Massachusetts Sets Commercial Striped Bass Quota at 735,240 pounds

Minimum size increased to 35 inches

Massachusetts’ 2020 commercial striped bass fishery quota is 735,240 pounds. This represents a reduction compared to prior years, consistent with actions taken by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to end overfishing. The Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission approved DMF recommendations to increase the commercial striped bass minimum size limit to 35” total length and adjust the commercial open fishing days to Mondays and Wednesdays. These changes are effective on May 1 and are explained in greater detail below.

No changes are being made to the commercial fishing season or bag limits. The commercial fishery will open on June 24, with a 15-fish possession limit for commercial fishermen fishing under the authority of a boat-based permit and aboard the named vessel, and a 2-fish possession limit for all other commercial fishermen. All possession limits apply to the permit holder or the vessel regardless of the number of trips taken in a day or the number of commercial fishermen onboard a vessel.

The commercial striped bass minimum size limit is being increased from 34” to 35”. This change, along with the adoption of a slot limit in the recreational fishery (28” to less than 35”), will result in the commercial and recreational fisheries being segregated based on the size of fish they are allowed to retain. Commercial fishermen will only be able to retain fish measuring 35” or greater, whereas recreational fishermen will only be able to retain fish measuring 28” to less than 35”. This is expected to improve enforcement and compliance. All size limits are based on total length, which is the straight line length from the anterior most tip of the jaw or snout with the mouth closed to the farthest extremity of the tail with the forks squeezed together.

With this change, DMF is also rescinding two regulatory provisions that addressed the retention and sale of fish by fishermen holding both commercial and recreational fishing permits. First, commercially permitted fishermen fishing recreationally on a closed commercial fishing day during the commercial fishing season are no longer required to clip the right pectoral fin of any fish they retain. Second, dual for-hire and commercial permit holders are no longer authorized to sell unwanted striped bass taken by their for-hire clients during a recreational fishing trip.

The open commercial fishing day schedule is also being adjusted from Mondays and Thursdays to Mondays and Wednesdays. This will help ensure fish is more readily available for weekend markets and may improve utilization of the available quota.

For more information, visit www.mass.gov/marinefisheries

24 on “Massachusetts Sets Commercial Striped Bass Quota at 735,240 pounds

  1. Horace Dehaney

    What is the previous years’ quota for lbs of commercial striped bass harvest? I don’t know why a figure wouldn’t be included in this report.

    1. Charles R Jordan

      I’m okay with the recreational slot limit . 28 to less than 35 , 30 – 33 perfect table fare , I fish from shore 95% of the time. Beach , salt marsh , or flats , on the cape . I practice catch and release 99% of the time. Hope everyone can enjoy there time fishing, I know I do . Be safe , tight lines ?

  2. David Roberio

    We pay for a saltwater license for recreational now we can’t even keep them bass over 35 in which is wrong that should have been 36 in Andover then we should be allowed to take no one fought for this recreational fishermen are always the ones to blame shame on them why are we paying for a saltwater license then why

    1. Steve Jean

      I understand the commercial season will end when quotas are reached but does it also end on January 1st if quota is not reached?

  3. David Roberio

    We pay for a saltwater license they should have never changed the striper size they should have left it 36 in Andover recreational fishermen are always the ones that gets hit but yet commercial guys can take over 35 in that makes a lot of sense why do we pay for a saltwater license now they regulated all our fish and they want to blame us

  4. Cape

    Striped Bass should be in the category of Sport Fish for at least five to eight years. Up and down the whole East Coast. Give the bass a break. All of us can survive on that. Money talks and Politics stink!

  5. Keith nh

    Can’t believe they are letting them keep fish over 35 in and I can’t keep 1 over that as soon as sale was allowed they were ablitherated make them a game fish like NH no sale allowed period and give all anglers 3 trophie tags per season for fish outside the slot limit bigger and 5 for smaller ones that may have been mortally wounded but are still I’m sure good eating

    1. proper release guy

      The recreational guys can’t accept that they are killing the majority of the fish. 28-34.99 inches will save the spawning population for the future. The commercial guys only kill a tiny fraction of what the recreational fisherman kill. Stop high grading 30 pounders at the canal and sending floaters to the wild blue yonder. Canal = Fish in a barrel -oh the skill is amazing . Haul them out of the water for 15 min photo shoot prior to release- they like it.

