Pending legislation to make striped bass a game fish in Massachusetts was further delayed this week when a public hearing was postponed at the request of backers of the bill.
The hearing by the joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture was due to be held on Tuesday on Beacon Hill, but has now been rescheduled for January.
Cape and Islands Sen. Robert O’Leary and Rep. Timothy Madden both sit on the committee.
The delay was requested by the author of the bill, Rep. Matthew Patrick, a Democrat from Falmouth. The proponents apparently requested more time to prepare scientific data for the hearing.
A group of Island fishermen had planned to attend the hearing. If it is approved, the legislation would prohibit the commercial landing of striped bass across the state, and end an active fishery on the Menemsha waterfront.
The bill is controversial; its supporters include recreational fishermen who are alarmed at the decline of striped bass in the region.
Striped bass already have game fish status in Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and South Carolina.