MA Schedules Hearings on Commercial Striped Bass Fishery

Striped Bass, courtesy Wikipedia.
Striped Bass, courtesy Wikipedia.

The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) and the Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission have scheduled public hearings and a public comment period on proposed regulation changes affecting the commercial striped bass fishery. The proposed changes are as follows:

Commercial Tagging:

To comply with the interstate management plan for striped bass, DMF is proposing to establish a point-of-sale tagging program. This proposal would require primary buyers of striped bass to affix a lockable, single-use, tamper-evident, and non-transferable striped bass identification tag through the mouth and the gills of the striped bass immediately upon purchase and transfer from a commercial fisherman.

These tags would remain affixed to the whole bass until the fish is processed into fillets. If the fillets are packaged and re-sold, the striped bass tag must accompany the fillets. If portions of processed or filleted fish are sold directly to the consumer, the tags are to remain on the premise of the seafood dealer or food establishment until all portions are sold. Once all portions of the striped bass are sold, the tag is to be cut into 2 pieces and discarded.

The number of striped bass tags available to primary buyers will be dictated by the size of the annual quota. DMF will make striped bass tags available to all primary buyers of striped bass prior to the start of the season. The quantity of the striped bass tags initially received by primary buyers will be based on striped bass purchasing history. Additional tags may be made available upon request to DMF.

On an annual basis, primary buyers would return their unused tags to DMF and submit a tag accounting report on forms provided by DMF. These items are due to DMF after the close of the commercial striped bass season and within 30 days of a written request from the Director. Future participation as a primary buyer of striped bass may be restricted for failure to comply.

Commercial Season & Limits:

DMF is proposing to reduce the number of open commercial fishing days to as few as 2 per week and reduce the commercial striped bass daily trip limit from the current 30 fish per day to as low as 10 fish per day for commercial boat permit holders and just 2 fish per day for holders of individual or rod-and-reel permits. The DMF also proposes to open the commercial fishery earlier than the current July 12 date. New opening dates from June 1 through July 11 will be considered.

The DMF also is proposing to prohibit for-hire (charter) permit holders from engaging in commercial striped bass fishing with clients aboard, and to prohibit dealers from purchasing more than one daily trip limit from a commercial fisherman during a calendar day, regardless of the number of permits that individual has in his/her possession. Lastly, the DMF proposes to establish a control date for all commercial striped bass regulated fishery permits. The control date may be used to limit entry into the commercial striped bass fishery in the future.

Public Hearing Schedule:

  • February 11, 2014, 6:00 p.m.; Plymouth Harbor Radisson,180 Water Street, Plymouth, MA 02360
  • February 12, 2014, 6:30 p.m.; Gloucester High School Auditorium, 32 Leslie O Johnson Road, Gloucester, MA 01930
  • Public comments will be accepted until 5:00 p.m., Friday, February 21, 2014.

Please e-mail all public comments to or send to the attention of Jared Silva at 251 Causeway Street, Suite 400, Boston, MA 02114.

For further information or to obtain a copy of the full proposed regulations, contact Jared Silva by phone (617) 626-1534 or (