Maine striped bass are having a great season, worries fisheries regulators

Larger striped bass have arrived off the coast of Maine earlier than expected, but the popular fish has regulators worried.

FREEPORT, Maine – Local fishermen are reporting a robust start to the striped bass season, as migratory fish move from the mid-Atlantic coast to the upper northeast.

But despite more fish and larger specimens arriving earlier in the year, federal regulators are sounding the alarm.

A May report from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission revealed a plan to increase management triggers and efforts to reduce fish deaths that occur during catch and release. water.

The report is based on 2018 research that found striped bass were overfished along the Atlantic coast.

“The results show that the stock was overfished and there was overfishing. Specifically, this will increase the sensitivity of our recruitment trigger,” said Megan Ware of the Maine Department of Marine Resources.

She added that they would track the number of baby striped bass and determine further adjustments if necessary.

Ware said a new striped bass count report will be available by the end of the year to see if any more limits need to be added to the bass harvest. Currently, to keep a fish, it must be between 28 and 35 inches. Anglers can only keep one fish per day.

The report says the goal is for the population to reach healthier numbers by 2029.

Maine anglers are hoping the season will continue through mid-October.

“It never gets old. I caught my first fish when I was eight and have been looking for it ever since,” said David Tyson, a Maine fishing guide in Freeport.

Tyson runs Balding Eagle Enterprises, with his 20ft boat, at Strouts Marina in Freeport. He said seeing the expression on newcomers’ faces when they land a striped bass was worth it.

“This is our fourth season here full time, I love it…love it.”

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