Commercial Season for Striped Bass Is Open, and Here's the Controversy

Jul 7, 2017

Credit Jenny Junker

On June 26 the commercial fishing season opened for striped bass. As of Friday, July 7, just over 100,000 lbs of striper have been landed, or about 13% of the yearly state quota of 800,885 lbs. 

This is good news for people who don't fish, or fisherman not having a lucky day, in that locally caught striped bass should be available at fish markets, and you should be able to find it on the menu at restaurants. 

But within Massachusetts there has been a long-running discussion about whether there should even be a commercial fishery on striped bass.

Recreational fishing brings about $800,000,000 to the Massachusetts economy each year, and a lot of that is generated around fishing for striped bass. With striped bass being a finite resource, and Massachusetts's portion of the stock being closely managed, the argument is that striped bass are more valuable as a game fish than as a commercially harvested species. 

"Most of the commercial fisherman who target striped bass [in Massachusetts], they're really recreational fishermen, for the most part, in sportfishing boats, who participate in this commercial striped bass fishery to supplement their incomes, pay for baits, pay for gas—that type of thing," says Kevin Blinkoff, of On The Water magazine.  

We dive into the details of commercial striped bass fishing, and we round up the weekly fishing action (slow start to tuna) in the Fishing News, below.  Give it a listen.