At a first-class Vineyard seafood restaurant a diner asks the waitress: “What is the local Vineyard catch of the day?” The waitress responds: “I am sorry, we have no Vineyard fish on the menu today.” And the customer is surprised. “How can that be? I was down on the jetty this afternoon and I watched a fisherman land a beautiful large striped bass.”

With a touch of frustration in her voice the waitress replies: “Oh, the fish are here all right. It’s just that a new state law prohibits us from ever serving striped bass.”

Let’s not take one of our great local foods and outlaw it from our tables.

That is the story that we will hear in Vineyard restaurants if a new bill proposed by a recreational fishing group, Stripers Forever, is approved by the state legislature. The new law would prohibit the sale of striped bass in all fish markets and restaurants in Massachusetts, allowing only recreational fishermen access to striped bass.

The new law would end commercial fishing for striped bass throughout the state and make striped bass exclusively a “game fish,” not available to the general public.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and our local Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries are just as puzzled as our customer, waitress and perhaps you. They have established a well-managed striped bass fishery within a very careful management plan.

The plan establishes a very strict quota for commercial landings of striped bass in Massachusetts. The plan sets a starting date for our commercial fishery; it sets a daily catch limit, and it closes the season when our quota is filled. We have been following this plan for years and it has been working.

When stock assessments dictate that the quota needs to be changed, then the plan is amended. All of this is done within the fishery management process.

This proposed new law is a bad idea. It would end the public’s access to striped bass, limit and set back our local food movement, while also hurting our Island’s commercial fishermen.

On the Island we are promoting our Vineyard Wild Caught campaign and we are labeling our Island’s lobster, shellfish, and finfish as very high quality Island food that enhances all of our dinner menus, for homes, restaurants and caterers.

We do not need new legislative action on Beacon Hill proposed by one group for private entitlement at the expense of the rest of us. The fisheries belong to all of us.

We do want a good, sound fisheries management plan for striped bass. We do want the plan to protect the fish, while working for the benefit of all consumers and all fishermen on Martha’s Vineyard.

Warren Doty is president of the Martha’s Vineyard/Dukes County Fishermen’s Association and a Chilmark selectman.