Friday, October 11, 2013

Black Sea Bass Stock is Rebuilt

Southern black sea bass rebuilt catch limits will more than double this fall, as a result of rebuilt populations.

The southern stock of black sea bass, which ranges from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, to the Florida Keys, was declared overfished in 2005.

The following year, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council implemented the rebuilding plan, which ended successfully this past spring.

The rebuilding plan was required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the law that governs the nation’s marine fisheries. The Act requires that overfishing end immediately, that overfished stocks be rebuilt, and that stocks be subject to annual catch limits.

For Robert Johnson, a charter boat captain out of St. Augustine, Florida, this will mean a longer fishing season and more customers. "We're a tourist-driven economy here in Florida," Johnson said, noting that hotels and restaurants in his area are also looking forward to a longer fishing season.

Black sea bass is a popular species among recreational anglers throughout its range. That’s because in addition to being a particularly tasty fish, black sea bass are relatively accessible. “The nice thing about black sea bass is you don’t need a million-dollar boat to catch them,” Johnson said.

Tom Burgess is a commercial fisherman out of Sneed's Ferry, North Carolina. Like most commercial black sea bass fishermen, he catches the fish in baited pots. "What we’re experiencing now was worth the wait," said Burgess, who expects his income to rise with the catch limit.

Last year both the recreational and commercial seasons were over by early fall. This year fishermen should still be having at it into late fall or early winter..

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source: NOAA Fisheries

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