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Striped Bass Abundance

In 2014, the biomass of adult female striped bass along the Atlantic Coast was estimated to be 141 million pounds. This is above the threshold of 127 million pounds but below the target of 159 million pounds. This indicates the stock is not overfished.





July 22, 2011

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.

Importance

The Chesapeake Bay is one of the most important striped bass spawning and nursery habitats on the East Coast, supporting valuable commercial and recreational fisheries. While the striped bass population experienced severe declines in the 1970s and 1980s, the biomass of adult female striped bass along the Atlantic Coast—which is tracked as an indicator of coast-wide striped bass abundance—has remained above the threshold since 1995. Multi-state fishing moratoria in the late 1980s and commercial harvest quotas and recreational harvest limits set in the 1990s were critical to rebuilding the striped bass stock.

In order to determine the status of striped bass along the Atlantic Coast, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) also tracks fishing mortality—or the rate of removal due to fishing—against a target and threshold. Fishing mortality estimates include harvest, discard and bycatch data.

Goal

From the 2013 benchmark stock assessment, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) set a target level for the biomass of adult female striped bass along the Atlantic Coast of 159 million pounds and a threshold of 127 million pounds. The target is equal to 125 percent of the 1995 female striped bass spawning stock biomass value, while the threshold is equal to the 1995 female striped bass spawning stock biomass value.

Long-term trend (1982-2014)

Between 1982 and 2003, the biomass of adult female striped bass along the Atlantic Coast steadily increased. Since 2003, this number has steadily declined. However, the most recent estimate of female striped bass spawning stock biomass—141 million pounds in 2014—is more than ten times the 1982 value of 11 million pounds.

Short-term trend (2004-2014)

The biomass of adult female striped bass along the Atlantic Coast reached its highest point in the last decade in 2005, at 169 million pounds. It reached its lowest point in the last ten years in 2014, at 141 million pounds.

Change from previous year (2013-2014)

Between 2013 and 2014, the biomass of adult female striped bass along the Atlantic Coast fell two percent from 144 million pounds to 141 million pounds.

Additional Information

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) uses biological reference points—targets and thresholds—to assess the status of the striped bass stock. The current spawning stock biomass target of 159 million pounds and threshold of 127 million pounds were established from the 2013 benchmark stock assessment.

The adult female striped bass spawning stock biomass (SSB) is a relative measure of the biomass of mature female striped bass (4 to 15 years old) along the Atlantic Coast in millions of pounds. Index values are derived from a simulation model that incorporates striped bass population dynamics and coast-wide fisheries data. =

Source of Data

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC)

410 Severn Avenue / Suite 112
Annapolis, Maryland 21403
Tel: (800) YOUR-BAY / Fax: (410) 267-5777
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