Rhode Island Requires Anglers to Clip Fin on Harvested Bass

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announces that it has enacted new regulations to help prevent the illegal harvest and sale of Atlantic striped bass.

DEM Adopts Regulations To Curb ‘Stockpiling’, Illegal Sale of Atlantic Striped Bass

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announced today it has enacted new regulations to help prevent the illegal harvest and sale of Atlantic striped bass. The new rules require recreational anglers to clip the right pectoral fin of striped bass 34 inches or larger at the time of harvest.

commercial striped bass

The new regulations, adopted following considerable public input, help prevent “stockpiling” – which occurs when fish are harvested on a day closed to commercial fishing and then offered for sale on an open day; they also address fish being illegally transported and sold in neighboring states. Striped bass with a clipped right pectoral fin cannot be sold commercially in Rhode Island or Massachusetts.

“Rhode Island is known for its spectacular angling and abundant fisheries,” said DEM Director Janet Coit. “Our local harvest supports the health of our families, economy and way of life. And protecting the viability of our stock and ensuring fish are legally harvested and sold are responsibilities we take very seriously. These new regulations are critical to supporting the continued vibrancy of the striped bass fishery, and I thank the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council for its leadership in engaging the public around this important topic and working to protect our state’s marine resources.”

Last year, Massachusetts adopted a similar regulation to curb stockpiling; it requires commercial fishermen who fish recreationally for striped bass on a closed commercial day to clip the fin of any striped bass harvested and retained that is 34 inches or larger. In Rhode Island, in addition to the new fin-clipping regulations, complementary dealer regulations make it unlawful for a licensed dealer to purchase and/or offer for sale any striped bass with the right pectoral fin removed. Combined, these regulations not only bring Rhode Island in line with Massachusetts but also assist law enforcement in applying federal restrictions on this resource and preventing poaching.

Currently managed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), the striped bass fishery is not considered overfished nor is overfishing occurring; however, there has been a decrease in the amount of spawning stock biomass: fish that reproduce and contribute to the viability of the fishery. As a result of this trend and its 2013 benchmark stock assessment, ASMFC required coastal states like Rhode Island to take steps in 2015 to reduce 2013 harvest levels by 25 percent; this to reduce fishing mortality. In Rhode Island, a one-fish bag limit was established for the recreational fishery and a 25-percent quota reduction was set on the commercial fishery.

For more information about DEM programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM or via Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM).

41 on “Rhode Island Requires Anglers to Clip Fin on Harvested Bass

  1. chris

    Don’t see the point, won’t cheaters just clip the fins if they see someone coming?

    1. Fisherooni

      I guess because it targets recreational catches, a commercial guy rushing to clip fins on a bunch of fish looks shady, clips too many to pretend he’s recreational, and/or confuses him generally when he’s boarded or his catch is tracked. Stripers shouldn’t be a commercial fish anyway. Their sport/ecological/tourism value is huge and their flesh isn’t exactly special. The commercial Striper guys are recreational guys having fun for cash on their day job days off. This is not a fishery we should be supporting.

      1. jeff

        @fisherooni, you sound like another guy who cant catch fish, typical tree hugger that hates on the commercial guys, see you guys all the time at the meetings come up with crazy stupid things to stop commercial striped bass fishing.

      2. Don

        Fished all my life.
        In its entirety, recreational fishermen can’t deplete a species! A Hugh imbalance must have to happen…..i.e. Sickness, natural disaster, repeated targeted capture……. Whatever, you don’t hear. Of men or women catching two hundred, thousands of pounds of fish, now do you?

      3. You know the deal

        Fisherooni your obviously just another tree hugger that wants to put commercial guys out of business I fish every day and not only is that one of the most fun times of year on the water it’s also one of my most profitable. Let’s just take it off the commercial harvest list just cause u wanna have fun catching striped bass. Your a joke

      4. Jasper

        What are the commercial regulations? how many are you allowed? and is it per day or a is their a specified quota for an entire season? Just wondering how this works. I never have a problem catching them.

        One more question, where does all the commercially fished striper go? I never see it in the supermarket, or on any restaurant menu, just wondering who uses it. Does it become dogfood or something?


      5. homer

        it goes too high end restaurants where it commands the market price part of the menu. it does not end up in the chains its too expensive for most to afford. I saw it last year in whole foods 20.99 lb when there was a glut . here in n it finds its way to china town most of them hijacked from illegal poachers . want more fish put a moratorium on chinks you know the same people that buy ivory horns and skins then you get happy ending

      6. Sy

        Agreed I don’t think Atlantic stripe Bass should be commercially fished, recreational harvesting only, just my opinion so all you commercial guys don’t get your panties in a bunch now. We all know that the commercial industry does more harm to the striper stocks then any recreational harvest limits. #Facts

      7. BallzNurMouth

        You are a dumbass simply said!! Do you have any idea how many striped bass are around? Let me guess you work 5 days a week and get on the water as much as you’re wife lets you!! Leave it to the commercial guys that catch fish for a living.

