Last week, Virginia fisheries managers decided to do away with the annual spring trophy season, allowing anglers to take only two fish a day that fit into a 20- to 28-inch slot limit. That season runs from May 16 to June 15. Also last week, natural resources and environmental secretaries from Virginia, Connecticut and Massachusetts sent letters to ASMFC chairman James S. Gilmore Jr. urging him to take swift action.
The ASMFC will go on the road this summer to hold public hearings on how a cut-back could be accomplished. Any decisions made this fall would be activated in 2020.
Among several options listed : minimum size limits for both the coastal and Chesapeake Bay fisheries, a slot limit that would prohibit the harvest of fish longer than 40 inches, the mandatory use of circle hooks when fishing with bait to reduce released fish mortality and a provision that would allow states to use seasonal closures to reduce their catch numbers.