Commercial Striped Bass Fishing Opens July 12

Many recreational fishermen are quick to demonize commercial striped bass fishing without fully comprehending the impact that recreational fishing has on our local striped bass population.

For a period of about six weeks, beginning on July 12, a few thousand Massachusetts fishermen will head out on the water in pursuit of striped bass. 

However the commercial striped bass season has come under fire recently, largely due to concerns over the health of the overall striped bass stock.  The concern is understandable, as the economic value of the striped bass extends deep into various industries here on Cape Cod.

Tackle shops, charter businesses, restaurants, seafood wholesalers as well as commercial fishermen all benefit from the striped bass' seasonal presence in the waters surrounding the Cape.  Yet recently there has been growing concern over the number of juvenile stripers, which has dwindled according to observations made by many fishermen.

The reasons behind the supposed decline in numbers of the smaller, younger members of the striped bass population are not clear.  Even so many peole are quick to blame the commercial striped bass fishery. 

However, the recreational fishery is not getting off the hook either.

According to a recent ASMFC striped bass stock assessment (2007), recreational fishermen harvested approximately 2,774,542 bass.  Estimated dead recreational discards (fish released that end up dying) were 2,072,334.  4.8 million striped bass were killed by the recreational sector, stated the report.

The commercial harvest was 1,049,587 fish.  Estimated commercial discards were 216,753 striped bass.

So in conclusion, according to the ASMFC, recreational fishermen killed over 4 million more fish that year than commercial fishermen.

The impact that both groups have on our striped bass population is undeniable.

Commercial fishermen, some of which rely heavily upong striped bass as a form of income, and some who do not, should be held accountable.

Recreational fishermen, some of which keep bass for tablefare, and even those who release bass to fight another day, should be held accountable.

If any changes are to be made over the upcoming years to how we mange striped bass, it only makes sense that both groups should be willing to make a sacrafice.


Chris February 29, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Other areas that have commercial and recreational fisheries are opposite.for instance the red fish is kept when smaller and released if spawning age or coming upon it.having been a life long striped bass fisherman and have had commercial endorsement,I'm careful in my release practices and have witnessed many who aren't.We all I'm afraid can get on a pile and become less concerned with proper release.Now fishing on the beach or in a boat alongside many recreational anglers are absolutely clueless at times with releasing a fish properly with any concern for the health of the fish.many floaters you come across.My experience is that recreational,vacationing thrill of a lifetime catch are indeed lackadaisical in the treatment of fish at best.Pictures,dragging through the sand,gut hooked.No thought of something like circle hooks.Keeping the big ones letting go small ones doesn't seem rational.
Ryan Collins March 07, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Hi Chris, Ryan and Jim, Thanks for reading the article and leaving a comment-much appreciated. For anyone who would like to take action, and possibly be part of a movement that could have some real. long lasting positive impact on our inshore fishery, please consider attending one of the upcoming herring hearings. For those not familiar with pair trawling for herring, these 100 foot plus long boats often come nearly within casting range of shore to scoop up millions upon millions of herring. They have gone way over quotas in past seasons (up to 150% their allotted catch) and are successfully taking a big bite out of the bottom of our local food chain. It's very difficult to say just how much of an impact these boats are having on striped bass fishing, but it's very easy to imagine that inshore bass fishing would significantly improve with millions more herring swimming in tight to the beach. Banning these operations could produce a positive lasting impact for the entire marine ecosystem. I've listed the dates below. Thanks!
Ryan Collins March 07, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Wednesday, March 14, 2012 Gloucester, MA 7:00 – 9:00 pm MA DMF Annisquam River Station 30 Emerson Avenue, Gloucester, MA 01930 Phone: (978) 282-0308 Thursday, March 15, 2012 Portsmouth, NH 7:00 – 9:00 pm Sheraton Harborside Hotel 250 Market Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801 Phone: (603) 431-2300 Monday, March 19, 2012 Fairhaven, MA 7:00 – 9:00 pm Seaport Inn 110 Middle Street, Fairhaven, MA 02719 Phone: (508) 997-1281 Wednesday, March 21, 2012 Portland, Maine 7:00 – 9:00 pm Holiday Inn By the Bay 88 Spring Street, Portland, ME 04101 Phone: (207) 775-2311 Tuesday, March 27, 2012 Plymouth, Massachusetts 7:00 – 9:00 pm Radisson Hotel Plymouth Harbor 180 Water Street, Plymouth MA 02360 Phone: (508) 747-4900 Wednesday, March 28, 2012 Warwick, RI 7:00 – 9:00 pm Hilton Garden Inn One Thurber Street, Warwick, RI 02886 Phone: (401) 734-9600 Thursday, March 29, 2012 Cape May, New Jersey 7:00 – 9:00 pm Congress Hall Hotel 251 Beach Avenue, Cape May, NJ 08204 Phone: (609) 884-8421
Stephen Walima August 06, 2012 at 09:19 PM
The Earliest Striper Fishermen were part of the Hunter Gatherer Groups of the Colonies. Stripers are part of a group of Commercial Fisheries known as Traditional Fisheries. This practice was in effect long before the Harbors became full of Recreational Boats and McMansions blossomed along the Shores. A commercial Fishermen is a steward of the Sea knowing that his or her livelyhood depends on it. Catch and release of small fish is taken seriously. Steel Hooks are used and gut hooked fish are cut off and released with minimal truama. Unlike a Sporty trying to get their $15 Orvis Fly back. We use heavier Gear and plain Steel Hooks. The Fish is brought to Boat quicker and if Short released quickly and vibrant. As Commercial Bass Fishermen we carry on the Traditioin making this Great Fish available to those not physically able or none Fishermen. Everyone should be able to enjoy this Bounty and we provide it for those that can't.
kevin mccutcheon December 29, 2012 at 02:01 PM
i dont trust these statistics at all there are too many variables but something should be done about the estimate on the by catch greed is always an ellement thats not taken into account by fisherman and government allike its sad


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