Massachusetts Proposes Expanded Commercial Striper Fishing

Measures would increase access to the striped bass quota.

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

60 on “Massachusetts Proposes Expanded Commercial Striper Fishing

  1. David B

    There aren’t enough fish around to fulfill the commercial quota. Instead of dealing with the solution….rebuild the stock…. You ADD commercial days to deplete the overtaxed resource. Makes perfect sense

    1. Robert S Moss

      You guys are clueless it was 3 days we gave you one went to 2 15% of quota went to 35 in 10% of quota sportiest couldn’t sell fish10 % of quota it’s our quota not yours you kill 3 times more recreational COVID don’t help lot of guys didn’t fish those who did and new what they were doing got there number Boston harbor and North Shore smoked um the fish are not holding in CC bay for a bunch of reasons the back side the bait was off shore fish off shore they staged in at night and believe me they were caught it take work fellas crap weather fog but they’re there

  2. Logic 1

    This just boggles the mind. How can the DMF Director be so obtuse?

  3. Paul Aldrich

    This is total insanity. The striper stocks are falling. why is anyone increasing the fishing pressure on them? That is way beyond poor management. Most of the commercial striper fishermen do not do it as an activity to support themselves. Most of them are recreational fishermen looking to bend the rules and make some money to pay for their gas and lures. very few of them earn a legitimate living off of striped bass, because there are so few bass to actually make a living.

  4. Anthony

    How are they so stupid? They can’t fill the quota, who cares?!!! They can’t fill it in the allotted time because the fishery can’t sustain the quotas and we slowly killing off the species. This is ridiculous how we can be back here after what happened in the 70-80’s.

  5. NJF

    The quota wasn’t filled in 2019 and 2020 bc the population is depleting. Have some common sense here DMF. If we do this this year, what will the next 1, 5, 10 years look like? It will look like the 80’s when the population of striped bass was almost wiped out. Do the right thing here.

  6. Johnny Wellfleet

    Why not let the current rules stay in place and see if the population will continue to prosper instead of adding more commercial fishing days to continue to cripple this species ????

  7. David R Moore

    Is the Mass DMF trying to wipe out the striped bass population? This is one of the most bone-headed proposals that they have ever espoused. It’s already hard enough for sports fishermen to catch bass.

  8. CM

    If this passes all of us who have signed Up and pre ordered the CONSERVATION STRIPER license plate should cancel
    Our orders and or return the plate or better yet use rhe money that is appropriated with the purchase of
    Said plate and fight for
    The conservation of the fish.

  9. Barry Reil

    The commercial fisherman were not able to fill their quota because they have already overfished the bass population. Adding more days of fishing is going to make the problem worse in the future. I have been fishing for almost 60 years, and the only time I remember there being fewer bass was during the 80’s when the bass almost went extinct. The solution is a ban on commercial striped bass fishing along with continued 1 slot sized fish recreational limit until the bass population has a chance to recover.

  10. Jeff Fishes

    With this logic, they’ll open commercial year round soon to try to catch every last one. Brain dead decision!!

  11. James

    Yeah isn’t lower commercial quotas the point, why are we punishing the recreational fishing but adding to the commercial guys only to deplete the species to extinction, money based as with anything else duh smarten up DMF It’s the commercial setups destroying the striped bass populous not us rec guys doing it legally purchasing the proper licenses and abiding by rules and regs. What we need is more patrols and actually officers at popular fishing spots to regulate what’s happening. It’s the old story of never an officer when needed there’s poaching across the board because resources are never available and they expect people to follow the rules which is pathetic now a days

  12. James again tired

    To save the species lower the quota and days not increase them you stupid fools duh how much more stupid can u get DMF but I guess it follows suit with who’s running things, idiots making decisions here

    1. Robert S Moss

      Do some research please look at the numbers charter boat catch recreational catch over triple our quota please don’t mouth off before you know what your talking about OTW has all the # LOOK

      1. Joe Rice

        Quit ur crying Bob. They are our fish too and we vastly outnumber the commercial guys from one tiny state that happens to get all the big bass in summer.

