Massachusetts’ 2014 commercial striped bass season regulations were announced yesterday, revealing sweeping changes from the 2013 commercial striper season. In 2014, commercial striped bass fishermen will only be able to fish on Mondays and Thursdays with a 15-fish limit for boat operators and a 2-fish limit for individual rod & reel license holders. These regulations are also accompanied by a brand new striped bass tagging program for primary buyers, ensuring that all commercially caught stripers are accounted for until after their sale at retail seafood businesses and restaurants.
The tagging program meets a requirement set by Addendum III to the Atlantic Striped Bass Interstate Management Plan, which was initiated in response to an investigation of striped bass poaching operations within Chesapeake Bay. The extended season was proposed to help reduce market gluts and improve ex-vessel prices paid for striped bass, make wild-caught stripers available for a longer period of time during summer, and lessen the impacts of intensive fishing on aggregated striped bass off Chatham. Restricting individual rod-and-reel license holders to two fish is part of the state’s effort to limit participation in the fishery to “real” commercial fishermen, which was suggested in comments at public hearings.
Individuals who received a Striped Bass Endorsement after September 8, 2013 could also be restricted from participating in the 2014 MA striper season or may be subject to different eligibility criteria than those who held an endorsement prior to this date. The application & renewal date for the 2014 commercial striped bass season is March 15, 2014.
For more information, take a look at the chart below of 2013 vs. 2014 commercial striper season regulations, and view the entire Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries Press Release here.
|Opening date July 14||Opening Date June 23|
|34″ size limit||34″ size limit|
|Quota: 997,869 pounds||Quota: 1.15 million pounds|
|Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday||Mondays and Thursdays only|
|Sundays – 5 fish per day
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday – 30 fish per day
|15-fish daily limit to fishermen with commercial lobster or boat permit with striped bass endorsement
2-fish daily limit applied to fishermen issued a commercial individual or rod & reel permit with striped bass endorsement.
|No control date.||Any person issued a Striped Bass Endorsement after September 8, 2013 may be restricted from participating in this fishery or may be subject to different eligibility criteria than those persons who held a Striped Bass Endorsement prior to this date.|
|No tagging program.||Striped Bass Tagging Program introduced for primary buyers. All primary buyers of striped bass must affix a valid, Massachusetts-issued ID Tag to each striped bass at the place of primary purchase and prior to transit. The tags must also accompany the fillets while in possession for re-sale and remain on premises of retail seafood dealers and other seafood businesses until all fillets are sold.|