ASMFC Takes Emergency Action to Support Stock Rebuilding for Striped Bass

On May 2, 2023, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Striped Bass Management Board (Board) voted to take emergency action to implement a 1 fish at 28″ to less than 31″ size slot limit for all ocean recreational striped bass fisheries coastwide.

This action responds to the unprecedented magnitude of 2022 recreational harvest, which is nearly double that of 2021, and new projections indicating that the stock has a very low chance of rebuilding if the higher 2022 fishing morality rate continues. The 31″ size restriction is designed to reduce harvest on the 2015 year-class, one of the last strong year-classes in the population, and a major factor in the recreational fishery’s increased harvest in 2022.
States must implement compliant measures as soon as possible and no later than July 2, 2023— or risk being found out-of-compliance and having a full harvest moratorium enacted. The emergency action will be in place for 180 days but could be extended by the Board. See the ASMFC press release for more information. The ASMFC will be holding informational webinars later in May on this action; details will be released as soon as possible.

Please note, until the new regulation is formally adopted in Massachusetts, the current striped bass regulations remain: 1 fish at 28″ to less than 35″. However, in order to maximize the conservation benefit, anglers are encouraged to release all fish 31″ or greater immediately. DMF is working with other New England states to align our implementation date to the extent possible and have rules in place later this May. The public will be notified once the new regulation is formally adopted.

The Board also voted to initiate an Addendum to examine additional measures for 2024 if needed to meet the 2029 deadline to rebuild striped bass. This Addendum will be a fully public process and consider changes to both the recreational and commercial regulations. DMF will be providing further information on the Emergency Action, regulatory timeline, and Addendum in the coming days.

39 on “ASMFC Takes Emergency Action to Support Stock Rebuilding for Striped Bass

  1. TED

    education is a very important asset and the public sector needs to be educated! so many seem to disregard or not be aware of our regulations and abuse them!!! it’s very sad but the ones I’ve seen are very ignorant of our laws and are not prosecuted and the judges just slap their hands and they go out and repeat their violations; –why not?? they know that being an immigrant is a free pass on NOT following the LAW!!!we need law enforcement to stop “looking” the other way when it comes to ignorant foreigners!! many of we law abiding fishermen are feed up and disgusted with the lax enforcement of illegal/immigrant/law abusers that know nothing will happen to them because of their status!!! start going after the real problems!!!

    1. Dave

      Ted, your repeated use of the word “ignorant” is very appropriate given the ignorant view of your post!

      1. Bob b

        He’s 100% correct! I see the same crap every single day on the sound! “” as if “sorry, I don’t speak English “ means the law doesn’t apply to you ?

    2. Tommy

      Hi Ted I see folks not following the rules and Regs on boats and they are clearly not immigrants…as a Surfcaster I see stretching the rules all the time….I would say breaking the rules are pervasive and not limited to so called immigrants

      1. John craigon

        Regardless of race 28-31 is were it stands and if anyone can’t follow rules and get caught I think taking there liscence away for rest of year or two year ban should be in place , stricter penalties regardless off shore or on shore needs to stand for everyone , only way to keep these fish multiplying

    3. George Peterman

      Ted, that is some seriously racist shit right there. I have witnessed two arrests here in CT in the past couple weeks: an Hispanic man and the other two white guys, all of them for keeping multiple shorts. The DEEP officers cuffed all of the offenders and confiscated their equipment. What a judge does is another matter, but I’ll share an anecdote to show how full of shit you are. The week after I turned 18 a friend turned me on to a great fishing spot he had found. It was a posted area for a public water supply, Yep, we were arrested and they took our gear. We, two 18 year-old white kids screwing around, received $15 fines for fishing in a posted area. Two Hispanic men came up to the judge immediately before us, they had been pinched in the exacty same area, same reservoir. Their fine? They were made to pay $75 for third-degree trespass and fishing in a posted area. They were feeding a family and we were drinking beer and screwing around. So tell us some more about they aren’t prosecuted… Bigoted idiot you are

  2. Rebuild the Stock

    Do these proposed rules also apply to MA commercial fishing for stripers?

  3. Chris

    Do you really think/mean that only immigrants (as you put it) are the offenders? Please…

  4. Brad

    I can’t disagree, we have issue here in Southern Maine. I have nothing against Asians, but most keep anything regardless of size. There are also some ole boys out there not playing by the rules as well.

