Mid-Atlantic
Maryland recreational anglers say the onus to conserve and rebuild the iconic striped bass fishery has been placed on them through heavy-handed regulations. (Andr F. Chung, Baltimore Sun)

Maryland striped bass regulations place undue burden on recreational anglers

Maryland is home for each of us. We know firsthand that the state has some of the best striped bass fishing in the country and our local economy benefits annually with nearly $820 million added to our Gross Domestic Product from striped bass alone. However, both man-made and environmental challenges have hampered the striped bass population from Maine to North Carolina, and it is time to act.

On Oct. 30, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), the interstate body charged with jointly managing the Atlantic coast’s shared migratory fishery resources, voted to reduce striped bass removals by 18% in the recreational and commercial fisheries. States must submit their plans by Nov. 29, detailing how they will achieve the 18% reduction in 2020 if they are not using the preferred measures urged by ASMFC.

America’s sportfishing and boating community is on record in favor of the reduction, recognizing that tough management decisions must be made for the benefit of our shared public resources. ASMFC encouraged all states to share the reductions evenly between the commercial and recreational sectors, and Maryland should not be the exception.

Maryland’s recreational anglers stand ready to work with state leaders to conserve and rebuild the iconic striped bass fishery. However, Maryland’s current proposal places the vast majority of the burden on the recreational fishery and may not contain measures likely to bring on-the-water results and turn the tide for the striped bass population. We are strong supporters of state management of fishery resources, but heavy-handed regulations on one sector over the other without a thorough, transparent process is not a fair accounting of the contributions the recreational fishing and boating industry brings to the state of Maryland.

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