Striped Bass Overfished, Managers Discuss Options

Small stripers arrive in New England estuaries

Striped bass are overfished, the stock is declining, and if regulations aren’t changed, the decline is expected to continue. Those are the preliminary findings from the 2018 Benchmark Striped Bass Stock Assessment, which was discussed last week at a meeting of the Striped Bass Management Board. (Due to the partial government shutdown, the final assessment was not available for the meeting, however the results are not expected to change with the release of the final assessment.)

Following review, the Board discussed the need for management measures to end overfishing and increase female spawning stock biomass. The Board decided to wait to take management action until it can formally review and approve the final assessment. In the interim, they tasked the Striped Bass Technical Committee to provide additional information on the extent of necessary action and to provide an example recreational bag and size limit combination that would achieve management goals.

The Technical Committee will report back to the Board in May. Changes to striper regulations would most likely be enacted for the 2020 season.

In 2015, managers predicted that stricter striped bass regulations would reverse the decline in the stock. However, it now appears that those regulation changes did not achieve the necessary decrease in striper mortality. In fact, they may have contributed to an increase in catch and release mortality (fish that recreational fishermen release which do not survive).  Data provided to the board showed that the number of fish that died after being released by recreational anglers in 2017 exceeded the number they actually kept. Massachusetts is already addressing this issue and will be holding public hearings on regulations to reduce striper mortality, such as requiring circle hooks when bait fishing for striped bass.

We’ve also posted a summary of the striped bass stock assessment, which explains what it means when managers say the stock is overfished, and how many striped bass are kept by commercial fishermen versus recreational fishermen.


173 on “Striped Bass Overfished, Managers Discuss Options

  1. LOU


      1. Chris K

        I like a 3 fish slot 22”-28” take a pic of >28” breeders and quickly throw it back. Fly likely has least impact on mortality assuming a 20-30lb tippet.

    1. Steve Brecht

      That’s the dumbest thing I have ever heard!
      A. That money goes into the government wasteland
      B. If u read the article most fish die from catch and release so what exactly are u trying to accomplish here?
      C. Screw fly fishing

      1. Fontana Belknap

        Best argument for fly fishing EVER.

    2. Patrick Lopath

      Really? You think requiring a 4lbs tippet on fly rod would make a dent? Let’s look at that… what percentage of the recreationally caught bass are on fly rod? I have no idea, but I’d take the under on 5%. Ok, next…do we think that fly caught bass are more or less likely to die after release than other methods? I think we’d all agree that bait caught fish are the highest risk of loss. I’d give you pretty damn good odds that plug caught fish are next, with plugs typically having trebles, even multiple trebles. flies have 1 small hook. Now lets look at that 4lbs tippet suggestion…. perhaps the dumbest offering of all. how long will it to take land a respectable 12lbs bass on a 4lbs tippet? now put that bass in serious current. (where do we catch bass? in current) Now, add a few lbs…. I’d rather push my 8 or 9 wt to the max on a 25lbs tippet to put the bass on my thumb as fast as possible. you fight that fish on a 4 lbs tippet, and it’ll be exhausted, stressed and likely at high risk of loss.
      From “A Few Good Men”: Should we or should we not take the advice of the galactically stupid?

      1. Gary Morrissette

        Guy, it was a hypothetical pun! Sheesh.

      2. michael mulvaney

        Good points. I use 16-lb. test, even for schoolies, and this year it’ll be barbless hooks all the time…

      3. Patrick Lopath

        Yup, he might have been kidding, but it was fun to write the response. I don’t actually hate the idea of a striper stamp… not $500, but maybe $25. You’d have to put the revenue into some sort of fisheries conservation only lock box, or it might be used to build a wall somewhere…

        Here’s another idea: Let’s close the season in hold-over waters. If I see one more report from the winter Housy crowd guys landing 200 fish a day, day after day, in the dead of winter I think I’m gonna puke. Sure, we all like ‘epic’ days, but to do it day after day, catching mostly schoolies (or smaller) when the fish have little to eat in the cold water, makes no sense at all. Yes, they are mostly caught on single hook jigs, but even with a low mortality rate that likely comes from one hook, the shear numbers these guys catch, just to keep score, has to make a dent. Be happy we have hold over fish to jump start the spring fishery… let’s not beat on them all winter too.

    3. Francis Cummings

      Well, Lou, maybe we could just pass a law saying only wealthy elitists can fish for striped bass. Better idea is to stop either all striper fishing for a while or stop commercial fishing and confiscate all equipment in the hands of fishermen caught stealing stripers/poachers – includes boats, fishing gear, AND vehicles. Permit and require all sworn police officers to enforce fishing regulations, too. Quit screwing around with criminals!

      1. Jay

        Yeah, and prohibiting the possession of a firearm will bring down gun crimes!

      2. Dale

        Recs kill 9 to 1 over comms look in the mirror. You will see the problem.

    4. Chip Parker

      So you expect everyone to become a fly fisherman, because thats what you do? That’s crazy. And selfish

    5. Mie O

      I now suffer from a medical condition and sad to say no longer have the movement available for me to cast correctly with a fly rod and If I wish to continue fishing would be limited to conventional and or spin tackle. perhaps it might be time to call the American Disability action group if a consideration of Fly Fishing only comes into play. I am sure many of us getting older only face the same issues and problems that limit our movement.

    6. Ro Rod

      Need to look at it like hunting, 2 per season, one without a rack if you win lottery

    7. Jason G

      You guys obviously don’t know sarcasm when you hear it. I think using fly rod only with a 4# tippet is a great idea! And you can only use Muddler Minnow flies!

    8. ladylaursa

      Some enviromaggot see you in tea is running the show on regulations..The result of an emboldened biden regime…I hope everyone is happy..

  2. Tom

    Circle hooks would help a lot. Also, a slot size for keepers would help. Maybe 22″ to 32″. Throw back the breeders so that they can do their job.

    1. Spencer

      check out the other article they just posted, recs killed more released fish then fish they harvested. Stop killing the ones that can survive the release make the minimum size 42 inches, those big ones are the ones that die after you take them out of the water weigh them by there head, hold them for photos, and then try and release them.

    2. ladylaura

      Fish swallow circle hooks too…The result is you catch less fish..Fishery enviromaggots know this..Circle hooks are another tool in their box they can use to support their empty ocean fantasy..It a bunch of BS..

