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DEC Adopts New Recreational Fishing Regulations for Striped Bass in Ma – Blue Water Fish

DEC Adopts New Recreational Fishing Regulations for Striped Bass in Marine Waters

New Slot Limit Complies with ASMFC Requirements for Striped Bass Spawning Stock Protection

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced the adoption of new regulations in the State's marine waters for recreational Atlantic striped bass fishing. The new recreational slot limit of 28 to 31 inches takes effect immediately and is set as required by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) to reduce recreational harvest. The recreational slot limit in the Hudson River north of the George Washington Bridge remains 18 to 28 inches.

New York State works cooperatively with the ASMFC and all East Coast states under the Atlantic Striped Bass Interstate Fishery Management Plan (leaves DEC website). On May 2, 2023, the ASMFC Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board approved an emergency action to implement a 31-inch maximum size limit (leaves DEC website) for the striped bass recreational fishery for 2023. This action was taken in response to the large increase in recreational harvest of striped bass in 2022, and repeated years of poor reproductive success. The new slot limit is intended to protect a large proportion of the remaining adults to allow them to contribute to future spawning and stock rebuilding. ASMFC will continue to monitor harvest and success of spawning stock rebuilding, and if it deems necessary, may extend the emergency action for two additional periods of up to one year each.

New York's failure to implement the 28- to 31-inch slot limit for recreational striped bass fishing in marine waters would place the state out of compliance with ASMFC requirements and could result in the closure of New York's recreational and commercial striped bass fisheries. DEC continues to advocate for New York's marine resources and fishing community by participating in all levels of marine fisheries management to help ensure abundant and sustainable recreational and commercial fishing opportunities.

The complete text of the rulemaking is available on DEC's website. DEC is accepting comments on the regulations from July 6, through Sept. 5, 2023. Written comments can be sent by mail to Caitlin Craig, New York State DEC, 123 Kings Park Blvd., Kings Park, NY 11754, or by email to fw.marine@dec.ny.gov.

In March 2023, DEC prohibited the use or attempted use of gaffs when recreationally fishing for Atlantic striped bass. The full text of the regulation can be found at DEC's website. DEC has also required the use of circle hooks when fishing with bait for striped bass since 2021. These regulations intend to reduce release mortality in recreational striped bass fisheries, as required by ASMFC Amendment 7 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass (leaves DEC website). DEC encourages all recreational anglers to carefully handle and safely release fish not being kept. For information on best handling practices for saltwater fishing, visit DEC's website.

For current regulations, check DEC's Recreational Saltwater Fishing Regulations. Anglers must enroll in the annual no-fee Recreational Marine Fishing Registry before fishing New York's Marine and Coastal District waters or when fishing in the Hudson River and its tributaries for "migratory fish of the sea." Anglers can enroll for the registry online, by phone (1-866-933-2257, option 2), or by visiting a license-issuing agent location.

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