In a strong move for conservation, Virginia enacted emergency regulations to protect striped bass BEFORE ASMFC takes action for the 2020 season. (Details Below). The emergency regulations have been met with some push back. Now would be a great time to send in an email of support. Your email of support should be direct to Commissioner Steve Bowman VMRC plans to meet again on September 24 to further discuss these emergency measures. Please send your emails before September 24 to make a difference in this important move for conservation.

Our letter to Virginia is below as well as the original press release from Virginia.

Date: August 27, 2019

Virginia Marine Resources Commission
Contact: Ellen Bolen

Virginia Marine Resources Commission takes emergency action to protect striped bass

~ Virginia proposes new measures to conserve and restore the dwindling striped bass population. ~

Fort Monroe—Today, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission voted unanimously (9-0) to enact emergency regulations for the striped bass fishery.
A recent scientific assessment shows the striped bass population has been below the sustainable threshold for the past six years and overfishing has been occurring since 2010.

“Poor management of striped bass over the past decade has caused significant economic harm to Virginians who depend on healthy fisheries for their livelihoods and has reduced opportunities for recreational anglers. I applaud the strong leadership shown today by the Marine Resources Commission and Commissioner Bowman on striped bass conservation and their commitment to restoring this iconic fishery.” Said Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew J. Strickler, “We need other states to follow our example and help rebuild the striped bass population starting immediately. Delay is unacceptable and the Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Commission must take decisive action that will ensure restoration of this fishery up and down the coast.”

“Virginia took the first action on striped bass in the spring and today’s steps continue our commitment to restore this fishery to healthy levels. The recent stock assessment shows that immediate action is needed to slow the decline and restore this fishery to sustainable levels,” Virginia Marine Resources Commissioner Steven G. Bowman said. “I am proud of the ongoing leadership by the Commission. Restoring this fishery to its full potential will require further actions for the commercial and recreational fisheries in the coming months.”

“Again, we call on ASMFC and other states to take action now,” Commissioner Bowman said. Delaying action will only make it harder to recover this fishery and Virginia anglers deserve more.”

The emergency measures will establish a bag limit of one fish per angler per day, with a maximum size limit of 36 inches. The emergency measures also establish a maximum gill net size of 9 inches in the coastal fishery and 7 inches in the Chesapeake Bay fishery. These emergency measures will lower overall mortality of striped bass and protect the large breeding fish that are critical to the health and future of the population. The Commission will revisit these for final action at the September meeting, which will include an option for public comment.

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