Outdoor enthusiasts in the Mid Atlantic states will notice a number of new changes for the 2024 outdoor season.
Mid Atlantic Fishing New Information – Updates
To address regional changes, several new pages have been added to www.daybreakfishing.com.
A new Offshore Wind Energy Installations page provides information about wind farms and other infrastructure in the Mid Atlantic region.
The marine electronics section has been updated to include a new page with information about AIS – Automatic Identification Systems.
Summer flounder are one of the most popular recreational fish on the Atlantic coast. In 2022, recreational landings were 8.6 million pounds, according to the NOAA Fisheries recreational fishing landings database.
According to the 2023 stock assessment, summer flounder is not overfished, but is subject to overfishing.
In December 2023, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) and Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) approved the use of regional conservation equivalency to achieve the required 28% reduction in recreational harvest of summer flounder in 2024-2025.
States will set recreational limits in order to achieve the required reduction. The recreational harvest limits for each state are based on the recreational catch in 1998.
Regulations for the recreational fishery are typically adjusted annually. They include an annual harvest limit, closed seasons, a minimum size for landed fish, and possession limits.
In January 2024, the ASFMC Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board approved Addendum II to Amendment 7 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Atlantic Striped Bass.
The Addendum modifies recreational and commercial measures to reduce fishing mortality in 2024, establishes an expedited response process to upcoming stock assessments, and addresses requirements for recreational filleting.
Addendum II builds upon the 2023 emergency action by changing the measures in the FMP to reduce fishing mortality and support stock rebuilding. Addendum II measures will replace the emergency action measures upon its implementation by the states by May 1, 2024.
For the ocean recreational fishery, the Addendum implements a 28” to 31” slot limit, 1-fish bag limit, and maintains 2022 season dates for all fishery participants; this maintains the same ocean recreational measures adopted under the recent emergency action.
For the Chesapeake Bay recreational fishery, the Addendum implements a 19” to 24” slot limit, 1-fish bag limit, and maintains 2022 season dates for all fishery participants.
For the commercial fishery, the Addendum reduces commercial quotas by 7% in both the ocean and Chesapeake Bay.
To address concerns about recreational filleting allowances and compliance with recreational size limits, the Addendum establishes two requirements for states that authorize at-sea/shore-side filleting of striped bass: racks must be retained and possession limited to no more than two fillets per legal fish.
More information about Addendum II can be found on the ASMFC website (www.asmfc.org).
In February, The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) announced a closure of the 2024 striped bass harvest season in the Roanoke River Management Area. The Roanoke River Management Area includes the Roanoke River and tributaries from the Roanoke Rapids Lake Dam downstream to the Albemarle Sound.
In February, striped bass emergency regulations initiated by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) became effective. The emergency regulations extend periods of closure to recreational striped bass fishing in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay.
In 2023, Maryland’s annual striped bass young-of-year index, which tracks reproductive success, was 1.0, well below the long-term average of 11.1.
A benchmark cobia assessment is scheduled for 2024.