In its first enforcement of a new state fishing regulation, the Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby Committee voted Monday to disqualify two division-leading fish from the tournament because the anglers that caught them did not have a state permit prior to weighing in their catch.
Starting this year, Massachusetts has required most fishermen to purchase a $10 saltwater fishing permit before putting a hook in the water. Fishermen who are younger than 16 or disabled are exempt, as are those who fish from a charter boat. Anglers aged 60 or older need a permit, but can get it for free.
The decision to disqualify the two fish from the derby was announced in a news release from derby president Ed Jerome, who did not identify the fishermen.
“Although this is the first year of implementation of the new state fishing regulation, the committee cautions all participants to comply with all state, federal and derby regulations if they participate in the derby and anticipate winning a prize,” Jerome said in the release. The committee intends to make spot checks to ensure derby participants are in compliance.
“During the past year, the committee has worked long and hard to create a public awareness of this new regulation via all of our forms of communication,” the release said. “Tackle shop owners have done the same in their shops, newspapers have explained the regulation in their columns and it is clearly posted for all contestants to see as they approach the derby scale to weigh their fish in.”
Information about how to get a Massachusetts Recreational Saltwater Permit can be found at www.mass.gov/marinefisheries. Questions can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or anglers can call the New Bedford office at 508-990-2860, extension 150.