Joseph B. White
The striped bass, valued not only as a premier game fish but also as a commercial catch, is the subject of a three year, multi-million-dollar study by several federal agencies because of its appa
Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby
Striped bass
Mark Alan Lovewell
In a last minute effort, the Governor of Massachusetts yesterday intervened in a successful effort to convince the state marine fisheries commission to remain conservative in adopting striped bass
Striped bass
Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries


Juvenile striped bass spawned in the Chesapeake Bay were at a record low at the end of the summer. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources recently completed its annual young of the year survey and found far fewer juvenile fish than a year ago.

Scientists believe the factors are more tied to unusually warm weather conditions in the Chesapeake than to the number of adult fish spawning in the bay.

In an uncommon gesture toward Island fishermen, the state Marine Fisheries Commission brought its monthly business meeting to the Katharine Cornell Theatre in Vineyard Haven yesterday afternoon. Beneath the large Stanley Murphy mural paintings of fishing life on the Vineyard, the commission tackled topics that affect the lives of local and state commercial fishermen, such as extending the striped bass fishing season and attempts to resuscitate the ailing herring population.

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.”

Figures recently released by a federal monitoring program should have more than raised loud alarm bells: total catch of striped bass by recreational fishermen in Massachusetts has fallen by almost 84 per cent over the past six years. In 2006, more than eight million fish were reported taken by rod-and-reel sports anglers. In 2011, the preliminary figure was 1.3 million. Even over the course of a year, the decrease was 690,000 fish, or 34 per cent less than in 2010.


illustration striped bass

Striped bass were scarce at this year's derby, following a trend in recent years, but Vineyard fishermen may have reason for optimism after two major stock assessments have shown a record or near-record number of spawning fish in the Chesapeake Bay.

illustration painting man fish

Massachusetts commercial striped bass fishermen exceeded their quota this summer by over 100,000 pounds. Fishermen landed 1,163,666 pounds or 109.6 per cent above their quota of 1,061,898 pounds.