  3. Capt. Billy

    Why even catch a bass with stripes, just seems weird to me

  4. Germain

    Let’s manage the species as a whole, it’s a migratory species. The coast has to come together for once and and let’s help the fish instead of padding the pockets of profiteers from the species. Coastwise slot may be the answer?…… right now we’ve got charters MD taking 18” fish then Commercials up in MA keeping big breeder fish, too much pressure on these fish 24/7 365 days a year…. gotta give them some sort of break somehow

    1. Mark L

      Exactly, this is going to require a multi-state effort for the exact reason you stated. Eliminating a year-round season would seem to be a very obvious and good start

  5. Richard Steckler

    Anyone that flyrods for stripers with a 4lb tippet should get paid $500.

  6. Spencer

    So ” Data provided to the board showed that the number of fish that died after being released by recreational anglers in 2017 exceeded the number they actually kept.”

    Then why would the striper cup go to a catch and release tournament. You guys should have made the size 45″ minum to weigh in. more fish are going to die being hung for pictures and thrown on deck for a length. guys will throw them back and claim conservation while the fish swims off and dies.

      1. Dale

        Recs kill 9 to 1 over commercial. Look in the fricking mirror you will see the problem.

    1. craig

      So your solution is to keep them and definitely kill them as opposed to letting them go and perhaps some of them die?

      1. spencer

        one fish over 42 inches, more of the released fish will survive, way more fish will get a chance to breed at least a few times before it goes on the table. I seriously don’t understand how killing a 29 inch female is better than killing a big one. the small one hasn’t produced any fish, the larger fish has already spawned and put back into the population.

  7. Glenn

    $500. Are you high. Put restrictions on the boat quantity limits. Don’t hurt the little guy. $500 ya good idea. Can I borrow a buck.

  8. Dayen

    That’s ridiculous. Maybe the stamp but a fly rod come on now…but even so I think that EP’s need a serious boost in numbers. No matter how many good fisherman there are that abide by the size and qty limit there are tons more poachers or fisherman that keep undersized fish. Striper are not in endless supply. I’d like my kid to catch one, when he grows up.

  9. Scott

    Make the changes to commercial and charter limits. My 1 or 2 every week or so can’t really be the issue… if it is… it’s already to late

  10. Don Rousseau

    There should have been a slot years ago.NO have to have a cow to brag at the dock and show off.

  11. John Cherubino

    I agree, there either needs to be a one fish a day slot coast wide to allow breeders to breed or another moratorium. I harvest about one keeper size fish yearly and at the rate that commercial guys highline, poacher kills and herring fisherman by catching bass and culling them off the coast there soon will soon be none left. I blame the Peter Principle and $ for the incompetence of leaders to appropriately regulate.

  12. KFager

    Two fish in some states is twice what we get in Mass. Shutdown the commercial. Sorry but me fishing one a week and taking one fish is not equivalent to commercial taking 11 every day. I went through this with the tuna guys. They think us googans should be shutdown so they can have at the stock. I informed them they don’t own the stock. I suck at it and only go 1 giant in three years. Am I the one hurting the species? Would letting us take one cod hurt the species more than the draggers killing them and throwing them back? I use circle hooks anyway.

    1. Dale

      Short sighted thinking. Understand the numbers Myers and you won’t look like a fool.

  13. Stan Calabrese

    What about commercial dragger’s, are you telling me that those dragger’s don’t catch stripers in those nets and kill them

    1. MSL

      Striped bass do not frequent the depths draggers frequent. Even the grotesques purse seining of menhaden does not result in striped bass mortality. Very few, if any end up in their bycatch. You would think they would kill many, but they really don’t.

      1. FV_Orca

        Sir – Sorry – that’s wrong. I know I’m not the only one who has been anchored up on the N end of Stellwagen tuna fishing only to see a groundfish boat haul back and snow shovel hundreds of keepers and schoolies over the side. Same thing with the squid fleet S of MV. But you do point out the folks at Omega Protein wiping out menhaden and stripers alike – major issue there, too.

      2. Robin Folger

        Sorry, but you are flat out wrong. In lobstering, it’s not loudly spoken about, but the commercial bait catching boats all over the Atlantic coast regularly scoop up large migratory “cows” and either dump them dead overboard to avoid issues, or bury them unwittingly in the bottom of bait barrels, where “trophy” stripers are discovered by commercial lobsterman. We are regularly overharvest striper forage species for commercial interests(too late) kill breeding size fish(everyone here keeping a fish over 28” regardless of why) making us all to blame. To to stop fighting about the why, and focus on the how, how we successfully solve this so it’s a come-back story and not the failure it is. Let’s manage the federal commercial fisherman, and make the striper a federal migratory species to manage the recreational fisherman, with federal regulations governing size and harvest, and we can all get down the road. In 2019 we have evolved to where commercial and recreational benefits must be weighed by larger metrics as the recreational industry grows to record proportions, possibly outstripping commercial benifits, but that’s for economists to figure out.

        FYI -love the fish, but IMO if you eat one, you’re sticking your head in the sand to the truth of a heavily polluted protein, and selfishly killing the stock you foolheartedly think you are helping. Catch, and let’em go to let’em grow.

      3. craig

        Yeah, you must have missed the article a few years ago about all the striped bass off North Carolina past the 3 mile line hanging out in deeper water.

  14. Amanda

    Honestly this was coming sooner than later! People are uneducated and can’t follow rules and regulations. The people that do and love the striper fishing run now have to suffer. We need to educate the uneducated and make laws more tighter.! I know the environment police can’t be everywhere all the time because that would mean our tax dollars but seriously this is ridiculous. I don’t want to point the finger at is who is to blame because I could on but we need to fix the situation so we can all look forward to our yearly striper fishing ??!!!

  15. Rob

    There should be a coast wide slot rule and the cape cod canal designated as a catch and release only area. Also a moratorium on commercial striper fishing . There are a lot if factors that play into the decline such as environmental pollution , climate change , increased predation from an exploding seal population that is also bringing in more sharks . So to say it’s the fault of fishermen releasing fish is a cop-out .

