Virginia takes steps to protect striped bass numbers in Chesapeake Bay

Virginia takes steps to protect striped bass numbers in Chesapeake Bay
Starting May 16 through June 15 fishermen will be able to catch and keep two striped bass from 20 to 28 inches.

With stock assessments showing declines for the Atlantic’s prized striped bass population, Virginia last week closed its spring recreational season for trophy-sized fish ahead of possible action by the regional council that oversees fisheries along the coast.

The emergency closure, which received unanimous support from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, was hailed by Commissioner Steven Bowman as a necessary first step in restoring the declining population of striped bass (Morone saxatilis), a species also known as rockfish or striper that is fished both commercially and recreationally.

Starting May 16 through June 15 fishermen will be able to catch and keep two striped bass from 20 to 28 inches.

“There has to be a starting point for conservation,” Bowman said in a statement from the VMRC. “Today’s action was the first step, and the Marine Resources Commission will continue to look at other measures for both recreational and commercial sectors to further reduce fishing mortality.”

Most immediately, the VMRC is asking the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, an interstate compact that manages shared migratory fishery resources, to take “swift and enduring action” to protect striped bass.

The Virginia Mercury is a nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization covering Virginia government and policy.