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Marine Fisheries - Striped Bass Amendment Topic

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striped bass

 

Information on Estuarine
Striped Bass Amendment

Submit Public Comment for Amendment 2 Scoping Period
(Nov. 2-15, 2020)

Contact: Charlton Godwin or Todd Mathes
Stock Assessment Reports 2020 Revision to Amendment 1(Effective January 2021) Amendment 2 Scoping Period

Stock Assessment Reports

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission released two completed striped bass assessment reports: the Albemarle Sound-Roanoke River benchmark assessment and the Central Southern Management Area Stock Report. These reports represent a joint effort between the two agencies, and a working group of stock assessment modelers, university researchers, and fishery biologists, to review the best available data and develop analyses to assess the current condition of the North Carolina striped bass stocks.

The Albemarle Sound-Roanoke River benchmark assessment indicates the striped bass resource is overfished and overfishing is occurring. This is a change from the stock status for these waters in a 2014 assessment that indicated the stock was not overfished and overfishing was not occurring. The change in stock status is likely due to a period of low recruitment (the number of age-0 fish joining the population each year from 2002 to 2017) combined with overfishing. The decline in recruitment is not solely due to fishing. Environmental factors, such as river flow, water quality, and blue catfish (an invasive species) may be impacting spawning success and need further study. Following a rigorous external peer review process, the assessment has been approved for use for management purposes.

There is no stock status determination for the Central Southern Management Area, comprised of the Tar-Pamlico, Neuse, and Cape Fear rivers. Continuous stocking efforts and lack of natural recruitment in these waters prevent the use of traditional stock assessment techniques. The Central Southern Management Area Stock Report is a collective documentation of all the data collected, all management efforts, and all major analyses completed for these river stocks.

The report also serves as a record of completed research efforts with implications for fishery management and as a guide for future research based on results and identified data gaps. It evaluates the likelihood of successful population rebuilding under various simulations of stocking and fishery management strategies such as different harvest levels and size limits. Tagging studies in the Cape Fear River showed a consistent decline in striped bass abundance estimates from 2012 to 2018 despite a no possession regulation since 2008.

The Division of Marine Fisheries and the Wildlife Resources Commission are reviewing the data to determine what management measures should be implemented for 2021 by a revision to Amendment 1. Additionally, the Division of Marine Fisheries and Wildlife Resources Commission are developing Amendment 2 to the N.C. Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan.

Divison of Marine Fisheries, Wildlife Resources Commission Release Striped Bass Stock Reports

(Aug. 28, 2020)

Assessment of the Albemarle Sound-Roanoke River Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis) in North Carolina, 1991-2017
(Aug. 2020)

Central Southern Management Area Striped Bass Stocks in North Carolina
(Aug. 2020)

2020 Revision to Amendment 1 (Effective January 2021)

In 2013, the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission adopted the Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan Amendment 1. There are two geographic management units  included in Amendment 1.

The northern geographic management unit is comprised of two harvest management areas: the Albemarle Sound Management Area and the Roanoke River Management Area. The striped bass stocks in these two harvest management areas is referred to as the Albemarle Sound-Roanoke River stock. This stock is also included in the management unit of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass.

The southern geographic management unit is the Central Southern Management Area (CSMA) and includes all internal coastal, joint, and contiguous inland waters of North Carolina south of the Albemarle Sound Management Area to the South Carolina state line. There are spawning stocks in each of the major river systems within the CSMA: the Tar/Pamlico, the Neuse, and the Cape Fear.  These stocks are collectively referred to as the CSMA stocks. Spawning grounds are not clearly defined in these systems, as access to spawning areas may be influenced by river flows as well as impediments to migration. Management of striped bass within the CSMA is not subject to compliance with the ASMFC Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass.

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The Albemarle Sound-Roanoke River benchmark assessment indicates the striped bass resource is overfished and overfishing is occurring. The Division of Marine Fisheries and the Wildlife Resources Commission are considering management changes to lower the total allowable landings to a level that lowers fishing mortality F to the Target F computed in the terminal year (2017) of the stock assessment. Putting in place a new harvest level in January 2021 follows a directive in Amendment 1 to the North Carolina Estuarine Striped Bass FMP, and maintains compliance with ASMFC’s Addendum IV to Amendment 6 to the Interstate FMP for Atlantic Striped Bass. These management measures will be implemented as a revision to Amendment 1 authorized by adaptive management contained in the current fishery management plan

Amendment 2 Scoping Period

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission released two completed striped bass assessment reports: the Albemarle Sound-Roanoke River benchmark assessment and the Central Southern Management Area Stock Report. These reports contain analyses to assess the current condition of the North Carolina striped bass stocks.

Additionally, the Division of Marine Fisheries and Wildlife Resources Commission are developing Amendment 2 to the N.C. Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan. A scoping period to solicit public comments on potential management strategies will occur Nov. 2-15, 2020.

One of the primary management strategies for Amendment 2 is long-term sustainable harvest in the Albemarle Sound-Roanoke River striped bass fishery. A scoping document outlining the potential management strategies has been developed for the public.

Fisheries stakeholders can provide live comments at two scoping meetings that will be held via web conference Nov. 5 and Nov. 9, 2020. Beginning Nov. 2, comments can also be submitted through the division’s website through an online form, or by mail. Amendment 2 is currently under development.

Scoping Document: Management Strategies for Amendment 2
(Oct. 2020)

Scoping news release

(Oct. 15, 2020)

Register to Speak at Nov. 5 Online Scoping Meeting

Register to Speak at Nov. 9 Online Scoping Meeting

Connect to Online Scoping Meetings
Information about how to connect to Nov. 5 and Nov. 9 scoping meetings by web conference. The meetings start at 6 p.m. and end at 8 p.m.

Submit Public Comment for Amendment 2 Scoping Period
(Nov. 2-15, 2020)

 

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N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632

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