  16. Just Me

    About time it’s being recognized the damage All this heroic catch and release fishing is doing. And as for the “purists”and their fly fishing BS, the average angler can’t afford the $750 reel needed to land a large striper in a resonable time to ensure release and survival.
    Ban the nets in the Chesapeake. Increase the stocks of herring and menhaden. Put a slot limit of 26-32 inch fish, 1 and 1 trophy over 48”. No fish between 26 and 32 allowed to be released and upon filling the daily quota, fishing must cease unless using a sing barbles hooked lure, The old fish don’t spawn every year and are most likely not as fertile as the 36-45″ fish. I’ve read a lot of whining about commercial fishing in Massachusetts, but there’s a quota. Done that’s it. These supposed sportsman with the catch and release blah, blah have been killing many more fish both in bad releases and their take home fish than the quota for commercial. The surf, boat and fly tackle industry are spending large sums to keep allowing the recreational angler to decimate this species. Maybe put a quota on recreational fishing 5-10 tags a year or some intelligent quota.

    1. Cal

      You don’t need a $750 fly reel to land a large bass in good time. C&R works. There are clearly problems with the way that people do it, but that’s a problem that can be addressed with the proper education methods.

  17. Norm

    Need better enforcement of existing refs
    Commercial guys cheating like crazy on regs
    Guys at canal keeping multiple fish and culling
    What good are regs without betterenforcement

    1. Dilly Dally

      Roger I couldn’t agree more. No matter the species the recreational fisherman always suffers. The burden need to shift away from the easy target – focus on the commercial haul and better management of them. The Canal is a big problem in Ma., but not the whole problem.

      1. Dale

        Rec is killing 9 to 1 over commercial and your getting screwed. Sorry sir that’s a joke

    2. Brando

      I agree, if the environmental police showed up at the cape cod canal, they could have a field day catching anglers with no licenses and keeping undersized fish and over the limit. there’s at least 2,000 anglers at the canal fishing everyday during the season.

  18. Bill

    Keepers should be a slot like 26-32. Is someone really suggesting that more fish die by letting them go than keeping. Every keeper dies. Maybe a season with more closed time Maybe slot keepers maybe circle hooks for bait

  19. John Buscemi

    I fish Long Island. On my last surf trip to Montauk I saw trucks on the beech with nets out a 1/4 mile in the ocean. I watched these guys pull in there nets with hundreds of strippers many undersized. These are the guys along with the professional fishing boats that should be stopped.

  20. Steve Dab

    I live in RI and as a recreational angler I can keep one fish over 28″…guys that fish with commercial fish traps can keep unlimited….yup I would definitely start with that regulation

  21. Mike

    This year at Montauk was sad, it is quite obvious that the fish stocks are severely depleted. It is criminal to see the commercial netters lined up from the light house area for every mile or two, clear down to south Hampton. If limits are not made on stripers they will be desimated as in the past. Measures have to be made to protect this resource.


      Mike, totally agree. I fish out of Moriches and see the same thing. Commercial Netters are lined up from 1/2 mile to 3 miles offshore. You can’t tell me that large amounts of Striped Bass don’t end up in their nets. They come through regularly and when they do recreational fishing is totaled.

  22. John

    NOAA and the NMFS should be ashamed of themselves for the way they’ve handled the entire Striper allocation system along the East Coast. In New Jersey, one fish @ 28” and the second fish 43” and over. A 43” inch fish weighs somewhere between 32 and 36 pounds. So you want to us to kill females?….right, what a bunch of inept clueless people . Overfishing????? how about mismanagement.

  23. James Vincenzi

    How about finally making striped bass a sport fish & eliminate commercial fishing all together. Long overdue!

  24. Chuck

    How would they know the catch and release death rates of rec anglers ? Are they just useing a number to every rec license sold ?

    1. Jim Oravetz

      I’m not buying the high numbers they are claiming. The text below is from an article in a MA paper about the introduction of new rules for striper fishing. Use of circle hooks only is one on the table. As you can see, the 9% number is WAY below what is stated above.

      Studies have shown that about 9 percent of released striped bass will die from the effects of hooking and handling, so DMF is implementing broad-based measures to lower the mortality rate and ensure the future health of the striped bass stock.

      Read more:

  25. John B

    It’s estimated that the Cape is home to 50,000 “endangered” seals. Does anyone care to know what they’re eating? It’s time to cull their numbers.

    1. Pete T.

      Bingo, John. The Marine Mammal Protection Act is having a serious unintended consequence. NOAA says that adult gray seals eat about 50 lbs. of fish per day, except when they’re mating, pupping or molting. When they’re not eating stripers right off our lines or those that are free-swimming, they’re gobbling sand lance, herring and other prey species of game fish. There are over 50,000 gray seals around Cape Cod now. Harbor seals and others add additional mortality to all fish stocks with few exceptions.

      Predator species are managed in the US so our 1.5 million sq. mi. of agricultural land can be more productive and to ensure human safety. The same thinking should be applied to all of our coastal waters.

  26. Francis Roach

    the government could not organize a three car funeral.. get rid of the nets… recreational fisherman I know are to a great extent good stewards of the water

    1. Dale

      You obviously haven’t read the assessment. Recreational kills 9 out of ten fish. Look in the mirror.

      1. Jackson

        It does but still gives it a better chance at living then just killing it.

  27. Andy

    In the spring and fall all you read about is how the head boats and charters are catching and killing 30,40,50lb fish day after day along with commercial fleet, the writing is on the wall.

  28. Scottmcc777

    Time to make the striped bass a protected gamefish. No more commercial fishing and move to a slot limit so those big females have a chance to breed.

  29. Paul schmidt

    Limit commercial catch honestly the guys on the canal couldn’t possibly make even the smallest dent to the species. Place size limits on the canal and certain seasonal dates. On harvesting I personally fish the canal and have done do for 33 yrs I have seen the poachers chased the poachers and called in poachers sittings strict fines mandatory community service time and gear seziure all possible !!! I hate to see a species dwindle. Commercial limits and heavy penalties is the answer and send more officials out on recon to serve the fines and take and auction the equipment all feesable ideas. The recreational guy the guy the abides by the rules has nothing to fear make the bad ones pay

  30. Rick Giombetti

    This isn’t brain surgery, stop the commercial fishing from taking so many fish. Here’s a novel idea, how about culling the seal herd off Monomoy Island, MA.

  31. Denny

    Since the larger fish are all females should be catch and release 2 between 28 and 33 would be better

  32. Jake

    I fish Cape and Maine and practice catch and release with lures and flies. Only one per year does not make it and swim away enthusiastically. Are they saying those swimmers are dead? If so shouldn’t we keep them all? Something is not making sense there.