  6. Keith nh

    I agree recreational fishing has a very high mortality rate in nh we are lucky to catch a handful of fish over 28in and maby 2- 3 over 36 out of thousands of 16-27.99

  7. Doug Windsor

    Fish over 35″ are going to be predominantly female breeders. 735,000 lbs of breeders per year taken out of the fishery. How can educated officials support such a decision. the article says it will improve compliance and enforcement. the focus should be on improving the fishery. The old Maine slot limit of one 20″ to 26″ was so much better. People who wanted to keep a fish were able to and without killing a lot of fish to get a keeper. The fishery has clearly gone way down over the past 10 years and continues to decline. Both recreational and commercial fishing are major contributors to the decline. And these people get paid to make these regulations. Sad

    1. Goody

      I couldn’t agree with you more The ME slot limit was vary good and worked. Only thing that neede to be tweaked would have been to have 1 trophy tag per angler per year for a fish over 40 inches. And a premium paid for that.

    2. peter okeefe

      foreign trawlers fish 25 miles off our shores but you believe one man with a pole is the problem?? I just cannot believe the lack of critical thought in some of these “we are guilty” comments about recreational fishing..amazing!

  8. Andy

    Any commercial quota is too much, declare the stripe bass, bluefish and sea trout all game fish and be done with it. Same ole crap commercial industry in the pockets of rotten politicians.

  9. Nicholas Derenze

    Why can’t they stop commerical fishing for stripers, it’s bullshit! The spices is having problems right non and they are allowing commerical fishing for them… It should be shut down! Like they did with the snook in Florida.

    1. Vince

      It’s not BS. It’s reality! Try telling the gill netters in the Chesapeake that. They’ll hang you by your balls.

    1. Keith

      Spenser is right but I also disagree that we should continue commercial harvest until stocks are replenished sale must be stopped anything worth money is exploited to extinction time and time again if they alowed the sale of wild deer meat at restaurants they would be gone and fast

  10. Keith

    Spenser is right but I also disagree that we should continue commercial harvest until stocks are replenished sale must be stopped anything worth money is exploited to extinction time and time again if they alowed the sale of wild deer meat at restaurants they would be gone and fast

  11. Jeff

    Based on the release mortality statistics recreational fisherman have lost their credibility with fisheries regulators and managers when they call for an end to the commercial fishery. Recreational fisherman can change this by practicing better catch and release and limiting the pressure put on an aggregation of fish. But on the other hand having a commercial season in any state is a farce, especially given thar the economic value of the striped bass along with stock numbers is dwindling rapidly and the asmfc didn’t have the backbone to plan ahead for the inevitable collapse of the stock, they just waited and pretended to care. The new quotas and regs in ma will do nothing to improve compliance and enforcement . Considering the quota, that’s a lot of breeding size fish removed from a stock that doesn’t adhere to borders. That resource is everybody’s and we all have an obligation to protect it.

  12. peter okeefe

    foreign trawlers fish unlimited 25 miles off our shores but you believe one man with a pole is the problem?? I just cannot believe the lack of critical thought in some of these “we are guilty” comments about recreational fishing..amazing!
    really sad

    1. Vince

      This is why Trump is building the wall… keep foreigners out!!!

  13. Jeff

    If you read the entire post you would see I put the majority of the blame on the fisheries managers for not taking stronger actions against commercial harvest. I don’t believe one person with a rod is a problem it’s thousands of them practicing improper catch and release and the mortality statistics speak for themselves. I believe keeping a fish for the table is actually the better option than catching and releasing too many fish during an outing . Yes, trawlers and the like do way too much damage to the resource and ecosystems but recreational fisherman, as a whole, do have an impact.

    1. Vince

      What about warmer water temps forcing fish out to the 3 mile Zone? What about the reintroduction of the gray seals which eat 50 lbs of fish (including stripers) a day. Personally, I haven’t caught so many 40-50lbs fish last year than I did for 30 years. I don’t know what the fuss is about?

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