Striped Bass - 2013
Atlantic Ocean Migratory Stock
Stock Status – Viable – Based on the results of the 2011 stock assessment update, Atlantic coast striped bass are not overfished and overfishing is not occurring. The female spawning stock biomass was estimated at 111.4 million lbs in 2010, which is above the spawning stock biomass target and threshold levels. Estimates of recruitment (age-1 abundance) in 2010 (9.1 million fish) increased from 2009 and were slightly higher than the 2005-2010 average of 8.1 million fish. However the estimate was still below the 1994-2004 average of 13.5 million fish. While biomass estimates have remained relatively stable due to the growth and maturation of the 2003 year class and the accumulation of spawning biomass from year classes prior to 1996, stock abundance has declined since 2004 from 67.5 million fish to a low of 42.3 million fish in 2010. The decline, as reflected by landings, is more prevalent in areas largely dependent on the Chesapeake Bay stock than in areas dominated by the Hudson River stock. The fishing mortality rate in 2010 on age 8-11 fish was F=0.23, which is well below the fishing mortality threshold and target levels of 0.34 and 0.30, respectively. The assessment is currently being updated with data through 2012.
Average Commercial Landings and Value 2003–2012 – 287,207 lbs./$571,677 (quota managed)
2012 Commercial Landings and Value – 6,226 lbs./$18,396 (quota managed)
Average Recreational Landings 2003–2012 – 1,366,654 lbs., 2012 – 0 lbs.
Average Number of Award Citations* (35 lbs. /45 inches^) 2003–2012*– 304 (98 releases), 2012*– 2 (0 releases)
Status of Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) – Atlantic striped bass are currently included in the state’s Interjurisdictional FMP, which defers to the ASMFC Atlantic Migratory Striped Bass FMP compliance requirements. Addendum I to Amendment 6 addresses bycatch concerns in all sectors of the striped bass fishery and was approved by the ASMFC Striped Bass Management Board in November 2007. Addendum II revised the definition for striped bass recruitment failure and was passed by the Management Board in November 2010. Identifying periods of recruitment failure is the basis of the juvenile abundance index management trigger in Amendment 6. Addendum III was approved by the Management Board in August 2012, and includes measures to address illegal striped bass harvest. For more information about the status of the Atlantic Coastal Migratory Stocks visit the ASMFC website at www.asmfc.org.
Research and Data Needs – Increase accuracy of discard mortality estimates in all sectors of the fishery.
2012 Regulations – Commercial: The annual commercial quota is set at 480,480 lbs. Bag limits are set based on number of participants. The seasons are opened and closed by proclamation. Recreational: 28 inches total length (TL) minimum size limit, 2 fish daily creel limit. Reporting requirement for all fish recreationally harvested during May through October, from Ocracoke Inlet to Va. state line. No reporting required south of Ocracoke Inlet.
Harvest Season – Opened and closed by proclamation for commercial. Open year round for recreational.
Size and Age at Maturity – Males: 12–22 inches/2–4 years; Females: 22–28 inches/5–8 years
Historical and Current Maximum Age – 35 years/35 years
Juvenile Abundance Index 2003–2012 – Hudson River – 12.29; Delaware River – 1.30; Chesapeake Bay Maryland – 4.73; Chesapeake Bay Virginia – 12.20, 2012 – Hudson River – 5.68; Delaware River – 0.34; Chesapeake Bay Maryland – 0.49; Chesapeake Bay Virginia – 2.68.
Habits and Habitats – Striped bass are anadromous, spending the majority of their adult life stage in the waters of the estuaries and near shore 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
^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.