    Since the eggs seem to be released exponentially by the larger females, it makes sense to cull slot fish and not the cows if your going to eat them or keep one, and want to grow the overall mass.

    I agree that the Ch Bay keeps the babies and then only the big ones can be kept elsewhere. Since all the big ones leave the Bay for the summer, it might be tough on their charter businesses if they change the take size.

  33. Nick

    Are there any private firms that monitor or study the striper population or government agency only?
    Just curious- wondering how accurate the data is.
    Also where does the mortality rate numbers come from? I e never reported release numbers.

  34. Dan W.

    I have literally caught hundreds of stripers over the past 3 years. Anywhere from 14” to 49”. I can honestly say without reservation that I have not lost a single fish when released. I find it very hard to believe more have died than survived….. where is this data coming from?

  35. Dingo

    How about carpet bombing the canal when its full of people? Then fill it in with cement. Those circle hook laws are a joke , just like every state south of Maine/NH that does nothing but slaughter fish…

  36. Joe

    Ban shore fishing in the Cape Cod Canal. It’s like the proverbial “shooting fish in a barrel”
    The poaching and overfishing is rampant there.

    1. Mike b

      Agreed, just about every fish that wants to migrate north has to get through that narrow minefield of hooks twice. Anglers and poachers shoulder to shoulder on a 45 degree bank, that’s no way to enjoy the sport anyway!

  37. Mike B

    How about a 1 fish limit – any size – then when you maim an undersized fish you throw it in the cooler instead of back in the water for the crabs. I only keep an occasional fish that’s legal size and and bleeding from the gills

  38. Frankie D

    Does this country not realize the recreational value of striped bass? Without them boats aren’t sold or serviced, slips aren’t filled, bait and tackle isn’t sold, anything related to saltwater fishing is financially effected. These fish can be successfully farmed and should be to take pressure off the stocks. We all know another moratorium is coming so just institute it now before a total collapse. These fish are worth a lot more to the economy recreationally versus commercially. Treat them like bluefin so you have a unified license system, better harvest reports, and have your finger on the pulse of the biomass. If we as humans have figured out how to successfully manage bluefin, some of which cross the ATLANTIC OCEAN, how are we sitting idle watching the striped bass stocks collapse?!

  39. Geo

    Eliminate killing fish for tournament weigh in.

    Use time stamp photos instead.

  40. Roger Tuveson

    Circle hooks are very important, but they need to be wide gap, non-offset or inline as manufactured by Owner, Offshore Angler, Mustad, or Gamakatsu. Also, a critical problem with rod & reel recreational fishermen is that they let stripers run too long once they pick up the bait, hence too many gut or gill hooked linesiders. Somehow, a study should be done to determine the optimum time (3, 5, 7, or 9 seconds for example) a fisherman should allow a striper to run with bait before closing the bail or engaging a conventional reel. Also, we need to determine if there is a significant difference between using live vs. chunk or dead bait with respect to allowed running time.

  41. Master googan

    I’m w the 500$ license guy either that or…. cull seals? Orrrrrr stop pollution where they spawn? orrrr maybe sharks? Yea sharks that’s it!!!!!aaaaaaaahhh never mind it’s all I D**k swinging contest from recromersh to the tool at the ditch who is soooo bad ass. Look at me look at myyyyy insta wait do I have any likes? Please follow me I’m a star now?

  42. Brad

    Changing the fishing regulations would be a step in the right direction but there should be harsher penalties for people that poach and keep undersized fish. Right now it’s not even a slap on the wrist, and because of that people keep doing it.

  43. Nick

    How about increase law enforcement? Right now there are TWO EPOs responsible for all of Cape Cod

  44. Walter Ultsch

    I’m so sick of the real issue not being freaking discussed here.. Take out the god dang seals.. They are eating 50lbs of fish per seal per day and not a god dam thing is being done about it… They need to be managed or all fish species will continue to suffer….

  45. Bob H

    A higher size and lower catch limit should be put on the commercial fishery. Party boats now have size and catch limits on Haddock and no keeping of cod. Sport fishing for recreational fishermen is a big business and brings money to small business in tourist areas. Hurting the rec fishermen will destroy in these areas. Circle hooks with the barb filed off would be fine . One may lose a fish or two but more catch and release fish would survive. Now there is a one fish limit at 28 inches. Its been a long time since I have caught a 28 incher. Its not worth a trip down the cape to catch one keeper. Even in Boston Harbor the winter flounder limit is 8 fish at 12 inches, not worth going. The place is a flounder gold mine. Maybe they should use the $15 license fee to build salt water hatcheries for the stripers. Where does that money go anyway???

  46. Byron

    In response to Germain, MA commercial season is a limit of 15 fish per boat, per day, with a minimum of 34 inches. ONLY on Mondays and Thursdays. The fish have already reached spawning age, unlike the baby 18 inch fish that are being taken elsewhere. MA has tougher restrictions than most, and if you read some of the previous articles you would have known that MA Environmental Police have made several arrests of poachers, commercial boats with over limits and undersized catch. Yes it is the commercial fishing industry that is causing the problems but not the striper fishing industry. It’s the problem of by-catch from trawlers or boats netting other species that are killing tons of stripers every year. The recreational fisherman is only a minute part in this problem.

    1. Byron

      Oh I forgot, commercial fishing from shore is a limit of 2 fish per day, 34 inch limit, 2 days a week.

    2. Will

      I know a bunch of commercial
      Guys that fish 7 days a week and just keep commercial fish no matter the day because they can ice them and store them properly. Then they bring them to the market Monday and Thursday. This is an way to avoid the Monday Thursday rules and also is an example of how the female population is decking as the comm guys have to duck these rules just to hit their 15 fish limit twice a week. Cut the comm quota in half and make a coast wide slot limit. It’s simple

  47. Joe H.

    Circle hooks for bait fishing and a slot limit. Like 19-27” or something. Protect the little guys, protects the big breeders.

  48. Tom

    I like the idea of culling, not seals just commercial bass fishermen.

  49. Van

    We have multiple fishing nets near us that are up 365 days a year. I’ve been told these nets catch 1,500 stripers a week. The other issue overfishing the Menhaden in the Chesapeake Bay, which accounts for up to 80% of the Menhaden catch in the Atlantic according to the Mission Blue article “CHESAPEAKE BAY SUFFERS FROM MENHADEN REDUCTION INDUSTRY” found here In addition to these problems, pollution and depleting oxygen levels are also hurting rock fish populations in the Chesapeake.

