Rhode Island Considering Special Striper Rules

Massachusetts DMF asks Rhode Island to keep regs consistent.

Chris Megan wearing Costas

Striped bass rules are changing for 2020 and beyond to reduce striped bass harvest and end overfishing on the resource. While Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York are expected to adopt a 28” to 35” slot limit for all recreational fishermen, Rhode Island is considering special regulations, including a different slot limit (32” to 40”) with the possibility of another distinct slot limit (30” to 40”) for the “for-hire” (charter) fishery.

Fishermen and fisheries managers from adjacent states have expressed concerns over Rhode Island’s plan to enact different regulations and a special set of rules for the for-hire fleet. In a letter dated February 21, 2020, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) requested that the Rhode Island Division of Marine Fisheries keep coastal striper regulations consistent from Maine to New York. The Connecticut DEEP Fisheries Division submitted a similar request in a letter dated February 28, 2020.

“We have serious concerns about the unintended consequences that inconsistent regulations among neighboring partner states will create,” wrote Dan McKiernan, Acting Director of DMF. “We believe that having a consistent recreational size limit among as many coastal states as possible is an optimal approach for conservation of the resource as well as angler education, compliance, and enforcement.”

McKiernan also pointed out that Rhode Island’s adoption of management alternatives could erode the conservation benefit of slot limit management, given how striped bass migrate between states during their spring and fall migrations. Fish of 35” to 40” in length that will be protected in ME–MA and CT–NY will be open to harvest in RI; while fish of 28” to 32” length that will be protected in RI will be open to harvest in ME–MA and CT–NY.

Compliance and enforcement will also be a challenge with different minimum and maximum sizes among neighboring states. Consider the productive fishing grounds adjacent to other states, such as off Block Island, that are frequently shared by vessels leaving port in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

Read the full letter from the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) 

Read the full letter from the Connecticut DEEP 

34 on “Rhode Island Considering Special Striper Rules

  1. Brian D Williams

    I’m all for regulations on preservation to protect over fishing. Instead of changing length how about more DEM officials sitting at popular fishing spots. Checking licenses & periodical spot checks. I see guys all the time in the fall killing or walking off jetties with under sized fish. Throwing fish in coolers on the beach knowing they don’t even come close to 28″ limit. It’s disgusting to say the least. We need more DEM officers not more restrictions. Bigger fines could help also to help fund for more officers. Just my opinion.

    1. Pete

      I see it every time I hit out to go fishing on my boat. these poachers keep everything.

  2. Ripper

    Speaking as a RI resident, RI needs to get onboard! The laws are broken routinely with little consequence, if any.

    1. Digitty

      The commercial fisherman should have to abide by the same slots with a reduction of the fish they can keep.. I know people will say (we need to feed our family).. well do it with lobster and other fish then

      1. Dave A

        I agree!! Let’s stop penalizing “sport fishermen” for the take of commercial netting. We are not killing them by the metric ton and have no incidental kills.

      2. Recreational Fisherman

        Stop making the recreational guys\girls pay
        For what the draggers trawlers are doing to the
        Stock… I hate the fact that we take all the restrictions
        We need to stand up and fight for our rights to fish

      3. Luis Javier Rodriguez

        It is a shame all this years of a minimum 34″ for commercial they’ve harvested thousands of pounds of breeding fish and now they realize there’s a problem well stop the monster and don’t allow it leave the recreational angler alone and penalize the commercial operations.

  3. Phil

    This sort of helter skelter application of the law between states is stupid. RI, I fish you most of the time and fish somewhat less in MA. Please consider adopting refs that are the same across NE. We need to be sure of consistent rules and consistent enforcement…
    Let’s get together and save our resources.

