Houston, TX – Confirming that the true value of striped bass lies in keeping it a recreational fishery, Coastal
Conservation Association (CCA) reiterated its support of gamefish status for striped bass at a recent national board
meeting. The official position states that CCA supports the designation of striped bass as a gamefish, the sale of which is
“Political pressure by commercial interests to open the fishery to more and more intense harvesting will always pose a
threat to the striped bass recovery,” said Fred Miller, CCA National Government Relations Committee chairman.
“Conferring gamefish status on striped bass would simply be recognition of what the fishery is – a recreational fishery.”
Striped bass can live more than 30 years and attain weights in excess of 70 pounds. Past management measures have
provided high population levels of smaller bass, but failed to provide proper conservation for larger, more mature fish.
CCA conservation efforts have always focused on restoring the historic age and size distribution for this important fishery.
In spite of those efforts, the Atlantic States Marine Fishery Commission approved Amendment 6 to the striped bass
management plan in February 2003, increasing the coastal commercial quota on striped bass by 950,000 pounds.
“The goal of any recovery plan is the return of the fish. Unfortunately, experience has shown that fishing pressure
cannot be increased until the recovery is complete or you can derail the whole recovery,” said Richen Brame, CCA’s
Atlantic States Fisheries Director. “The recovery of striped bass is one of the great conservation successes of all time, but
it is not yet complete.”
CCA members were alarmed at the Commission’s decision to increase the commercial quota and ignore the concerns of
the largest user group – recreational anglers.
“We have fought and sacrificed for two decades to put striped bass on the road to recovery, but at the first signs of
success the commercial sector is awarded a quota increase of almost one million pounds,” said Charles Witek, vice chairman
of CCA’s National Government Relations Committee. “Gamefish status for striped bass is another important tool for conserving one of the most valuable marine recreational fisheries in the country.” •