    I might catch 100 to 120 fish in a year and we release about 70% of them, all that are less than 20″, the min size for rockfish in the Potomac River. A few die, like 2 or 3, but the vast majority live. It’s not the recreational fisherman doing the damage however, I would be happy to pay a “striper” tax, not $500, more like $20 or $30 in addition to my annual fishing license. Circle hooks will help but it doesn’t really address the main issues concerning depleting rockfish populations.

  50. David lobet

    A hooked striper is usually a dead striper by the time you get it released. Most of the strippers I catch are in the 18 to 24 inch range. By law they have to be released but rarely survive. I think slot limits would be a better idea

  51. Joseph Lupton

    In the Chesapeake Bay the big breeders have become very very scarce. In our area, the menhadden fleet have take much of the bait fish the stripers need, so they don’t enter the
    bay like they used too. The talk down here is a restriction on fish over a certain size like there is on red drum. The slot on red drum is 18″ to 28″ and it seems to be very effective. The larger drum are making a come back.

    I do agree that live bait fishing should be restricted to circle hooks. Even better would be artificial bait only (lures) with a single barbless hook. Barbs are not needed to keep a fish hooked up. And barbless hooks make catch and release much less lethal. I bend tghe barbs down on all of my hooks and very seldom lose a hooked fish.

  52. Albert Sergio

    1) Restrict bait fishing to in-line Circle hook only
    2) Prohibit Snag and drop with weighted trebles – these are a guaranteed gut hook. Live lining should require a barbless treble hook rigged on a leader with a sliding egg sinker – they way we used to do it.
    3) Restrict artificial lures to a single belly treble hook and a single siwash or in-line tails hook, with all barbs crushed. Plugs built with two belly hooks can be “rebalanced” by replacement with a single 4X treble on the front hook hanger.
    4) Prohibit culling of keeper size fish – most of these culled bass have been out of the water too long to be revived by legitimate practice, much less reviving by themselves after being tossed into the water from a Jetty, the bank of the Cape Cod Canal, etc. Look at the CC Canal when the cows are hitting – you do not have to strain your eyes to see dead breeders floating belly up after some tackle store hero catches another one with greater “bragging rights” potential.
    For the record, I have practiced catch and release since 1996, so the above recommendations I made are based on personal history.

    1. Steve A

      I agree Albert. The last big Striper my sons and I have kept was 26 years ago. Since then I keep an occasional 30” class fish that I think may die. I wish we could keep 1 fish, any size, that was going to die.
      That could never happen because there are too many dishonest, unethical or just plain ignorant fisherman.

  53. Dave

    Why not enact slot regulations? let to most fertile big cows go back to breed and catch again.

    Also are higher catch and release mortality rates a product of higher catch and release rate? I fish all last season and didn’t keep a fish. So if one throw back died my release mortality rate exceeded my keepers.

  54. Matt

    Large multi-state tournaments that solely target stripers certainly don’t help.

  55. Cody peterson

    I really don’t care what you do on regulations because I only catch and release but the reason the stripper numbers are decreasing is the seals hands down!!! They have no limits of fish, the thousands of seals on Nantucket eat thousands of fish A DAY!!! Seals are the problems and because they are protected they have become very over populated it’s time to do something!!!

  56. Joe G

    Obviously single hooks on lures are better for the fish. It really gets me when folks hold the fish up and keep it out of the water for a long time while ‘releasing ‘ it. Think of this, all the time the fish is out of the water it is NOT breathing. Try holding YOUR breath the whole time you have your fish out of water!!
    Use single hooks, keep your pliers handy and try to leave the fish IN the water as you unhook it.
    Have the camera all set to shoot if you need a photo and be quick. OUR fish depend on OUR good stewardship. Tight lines.

  57. Joe G

    I think that some seal management is probably overdue at this point. It’s not gonna be popular with the PC crowd tho.

  58. craig hicks

    25K seals surrounding us from the tip of Monomoy to the tip of Ptown…I fish Monomoy 3-4 times a week and watch the devastation. I would like to see a report on what the experts consider the loss of all species is from the seal issue. At least in this area, catch and release has little to do with the overall loss of our fish stock. How much longer do we kick this can down the road?

  59. Tom P

    HERE SHOULD BE A SLOT LIMIT ON STRIPERS. Why are we killing the big breeding females? The management is backwards! Keep the small males and immature females and let the big female breeders live! NO ONE WANTS TO HEAR IT! I personally do this. Anything above 32 inches I release. I would propose to have a slot of 18 inches to 32 inches you can keep, and anything over 32 inches you have to release. Add to that a Trophy Tag. You get one tag a year when you get your fishing license. You can keep and Tag one Trophy over 32 inches. If you get caught with a Trophy without a tag you are given a criminal violation summons. The Trophy Tag would satisfy the Charter Businesses with the slot limit. We would not be killing all these big females who are going to produce the future of the species.

  60. Jeff D

    It will take a combined effort from every category of fishermen to help the population of our striped bass. I think a lot of comments that were mentioned from circle hooks to to slot limits, reduced commercial limits, etc!!!!! It’s not going to happen overnight, but a little sacrifice from everyone would go a long way. Whoever Lou is, he can go fly fish for trout in a pond somewhere!!! $500.00 striper stamp. I already pay enough on stamps in my sporting license, I don’t need a $500.00 stamp!!! Hopefully there is also a bigger presence of EPO’s to help enforce the laws, there are always those who feel the need to break them. See you all soon when our favorite sport fish make their way back up for another season.

  61. Concerned

    First off I see folks handling schoolies really bad like they are mad that they didn’t catch a keeper. I have seen them rip the hook out of there mouth. Catch and release fish should not come out of the water. Its those silly photos and improper handling of the fish that kills them. I see people putting their hands in the gills, holding bigger fish up with supporting their innards. I do not agree with Circle hooks compared to barbing the hook, which is removing the barb which causes most of the damage trying to get the hook out. Once a circle hook is swallowed deep by a fish its very difficult to get out, I know because I try to help most fisherman that don’t know how to take a hook out without hurting the fish. Barbed hooks should be made illegal to use. Using a barbed hook I just need to relax the tension on the caught fish and they unhook themselves and swim away without me even touching them.

