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Striped Bass Fishery Management

Atlantic striped bass are managed on a coastwide basis. Data on the rate of removal due to fishing, including harvest, discards, and bycatch, is used to determine if overfishing is occurring for the coastwide population.

April 28, 2014

Striped bass are a sought-after commercial and recreational catch and a key predator in the Chesapeake Bay food web. Andrew Turner from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)/Versar explains why the fish is so unique. Learn more about striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay Program’s online Field Guide.

Closed Captions.


The Chesapeake Bay is the primary spawning and nursery habitat for striped bass on the East Coast. Striped bass support one of the most important commercial and recreational fisheries on the Atlantic seaboard.

The striped bass population rebounded from historic lows in the mid-1980s to highs that exceed the population target. Multi-state fishing moratoria in the late 1980s, as well as commercial quotas and recreational harvest limits set in the 1990s, were successful at rebuilding the stock. 

In order to determine if the coastwide population is overfished, ASMFC uses reference points (targets and thresholds) for fishing mortality (F). Fishing mortality is the rate of removal of fish from the population due to fishing, including harvest, discards, and bycatch.


The coastwide fishing mortality target is 0.18 and the threshold is 0.219. There is currently no specific Chesapeake Bay fishing mortality target for striped bass, but development of new stock-specific reference points for the Chesapeake Bay is under consideration by Atlantic Coast Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC).

Long-term trend (1982-2012)

Fishing mortality peaked in 2006 with a value of 0.275. The lowest fishing mortality value of 0.032 was in 1987.

Short-term trend (2003-2012)

In the last decade, fishing mortality was the highest in 2006 with a value of 0.275. It was the lowest in 2003 with a value of 0.193.

Change from previous year (2011-2012)

Fishing mortality decreased from 2.41 in 2011 to 0.200 in 2012.

Additional Information

Striped Bass Management

Biological reference points (targets and thresholds) based on spawning stock biomass and fishing mortality rates are used to assess the stock status. The goal for this indicator is based on the target of 0.18 for fishing mortality.

An updated benchmark stock assessment was completed in 2013 and indicates that Atlantic striped bass are not overfished and overfishing is not occurring.

Source of Data

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC)

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