  2. You know the deal

    Not only is commercial bass season one of the most fun times of the year it also is one of my most profitable. Fisherooni doesn’t know what it means to be commercial fisherman and talks like a tree hugger that can’t catch stipers to begin with thats why he blames it on Comercial guys. In my eyes there should be no recreational havest only commercial.

    1. Eddie

      I hope that was a sarcastic comment “you know the deal”. If not, it’s incredibly arrogant, misinformed and absolutely ignorant.

    2. Yeah I know the deal

      “There should be no recreational harvest” hahah who the f@ck do you think you are? I’ll dig my clams, and I fish my fish, because I was born and raised in RI, and it is my God given f@cking right!

  3. lenedogg

    leave something for the recreational guy I now pay to fish in saltwater and fish are scarce compared to 1960

  4. Monstahfish

    For once I’d like to see a commercial guy step up and say something along the lines of “I’ll take a cut in quota or new regs to preserve the future of my fishery.” It won’t happen because all the outspoken commercial guys are the ones who don’t give a damn and the good guys are scared to stand up to them.

  5. chris

    I don’t have a major problem with harvesting stripers as long as it’s hook and line only and the commercial quota gets reduced. There’s too many fish being removed. Too many breeders. Would like to see a slot introduced though so the big female breeders get released. Would also love to see cod become hook and line only. Keep dreaming, keep paying my dues to the CCA, the Littoral Society to slow the decline.

    Anyway commercial and recreational should be able to agree on one thing, overturn / amend the marine mammals protection act and get a handle on the seal infestation. This can be done humanely without freaking everybody out by neutering them. There needs to be population control the g damn things eat their body weight in fin fish on the regular don’t care how cute they are.

    1. Ahab

      Good thinking Chris. Commercial cod rod and reel only.
      Less habitat destruction, less waisted short cod and many more cod for all to share.
      More than ship owners will be able to make a living with less cost.
      Not too many years ago the pool fish on a party boat was 40 lbs+. Now a 15 pound
      cod is considered large. Piss poor management.

  6. Budman

    Monstahfish, you are spot on. The commercial “sharpies” succinctly boil down their feeble defense by resorting to such time honored witticisms as
    ” you can’t catch fish ” and the classic “tree hugger”, even though last I checked, and I admit I may be wrong,striped bass are fish. There’s never anycharts, spreadsheets, scientifically peer reviewed data to augment their brilliant Tree hugger thesis.
    But it’s their most fun and profitable time of year ! They say.
    As opposed to all the non commercial people, the tackle shops, marinas,charter boats etc…. who enjoy andutilize the same public resource.
    These are the guys who years ago read Frank Daignaults’ book and still have a priapism not realizing that it was guys like him who helped collapse the fishery.
    Now, if you’ll excuse me, and since I can’t catch fish anyway, there’s an old Beech tree I’m dying to hug.

  7. Spartan

    If the term “tree hugger” refers to those “conservationist”, and “environmentalist” types, then I am definitely a proud tree hugger. I am also a regular fish catcher and eater. I am not a great catcher of fish. I do eat a variety of fish from both the Pacific and the Atlantic. I love going for stripers every summer.
    Personally, I strongly want the comercial fishers to stay in business. That only works if there is a crop to harvest. It seems to me, that many commercial fishers, want to put themselves out of business.
    If there is unlimited fishing, will that increase the demand for fish in the market? There is a “supply and demand” dynamic going on here. Will the demand rise to meet the supply? If it does not rise as fast, commercial fishers could price themselves out of business before they manage to deplete the crop.

  8. Fisherooni

    For the record I do love trees–so should everyone. I’ve even caught a few stripers, though I can’t say I have the skills or the boats of the commercial guys. Too bad for me.

    I don’t know what it’s like to be a commercial fisherman but the other 99.99% of us know, and should say more often, that commercial fishing is a special interest just like any other profession. Having fun on the water while you earn cash isn’t necessary good for the environment or the many more anglers who fish for fun. Everyone knows it’s actually generally really bad. (Protecting commercial groundfishermen to preserve a way of life hasn’t exactly been good for the cod or its recreational fishery.) Anybody who loves his job is very lucky and can’t be blamed for wanting to keep it, but the stakes are way too high for the rest of us, and for he environment, to let the all-holy commercial fisherman do whatever he wants with our shared resource. The fishing technology is too good and the stakes are too high.