  62. Rob Manson

    Let’s limit striper fishing on the canal to people who live in a 15 minute radius…. 😉

  63. Roger Neset

    THE biggest issue is commercial fishing for striped bass. Ban this and we will have half the battle won. Then, the powers that be need to re-examine rec factors (limits, seasons, etc.).

  64. Carl Vining

    Ban all commercial fishing for striker bass and all catch and release using circle hooks until bass stock has grown substantially.

  65. Jeff D

    Why is it that everyone I know named rob say the dumbist things!!!! Get real!!!!

  66. Brian McCutchen

    Fishermen who care and follow the rules need to be involved in protecting the species from those that dont.
    Lets use the Canal for an example. If fishermen that cared patrolled the canal in griups of 4 or 5 and made sure the rules were being followed and helped educate people on how to revive a exhausted fish and the importance of releasing big breeers.
    Also the slot has to happen.
    Hope everyone has a great day. Tight lines!

  67. Alan Bedard

    How about declaring stripers a game fish and banning the commercial fishery here in Mass. Outlaw the retail sale of striper completely. In 2018 commercial striper fishing landed 753,731 pounds. The commercial lobby in the state is formable, this has been attempted in the past but always gets defeated. now is the time.

  68. Justin

    So from what i can see

    1. commercial fishing is overfishing and killing the stock

    2. seals are impacting the population

    3. circle hooks are better and should be encouraged

    4. Slot limits are better

    5. make stripers a game fish

    How come a guy from Philly can figure this out in about 20 minutes yet we cannot come together and figure this out. Taxs are not going to fix this, real life action will. these ideas are not hard to enforce and its crazy that it has come to this. Its obvious there is a lot of money out there trying to turn hobbyist into fish murderers and turning attention away from large companies and large fishing fleets. Its not rocket science, its common sense that will fix this, the biggest hurtle is fighting the moneyed interests, but it can be done.

  69. Paul Cuzzupe

    Just a thought, as anybody considered the idea that maybe fish stocks of all species weren’t meant to be profited from but to feed a family.this has happened and continues to happen to all commercial fisheries.greed kills.

  70. Jackson Lang

    This could be a problem. If they don’t change the regulation

  71. Jackson Lang

    This could be a problem. If they don’t change the regulation. I hope we change the regulations.

  72. Bob H

    Commercial guys are the real problem. Maybe there should be a bn on exporting striped bass. Just keep them for the USA. Also limit their catch to a much lower poundage. The problem started when Jimmy Carter let foreign fishermen to come in close with factory vessels taking everything. I remember just Seals going out a few hundred yards and catching all the cod I wanted. Now you can’t take any. Its the same for stripers. Now in the Alaskan waters factory ships with hugh nets controlled by computers take whole schools of fish. There are only so many schools to take. It is tough for the small fishermen to make a living with the restrictions now. Fishing towns are really hurting. Seals are another problem not only to our fishing but bringing higher amounts of great white shark to our area. I only use circle hooks with the barb filed off. usually I fish alone so if I hook myself its easy to take it out, its also easy to take fish off . I don’t care if I lose a few fish. I hardly catch a keeper anyway.

  73. Tyler

    Shut down the canal to fishing. That will help the numbers a lot. Too easy of fishing. Not to mention the big dead breeders floating away from all the trebles and people taking hero shots and unhooking them improperly.

  74. Joey G

    Create a cow tag program for high catch fishing spots with limited access (Canal, Montauk and boat charters). This would promote interaction with the guidelines and tackle shop revenue. You could mail order, buy at local participating shop or guide. 5 per person per year. Then it’s up to the public to shame people who don’t have a tag in a large kept fish.
    Otherwise slot 20-28” one per day.
    Further study commercial and seal affects.
    Fish that are correctly released live to see another day, unless they are gut hooked, gill hooked or left the drown on air.
    Last one to stir the pot…end using fish finders and braided line!!! Go back to mono and paper charts! Technology evolves and the Stripers don’t!

  75. Ollie

    In the long run, you have to have people who are actually going to abide by new regulations before you even think about pushing new regulations, and when the people don’t follow the rules, they should be prosecuted…..

  76. Bob from Long Island

    Unless COMMERCIAL fishing limits to catch and season are discussed, this fish will continue to decline. The few fish (relative to commercial fishermen) we recreational guys take aren’t making this fish decline. And, I agree, a multi-state solution is the only thing that makes sense.

    1. trapper1

      bob needs to learn to read graphs. 90% of stripers killed are from the rec fishery.

  77. Dave Do

    Id be ok not being able to keep any for a few years. Strictly catch and release and not removing the fish from the water for hook removal. Give the fish a break or they will end up like the cod in the gulf of maine.

  78. callan

    I definitely find it hard to believe the mortality rates from released fish exceeded that of kept fish, honestly it sounds absolutely impossible. I fish barbless and am 100% confident that all of the bass I have caught and released over the past 2 years have survived. I know that the use of trebles increases that chance, but the number provided above does not seem to align with what I see on the beaches. I think the main problem is the commercial/netting industry here. Some serious changes need to be made or we might not be fishing for bass in 15 years time.

  79. Jeff D

    I love those people who think that fishing in the canal is like shooting fish I a barrel!!!
    Grant it, your odds are good when there is a blitz, but other then that, it’s far from easy.
    I fish from boat too, too me, that’s a lot easier then from the shore. The fight is a lot more intense with a heavy current. I’ve never had a fight like that from a boat. In short, we need more epo’s present along the canal and I think you will see a huge difference. I’ve seen way to many law breakers at the canal. Just need to clean them out!!!

  80. Tim grant

    I’ve had enough of the licence and fees and taxes. No one stocks the ocean.every piece of fishing equipment has a hidden tax not many people are aware of.If they fix up launch then they charge you to use it. The cost to go on a trip just keeps going up.It sounds like the next round of a money grab coming. I believe in good fishing practices, but I don’t trust powers that be to not rip of the weekend angler.Mark the day on the calendar when they nudge in a a new fee. Check it in two years and see what necessary adjustments they have to make.I think we’re going to get scammed. Watch!

  81. Mayo G

    Lots of studies on steelhead show that time out of water for hero shots significantly raises mortality, and states like Washington have mandated releasing fish without taking them out of the water. Keep them wet.