  4. Shawn St Laurent

    If they plan on doing this the DCR rangers and police need to be around 24/7 to inforce these rules. I have seen many people take whatever they want when no one is around especially at night at the Cape Cod Canal. Definitely need more rangers around the Canal. Hire me i will wotk the grave yard shift to catch those who dont want to follow the rules. If you can buy a rod and reel and bait then be legal buy a fishing license anf follow the rules like the rest of us

  5. jim pitittieri

    I’m 62 yrs old. Striper fish all me life, Maine, RI, Mass. Mostly popular spots. Been checked once in Ma. Never in Maine. Saw RI DEP once walk out onto a crowded jetty. 2 officers. Never checked anyone. All these well intended limits mean squat when there is zero enforcement. My two cents on limits…..all these states raise mins to 32″, no slots, get some friggin enforcement out there and make the judges take it seriously so officers don’t feel they’re wasting their time. AND stop the trawlers harming all fish stocks along the Eastern seaboard (the real problem) and their conspiracy of self regulating and fake regulatory commissions.

  6. Bill G

    I think the higher slot limit should have been the choice for all of New England. I cant understand the fact that we will be catching large old fish out of optimal reproductive age and unfortunately some large fish die regularly after release.

    I do agree though that the real piece that is lacking is enforcement. It kills me that I am off block and Montauk all the time and see actual boardings like once a year. Also, charters flee like crazy when they see this, why because they are breaking the law. Start enforcing more often to protect our resources at popular spots and launches.

    Another huge problem is the Chesapeake bay regulations. They do whatever they want down there.

    1. JD

      VMRC in VA took steps 2yrs ago after the striped bass assessment showed there was a problem and moved to protect all large spawning stock and reduced the limit to one fish per person and recreational & charters are regulated equally. However MD is the biggest problem on the Chesapeake Bay with their season going from April thru December while VA season is closed from July 15 until the beginning of October. And the new 2020 MD regs adopted allows charters to catch 2 fish per person per day and recreational fishermen are only allowed 1 fish per person each day. Most all fishermen in VA I talk to welcome the new regs to protect the spawning stock and cut the overall harvest of all striped bass but for MDs regs to favor charters and Continue to take large spawning fish during the spring trophy season when VA has closed the spring trophy season indefinitely 2yrs ago until the current problems are fixed is a slap in the face to all VA fishermen and to all the other states trying to fix the current problems with the striped bass population.

  7. Brian Bishop

    I’ve been saying this for years. More fines, more prosecution and more agents. People need to know they are gonna be in trouble for keeping small fish.

  8. STEVE

    I used to fish them commercially but stopped 3 years ago. I know for a fact that there are plenty of guys out there fishing the day before and get there limit and go out the next day when they can fish that day. I mentioned this before to the EPO . All they have to do is hang out at Bass River and put a stop to some of this illegal fishing and please jack up the fines. There are many other places they come in and I know the EPO is doing everything possible but they need to make it hurt when these aholes break the law.

  9. Nelson Valentin

    You want Rhode Island on board… well someone needs to hand over a bag of money, cuz that’s the only way things get done there…

  10. Hector ortiz

    I agree with all the good comments posted on this page i like to see more officers checking out this popular spots I been fishing all my life and I always see people take under size fish once I talk to one of them his answer was I don’t care,there’s no a single officer aroun for miles and that place was the cape cod canal is sad that people don’t care about the future of our most precious gift that we have and no one care to help save this beautiful fish shame on those who don’t care I fish for sport I don’t keep fish like to preserve the species so let’s all work together and do something our future generations to have something to look for please my friend fisherman help to save stripers fishing in our awesome waters god bless

  11. Christian Martinez

    What about the Housatonic River in Connecticut. There have been Chinese out of state poachers (NY plates I suspect Queens, keeping shorts as if it’s a business for at least three years now I have seen the DEP once in the last five years up there (I’m from New York) I saw DEP on a Sunday morning about 9 am the same morning I saw poachers leaving about six am using garbage bags as rain jackets. I have called DEP and they have done nothing. My friend lives local and sees them every night in the usual spots which the CY dep knows about but does nothing.
    This is horrible how the state of Connecticut is handling this once great fishery which faces increasing heavy pressure yearly from all the internet reports namely Bobby Js in Milford and Fisherman’s World in Norwalk who are only trying to promote their business. This has to stop and state of Connecticut has to enforce I pay 55 dollars for an out of state liscense they should be able to do something. Two enforcement officers for the state is ridiculous.

