State closes commercial striped bass fishery

Now illegal to possess more than the recreational limit
The state this week closed the commerical striped bass fishery until 2015. Chatham Harbor photo by John Fitts.

The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) closed the commercial striped bass fishery for 2014 this week. In an advisory, DMF said the state's 2014 commercial striped bass quota of 1,155,100 lbs was reached by the end of the fishing day on Monday.

Unless otherwise advised, Massachusetts commercial fishermen are prohibited from possessing and landing striped bass for commercial purposes until the beginning of the 2015 commercial striped bass fishing season.

Until the beginning of the 2015 season, it is unlawful for any person to possess more than the recreational limit of two striped bass per the closure notice.

It is also unlawful for retailers ("primary buyers") to purchase striped bass from a commercial fisherman, according to DMF. Imported striped bass must meet or exceed the state's minimum size limit of 34" and bear an ID tag indicating state of origin.

Closures and other rules are governed by the Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Regulations (322 CMR).

According to NOAA, striped bass were so abundant at one time, they were used to fertilized fields. Overfishing and environmental conditions led to the collapse of the fishery in the 1980s. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission worked with commercial fishermen to rebuild the stock for the next decade. Striped bass fishing is prohibited in federal waters (three miles offshore), according to NOAA.


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