Striped Bass ITQ Fishery Information

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Maryland's commercial striped bass fishery will be operating under new management regulations beginning with the 2014 season. Chesapeake Bay commercial striped bass fishermen will be issued a percent based share of the total commercial quota called an Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ). This quota will be assigned as an amount of pounds that can be harvested throughout the year. Fishermen will be able to fish their quota during any legal commercial season using any legal fishing gear that their tidal fish license allows. Fishermen may also transfer their quotas to other fishermen for use on an annual basis.

Changes to the management of the commercial striped bass fishery became necessary due to shifts in gear participation, shortened seasons, declining daily and annual catch limits, and new coast wide limits on commercial tag distribution policies passed by ASMFC. The ITQ system was developed to address the many challenges facing the commercial striped bass fishery. ITQ shares were issued based on gear participation. Participants in the gill net and hook and line gear sectors received a baseline allocation from the even distribution of 25% of the gill net and hook and line quota. The remaining 75% of the quota was issued to gill net and hook and line fishermen based on commercial striped bass harvest activity between January 1st, 2001 and February 29th, 2012. Pound net and haul seine participants were already operating using individual allocations. The process of allocation pound net and haul seine quota was converted from the previous system of distribution to a share based system.

The Atlantic fishery uses a separate coastal quota and has traditionally been managed using an individual quota system. The Atlantic system will remain unchanged for the 2014 season. Plans to convert the Atlantic fishery to a share based system are underway and should be implemented for the 2015 season.

graph

The above graph displays the average historical harvest (in dashed blue) of all Gillnet/Hook & Line Striped Bass permit holders (from January, 2001 through February, 2012). Pound Net and Haul Seine permits have been removed, due to the fact that those permits were allocated equal shares of the fishery. The solid orange line represents the poundage associated with each permit holder (based on 2013 quota).