A state fisheries commission changed the bag limit and harvest days for commercial striped bass fishing for the summer. On Thursday night, the Massachusetts marine fisheries advisory commission set the new commercial striped bass season to open on June 23 this year. Commissioners dropped the daily bag limit from 30 fish to 15 fish per fisherman. Rod and reel fishing permits are limited to two fish per day.
Commissioners also cut the fishing days from four days a week down to two. Fishermen will be allowed to harvest striped bass on Mondays and Thursdays, while the season is open. Commercial fishermen are limited to a minimum size of 34 inches.
There were no changes to the recreational fishery, which is two fish per day with a minimum of 28 inches per fish.
The decisions made last week in Kingston were intended principally to extend the striped bass season. Last year the commercial striped bass season opened on July 12 and was closed August 7 after the nearly million pound quota was taken.
Dan McKiernan, deputy director of the state Division of Marine Fisheries, said he was pleased with how the decision was made, especially with regard to the public hearing process. One hearing was held on Feb. 18 at the Katharine Cornell Theatre in Tisbury.
“Those three public hearings helped us formulate the recommendations for the commission. We appreciated the comment from the Vineyard,” Mr. McKiernan said.
During the public hearing process, there was a proposal to bring the bag limit per day from 30 down to 10. A number of Vineyard fishermen were critical of that proposal.
The commission chose to not take action yet on a provision that would limit charter fishermen from being able to sell their catch. Mr. McKiernan said that more work needed to be done on that measure. The next meeting will be April 3 in Weston.
The commissioners also approved setting a minimum size for whelk, also called conch, at 2 7/8 inches. Next year the minimum size will be three inches. A minimum of 1,000 pounds for conch was set.
The horseshoe crab limit was increased to a 600 count per trip, during the summer. Previously, the limit had been 300 horseshoe crabs per trip, for the entire year.