Mass. commercial striper season opens

Striped bass caught in Massachusetts waters returned to fish market shelves this week. Lovers of the most highly sought sport fish along the New England coast who do not have angling skills may want to take advantage of what is expected to be a short commercial season.

The commercial striped bass season opened Sunday. It will remain open until the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) estimates that the state’s quota is about to be reached. Depending on fishing success, that date could be sometime in August.

Striped bass is a highly managed species. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) is responsible for managing migratory species, including striped bass, and implementing management plans and quotas along the East Coast.

In 2012, the state’s commercial quota was 1,057,783 pounds. Fishermen caught 1,218,426 pounds, about a 15 percent overage. As a result, in 2013 the quota was set at 997,869 pounds to make up the difference.

Only licensed fishermen and dealers may sell striped bass, subject to strict reporting requirements. Restaurants may buy bass only from licensed dealers.

In an effort to spread out the season and avoid early season gluts, DMF allows fishermen to take five fish on Sundays and 30 fish on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, until the quota is filled.

Commercial fish must be a minimum of 34 inches in length. Recreational fishermen are limited to two fish per day which must be at least 28 inches long.

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