulations include an open season from the third Saturday of April to May 15 when anglers may take one striped bass sized 28-inches or greater; and an open season from May 16 to May 31 when anglers may take two-fish 18-inch or larger, only one of which may be 28 inches or greater. ASMFC also supported Maryland’s proposal to extend the closure date of Maryland’s 2008 recreational striped bass fishery 16 days, from December 15 to December 31.

“We can now offer greater predictability of the timing, creel and size limits for the upcoming striped bass season,” said Maryland Fisheries Service Director Tom O’Connell. “Previously, anglers and local businesses were unsure of the seasons’ details until just a few months before its opening.”

To ensure sustainable fisheries management, Maryland and Virginia will continue to estimate and report total spring migrant striped bass harvest to the ASMFC.

“We are very appreciative DNR’s efforts, particularly Tom O’Connell, who worked very hard to increase the opportunity for anglers and charter boat captains to enjoy Maryland’s spectacular striped bass fishing,“ said Ed O’Brien, Vice President of the Maryland Charter Boat Association.

The Chesapeake Bay spring trophy striped bass fishery is of significant socio-economic importance to Maryland’s charter boat industry and recreational fishermen. It was recently estimated that fishing trip expenditures associated with Maryland’s spring striped bass fishery is $10 million annually. More than 9,000 local jobs are supported annually through Maryland’s sportfishing industry. The importance of this fishery to the economic sustainability of Maryland’s charter boat industry has increased recently due to the negative impacts on the industry from the nation’s current economic situation.

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