Female striped bass spawning stock biomass measured 111.44 million pounds in 2010 and has exceeded the target since 1995. The stock is not overfished and overfishing is not occurring.
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.
However, scientists are now concerned about the high prevalence of disease (mycobacteriosis) and whether there are enough prey available to adequately support this predatory fish.
The target level is a spawning stock biomass (SSB) equal to the average from 1960 to 1971, which is 82.7 million pounds of females with a threshold not to go below 66.15 million pounds.
Long-term trend (1982-2010)
Female SSB grew steadily through 2003. It has since declined, but is still 135 percent of the target. Female SSB increased from 8.5 million pounds in 1982 to 111.44 million pounds in 2010. The long-term average is 72.68 million pounds, with a low of 5.8 million pounds in 1984 and a peak of 140.47 million pounds in 2003.
Short-term trend (1999-2010)
Female SSB increased from 92.66 in 1999 to 111.44 million pounds in 2010, with a peak of 140.47 million pounds in 2003.
Change from previous year (2009-2010)
The female spawning stock biomass (SSB) for 2009 equaled 113.74 million pounds, a slight decrease from the 2008 estimate of 115.90 million pounds. Both 2009 and 2010 are less than the 2003 peak of 140 million pounds.
Striped Bass Abundance Indicator Data
Biological reference points (targets and thresholds) based on biomass and fishing mortality rates are used to assess the stock status. The goal for this indicator is based on the target of 82.7 million pounds for the female SSB based on the Statistical Catch-at-Age (SAC) model.
The female SSB is a relative measure of mature female (4-15 years old) biomass in millions of pounds. Index values are derived from a simulation model that incorporates striped bass population dynamics plus coastwide fisheries data.
An updated benchmark stock assessment will be peer reviewed in 2013.
Mycobacteria are widespread in aquatic environments. A small fraction of mycobacterial species causes disease in animals and humans. Mycobacterial infections in humans are commonly known as "fish-handler's disease." Although the risk of contacting the disease is generally low (Panek and Bobo 2006), there is the potential for human infection from handling infected striped bass.
To avoid contracting disease, people should:
There is no reported evidence that humans can contract mycobacteriosis by consuming cooked fish.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC)