Over fishing is not occurring.
Fisheries managers will be working with two new stock assessments in manageing our fisheries. Both are “benchmarks,” which are the most complex and thorough form of assessment.
The assessment results indicate that summer flounder are not overfished and overfishing is not occurring, and that Atlantic striped bass are overfished and overfishing is occurring. The results for summer flounder include the stock component in Atlantic waters from North Carolina to the US/Canada border. The results for Atlantic striped bass apply to the stock component found in the coastal and most estuarine waters of all states and jurisdictions from Maine through North Carolina.
The summer flounder assessment benefits from one of the most comprehensive data sets in the region. It includes data from state surveys, federal surveys, recreational surveys, and data from the commercial fishing industry. Fishermen’s data and input were used through vessel trip reports, biological samples from commercial catches, data taken during commercial fishing trips by fishery observers, and recreational interviews and catch samples.
New Data reveals increased stock of both flounder and bass.
New data in the summer flounder assessment included updated estimates of recreational catch. The new estimates increased recreational catch, which increased estimates of numbers of fish in the stock. These data come directly from recreational anglers through interviews and mail surveys. Another new element was the evaluation of several sex-specific models, attempting to account for size differences between males and females.
Atlantic Striped Bass
The Atlantic striped bass assessment was led by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Management Commission and involved a number of state, federal, and academic researchers. New estimates of recreational catch were included in the assessment. This resulted in higher estimates of biomass and new young fish entering the population in comparison to the last assessment (2016), but did not change the overall population trend, which has been declining since 2003.