2015 Brings New Striped Bass Regulations

2015 Brings New Striped Bass Regulations

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This past fall, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) adopted more conservative reference points for striped bass and agreed to reduce fishing mortality to the target level in less than two years. The decision requires Atlantic coastal states from Maine to North Carolina to implement measures prior to the 2015 fishing season in order to achieve a 25 percent reduction in the coastal harvest and a 20.5 percent reduction in the Chesapeake Bay.

According to Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the new measures mean that recreational anglers fishing coastal waters will see the harvest limit change from two fish at 28 inches to one fish at 28 inches, or an alternative plan will be devised to achieve a 25 percent reduction. For recreational anglers on the Chesapeake Bay, the spring trophy season will see the size-length minimum increase to 36 inches from 28 inches; the season length and daily limit of one fish is expected to remain the same. The biggest change, which has drawn a lot of criticism, is that from May 15th to December 15th the two-fish limit will remain for bay anglers, but the minimum size will increase from 18 inches to 20 inches. Much of the criticism is based on the fact that commercial fishermen do not face the same size limits. The bay fishery is unique because most of its fish are male and restrictions have little impact on the success of breeding coastal females.