  12. Levzy

    No GPS no prob most of u guys couldn’t dead recon your way out of your houses
    I say make modern electronics illegals say a loran style location no pics and bottom finder with only # like I learned to fish and found the spots like many others that were stolen and instantly put on Facebook or instagayramer
    When I learned to fish braggers were blackballed now it high fashion and will ruin anything it touches…..

  13. APEX

    I’m with Mike (not Bloomberg). Close the killing zone (Cape Cod Canal)!

  14. Robbie

    I agree with Mike – shut down the canal fishing and problem mostly solved. Limit or eliminate commercial fishing that takes everything they dredge up from the ocean and hire more enforcement officers to take boats, gear and your drivers license for infractions.

  15. Joe smoe

    Im sick of hearing, oh, he just wants to feed his family as he walks away with 5or6 undersize fish. Catch the ones that always leave a mess n disrespect the rules

  16. Dollas

    And how do all u guys want to pay for all these extra state employees driving and walking around with tape measures? I guess if the claims of all the poaching going on are real some hefty fines could pay for them for a while but once you let a state agency increase its payroll good luck with reducing it…..ever.

  17. Joe G

    Few ideas:
    1. Make the slot 18″- 25″, effective everywhere.
    2. Kill the 100,000 seals ambushing bass in CC.
    3. MAKE SPAWNING GREAT AGAIN: “With striped bass spawning grounds upstream in rivers such as the Nanticoke, Choptank and Potomac, the estuary is the largest nursery for juvenile striped bass on the Atlantic coast, producing as much as 90 percent of a population that stretches from Virginia to Maine.” -https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/environment/bs-md-striped-bass-decline-20190424-story.html

  18. APEX

    Close the Canal. That would make it really easy for enforcement. No more stops (if there ever where any) to measure fish. If you are holding a fishing rod, you are guilty. Case closed. Maybe the fishing would pick up for us suckers north of the Canal in Spring and Summer. You guys south of the Canal are paying the price in Fall. We all know how welcome we are if we dare to set foot in the kill zone. All those guys down there that think of us as googans are screwing us.

  19. Luis Javier Rodriguez

    Ban all commercial fishing for stripped make it a game fish follow the example on Florida no Red fish no snook no trout for commercial purposes see how well the species thrive there but as long as you keep greedy commercial operations on endangered species this problem will not go away , it is stupid to regulate the average recreational angler we are not the problem.

    1. Jamie

      This shouldn’t be complicated. Recreational and Commercial fisherman should be subject to the same size regulations for gamefish;
      and gamefish should be managed at the Federal Level, period. The Chesapeake area exceptions are decimating this resource. If you haven’t yet caught on, politics infiltrates every aspect of our life (including fishing), and the commercial fishery has politicians by the privates. To get a better perspective on balancing economic opportunities with long term environmental sustainability, the legislators and alleged experts should reference the 1996 thesis on “GATT and the Environment”. It’s eye opening and a common sense approach to protecting our valuable resources, while also maximizing long term economic viability. A no-brainer for all constituents

  20. C.C

    Its complete B.S that Charterboats get different regs than recreational fisherman….Limits should be the same no matter if you are on a charterboat or your own vessel. Political B.S

  21. William D Kowalevioz

    I whole heartedly agree, have seen the same where I fish, and it’s not just stripers, they’re keeping EVERYTHING whether legal or illegal. Half of the people taking undersized fish don’t even have a licence, it’s apalling!!

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