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Mass. legislation may take striped bass off the menu

“There’s a large demand for it in season. That is the fish people come in to buy — not cod, but striped bass,” said Jason Putrell, assistant manager at Mac’s Market and Kitchen in North Eastham.

Healthy flats bass courtesy of www.longislandonthefly.com.

With the inshore stocks of many of the bread-and-butter staples like cod and flounders fished out, striped bass is one species that restaurants and fish markets can offer that is guaranteed to be freshly caught and local.

But two bills currently before the state Legislature would take striped bass out of display cases and off menus forever as they seek to end the commercial fishery in Massachusetts. Both bills have the same language, one on the House side presented by state Rep. Thomas Stanley, D-Waltham, and one in the Senate from former Sen. James Timilty, D-Walpole, who retired in 2017. These bills ban the commercial sale and harvesting of striped bass except for commercial fishermen who can demonstrate they averaged more than 1,000 pounds a year in landings for the preceding five years. But those would be phased out when the permit-holders either die or stop fishing. The permits couldn’t be transferred or sold.

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