Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


The striped bass (Morone saxatilis), or rockfish, fishery has been important both commercially and recreationally for decades along the Atlantic seaboard. In recent years, though, the fishery has undergone a serious decline and, as a result, has elicited considerable public concern. Although specific reasons for the decline have not been pinpointed, it is clear that inconsistent management practices within the range of striped bass have done little to help the fishery's condition. An anadromous species, striped bass spawn in the fresh water reaches of estuaries, after which many of the individuals return to the coastal ocean. In the Atlantic, the major stocks of striped bass migrate up and down the coast, with a range extending from North Carolina to Maine. This migratory life-cycle has posed a major management dilemna: how to adequately manage a resource that passes through the jurisdiction of several states, as well as interstate commissions and the federal government, with each entity having its own set of fishery laws and regulations. This paper reviews the status of the Atlantic striped bass fishery and the attempts to develop for it an integrated, interstate management plan. It is concluded that while many laudable steps have been taken toward achieving such a plan, several states have not acted particularly meritoriously; further action is necessary, therefore, to make a truly comprehensive plan work.