Commission opposes increasing commercial striped bass catch
The regional agency that oversees fishing along the Eastern Seaboard rejected two attempts this morning to increase the commercial striped bass quota.
At its annual meeting in Charleston, S.C., the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted, 11-3, to maintain the status quo. Maryland, which had voted earlier this year to get public opinion on increasing the commercial harvest, voted in favor of the motion.
The shrinking commercial industry hasn't had an adjustment in quota since 2003. But states are worried that despite a healthy striped bass population, a recent downturn in juvenile population numbers might indicate problems in the near future.
In addition to Maryland, members voting to maintain the status quo were: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Virgina along with the National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Opposing the measure were Rhode Island, New York and Delaware. The Potomac River Fisheries Commission abstained.
Later, the representative from North Carolina said he meant to oppose the measure.
A substitute motion by New York representative Pat Augustine to increase the commercial quota by 30 percent failed, 6-9, with Maryland voting against it.
A second attempt, to give commercial fishermen a 10 percent boost in quota for one season, failed, 6-9, with Maryland opposing the motion.