New regulations are being proposed for the striped bass fishery. For fishermen— and for the fish—they’re a big deal.
We talked a little bit about this earlier in the summer, when fishery managers were considering options. Now we have an idea of what these new regulations could be.
The two main options under consideration are:
- an increase in minimum size to 35”, or
- a slot limit of between 28” and 35”
Recreational fishermen currently are allowed to keep one fish a day at 28” or bigger.
“What they're really trying to do is increase the number of large striped bass in the population,” says Kevin Blinkoff of On the Water magazine.
There's some concern that if the size limit is 35”, fishermen trying to find that one big fish are going to catch a lot of fish and release them—but not all of those fish are going to survive. With a slot limit, fishermen are likely to stop fishing sooner, as they catch their fish.
Catch-and-release still contributes to fish mortality.
“That's a big issue with striped bass, because so many fishermen catch and release them,” Blinkoff says. “Scientists estimate about 9% of fish that are caught and released do not survive.”
Regulators may also consider economic factors. There are a lot of businesses that depend on striped bass, including charter captains.
“It could become much harder for them to take out their clients and get them to find a striped bass that they can keep, if the minimum size is raised to 35 inches,” Blinkoff says. “So there are some captains who prefer that slot limit.”
Public hearings on these changes are scheduled up and down the coast. In Massachusetts, we have a public hearing on October 3rd at Mass Maritime Academy at 6 p.m.
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