    Commercial fishing helped start this country and it employs good folks to this day, but it’s also a new day. The era of commercial fishing being a special occupation that gets special treatment can’t end soon enough for the rest of us.

    1. Richard Souza

      I have been a commercial fisherman in the bay for 40 years and I have been on every committee including the amfc and for as many years I have had to protect myself from every so called sport fisherman who have used every excuse they could to sell there fish from to pay for there fuel to keeping up on their boat payments That funny that sounds just like me except I provide a service to bait and tackle shops and and to the lobsterman of New England and also to all you cry babies on the bay who I give them there bait for free then in the winter when they have nothing else to do stab me in the back and try to get me shut down. I have learned to live with it but when iam out there fishing and see the same people who I fight with in the winter come to my boat for bait it really goes up my ass but still I give them their bait with a smile because I am also a sport fisherman at heart but when I go fishing I use a light spinning rod with 8 lb. test line. Ok I said enough see you on the bay.

  9. go fish

    Has anyone read the recent report on the extremely high levels of PCBs in stripers from Delaware, they recommend not eating them at all.

  10. budman

    You are right on target, albeit, more polite than I.
    I have/had relatives who were commercial guys and none. Let me repeat. None. Had a full time job.
    Just seasonal stuff and fishing/shellfishing stuff.
    It was at a young age I realized that the loudest whiners about Big Government
    were the first in the unemployment line looking for their government issued check.
    I’m no bleeding heart but I will not abide hypocrisy.
    On a positive note, Blues at Pop today. small and not many, a few aquarium sized stripers.
    The world turns. fish show up.

  11. just a “tree-hugger” to be

    I’m 16 and have been fishing Connecticut and Rhode Island’s saltwater fisheries for the past seven years since I moved from Ohio. In the first several years of chasing striped bass I admit I was pretty bad, I could cast better than most adults, I just didn’t know much about the fish. Over these last several years I have devoted myself to this sport, and have learned an amazing amount, from YouTube videos, books, talking to other avid striper fisherman, and most of all just spending all of my free time on the water learning. One thing I’ve noticed is that even in this short amount of time, the number of big bass in the areas I fish has seemingly disappeared, and just recently the numbers of schoolies have seemed to start rising as opposed to decreasing. There was actually a large school of around a hundred bass close to the forty pound range, the school was so reliable that whenever I wanted to show my buds something cool I’d just bring them there. I’m not sure what exactly happened but these fish slowly disappeared and now there aren’t any in that spot. I find it irritating that there is such a disconnect between the Comercial guys and the recreational fishermen, it reminds me of the dry fly-up stream only fishing purists versus the guys throwing spinners for the same trout. Most, not all, Comercial striper fishermen either can’t or don’t want to see a small distance into the future to where the taking of these large amounts of big female stripers will destroy this awesome fishery that already undergoes so much stress. I fish for these fish with a fly rod most of the time, using flies I tie myself. It’s funny though because from a distance people think I’m just another adult, so don’t just right me off as some kid who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. I don’t know what I’d be doing with my life if there weren’t any striped bass to chase, and it’s extremely selfish and erogant to think that the yearly quota for striped bass harvest should stay the same because that’s the way it’s always been. These fish shouldn’t be treated like you already own them, so if it means taking less for a certain number of years in order to ensure the stocks grow to a reasonable number, and means that futer generations get to enjoy this historic fish, then you should have no problem with that.

  12. ed

    Hey forget the commercial guys killing the stocks, just take a ride off Chatham and look at the 30000 seals eating 45lbs of fish a day each.There my friends lies your problem! Maybe seals make great dog food?

    1. fishnphreak

      Ed, you nailed it. The seals have absolutely destroyed the striper fishing on the outer cape. I’ve been observing this condition since the 1980’s when to see a seal or a striper was rare. Then the stripers rebounded. Things were great for a while. Now it’s going back to the 80’s again. Lately, regulations for commercial and recreational striper fishing have been more restrictive – but the striper amounts are not increasing. Why? It’s the seals. I never saw in the 90s-00s the large amount of seals I see in the last few years. Big groups of 20-30 at a time. Each one eats 45 lbs of fish a day? That would be around 1000lbs of fish a day for a group of 22 seals. A half-ton. That’s a big impact.

  13. Chris

    The striper commercial fishery didn’t exist after the stripers were almost wiped 25 years ago.
    There are lots of jobs that used to exist that don’t exist today: Buggy whip makers, building steam engines, whaling, commercial fishing for Tarpon, etc… I would imagine commercial fishing for stripers is one that will eventually join that list.
    The scientific papers I’ve read about seals show that although they impact the stripers a bit, it’s not nearly as much as the commercial fishery. But I still think that population needs to be managed because they sure are eating a lot of other seafood.

