- Recreational fisheries regulations at the state level along the US Atlantic coast are constantly changing to ensure the sustainability of marine fish populations. It is hypothesized that effective management of recreational fishing effort should have a positive impact on fish stocks. Using recreational catch per unit effort (CPUE) as a proxy for relative abundance, CPUE was compared to changes in regulations for five species, Atlantic Striped Bass, Bluefish, Summer Flounder, Spotted Seatrout and Red Drum, at a regional and state level. CPUE for four out of five species studied were found to have a negative trend, suggesting that changes in recreational fishing regulations were not improving relative stock abundance as measured by CPUE. The reasons for this are unclear. Factors such as natural recruitment variability and inter-annual range shifts may influence CPUE-based estimates of relative abundance more than recreational fishing effort. This exploratory analysis suggests further research is needed to understand the relationship between changes in recreational fishing regulations and relative abundance given the economic, social and cultural importance of recreational fishing on the east coast of the US.