The fall recreational striped bass season in the Albemarle Sound Management Area will not open in 2022, the Division of Marine Fisheries announced Monday.
The division said that further harvest reductions were prompted by a stock assessment update with last year’s data.
The division said its 2021 Fishery Management Plan Review showed extremely low numbers of juvenile striped bass are entering the population, what’s known as recruitment. Despite 2021 harvest reductions, the stock assessment update shows the Albemarle-Roanoke estuarine striped bass stock continues to decline in abundance by continued low recruitment.
The division said striped bass are still overfished and overfishing is still occurring. Overfished means the population is too small and overfishing means too many fish are removed annually.
Amendment 1 to the Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan requires a reduction in total allowable landings to reduce the fishing mortality. The reduced total allowable landings based on the updated stock assessment is 15,726 pounds. The allowance is evenly divided between the commercial and recreational sectors in the Albemarle Sound and Roanoke River management areas, the division said.
About 35,520 pounds of striped bass were already harvested in 2022 from the Albemarle Sound and Roanoke River management area’s prior allowance of 51,216 pounds. Management was successful in limiting harvest to less than the prior allowance; however, with the reduced allowance, additional conservation is needed to avoid further overfishing this year, the division said.
The Marine Fisheries Commission is expected to continue discussing estuarine striped bass management when it meets in November. The Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan Amendment 2 remains under consideration by the Commission.
More information on estuarine striped bass is available on the Fishery Management Plan website.