    1. paul cuzzupe

      right , must be board members of the ASMFC on the commercial payroll, absurd that they allow the slaughter of all the female breading bass , 15 fish per day 3-4 days a week during their season wtf

  5. CC

    This is a VERY small step in the right direction but lets all be honest, A 28-31″ slot is pointless. Trying to implement this in the middle of fishing season will be a challenge, especially when most inexperienced fisherman have no clue what the actual regulations are. What’s next, introducing a slot that’s 28-30″…this wont change anything. The ASMFC needs to stop dancing around this issue and just put a moratorium on this species. There isn’t a single person benefitting from this fish being on someone’s dinner table or in a freezer.

  6. Ken

    Commercial fishermen are the real problem here. We need to stop discriminating race as if they’re the problem Ted and Brad. We are all immigrants in the US unless you’re the Native. I’ve seen hundreds of pounds of Bass over 35 inches last year in commercial fishing as they’re the one destroying the specie.

    1. Robert Boland

      I think most of us here in Massachusetts realized that the commercial fishery is devastating this species. These are all big breeding females that are being slaughtered. Also it must be understood that the vast majority of people who are harvesting striped bass commercially are not commercial fisherman by trade. These are just everyday people who have center console boat and go out to have some fun and make some spending money. To remove the commercial fishery would have very little impact economically on the state.

      1. Tommy

        So true I of a person that goes out with a commercial guy who is aleady very wealthy but gets the permit…I’ve seen the pictures it’s a crew of 3 so it’s 45 stripers over 35 inches almost every night …there are so many fish in those pictures it’s sad….and Ted wants to blame immigrants

      2. Jack

        Hey Tommy, commercial it’s 15 fish per BOAT. Know what you’re talking about, will you !

      1. Fishy Joe

        But those 3 mil com fish are all big breeders. That is the point. Pounds are not all the same cap.

  7. michael mullin

    We need something done about the boats with 4-5 people on board and 2 cows a peice. No offense guys but respectfully please. And yes commercial pressure is tough. I am no Santaigo but yes I am releasing everything this year

  8. Dave

    I don’t disagree with you CC that more needs to be done, but this is a huge step if nothing else, a recognition that something needs to be done before it’s too late. We waited too long in the 80’s to do anything like this before they crashed. Ken, I agree that commercial fishing needs a top end cap on their take…BUT, if you look at the numbers, recreational fishing takes far more harvest every year, so I understand the focus on the recreational fishery. If I’m not mistaken, the catch and release mortality rate alone is higher than the commercial harvest.

  9. thomas bujold

    this is easy, for all recreational fisherman/fisherladies , no fish taken period. makes it very easy to enforce.

  10. James Vincenzi

    Just make a striped bass a sport fish. Eat cod, haddock or bluefish. Just pull off the bandaid & get it over with before we lose the fishery. It’s the right thing to do!!!!

    1. Ken

      Sir,I refer you to an article in 27East titled”An Influx of “Out Of Town” Fishermen Closes North Sea Beach”. Mind you that 27East is an extremely far left newspaper in an extremely ultra rich,woke,Hamptons elitist demographic. So for them to have to report on this at all said volumes to our community. The fact of the matter is that it took a week to clean that beach up from that fiasco. The fact is that the Illegal population here is overbearing. These people aren’t here legally(unlike All of our immigrant ancestors from Europe).Nor do they produce anything of value to our area,they dilute the workforce w/cheap,untaxed jobs,crashed the rental ral estate mkt & overwhelm the charity organizations & churches as well as indiscriminately fish out our waters.So that antiquated “We’re all immigrants” sentiment is misleading at best & dangerous for sure! Also,who do you think is crewing the commercial fleet? Illegal aliens that’s who,I fish at the Shinnecock inlet & when the fleet comes in all I see is brown faces getting off the fishing boat’s. So I hope in your hometown that you’re not having to endure these Very Real issues but we are & it’s wrong on many different levels.

