The state Division of Marine Fisheries is seeking comment on proposed recreational fishing rules designed to enhance striped bass conservation and improve for-hire compliance in state waters.

The proposed regulations will be discussed at two public hearings, including Feb. 27 at 6 p.m. at DMF’s Annisquam River Station on Emerson Avenue in Gloucester. The other public hearing is set for 6 p.m. on Feb. 26 at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay.

The DMF measures include three proposals related to striped bass, or stripers, including a ban on the gaffing or attempted gaffing of the species.

The agency also proposes to force anglers, beginning in 2020, to use circle hooks when fishing for striped bass with whole or cut natural bait. The rule would not apply to artificial lures with bait attached.

The state agency also proposes to open the commercial striped bass fishery “on the first open fishing day on or after June 13 and have open fishing days on Mondays and Wednesdays.” It also is proposing “to allow seafood dealers to import non-conforming-sized striped bass from other jurisdictions year-round provided the fish are tagged and lawfully harvested in the state of origin.”

DMF also seeks to enhance compliance with recreational fishing measures in for-hire fisheries by “prohibiting all for-hire operations from conducting commercial fishing activity while patrons are on board.”

The agency is considering measures that only would apply to head boats, which are larger than charter boats, fishing for scup or black sea bass in May and June. The measure would direct the operators to separate the catch of individual anglers “as well as prohibiting crew from selling or exchanging catch with patrons.”

DMF also proposes allowing draggers fishing with small mesh to keep up to 2,000 pounds of scup per trip between April 15 and June 15.

The final proposed measure would clarify that it is unlawful “for commercial fishermen to transfer any fish at-sea that are managed by a trip limit.” It would allow buy boats working on behalf of an authorized dealer to possess trip limits of all managed species.

Contact Sean Horgan at 978-675-2714, or shorgan@g

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Plan to attend!
The second 2019 Fisheries Forum will be this Saturday, February 23 at Batsto Village in Wharton State Forest at 10:00 a.m. Topics include:

  • Bass Sampling Highlights in Central/South NJ Lakes
  • Restoration Projects Update

Suggestions for regulation changes for 2021 will be welcomed during the open discussion. There is also time for one-on-one discussions with DFW fisheries biologists following the meeting.

Parkway Directions from South Jersey: 
Take the Garden State Parkway North to Exit #50 (New Gretna), exit to Route 9 North to Citgo gas station. Turn left onto Route 542, continue for 12 miles; Batsto Village is on the right.

Parkway Directions from North Jersey: 
Take the Garden State Parkway South to Exit #52 (New Gretna). Turn right at stop sign onto E. Greenbush Road. Make left at next stop sign. Go over two small wooden bridges. Pilgrim Lake Campground will be on the right. Make left onto Leektown Road. Continue 2 miles to a stop sign. Stay straight on Leektown Road. Continue 3 miles to stop sign. Turn right onto Route 542 West. Stay on 542 for approximately 9 miles. Batsto Village is on the right.

From Trenton/Mt. Holly Area: 
Take Route 206 South to mile marker #3 and make a left onto Route 613. Continue on 613 and make left onto Route 693. Follow 693 until the road ends and make left onto Route 542; Batsto Village is on your left.

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Nick Luna

The classic chicken scratch pattern a color scheme in the bomber that has bailed so many fish over the years had to do my own rendition!!

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