A state legislator’s effort to make striped bass a recreational fish only is dead for now. The state’s Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture has sent the proposal back for further study.
House Bill 796, filed by Falmouth representative Matthew C. Patrick, would have closed striped bass fishing to all but recreational fishermen. The bill was filed a year ago.
Opposition to the bill came from coastal communities including Chatham and the Vineyard. Warren Doty, cochairman of the Dukes County/Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen’s Association, and a group of commercial fishermen testified at the state house in mid-January, opposing the bill.
Proponents of the bill, many of them members of the organization Stripers Forever, claimed fish stocks in these waters were in such decline from Maine to Massachusetts that additional steps needed to be taken now to protect the fish.
Rep. Tim Madden, who sits on the committee, together with local Senator Robert O’Leary, said he was struck by how much interest the bill prompted. “It was one of the largest attended hearings held by the committee,” Mr. Madden said. “The commercial fishermen did an excellent job countering the efforts of Stripers Forever. They had good responses to their issues. Quite frankly, I think Stripers Forever came up short in their science.”