The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has voted for option B2, setting Chesapeake Bay 2024 striped bass regulations across all jurisdictions in Maryland, Virginia, and the Potomac River. We will have a limit of one fish per person, in a slot from 19 to 24 inches. Seasons remain the same as 2022 through this action, although the state of Maryland in its latest action (see our last Angler Alert) has proposed eliminating May (trophy season) plus another week during the summer to extend the current July closure through the first week of August.
Coastal limits have also been set, maintaining the current 28” to 31” slot and seasons. In both cases sector separation has been eliminated and both regular recreational anglers and charter boat anglers are limited to one fish per person per day.
The equitable split between recreational boat/shore anglers and charter boats comes despite a concerted effort by the Maryland DNR representative on the board, Michael Luisi, to maintain the additional fish for charter boat anglers. He proposed motion after motion with different options for keeping everyone else at a one rockfish daily limit while giving charters two — despite the fact that, according to a slide the ASMFC put on-screen, public comment against maintaining the inequity was 2,344 versus 55.
As we have pointed out before, the ASMFC board in general does appear to pay attention to public comment and give it due consideration, while primarily focusing on the good of the fishery. And the bottom line is that the ASMFC made a sensible decision in terms of both conservation and equity. So now we know what it will be, anglers: One fish per person per day between 19” and 24”, for everyone. For Maryland, only, May and the extra week of closure in August remain a question-mark for the time being.