  82. David from Amesbury

    I would definitely support a “slot range” for a keeper. I’d much rather catch one fish to put in the oven, than 30 or 40 fish 20″ to 27″…

  83. John

    I haven’t kept a stripper in 4 years. I try and get them to the boat quick and release as fast as I can. Jail the poachers and sorry but take away the opportunity to sell the fish. Last I checked you can’t get strippers in a restaurant in NJ. But you can in NY and I am willing to bet pochers LOVE NY!

  84. Carl

    They need to install slot limits,circle hooks.The same rules for the whole coast not state by state. Back off on commercial fishing as well.
    Eliminate the trophy hunts and let the cows do their job

  85. Kevin

    The main photo shows lipping and handling the fish with human hands and taking fish out of water without a lipper. Even the most experienced fisherman can handle a fish and pass our bacteria and onto them. If we are going to release let us practice methods to limit stress beyond types of hooks use of gaffs etc. Lets look at not removing their natural slime or removing fish from the water touching human flesh, the proper use of release methods etc. Lets give them a fighting chance.

  86. joepet

    I am afraid it is much more sinister than overfishing. we have destroyed over half their breeding grounds. Then we created a species that looks like them and acts like them but produce mutants that do not live as long and are potentially contaminated. These hybrids also carry traits detrimental to the species. The life cycle is very delicate and we have done little to improve it.

  87. LOU


  88. Ron

    A ban on gaffing stripers would be the biggest thing they could fo. U see charter boats mates gaffing every fish, weather it be 20 inch or 40 inch. With that being said, be sure ALL charter boats have proper credentials to be chartering, there’s a ton of illegal charter operations.

  89. Fishhunterusa

    I fish on Long Island NY , I fish the surf 80% of the time and boat 20% of the time , been fishing 24 years 3 to 4 days a week April-December targeting Stripe bass ( catch n release ONLY) , Montauk surf was great fishing up til 2010 in the last nine years catching bass has been worse every year , if we all stood together and made a catch n release law for stripe bass , then our kids should be able to catch n release them also in years to come .

  90. Randy C

    We all should think about what allowed the fishery to recover so well in the 1980-90’s. One fish a day over 36” and no commercial.

    Serious action needs to be taken before it deteriorates further.

  91. Bill from Falmouth

    I think it might make sense to immediately (and temporarily) HALT the recreational and commercial taking of any stripers of prime breeding length – what ever that is. If it is stripers in the 30-40 inch range, than so be it. Then perhaps allow the taking of one striper per recreational angler of 28 inches and below. I wouldn’t object to a commercial ban, but then again I don’t rely on the income from such a job. I have fished with barbless hooks for two years now and have noticed NO difference in fish caught or lost. I have noticed a big difference in the east of removing a barbless hook. So yes, let’s go with circle hooks for live bait and barbless or crushed barbed hooks otherwise. And continue with efforts to replenish the depleted stocks of baitfish, herring in particular. Falmouth has just that sort of effort actively under way. Maybe a combination of things will help. Oh, one more. How many canal fishermen will catch a keeper, beach it, and then throw it back a half hour later dead or mostly dead when they catch a bigger one? The only way to stop that is for other fisherman to help police that. Phone cameras can provide great evidence. Clearly the worst thing we can do is nothing.

  92. Ted

    Look at what is causing the problem. Loose the treble hook’s no need for 6 hooks. To much time out of water and handling.

  93. ROMAN

    Does anyone else realize that we are all to blame for this predicament! I hear everyone blaming everyone else, the commercial sector, the recreational sector and the seals. Let’s review this situation. The commercial sector off North Carolina who were caught on video dumping dead 30 and 40 pounders because they wanted bigger. The pin holders in Massachusetts and Rhode Island fishing on off days and keeping their catch for commercial days. I recently took a walk along the Housatonic River in Stratford and some many people catching schoolies, many which were foul hooked being thrown back having trouble swimming away. Trips to the breachways of Rhode Island seeing people just tossing fish from the top of the jetties. Seeing thousands of seals off of Massachusetts needing to feed on something so they don’t starve. But the one biggest thing that makes me sick is Representative Lee Zeldin from New York passing a bill to not allow the Coast Guard and NOAA to patrol the EZZ for  illegal fishing for striped bass in Federal Waters!! How many boats are out there doing that? New York is suing for more fish because they over harvest, now how is that not depleting? Since Connecticut doesn’t have a commercial fisheries for striped bass, instead of leaving those 4000 fish in the population some idiot decided to give it out as a bonus program. How many people are abusing this program? It’s going to take a sacrifice from all of us for some time to fix this problem. There really is no simple solution. Here are my ideas.

    1. We need observers on all commercial fishing boats! There is a reason that there are alot of birds behind them after their nets come up.

    2. Vouchers for pin hooker permits that allow for no more than 5 fish a day with a shorter season. 

    3. Trophy voucher of 3 fish over 32 inches per year per fishing license and must be reported.

    4. Closed season during spawning season.

    5. Any fish that’s bleeding or foul hooked is your fish for the day.

    6. The department needs to take a look at reducing the seal population. 

    7. Start turning in violators. There should be some kind of monetary award for it.

    8. Violators lose their fishing license for the entire rebuilding period.

    9. Allocate the quota evenly thru all of the  Striper states evenly between both commercial and recreational sectors. No quota sharing by states or sectors and if you go over, you lose that amount for the next year.

    10. There should be some kind of printable ticket for each day you go out to fish that must be presented to enforcement along with the fish if asked. This is to prevent people from taking a morning trip than an afternoon trip and taking two fish instead of one per day.

    I hope that when it comes down to making changes to this fisheries, that we will get to voice our opinions. Let’s not go back to the eighties again. This time, it may not come back.

  94. Mitch Cumstein

    People act like these fish are going extinct. They’re not. Some people catch and keep some people catch and release just like they’ve been doing the last 5 decades prior to people’s social media that fuels this idea that the bass population is dwindling because someone posts a pic keeping a fish. If you’re playing by the rules and you happen to keep a few fish so be it. If you catch and release and feel as though you need to start a movement about it, good for you too. Shut up about it because it’s tiring to listen to.

    1. ROMAN

      Not even a real name. Pretty pathetic!! Must not have been around in the eighties when the population crashed, so that makes him a pathetic millennial who believes that he is entitled to everything without the work.  Probably still lives at home with mommy and daddy and they pay for everything. I bet mommy is making him dinner right now. The decline is real and caused by people like you. You must be or know someone in the commercial fishing industry because that is their mentality. Do us a favor and go back to your video games or take up needle point. We want people who respect this natural resource not abuse it.

