Stripers: One fish daily, 28-inch minimum

East Setauket, N.Y. — New York’s striped bass anglers will have a one-fish limit this year, with the minimum size remaining intact at 28 inches.

The state’s Marine Resources Advisory Council, at its March 10 meeting, announced it would adhere to a proposal approved last fall by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board.

That proposal called for a one-fish daily striper limit – down from the previous two-fish daily – while maintaining the 28-inch minimum size.

The announcement came just days before New York’s recreational striped bass fishing season opened (March 16) on Hudson River waters north of the George Washington Bridge.

The new regulations come after a series of public meetings across the Northeast in which recreational and commercial anglers weighed in on the proposal.

Several other states – New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut – followed suit on the one-fish, 28-inch minimum proposal.

Maine and Rhode Island, however, were considering other options in addition to the one-fish, 28-inch size limit.

In Maine, a slot limit in which anglers could keep one fish between 24 and 26 inches was under consideration. 

Rhode Island was eyeing a special rule for “for-hire” captains which would allow anglers to keep two fish 32 inches or longer.

The one-fish daily, 28-inch minimum proposal on stripers emerged from a meeting of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Striped Bass Management Board last fall in Mystic, Conn.

Scientists said that regulation would reduce the harvest by 31 percent which scientists estimated would achieve a 31% reduction in the harvest.

The board, however, gave states the option of developing “equivalent” that would be accepted if they’re designed to achieve a harvest reduction of at least 25 percent.

The harvest reductions are needed, officials said, because the striper stock is on the verge of being overfished.

Commercial quotas will be reduced by 25 percent under the proposal triggered by an assessment of the striper stock which showed female spawning numbers and the overall striper population were approaching a threshold of being overfished.

If that pattern continued the striper stock would likely fall below that threshold in the near future, commission officials said.

Recreational anglers, during a public comment period on the proposals, were overwhelmingly in favor of the tightened regulations on both themselves and commercial fishermen.

DEC’s director of marine resources James Gilmore noted that the one-year reduction was the ideal move to allow fisheries managers to assess whether management efforts were working before the next assessment of the striper stock was conducted.

Chesapeake Bay states will impose a 20.5 percent harvest reduction from 2012 levels “since their fisheries were reduced by 14 percent in 2013 based on their management program,” the board said in a news release.

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