SPEAK UP: Managers Consider Allowing Striped Bass Fishing in EEZ

Proposal would open waters between Montauk and Block Island to Recreational Striper Fishing

Issue: NOAA Fisheries is considering removal of the current prohibition on recreational striped bass fishing in the Block Island Transit Zone.

Background: Existing regulations prohibit all fishing (recreational and commercial) for striped bass in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) which begins 3 nautical miles off the coast of the Northeast states. However, fishermen may possess and transport striped bass while crossing the Block Island Transit Zone. This allows fishermen to catch striped bass in water off Block Island and transport them across EEZ waters back to state waters of Rhode Island and New York.

Our Opinion: On The Water is commenting in opposition to the action. We are against opening the EEZ to striper fishing (recreational and commercial) as we believe it is an effective conservation measure that protects a significant portion of the striped bass population, especially large female striped bass. While the current proposal pertains to the Block Island Transit Zone, we believe that opening this area of the EEZ off New York and Rhode Island to recreational fishing would be viewed by other states as unfair.  The result would be significant pressure to open all EEZ waters to recreational and commercial striped bass fishing.

Submit Your Comments: NOAA Fisheries is requesting public comment on the removal of the prohibition on recreational fishing for striped bass in the Transit Zone via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal.

NOAA Fisheries will review all public comments and consult with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to consider whether regulatory revisions are appropriate.

36 on “SPEAK UP: Managers Consider Allowing Striped Bass Fishing in EEZ

  1. Pat M.

    I agree with “On the Water,” the Stripe bass are everywhere now as it is. I believed the abundance onf bass is due to the EEZ. Lets preserve our fisheries for the future and wellness of the earth.

  2. Steve winters

    I would personally like to see all of southwest ledge closed. I did my part last week and wrote to NOAA. I also donate every year to Stripers Forever. Please set aside some plug money and help out our decimated striper stocks.

    1. Marcuswelby

      Good comments Steve…hope more people like yourself take this serious.

  3. David meyer

    Leave it closed it has a good side to leaving it closed fishing is as good as it’s been in years I think it has to do in part with this area being closed fish can be caught at other locations and all around ny nj and long island let this area be

  4. Basstradomous

    When will the regulators act on the FACT that the striper stocks have been decimated due to overfishing? Anyone who does not believe this has simply not been around long enough. When the 2011 stock is depleted we will see how far gone the striper population is. Make the striper a game fish NOW! Nobody makes a living from commercial striped bass fishing. WAKE UP FISHERMEN!

    1. Jason

      Sorry to say, there are a few families that still rely on this fishing industry. True to a statement of not many, but if you were amoung the few earning money for your family? You would think differently. Or at least should.

  5. Vince

    I totally agree with allowing fishermen to fish the EEZ. With climate change, striped bass have moved into the EEZ for relief. At the ledge, I notice boats exploring to the EEZ and capitalizing on big bass while those who complied with the restrictions are skunked. As a recreational fisherman, I spend thousands of dollars a year in the fishing industry just to get skunked on tough climatic day on the water.

    1. John Blank

      So we need to decimate what’s left of the population because you’re not catching fish after you spent money on gas?

      Tough luck.. Nobody cares what you spent on gas, boat maintenance or anything else. The point to managing the fishery is to have a sustainable resource that’s available going forward, not to give you some temporary relief because of your inability to catch fish.

      As for the people who are abusing the area today because it’s not enforced properly – they should include an addendum to find and fine the violators, not just give up and open it up for all to abuse. The stocks are already in sad shape, there’s no reason to drive them to extinction for a few quick and easy bucks.

      1. Jason

        And catch and release with what restrictions to bait or lures? Go ahead, fill the stripers up with lead from chunking, stixs and metal from yoyoing, and ripping their mouth and gills out from treble hooks!

  6. Will

    Either shoot down this proposal in totality or allow for recreational catch and release. There should be no commercial or catch and keep activity going on in this area.

  7. Robert

    I would love catch and release through the area. I’ve driven through many times and the number of fish is amazing. But this also leads me to beleive that the ledge holds some special part in the striper life cycle that we may not know. Opening this area to commercial and rec fishing could very well decimate the population past the point of recovery.

  8. Captain Skip Montello

    We need to continue to maintain the EEZ and protect Striped Bass, especially during the migration periods, spring and fall. Far too many larger breed stock are disappearing and 2018 commercial quotas nimbers bear that out…no to opening!

  9. Mark

    I personally would move the line out to the Red hooter can that way you can fish the southwest ledge legally I fished the block several times this year and day or night they were 30 boats on the ledge and that included a lot of commercial guys .

  10. Keith Vellone

    I would love the SW Ledge to be open for striped bass fishing. With that being said, I am all for making striped bass a game fish. Allowing for for the dinner table. Most of what I catch I release. I just enjoy catching big bass at the ledge and releasing them. I take my time to revive them until they swim off. Do some die? Perhaps but this is my opinion on the subject. Sure you can catch them inside the line but it is almost a sure thing out there. I am all for it as people are going to “risk” fishing out there anyway.

  11. Steve

    If this happens, the striper cup standings will turn into a list of folks who have access to the southwest ledge. Which is honestly what it is now who are we kidding.