      1. Mitch Cumstein

        lol. I’ve been fishing since the 80’s guy. This whole idea that the population is dwindling is fueled by social media because now you can see people posting pictures. People kept just as many fish in the past as they do today except all you had back then were photos. Don’t kid yourself. All these people crying as if bass are going extinct are ridiculous. Sure I don’t agree with people keeping more than they’re supposed to but there’s an allowable keep limit for a reason and its widely researched every year. This whole “CATCH AND RELEASE” movement is a millennial cry if you ask me.

  95. TOM

    Is there anyone left to blame? Climate change, seals, sharks, gill nets, Canal fishermen, fishermen visiting the Canal, menhaden fishermen, New Yorkers, Virginians, fisheries scientists, fly fishermen, commercial fishermen, foreign fishermen, trophy fishermen, bait fishermen, rich fishermen, poor fishermen, poachers, the federal government, state governments…..

    Look in the mirror folks. Stop denying that some of our own practices are the problem. Stop denying the science. Unless we do most of what has been seriously suggested above, the game is over.

  96. TOM

    One more comment. Estimating the mortality of released fish is and educated guess backed by some good measurements. If you are interested in getting into the seaweed, read this. Just add the www part and you are on your way.

  97. Frankenstein

    Undersized fish taste the best. Mind as well take what you can. It’s only a fish

  98. Michael

    Last year there were tons of headlines on poachers being caught with loads of undersized stripers. There was that big headline in NJ where 2 encon officers patrolling on a boat noticed a group of guys fishing. The guys were eventually caught with tons of illegal fish at their truck. There are so many more out there that don’t obey the laws. I’ve seen my share of the urban after-work families come with large coolers and their beer. They outnumber the recreational fishermen who obey and have a valid fishing license, causing more stripers to die. Fees should be raised big time. Commercial fishermen are the other big issue, but this country is all about money and trade, so they most likely won’t put the pressure on commercial fisheries like they really should. New size limit should be 22″-32″. There should be a c&r only season, which would most likely be during the spawning season. Think about how Southern states are with their redfish regulations on releasing larger fish for more reproduction.

  99. KJH4

    I would try catch and release for Two full seasons on all fishing(Shore/Boat/Charter/Party Boats/Commercial) implement a steep fine. I bet you would see a big difference. Get it off the menu the fish is basically almost extinct. I mean am sure the charter guys would not be happy with that, but the customers would still get the thrill of catching a fish but just let it go. I don’t think size change will make a difference……Just an idea.

  100. George

    As one who has fished both recreationally and commercially since the 1970’s in Massachusetts I have the following observations.
    There are far more people fishing in SE Mass now then there was 10-20 years ago and most of them are catching bass, especially in the canal the past few years. A lot of the newbies are rude and ignore the rules as can be seen daily at the canal or during the 6 hours prior to the opening of a commercial day or on off days. We didn’t have these problems 10 years ago and there was far less pressure on the resource. The keeper size commercial fish stock is declining and is not showing up where it was 5-10 years ago and when it does show up somewhere hundreds of boats are notified by cell phone and they continue to pound on this stock until it moves elsewhere or is decimated. The problem is there are too many people doing this and the newbies all notify all their buddies when they find fish who notify their buddies and on and on. When you put hundreds of boats on a school of bass the fish don’t stand a chance, the boats keep following the bent rods. Years ago commercial guys kept to themselves and didn’t give up any info and that kept the commercial pressure spread out and left plenty of fish to return next year. Whats going on now is NOT sustainable.
    To solve this problem Massachusetts needs to enact the control date they have established for commercial bass permits. Commercial fishing has gone on for years in Mass and it is not the problem, the problem is they give out too many permits now. As for the canal fiasco the first thing that needs to happen is new legislation that impose heavy fines for violations. $100.00 a fish is not enough of a deterent when bass can be sold for $5.00/ lb. or more. How about fines of $1000.00 per fish and confiscation of gear mandatory along with loss of license for life. Once that is in place the Chief warden needs to send 25-50% of his wardens to the canal area [half in plainclothes] until they get this under control. Then do the same thing to the boat guys that are fishing 6 hours before a commercial day. We need stricter fines and more enforcement. Use the fines to hire more wardens or better enforcement tools. If this was Maine and they had a big poaching ring killing deer to sell you can be assured they would throw whatever resources they needed to solve the problem not just 2 wardens. As for the size and limits let the science determine that and it probably should be consistent up and down the coast. We need to stop blaming each other and work together to solve this or it will be the 80’s all over again. Bottom line penalize the poachers not all the fisherman and use science to determine sustainable harvesting of striped bass for this and future generations.

  101. Jeff Clabault

    It may sound draconian but closing the canal to recreational and commercial fishing makes sense. The canal is unique in that every fish passing through it is easily assessible to fishermen. When the bite is on there, thanks to modern technology, everyone finds out about it QUICKLY, people descend on it in droves and the fish get hammered. (what has happened the last two years has been sickening. Most of the MA commercial quota was taken from folks fishing/poaching there) On top of that, bass seem, to lose their minds when they feed in there and become much easier to catch than they would be almost anywhere else which makes the damage that much worse.
    Also- there should be zero harvesting of 30″-38″ bass. The fish that size are highly productive and need to be LEFT ALONE!

    1. Curt

      I’d have to agree. Fishing the canal is almost cruel. If someone came up with the idea to dredge a massive bottleneck to trap every aquatic animal migrating along the northern Atlantic in order to catch them, it would be met with outrage. And it would never happen. Oh wait……

  102. joe

    This is a very simple answer stop commercial fishing period , so you can not buy stripe bass in the fish market people will survive, then you will see the population increase . The fisherman does not hurt the population.

  103. Curt

    When are we just going to accept that sport fishing kills fish. Maybe not intentionally but no one can say that fish was better off getting hooked and pulled in. It’s an past time with a lot of history and has greatly affected peoples lives if not they’re local economies. But so does pro and college football and there is now way that could ever be a non destructive activity. It’s not what everyone wants to hear but enough with burying you’re head in sand. You are better off just letting people take the first striped they pull out of water and no more. Making them yank schoolie after schoolie for hours until something over the limit comes along does more damage in the end .

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