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©JimLevinsonPhoto

More Atlantic Striped Bass are targetted

by US recreational anglers

than any other species.

STOCK OVERVIEW

According to the most recent stock assessments conducted by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), Striped Bass stocks are overfished. After a period of serious decline leading up to a low in the mid 1980’s, the Striper population came roaring back. More recently, however, the stock is in a period of serious decline. Currently, the Spawning Stock Biomass (SSB) is below the healthy threshold, as determined by fisheries biologists. This indicates that there aren’t enough fish with the capability of reproducing to replenish stocks faster than they are being depleted.

In order to prevent the same type of catastrophic decline we saw decades ago, we must take action immediately. According to the most recent data, recreational fishing accounts for a significant amount of total Striped Bass mortality. In 2017, an estimated 3.4 million Stripers died from post-release mortality (about 9% of the total recreational releases). With so many anglers targeting Stripers, this accounts for about half of the total fish mortality for the year.

CATCH AND RELEASE

By understanding the factors that lead to mortality, we can take certain measures to increase the odds of survival. Deep hooking is the number one cause of post-release mortality. This occurs when a fish is able to fully swallow a hook, causing it to be hooked in its internal organs or gills. These fish are up to 6 times more likely to die after being released (Diodati and Richards, 1996). Deep hooking is much more likely to occur with natural bait. New circle hook regulations are designed to decrease the frequency of deep hooking bass. Artificial lures with multiple hooks, treble hooks, and barbs, can still cause damage to fish. Using single hooks without barbs on artificial lures is a great first step to limit damage to fish.

Beyond direct injury fish, the next most important issue is understanding the factors that lead to overstressing fish. These factors are all influenced by environmental conditions. Mortality increases significantly in warmer temperatures and low salinity environments (Bettoli and Osborner, 1995). Higher air temperature also contributes to post release mortality. Special considerations should be given to deciding to fish or how to treat fish on extremely warm days or in locations with lower salinity.

Lengthy fight times can lead to exhaustion as well as a build up of lactic acid, which can cause muscle failure and death (Tiedeman and Danylchuk, 2012).

HARDLINED TRAILER


HARDLINED, is a 2021 Fly Fishing Film Tour video submission showcasing the urgent care required for Striped Bass restoration across the coast.

"Every year, a migration of epic proportions takes place along the Eastern Seaboard of America. From the Carolinas to Canada, anglers flock to the rocky coastlines, estuaries, rivers and inshore waters to target one of America’s most iconic gamefish- the Striped Bass. Despite its popularity and significance to the coastal communities in the Northeast, the fishery is once again in major jeopardy. The last time this happened, we witnessed one of the greatest conservation success stories of all time, restoring the stock to astronomical numbers. Today, the question on everyone’s mind- can we do it again?"

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QUOTES

  • Brandon Ross
    It'll go away, and it has before and it's happening again.
    Brandon Ross
  • Capt. Paul Dixon
    There isn't diversity of size.  Every guide along the Eastern Shore will tell you, It's NOT GOOD.
    Capt. Paul Dixon
  • Steve Liesman
    Coastal Communities DEPEND on this fish
    Steve Liesman
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©JimLevinsonPhoto