  11. Robert Moss

    Lot or commercial bashin goin on 30 million Rec 3 million commercial you know exactly what the commercial catch it’s a guess what rec does need rec to fill out reports to get an accurate understanding

  12. Kevin

    I know I run the risk of getting hammered here….but there are so many folks out there still snagging and dropping with huge snag hooks…including every single charter boat in Boston Harbor last summer. I watched their throw backs (with zero time spent swimming them back to being ready) float to the surface dozens of times. I made this comment on a local forum and was hammered for it…but does it take a brain surgeon to understand the difference between these snag hooks and circle hooks? Do we really still have that argument to deal with? And BTW….my heartfelt apologies to our many fisherman from all backgrounds for a few of the comments above….you are all welcome as long as you help preserve our resource.

  13. Johnny Boy

    The science says most of the bass are being killed by guys practicing catch and release. Want to help the bass? Stay home.

    1. Joe

      HAHAHAHA……You do realize you’re on a fishing website….where we all like to fish very regularly.

  14. Robert Boland

    When the fish are grouped up and so easy to catch for the commercial guys as they were this past year and the year before, there is a lot of culling going on. When conditions are like that the mortality rate for the fish is much much higher than 750,000 lb

    1. Robert Moss

      Yes that was a huge biomass hate to tell ya a part of that fleet was Recreational that where policing your self is a must saw some stupid stuff goin on there by both sides personally we only had a handful of shorts there conservation is key and that if it’s done properly it will work for all

  15. Flyman

    Yes I agree we need stronger enforcement of the laws. No more slap on the wrist for law breakers, make it hurt, start confiscating tackle, boats, vehicles etc. End commercial fishing and declare stripe bass a game fish.

  16. Jay

    I agree the commercial fisherman kill a lot of them off but the states that are south of New England are allowed to take a boatload of these fish and it’s us up here in New England that suffer the consequences!

  17. martin burke

    i will tell you what i’m really sick of is the garbage that people are leaving on our beaches. and the fact that they keep everything they catch! clean up your mess or go back where you came from how that sound!

  18. Ken

    A quick p.s.,it still takes a valid form of state id to get a saltwater fishing license so the DEC’s numbers for how many recreational fishermen there are is completely skewed by the very large,very real amount of illegal aliens fishing our waters w/o a license. That’s definitely not helping fix the problem.

  19. Smith

    I believe commercial fisherman can catch fish as small as 14 in. If the hold debate is over not seeing enough juvenile stripers then, up the limit on the 14-in fish. Most of their data as far as I know, is taken out of the Chesapeake. Perhaps the situations in the Chesapeake have changed and are no longer ideal for stripers.

  20. Dave

    Hate to break it to the catch and release guys who think they aren’t part of the problem…catch and release mortality is year to year at the same or HIGHER, than the commercial harvest…This means it’s not an easy answer that appeases every group. They are trying to protect the 2015 year class, which is pretty much what everyone is catching/keeping right now. I don’t blame them for trying to do something that will do that, and at the same time prevent us from having to impose another moratorium. Yes, commercial regs need to be improved…but since the vast majority of the fish caught are from the recreational fishery, it makes complete sense that’s where the focus is up front. Also, take some time and read about the crash in the 70s/80’s, and see what group was most against rule changes to help the fishery…Yep, you guessed it…those with any COMMERCIAL interest…It’s quite a bit more difficult to get those changes made. Certainly an uphill battle.

  21. Ray

    All states should impose a later bass season, related to the average spawning time, ie New Jersey/ New York , May 1 to May 15. Also no targeting bass before then. Keep the same slot system. I like catching and eating them. Unless you ban sale of all species of fish, there is no reason to ban the consumption of bass.

  22. Jim

    IMO I do believe there should be a catch and release mandate on not only bass but also fluke, sea bass and weak fish before they are all gone. The party boats are taking an extremely high amount of bass, fluke and Seabass. They go to Raritan Bay and pull full quota bass everyday twice a day. Fluke and Seabass are all kept no matter what the size . I was out this weekend saw a better setting net 1 mile outside point pleasant inlet catching all the fluke coming in the inlet. I saw a local party boat sitting on a wreak everyone pulling up Seabass out of season. Only one way to stop it. New Jersey needs a salt Water license and use the money to pay for fish regulations enforcement. Make the penalties extreme. Go out to the wreaks and random check sit at the inlet and check. We need to catch and release for as long as it takes to re stock it all

  23. Keith

    You have to take a hunter safety course- safe boaters course- trapping course- drivers course- motorcycle course- why not a 1-2 day fishing course. Where everyone can see the need for environmental protection regarding fish species, size,limits and pollution etc . Pick up line and garbage. !!

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