The Virginia Marine Resources Commission unanimously agreed to reduce the 2013 recreational and commercial striped bass harvest during a meeting held on Dec. 10 at its headquarters in Newport News.
The striped bass harvest will be reduced by 14 percent next year, as required under a fishery management plan approved by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, according to VMRC spokesman John Bull.
"The reduction is necessary due to last year’s harvest level as well as poor-to-mediocre spawning rates in recent years," Bull said. Several watermen objected to the quota reduction during a public hearing, he said.
Following a separate public hearing, the commission set the 2013 commercial and recreational black sea bass quota. There were no public comments or written objections on that matter, Bull said.
Other public hearings were held on proposed amendments pertaining to horseshoe crabs and on clam aquaculture operations. Both agenda items were unanimously approved.
Bull said the commission supported a staff recommendation to set the 2013 commercial horseshoe crab quota, reduce participation by hand harvesters, divide the quota by gear usage, and to limit future entry to the fishery.