        More open days in Mass = more breeders dead, plain and simple. The stock can’t support more pressure from any sector, no matter how pitiful.

      2. Robert S Moss

        Look at the Data use your brain not your lack of skill

  13. Andrew

    Is there a online petition yet apposing this Proposal? If so, can the article be updated with a link to it? I understand that commercial guys are trying to make a living and having more difficulty doing so every year.
    Which, I can greatly sympathize with It sucks for them and also for every recreational fisherman alike who have notice a persistent decline in numbers.

    There has to be a balance and that should be supply and demand: keep the numbers where they are (or lowe) and thoretically, if the quotas as under anticipated then the market price/lb. should be more and subsequently help equalize. More harvested fish is only a faster pathway to what appears to be inevitable at this point.

  14. Gerry Arbuckle

    Sounds like the DMF must be some trump appointee or something
    Making america great with boneheaded decisions
    Leading us into a striped bass disaster
    Hopefully they unveil the new striped bass extinction license plates soon

  15. cape

    Hurry up and kill the last of them. Line your pockets up .scumb bags. Freaken losers!!
    Stripers should be a sport fish.

  16. Cape

    Moss really.
    No commercial size fish to fill quota last year. Don’t even blame the covid either or sales of fish. Couldn’t fill quota two seasons ago either
    Data is fixed to line pockets of scumbags.
    Yes I said scumbags cause they are not for the resource. All about money and power.
    1+1=2 commonsense.
    Don’t even blame it on the covid virus either. Or sales down.
    Two seasons ago commercial guys couldn’t fill their quota.
    Stripe bass should be sport fish period.

    1. Robert S Moss

      I’m very impressed that you think the data is fixed but don’t have the balls to put you name on your comment when ther is 8 boats fishing nights not 200 like the vertical jig bite furring the day where anyone could catch um you not gonna fill the quota hum the 8 boats could of had 3 limits but not a lot of guys are willing to work that hard hopefully there is room for all of us how bout we go with 2 commercial days 3 recreational days 2 charter days that would give you more fish than you would know what to do with oh you want it all?

  17. Dave

    I can’t believe how clueless you anti commercial SBassers are. I am out there and I see and here what the true numbers are. Last season and the season before I was the last boat on the rips in late October into November. The bass were endless. There numbers literally darkens the shoals for mile after mile. The SB numbers are not in danger from the Mass Commercial Bass fisherman. No hook and line commercial angler could ever wile out a species. Especially one limited to the first three miles of coastline. Come on guys, our fish are still here , there just offshore where you can’t catch them, and neither can we. The pressure on our Mass bass, 95% Rec, 5%Commercial is such a small fraction of the overall picture. Clean up the inshore habitat and the bait might return and the strippers will follow. Stop blaiming the commercial guy.

    1. Cape

      Ok Dave keep telling your self that. The fish are hanging in deep water. What makes you sleep at night.
      Oh you two catch 40 pounders ….
      Yea the fish are hanging in deep water.
      When you have schools of pogies that are bunched up 100 yards far and 10 feet down thick. Where are the bass? Not there. Seen this the last two seasons. Off Duxbury Beach buzzards.bay and Boston. Ther are big fish not enough of the. Can’t fill quota cause lack of fish out there. Not rocket science. 1 + 1 = 2.
      But don’t worry for now. Go a head and kill them all. Why not.
      They are hangingbindeep water. Lol. Oh maybe they are on a cycle fish cycle too.

    2. Cape

      Gerry the orange man is gone. You got tuff guy crazy uncle Joe in now. Relax. Republic or dems are the same. Striped bass issue has been active before the big bad orange man trump. Was iin office Or even before the savior obma .

