BOSTON – The continuing war over striped bass has entered a new battle on Beacon Hill with a renewed effort to eventually make the lucrative catch off limits for commercial fishermen.
A bill filed by Rep. Walter Timilty, D-Milton, would limit commercial licenses to fishermen who could demonstrate they've caught and sold more than 1,000 pounds of striped bass annually over the last five years on record.
Fishermen who meet that standard would be allowed to keep their striped bass licenses until 2025, when commercial licenses for the fish would no longer be issued.
A group of some 10 concerned Cape and Island commercial fishermen, clad in fishing caps and sweatshirts, joined with Rep. Sarah Peake, D-Provincetown, on Wednesday to oppose the bill before the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture.
“Let's make no mistake about it. This bill exterminates the commercial fishery by 2025,” said Darren Saletta, a Chatham resident and founder of the Massachusetts Commercial Striped Bass Association.
Saletta and his group were pitted against members of Stripers Forever, a nonprofit group with a mission of conserving striped bass. The group unsuccessfully pushed for a commercial ban in 2010. Maine, Connecticut and New Hampshire ban commercial fishing of striped bass.