Striped Bass - 2013
Albemarle Sound Management Area (ASMA) and Roanoke River Management Area (RRMA) stock (A/R stock)
Stock Status –Viable – Based on the results of the 2010 stock assessment (data through 2008) Albemarle/Roanoke (A/R) striped bass are not experiencing overfishing and are producing a sustainable harvest, although landings have declined in recent years. Fishing mortality (F) estimates on ages 4-6 in 2008 were 0.10, well below the target F of 0.25. Estimates of recruitment (age-1 abundance) have averaged 370,000 fish for 2004-2008. The juvenile abundance index, which is a measure of annual spawning success, was 3.0 in 2012, below the long-term series average of 8.5. The stock assessment is in the process of being updated with data through 2012.
Average Commercial Landings and Value 2003–2012 – ASMA – 181,043 lbs./$357,550 (quota managed)
2012 Commercial Landings and Value – ASMA – 115,605 lbs./$298,162 (quota managed)
Average Recreational Landings 2003–2012 – ASMA – 46,940 lbs. (quota managed) RRMA – 71,808 lbs. (quota managed)
2012 Recreational Landings – ASMA – 71,456 lbs. (quota managed) RRMA – 88,271 lbs. (quota managed)
Average Number of Award Citations* (35 lbs. /45 inches^) 2003–2012*– 304 (98 releases), 2012*–2 (0 releases)
Status of Fishery Management Plan (FMP) – The final plan and rules for Amendment I to the N.C. Estuarine Striped Bass FMP were approved by the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission in February of 2013 and by the N. C. Wildlife Resources Commission in May 2013. The rules become effective for the respective Commissions June 1 and August 1, 2013. There were no major changes to the current commercial and recreational striped bass management measures.
Research and Data Needs – Release mortality estimates for various gears, and age–1 abundance estimates. The previous research need of an updated maturation schedule for the A/R stock was completed in 2012.
2012 Regulations – ASMA Commercial: 18 inches TL minimum size limit and daily landing limit set by proclamation. Annual commercial quota set at 275,000 lbs. ASMA Recreational: 18 inches total length (TL) minimum size limit in coastal, joint and inland waters, three fish daily creel limit. RRMA Recreational: 18 inches TL minimum size limit and no striped bass between 22 and 27 inches in Roanoke River. Two fish daily creel limit and only one fish in the daily creel may be greater than 27 inches TL recreational. RRMA is closed to commercial harvest.
Harvest Season – ASMA Recreational: Spring (January 1 – April 30); Fall (October 1 – December 31). ASMA Commercial: Spring (January 1 – April 30); Fall (October 1 – November 30). RRMA: March 1 – April 30
Size and Age at Maturity – Males: 12 – 18 inches/2 – 3 years; Females: 18 – 24 inches/3 – 6 years
Historical and Current Maximum Age – 29 years/17 years
Juvenile Abundance Index 2003–2012 – 8.1, 2012 – 3.0
Habits and Habitats – Striped bass are anadromous, spending the majority of their adult life in the waters of the estuaries and nearshore ocean, migrating to fresh water to spawn in the spring. Striped bass require flowing, fresh water habitats in order to spawn successfully, allowing the eggs to remain suspended until they hatch, and to transport larvae to the nursery areas. Spawning takes place during late April until early June. North Carolina is host to several different stocks of striped bass. One is the Atlantic migratory stock that over-winters off southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. In years with mild winters, they may not migrate all the way down into North Carolina waters, as was the case in 2012. These striped bass originate principally from the Chesapeake Bay, Delaware and Hudson river systems. They remain in their natal systems from two to three years then begin migrating along the Atlantic coast, northward in the summer and southward during the winter. The Albemarle Sound-Roanoke River area supports the largest spawning population in North Carolina. Other populations are found in the Tar/Pamlico, Neuse, and Cape Fear rivers, and are considered estuarine (non-anadromous).
*Includes ASMA, CSMA, and the Atlantic Ocean. The majority of citations come from the Atlantic Ocean
^Citation release length requirement increased from 35 inches to 45 inches in 2008
For more information, contact Charlton Godwin at Charlton.Godwin@ncdenr.gov or 800-338–7805 or 252-264–3911.