Maryland's commercial striped bass fishery has been operating under new management regulations since the 2014 season. Chesapeake Bay commercial striped bass fishermen are issued a percent based share of the total commercial quota called an Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ). This quota is assigned as an amount of pounds that can be harvested throughout the year. Fishermen are able to fish their quota during any legal commercial season using any legal fishing gear that their tidal fish license allows. Fishermen may also transfer their quotas to other fishermen for use on an annual basis.
Changes to the management of the commercial striped bass fishery became necessary due to shifts in gear participation, shortened seasons, declining daily and annual catch limits, and new coast wide limits on commercial tag distribution policies passed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. The Individual Transferable Quota system was developed to address the many challenges facing the commercial striped bass fishery. The Individual Transferable Quota shares were issued based on gear participation. Participants in the gill net and hook and line gear sectors received a baseline allocation from the even distribution of 25% of the gill net and hook and line quota. The remaining 75% of the quota was issued to gill net and hook and line fishermen based on commercial striped bass harvest activity between January 1st, 2001 and February 29th, 2012. Pound net and haul seine participants were already operating using individual allocations. The process of allocation pound net and haul seine quota was converted from the previous system of distribution to a share based system.
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