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
Will Sennott
The venerable saltwater fishing contest entering its 75th year, will eliminate striped bass from the competition this fall.
Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby
Striped bass


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.

The commercial season for striped bass ended this past Wednesday. The closure came when fisheries managers estimated that the 1,061,898-pound quota had been taken in Massachusetts. The season ran short this year.

Last year the 1.12 million-pound quota was taken at the conclusion of the third week of August. The fishery was closed on August 22.

Recreational fishing for striped bass continues. Anglers are required to possess a state saltwater recreational fishing license. They are allowed a bag limit of two fish per day; the minimum size is 28 inches.

Despite worrying declines in striped bass and lobster stocks, regulators this week deferred any significant action to curb the fisheries. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission did take a step toward restoring menhaden, a bait fish consumed by lobsters, striped bass and nearly all other swimming fish.