If you’ve ever wet a line anywhere between North Carolina to Maine, it’s likely you’ve either caught or know about the striped bass, also known as rockfish in the Chesapeake Bay region. An iconic sportfish, the striped bass is not only an excellent fly and light-tackle quarry, but also a delicious one.
That last quality, in part, has led to the decline of the species, especially over the last five years. Now, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) has decided states must do something about it by reducing the overall coast-wide harvest of the fish in both commercial and recreational sectors by 18 percent from North Carolina to Maine.
What will that 18 percent reduction look like for recreational anglers? In Maryland, state fisheries managers are expected to propose a one-fish-per-day limit at 18 inches minimum. The limit has been two fish per day at varying lengths for many years. The cut will likely affect anglers up the coast in varying ways, but a slot limit of one fish between 28 and 35 inches in length is likely. Many states have already enacted circle hook regulations, which helps reduce catch-and-release mortality, and more will likely follow.
We understand this is a contentious issue, and opinions on how to fix the problem vary widely. You can read more about the reductions and possible changes in creel by reading this article on the American Saltwater Guides Association page. Scroll down past “Menhaden” to get this association’s take on the reductions. To get the full story, we recommend looking at all sides of the issue.