Massachusetts DMF talks Striped Bass Release Mortality

The current post-release mortality estimate is 9% - and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries has begun a multi-year study to provide more insight into how striped bass fare after release.

Those following the Amendment 7 process for striped bass management are well aware that post-release mortality has been a polarizing topic for stakeholders in all sectors. With the coastal striped bass fishery being primarily catch-and-release, the survival of released fish and the impact of various types of angling gear on that survival rate has serious implications for the fishery’s long-term health.

The current post-release mortality estimate is 9% – and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries has begun a multi-year study to provide more insight into how striped bass fare after release.

In a recent episode of The Guide Post Podcast, host Willy Goldsmith of the American Saltwater Guides Association was joined by Ben Gahagan and Bill Hoffman from Mass DMF to learn more about the history of the currently used estimate, how their team is working to provide new insight on the topic and what they’ve seen so far in their multi-year study.

“The original post-release mortality rate estimates, they were done by the State of Massachusetts […and] came up with the currently used mortality rate of 9%. […] Based on the current hardware we now use for our studies, we decided we could apply it and potentially maybe make an improvement on that estimate,” Gahagan stated at the start of the episode.

“If we can make an improvement to [the accuracy of post-release mortality estimates, we could be saving hundreds of thousands, even coastwide, millions of bass.”

To learn more about what a day of “scientific fishing” looks like and what trends the DMF team is seeing so far, listen to the full podcast on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

Podcast Link – Spotify 

Podcast Link – Apple Podcasts

ASGA Homepage

DMF Homepage 

9 on “Massachusetts DMF talks Striped Bass Release Mortality

  1. BirdongBill

    I’ve caught an 7 striped bass this year and all 7 came flowing back up after I released them. I don’t know how they die so easily. I make sure to only have them out of the water for a couple minutes or so and keep my hands near the gills so they are supported and don’t get flared or stressed. I think they are too weak of fish and they will die off naturally

    1. Bruce

      Maybe you should stop fishing until you learn how to properly hook, fight, land, handle, and release the fish. NOBODY should have a 100% mortality rate. This is clearly not because the striped bass is too weak, it is because you are doing something (perhaps many things) wrong!

      1. Vince

        Telling me how to fish is violating my Freedumb! This is Murica and not some commie country!

  2. JAB

    Odd by you, I recommend changing your techniques.

    I never see them coming back up after over a hundred catches this season, and I have only see them swim away after I release them gently: so the assessment in many situations is important. That said, I typically fly fish or primarily use paddle tail jigs.

    Tight lines

  3. Vince

    I reeled in a couple of 40 pounders on night to have them stolen by seals. If seals are in the area, the mortality rate jumps significantly up! Why isn’t that probability factored?

    1. Charlie

      Seals are eating tons of fish in and around Cape Cod, it becomes the food chain, Seals eat fish, attracts Great White Sharks to eat Seals.

  4. Bob

    Hold your breath for “a couple of minutes or so” then tell me how that works out for you.

  5. Vince

    Even at the height of the striped bass crisis in the 80’s, the seal population was non existent at the Cape and North Shore. 40 years the seal population has exploded and Striped Bass regulations are at its strictest. Rather than blame the fishermen, shouldn’t we point the fingers at the grey seal population? I’m sure there’s some correlation there.

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