  12. Russ

    The area that they propose to open is not where the majority of these schools reside anyway….it just opens up the transit zone so boats can travel legally and will not get ticketed if the stop. It certainly will not affect the biomass at all. The vast majority of the schools will still be protected outside the proposed lines. I agree with making striped bass a catch and release game fish.

  13. Russ

    The new lines in red depicted in the map above would actually protect more schools that reside off the SE end of Block if that becomes the new border.

    1. Steve

      The red lines are not the new area but the outer edges of the transit zone. It’s the green area that’s being considered for opening. It would open grounds like the sub buoy, midway, and some ground between montauk and block Other than that it would not have a huge impact.

  14. Ed

    Leave the prohibition in place
    Our waters are over fished and in stress
    If the grounds are reopened it be be a heavy lift to close them back up which will likely be the case

  15. Steve

    I agree with OTW. DO not open this area to commercial or recreational fishing. Perhaps designate striped bass as a gamefish.

  16. Randy Dean

    If you open it to recreational you also open it commercial. Being from a state where commercial fisherman take more Stripe Bass than all the Atlantic coast states put together You wont be catching there for very long. DO WHAT YOU CAN TO KEEP IT CLOSED.

  17. Steve winters

    I welcome the dreaded moratorium. What are they waiting for? A miracle.

  18. Gregory

    I agree, no fishing. We must protect our fish. Give them a chance to Thrive there

  19. Joseph P GaNun

    My guess is most of the above posts are boating recreational fisherman, that based on the comments mostly for not opening the transit zone with a few in favor. Anyone who is a shore based fisherman knows that the population is in serious trouble. As populations contract, their range contracts. This is true of all things in nature from bacteria to elephants, to man. Opening any new area, whether EEZ or some other closed area should be off limits.. As for the 2011 YOY, …well it never happened. These fish should be all over right now and they have been markedly absent since 2015. BTW, thanks OTW for coming out against this proposal. I was very concerned when you backed the Modern Fish Act, which is a fish grab, nothing more.

  20. Mark

    You are not allowed to harvest striped bass in the EE zone Which means you cannot possess or Harvest striped bass you can still fish there

  21. John Karpiak

    Keep it closed. Many unethical fishermen will skirt around the regulations if it allows them more fish. Ban the commercial fisherman also. Make the striped bass a game fish. I also think New Jersey should revisit the striped bass size limits. Why allow us to take breeders over 43″.

  22. Leo Klebanov

    Commercial stripe bass fishing should be prohibited EVERYWHERE.
    There is no stripe bass in seafood stores or restaurants anyway. It all goes abroad and trades for polluted farm raised junk (somebody thinks we haven’t deserved healthy food) . Why our recreational fishermen would suffer while feeding somebody in Europe or Japan?

  23. Kevin g

    In response to leo, there are many restaurants who serve striped bass. It is also
    available in supermarkets during season. I fished semi pro freshwater bass for 15 years and what we learned was if you want to increase population protecting the spawn and increasing size limits produce the best results. For instance, if you put a 40 inch size limit you would see populations explode. Huge fish everywhere.period. I commercial fish for bass and recreational fish the canal and I hear how the commercial guys are catching all the fish and destroying the fishery. If you go to the canal on a good day and sit at the herring run parking lot you can see guys loading fish into their trucks and than they go back for more, taking more than they should. On any good fishing day you can easily see violaters-its quite common.

  24. Michael

    The EEZ should remain close. Anyone that has spent time fishing hard for striped bass knows the fishery is in trouble the commercial and charter guys do not care about tomorrow all they see is today and kill kill kill. The big breeder fish they hoist so high at the dock for pictures and reconigtion are the same fish we need in the water reproducing to keep the fishery strong. Let alone all those big 30 40 50 pound fish are full of mercury!! The 30 inch fish taste better and are healthier. If the decision is to open the EEZ you will see a moritorium sooner rather than later. And you can blame all these fillet and release “sportsman” out there. Make it a game Fish!! The sooner the fishery realize that the sooner both sides will see the difference. The fish is worth a lot more alive than it is dead!

  25. John AC

    In understand the commercial fisherman’s plight but Stripers should be only a game fish. I don’t use treble hooks and release most of not all. I get disgusted when some guys on my dock in NJ bring back more then 2 per person. I won’t talk with them out of principle and they know I will turn them in. Protect the fishery Thanks OTW!

  26. Marcuswelby

    If the NOAA opens up this area it will be decimated within two seasons. Common sense needs to come into play here.

  27. Thekidagain

    I honestly Don’t see what the big deal is about opening this EEZ ground. People Complaining about the situation are those that probably don’t have luck fishing in general. Also this is where of the larger bass live. Why not try to catch the big girls and enjoy the sport of fishing more. Plus it will provide more food for restaurants

    1. Joseph Cipriani

      The big girls are the breeders. Watching charter and recreational boats come in to block island daily with breeders is sickening. Restaurants can buy farm raised, much smaller and better tasting.

  28. Russ

    Many making these comments do not understand or know that this green transit zone is NOT where these large schools reside so it will not affect the fishing or the biomass at all. Please understand exactly what is being proposed. This would drastically reduce the area that needs to be monitored therefore allowing enforcement in the areas where it does matter and the fish do reside to be better.

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