To give Massachusetts commercial striped bass fishermen greater opportunity to land their full of quota of striped bass in 2021, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) is proposing starting the commercial striped bass season a week earlier and increasing the number of open fishing days from two to four.
The proposal comes after commercial striped bass fishermen failed to land their full quota of striped bass in 2019 and again in 2020.
In 2019, DMF proposed adding to days to the commercial season when only 24% of the available 869,813 pound quota had been landed and sold as of July 31. They ultimately decided not to, in part due to public comment opposing the move in light of the most recent striped bass assessment describing striped bass as overfished.
In 2020, the commercial striped bass quota was reduced to 735,240 pounds consistent with actions to end overfishing of striped bass. When commercial fishermen had only landed and sold 24.4% of the quota as of August 7, 2020, they increased the number of striped bass commercial fishing days from 2 to 3 per week.
At the Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MFAC) Meeting on January 28, 2021, DMF Director Dan McKiernan presented the proposal and signaled his intention to bring the matter to public hearing.
“What we’d like to do is avoid in-season adjustments by doing things that we think are reasonable but forecasting them at the beginning of the season,” said McKiernan.
The proposal discussed at the MFAC meeting (watch below) would open the season a week earlier on June 16 and increase the number of fishing days per week. The proposal has the season opening with four consecutive open fishing days (Mondays – Thursday). Then, if the quota is unfilled, then the fishery would go to five consecutive open fishing days (Mondays – Fridays) on September 15 and seven open fishing days per week on October 1.
Wild caught striped bass at market. Photo by Full Access NYC.