  18. Robert S Moss

    Well said Dave all the guys that are willing to go find um get um got the paperwork to prove it look at the data please people you may learn something

    1. Lance Varney

      A true troll for the industry
      You running a lobby out of your basement or something?
      What else?
      Striped bass fluctuations go along with solar flares?
      People like you say look at the data
      Then you cherry pick obscuratta
      And ignore the obvious
      People like you vanish after the stripers do
      Wont hear a peep from you then

      1. Robert S Moss

        I’m pretty sure I’ll see you at the DMF meeting s lol it’s gonna work out for what’s best not for you or me for what’s fair and best I trust in the systems not from people who learn to fish on social media best of luck to ya

      2. cape

        Well said Lance bravo!!!
        Lance don’t worry there are stripers out west. You and I can take a flight to a lake and fish them after guys like.moss
        Kills all.the bass off.

    2. Cape

      What ever .awesome you sleep at night moss.
      You read think along of people is that gullible.
      Data show me data read data. Its all.fixed.

  19. Peter L

    Rob speaks the truth, it’s sad the majority of you dismiss what he has to say. Maybe if you listened to him and fished as hard as him you’d see he knows what he’s talking about.

    1. Robert S Moss

      Atta boy Lance make up your own data great idea I’ve been doing this for 45 years been through the 80s if I felt like they were vanishing as you wish i were I would do a ton of research use my own experience and go from there just winging it on what you hear from others don’t cut it 8% mortality harvested comparison to recreational mortality wich ridiculous go and google it pay attention now it you. Your big chance to learn something

      1. Cape

        ok moss your the best you know cause you fished 45 yes and been through the 80s .
        keep lobbing for commercial guys.

  20. Ryan Conceicao

    If you guys want to do something about it I have posted a mock email in the blogs section of my website that you are able to copy and paste. The link to the people in charge of the decision is at the bottom of the mock letter. There is more information on my Instagram page as well @surfcasting7stripes . I made a platform to make a difference and now its up to us recreational guys to change the outcome of this proposal. Link to the mock letter below:

    1. Cape

      Ryan i will take a look at it.
      We do need to step.up and preserve our natural.reasourses. you know. They closed George’s bank and a few other places to bring back the haddock. Really they did a good job. Even the halibit are coming back in the gulf of Maine.
      Put stripers on sport fish no commercial for 8 yes. But
      The knuckle ball is getting the other states on the coast line to do the same or it won’t work. Bass.migrate all the way down Virginia. This is and will be a struggle to achieve this goal. To many.peoe want money and not worry about next year.

    2. Robert S Moss

      Hey Ryan I was wondering what you thought of the charter boats trolling umbrella rigs all day catching 4 or 5 fish 20 in long set after set day after day

  21. Ken Juenger

    I’m with Robert Moss-
    The sooner we can eradicate the bass through our extractive industries, the better. The earth was made for man to dominate- not to take care of things in a sustainable manner like some hippie liberal. The sooner we extinct these bass, the sooner we can move on to other species. Come here sea robins!

  22. Cape

    Wt hell you talking about moss. I do have balls bigger than most. Funny how you act like you.know me. You can’t handle common scene. Why you so angry. Can’t handle the facts of lack of commercial size stripers. Oh I see your the guys that say I catch 40lns ery day. Are you in on lining your pockets? With those scum bags who just want to take and rake not worry about years to come. That is commercial way of logic reasoning. When you put a fish on sport fish no one cam take. I don’t even know why the 36 inch keeper size changed to begin. Oh some one or group got money. Its all about money and who Benitez. In government run departments. Forget about a species of fish.
    Corrupt. And they way I hit your never tells me somthiing about you.
    Do I have balls. Lol
    Really thats mature.

  23. Cape

    Lol you to have a good night. moss relax you’ll feel.better when you do. I mean this with all respect and honesty… hope you have a safe season coming up. Take care.

