The recreational annual catch limit for black sea bass has been reached for the Atlantic Ocean off the southeastern states and the recreational fishery will close in federal and state waters throughout the region including the South Carolina coast effective 12:01 am Sept. 4, 2012. The fishery is scheduled to remain closed until June 1, 2013.
In 2006, black sea bass in the southeastern region were determined to be overfished (spawning population is too low) and have continued to experience overfishing (rate of removal is too high). In response, a plan was implemented to end overfishing, allowing black sea bass population to begin rebuilding. This 10-year plan to rebuild the black sea bass fishery established annual catch limits of 309,000 pounds for the commercial sector and 409,000 pounds for recreational anglers.
Mel Bell, Director of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources Office of Fisheries Management commented on the status of black sea bass, “Black sea bass is in better shape today because of the measures taken to rebuild stocks and the sacrifice of fishermen. Six years into the rebuilding plan we see significant evidence that black sea bass is on the rebound. It is a difficult time, but we are well on our way to a sustainable fishery that will ultimately support the best possible access for fishermen.”