  14. Budman

    This is one thing us Tree Huggers and Pin Hookers can agree on.
    Kill the Effin’ seals.
    At some point there will have to be an adult discussion about what the people want from their marine eco system.
    Seals and no fish,or, a happy balance.
    Humans have preyed on seals from day one.
    We are part of the eco system.
    Of course the Globe will run a puff piece with color pictures and the blowins
    on the islands and Chatam will whine and hold candle light vigils.
    Game. Set. Match.
    This “conversation ” can be transposed to deer.

  15. John M.Nigro M.D.

    No rod and reel fisherman has ever depleted or harmed a fishery.That means both recreational and commercial fishermen.So there has to be other reasons.
    Paramount to this is “putting a price” on the particular fishery wherein there is then a vested interest in harvesting as much as possible for the monetary gain.We have seen this with cod, haddock,stripers and tautog.
    I’m sure also that those other factors such as technological advances in equipment,pollution,ecological alterations do play significant impact.No doubt the huge populations of seals that have come upon the shores is a response to some change in their previous food chain.
    I don’t like to see or hear fishermen blaming one or the other.It’s a waste of energy.Nor do I appreciate a fishery management authority leaning on one one side or the other.If we all want to have a viable fishery then the sacrifices must be intelligently derived and shared equally.
    I would prefer a slot limit for recreational anglers.The commercial sector would likely become the ONLY ones hammering the breeders. Then what intelligently derived management would evolve?

  16. Van

    End the Striper Cup which promotes the slaughter of the spawning stock “biomass” and allow people to make their living.

  17. Whats the use

    Being a commercial fisherman 24/7 365 days I honestly could care less what any recreational guy has to say, because most have no idea what they are talking about and just repeat stuff they hear. You can’t get more sustainable than rod and reel, period. So if you have trouble catching then you probably arent very good at bass fishing or dont put in the time it takes, slackers. Blame the commercial guys all you want but I still see you taking bait off us when you need it, or better yet jumping all over us because we know where the fish are. But beyond that childish talk the facts are the RI commercial season last 4 weeks at best with a small pool of endorsements for our states population. The majority of us put our rods down when the quota is up and go back to our other fisheries and continue supplying delicious seafood and supporting our families. The recreational season starts in may and goes to November, do the math. So shut up because you guys are out there 7 months putting the hurt on these fish, foul hooking fish sending them back dead, and killing ur trophy fish for some moment of glamour. Not to mention the RECREATIONAL cash prize tournaments that target these fish. When you re all cozy inside on winters worst days we re still out there w 25 kt winds and snow, sleet, or rain. So save ur time and shut up because hard working men like us dont give a sh*t what your opinions are.

    1. Cal

      I think many recreational anglers realize it isn’t the Comercial guys who fish with rod and reel that are the problem, it’s the guys who drag nets for other types of fish that end up hauling in hundreds of massive stripers that end up being dumped back into the ocean dead.

  18. Grant

    Commercial fisherman only care about the money. When they get snagged on something when dragging they just cut the nets letting them pollute the ocean floor. They should be responsible and remove the cut net. Dragging scrapes off all the eel grass for fish habitat, not to mention the by catch kill. So quit your crying and do something else.

    1. Van

      You’re speaking of draggers and not “rod and reel” commercial fishermen. You don’t have a clue what you’re talking about… lol

  19. Joe R

    I’ve been fishing stripers for years and there is a definite decline. Lets not blame the commercial fishermen solely, as most have concerns about keeping the stock up. I’m a recreational angler and I have seen lots of harvesting of illegal fish take place by ignorant recreational fishermen.I am a recreational fisherman. I wouldn’t even call many recreational fishermen real fishermen. Many are from foreign countries and they will keep everything that wiggles ! They are also grossly depleting the forage fish and filling their trunks with thousands of baitfish a night . This has a huge impact on the health and growth of stripers. I think the biggest problem is they don’t understand that stripers don’t breed as juveniles and regulations are set on size to let them breed before they are harvested. The only thing these people know is they are food no matter what their size is, many don’t even have licenses.

  20. Mike Arsenault

    wich fin is the right fin to clip or does it really matter as long as you clip 1 of them off?

  21. Bill

    I’ve recreationally fished for stripers since I was kid – now I’m in my 50s and I’m pretty good at it. The striped bass decline in the last 5 years or so is atrocious – so is the decline of bait fish and blues. Commercial guys know this too. It needs to shut down 100% for a few years (for BOTH commercial and recreational). I don’t want to see them wiped out and I am more than happy to take a few years off and let them rebound before it gets any worse. Stiff fines would help. Denial of the decline is ridiculous!

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