  24. Matthew Keister

    Maine striper fisherman watching this unfold and sweating it out. We are just starting to see the numbers creep back up here. Things were just starting to get better here and then this. WTF. We need an east coast coalition of some sort where we can fight these asshats at their own game. tired of seeing this happen. lets just butcher the resource.

    1. Robert S Moss

      We do it’s called theD MF like it or not they have data from the whole east coast people who know with the facts not there heart it all starts in the Chesapeake.

      1. Joe Rice

        Maryland and Virginia both close their striper season during the spring spawning run to protect the stock. That means no fishing in certain areas in March, and no fishing anywhere in April. They also close down late in the summer for high water temperatures and low salinity based on the release mortality data you have referenced.

        These states have taken drastic action to rebuild the stock. Mass needs to follow suit and clamp down, not open up.

      2. Robert S Moss

        Yet they have a commercial season in both states 200.000 125000 limited entry which means if you have a history you get a personal quota on what you can catch and you can sell your permit and I believe recreational you can take 1 fish a day with over 25 k anglers that surpasses all quota

  25. william giokas

    Amazing. You are going to add another day to decimate the remaining stock? Who ever is responsible for this decision should be terminated.

  26. Robert S Moss

    They also have a 35 in minimum on recreational and allow gill netting for part of the quota hum you may have it better here as this is the major breeding ground other than the Hudson

    1. Joe Rice

      So we agree that : 1) nobody should be able to gill net -and- 2) nobody should be allowed to take fish over 35″ ??? OK, I’ll take that for now

      1. Robert S Moss

        I understand where your coming from balance is the key I think limited entry would solve a lot of issues but who knows we will see how it all plays out and play by the rules hopefully the powers that be know more than you or i

  27. Scott M

    “I caught 2 and killed 1” says every recreational fisherman – yeah that alone is a sickening fact

  28. tim

    there are far fewer licensed commercial fisherman then there was when the quota was filled thats why it is not getting filled not that hard to figure out. when it went from 30 fish per day 4 days per week to 15fish per day 2 days a week more than half of the active license holders quit the fishery. this was done to prolong the quota but what it really did was just make it too hard to fill the quota

    1. Robert S Moss

      TRUE story Tim try to fill a quota 2 days a week and have 6-10 days of un fishable weather not gonna happen

    2. Robert S Moss

      Maybe bud maybe not. If there is 4 days that’s double what we caught last year way over our quota may be done early see how it all flows cap have a good one

  29. Cape

    Moss your at it again lobby for commerciL and dmf.
    You can’t let it go can you. The Atlantic stockof stripers are way down.
    Data is false .
    Your like a used car sales man.
    Smart.people know the striper stock is down.
    I bet 2021 commercial season quota won’t be filled again.
    At the end of 2021 season I will tell you … I told you so.

    1. Robert S Moss

      Maybe bud maybe not. If there is 4 days that’s double what we caught last year way over our quota may be done early see how it all flows cap have a good one

      1. Cape

        You too guy.
        I understand people need to.make a liven. But you can’t get water from a dry well.
        Moss question I have. Can’t find answer. Or any body else.
        Why did dmf change size limit from 36 inches to 34 inches to 28 inches since the late 90s to early 2000s.?
        If not broke why fix it?
        I feel.we wouldn’t have all these debates if the stoped at 34 inches. More rec. Fishermen more comm..fishermen. more take? Why change the size limit when it the stock of bass was fine?
        Not being a smart azz either.

      2. Robert S Moss

        Personally I think they were thinking of breeding size in the mean time they realized they spawn much smaller the males only get to be 32 in or so but they breed with hundreds of females so males really only get caught and kept by recreational wich is fine so to answer you question I’m not sure but you make a valid point

  30. John

    How about actually enforcing the laws. Watching unlicensed illegals run off with any size stripers down the canal day after day is sickening! Never mind banning commercial guys that actually paid for there license! Shame

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