There are some new striper fishing regulations you should be aware of in the Garden State.
Some new striped bass regulations were just approved by the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council as a result of over-angling and could be in place as early as May.
NJ.com reports the council approved new slot limits that only allow anglers to keep one fish per trip. The size limits are 28 inches minimum and 38 inches maximum. All other striped bass must be released. According to NJ.com, the news isn't entirely surprising.
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) had determined the species was overfished last year. This commission will ultimately decide whether to approve them. If approved, they will go into effect May 15.
The news site additionally reports the meeting where the rules were approved was heavily attended by the public. Many anglers are already not happy with the decision.
"When people do have the opportunity to catch a world record (fish), it would be nice if they could weigh that in and get the recognition they need for all the hard work and everything they've done to catch something like that," Charter captain Fletcher Chayes said at the meeting. "But we want to protect the breeders and that means giving up something, so it looks like we're going to be giving up the trophy tag. It's tough, but we've got to do it."
That trophy tag he's talking about was a proposition for striped bass fishing enthusiasts to keep one fish over 43 inches in length. The state's council rejected the idea. However, they are going to keep the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife's "striped bass bonus program" that allows anglers to keep an additional fish between the minimum size of 28 and maximum of 28 inches. For now, the wildlife agency's website says they are not accepting applications for the program pending final decisions on the matter.
The regulation changes New Jersey is proposing aren't far off what the ASMFC recommended last year. They had set a maximum size of 35 inches that applied to all coastal states last October. The commission wanted to give states the option of creating their own regulations. The goal of the ASMFC is to reduce striped bass harvests along the coasts by 18 percent.
A quick survey of social media channels in New Jersey reveals this is a hot button issue with saltwater fishing enthusiasts seemingly divided on the new regulations. It remains to be seen if these changes could affect popular New Jersey fishing spots or charter boats along the Jersey shore. Some people expressed concerns about lessening tourism with fewer surf anglers flocking to popular spots along the coast.
We will keep an eye on this story and bring you updates as bass season approaches here at Wide Open Spaces.
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