With a 16-0 unanimous vote on Thursday, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission approved Addendum VI to the striped bass management plan for public comment. The aim of the addendum is to reduce harvest by 18 percent.
A number of reduction options will be put out for public comment so that new regulations for striped bass can be enacted for the 2020 fishing season. The most recent stock assessment shows the stock is over-fished and over-fishing is occurring.
Both, commercial and recreational fisheries will be taking a cut, however, how much of a cut each sector takes is outlined in the Addendum VI options. Option 2 calls for an equal reduction of 18 percent in both sectors, and in Option 3, the commercial sector takes a smaller percentage reduction of 1.8 percent while the recreational sector takes a 20 percent reduction
Highlights of recreational options going out for public comment between August and October include:
Option 1: status quo … keep things as they are now which will do nothing in achieving the required harvest reductions.
Option 2: Has multiple components. It calls for the recreational and commercial sectors to both absorb an 18 percent harvest reduction from 2017 levels. To achieve this in the recreational sector, they are offering three sub-options. All options would maintain the existing season for striped bass, which is year-round for recreational anglers in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Option 2-A1: One fish at 35 inches minimum for ocean states which would result in an 18 percent reduction
Option 2-A2: One fish between a 28- to 34-inch slot which would result in a 19 percent reduction
Option 2-A3: One fish between a 32- to 40-inch slot which would result in a 21 percent reduction
An additional recreational sub-option was suggested at the meeting, which is to include a slot size limit with a 30-inch minimum size and a maximum size limit that meets the required reduction. Circle hooks for striped bass bait fishing is also offered in Amendment VI with three options for the public to comment on. The Addendum also has options for the Chesapeake Bay fishery, which historically have been different.
Patrick Paquette, a fish advocate and former president of the Massachusetts Striped Bass Association, commented to commissioners prior to their vote.
“We are wasting the public’s time if they are not able to comment on the fact that Addendum VI has only a 50 percent chance of being successful in meeting mandated reductions,” Paquette said. “The public should be given the opportunity to comment on this as well.”
Visit www.asmfc.org for details on what was approved for public comment in both commercial and recreational fishing sectors as the original Draft Addendum VI has changed via striped bass board input and approval.
Where’s the bite?
Striped bass and bluefish: Capt. Rick Bellavance of Priority Too Charters and president of the Rhode Island Party & Charter Boat Association, said, “Striped bass fishing was fantastic his week at the southwest corner of Block Island. The bite is good in the morning as well as the afternoon. Polyjig parachutes are working for us. Others are catching bass on eels.” Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence, said, “It’s been lights out striped bass fishing at Block Island with eels and at the Cape Cod Canal for the past week. Law enforcement has cracked down on poaching on the Canal and, last week, issued over $8,000 in fines on the weekend. The fishing was so good there that bass were swimming between anglers’ legs as the bass had pushed bait up close to shore.” East End Eddie, noted Canal fisherman and author, said, “I caught a 34-inch striped bass this morning (Tuesday) on the Canal on an early west tide and the guy next to me landed a 35-incher. I stopped at Red Top Sporting Goods (Buzzards Bay) and while I was there, owner Tom Coots told me that Jacob, an associate there, caught a 50-pound fish last night at 5 p.m. in the Canal on a surface plug. He released the fish, but it bottomed out his 50-pound BogaGrip scale so it was probably heavier than 50.” Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick, said, “We had a customer put out an eel while black sea bass fishing at Seal Rock off Newport. Shortly after a 50-pound bass bit the eel. It took the angler 20 minutes to land the fish.”
Summer flounder, scup and black sea bass: Balck sea bass fishing continues to be good at Block Island. Anglers are drifting on the southwest side and doing well. “Shore anglers at Colt State Park, Sabin’s Point and other mid and upper Bay areas continue to do well catching scup. Customers have not had a good week for summer flounder as the bite seems to be off in the Bay.” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle said. Capt. Rick Bellavance noted that, “Black sea bass fishing could not be better with easy limits of 18- to 20-inch blue male fish common. A simple one hook rig with squid is all you need. Monster scup ae mixed in too. The summer flounder bite has been difficult with some dog fish, however some sharpies have been able to catch fluke.” Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle said, “The Bay is warm so angler are doing much better south of the Newport and Jamestown Bridges and out in front..”
Bonito have been off the southern coastal shore. “Two for three with bonito Sunday in the Charlestown beach area,” Dave Garzoli said. “Small Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow worked well. First found a few birds moving fast over them. Figured it was bonito. Stayed in the area and made a ton of blind casts to eventually hook up.”
Freshwater: Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait said, “A 6.5-pound, 25-inch largemouth bass was caught at Gorton Pond in Warwick. The customer was fishing from the town deck, he saw the largemouth circle his bait but did not take the minnow. Shortly after a small turtle made a move for the shiner and before he got there the largemouth came up and took the minnow. That largemouth wasn’t going let that turtle take ‘his’ minnow.” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle said. “Fishing for largemouth bass has been good. Last week, we weighed in a seven-pound bass a customer caught at Only Pond, Lincoln Woods. He was fishing for sun fish with his kids using worms and the largemouth took the worm.” Dave Henault of Ocean State said, “The largemouth bite continues to be good at Twin Rivers, Stump Pond and Only Pond in Lincoln.”