To the editor:

Your newspaper recently carried an article titled “State weighs ban on commercial striper fishing.” As the group behind the legislation cited in the article, Stripers Forever would like to correct that misleading headline.

As the target of tens of thousands of passionate recreational anglers, striped bass are the most sought after and economically important sport fish along the U.S. Atlantic seaboard.

According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, anglers from around the world make hundreds of thousands of trips each year to try and catch a striped bass along their migratory range from South Carolina to Maine, and they spend a lot of money doing so.

Massachusetts is ground-zero for recreational striped bass fishing, generating over $1 billion in economic activity for the commonwealth when the fishery was at its peak. Even today, according to the Center for Ecological Economic and Ethical Education, “The recreational fishery in Massachusetts for wild striped bass dwarfs every other recreational and commercial fishery in this state.”

And, according to the center, it’s not even close. Recreationally caught wild striped bass generate 130 times more economic activity than their commercial value. What’s more, the value of the recreational striped bass fishery alone is equivalent to nearly 90 percent of Massachusetts’ total commercial fishery — finfish and shellfish combined.

The state’s own records show that of just over 3,000 commercial striped bass permit holders, fewer than one-third report the sale of any fish at all, while less than 6 percent historically report landing more than 1,000 pounds of striped bass per year.

Far from banning commercial fishing for striped bass, our bill protects, for their lifetime, those few hard-working individuals who make a living from the sea in part by selling striped bass. What H466 does accomplish is the elimination of a loophole that allows thousands of anglers to take unfair advantage of a low cost of entry to — according to the numbers — defray the cost of their bait, tackle, gas and coffee for a day on the water.

The current approach to striped bass management is further evidence that the commonwealth is still clinging to a romantic but obsolete memory of what used to be — a memory that has depleted our once-abundant fisheries, including cod.

Our bill is a step toward a clearer vision for the future of our state, its economy and the environment.

Michael Spinney

Townsend, Massachusetts