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Tidal council trying to revise regulations for striped bass quota

Benjamin Smith with his state record striped bass, weighing 52 pounds. It was caught in December 2012.

Some local anglers are frustrated by catching striped bass that are too big to keep.

So DNREC officials are looking at asking the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to change some newly implemented regulations.


DNREC Fisheries Administrator John Clark says there’s a quota set by the commission that limits harvest by size and amount.

They’ve cut harvest back by 25 percent, but are looking for ways to still allow anglers to have a 2-fish possession limit daily.

"We’re not in a situation where we’re overfishing and the stock is not overfished by any means but because it is such a singular species for the entire range on the Atlantic coast and it’s so popular, there was a lot of pressure for the Atlantic states to cut back the harvest of striped bass," Clark said.

And Clark says most fishermen are walking away empty-handed because they’re catching fish too big to meet regulations. Harvest is limited to two fish at a size of 28 to 37 inches each. Fish that are greater than 44 inches are considered trophy fish and are allowed to be kept, but fish between 38 to 43 inches are not.

"We could probably get a 25 percent reduction on a recreational catch if we changed the minimum size to 33 inches or 34 inches, something like that," Clark said. "So those are the types of options we’re going to come up with for the recreational public."

Clark says DNREC and the Tidal Fin Fish Advisories Council are trying to come up with some options allowing anglers to continue to catch 2 fish a day while increasing the minimum size so they don’t have to throw them back. They might petition the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to change the size limit.

They’ll talk more at a meeting in October.

Katie Peikes, Delaware Public Media.

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