Massachusetts Proposes To Increase Striper Catch

The state of Massachusetts is proposing to increase the bag limit for recreationally caught striped bass...

The state of Massachusetts is proposing to increase the bag limit for recreationally caught striped bass, and tag an additional 193,000 pounds onto the striped bass quota for commercial, rod-and-reel fishermen.According to senior biologist Dan McKiernan, the proposal will allow recreational anglers to keep one trophy bass over 40 inches in addition to current regulations. For the past several seasons, Massachusetts anglers could only keep one fish over 28 inches, which led to many striper discards as anglers ''high-graded'' their catch to keep larger fish. McKiernan says allowing anglers to keep a 40-plus-inch striper will hopefully slow down high-grading.If the proposal is accepted by the Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Commission, the commercial quota will increase from 807,000 pounds to a total of 1 million pounds. This commercial fishery is strictly rod and reel, and dwarfs the amount of striped bass caught by recreational anglers, McKiernan says. Public hearings are scheduled for August 12 and 13, and a final ruling could happen as soon as the end of August. For more information, go to www.state.ma.us/dfwele/dmf/dmf_toc.htm.