By Marc Folco for South Coast Today
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n saltwater fishing news this week, MarineFisheries has adopted a new measure to prevent unlawful “stockpiling” of striped bass on closed commercial fishing days for the striped bass fishery. Stockpiling refers to harvesting fish on a closed commercial fishing day to be sold on a following open commercial day, which is illegal.
Beginning on June 20 through the end of the commercial season, commercial striped bass fishermen fishing recreationally on a closed commercial fishing day must remove the entire right pectoral fin from any striped bass 34 inches or greater that they retain. To aid in enforcement, this rule also applies to any person fishing aboard a vessel that is either named on a commercial striped bass permit endorsement or carrying the holder of a commercial striped bass permit endorsement.
Concurrently, dealers are prohibited from purchasing and selling any striped bass that has had its right pectoral fin removed as such a fish designates a recreationally-caught fish and therefore is illegal to buy and/or sell.
Commercial striped bass regulations establish a start date of June 23 for the seasonal fishery and open fishing days of Monday and Thursday. For 2015, this means the commercial fishery begins on June 25. Accordingly, the requirement to remove the right pectoral fin is active this year from June 20-24, followed by every Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday until the season closes (quota dependent).
The harvester must remove the right pectoral fin immediately after measuring and retaining a fish 34 inches or greater. The entire fin must be completely removed and a video has been posted to MarineFisheries’ YouTube channel:[youtube id=”MANcmgJLx7Q” width=”620″ height=”360″]
The marking of fish by fin removal provides law enforcement officers and seafood dealers the ability to identify a recreationally harvested and retained striped bass and keep it out of commerce.MarineFisheries and the Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission have scheduled a public comment period and a hearing on recently-enacted emergency regulations, as well as newly-proposed regulations affecting the recreational Gulf of Maine cod and haddock fisheries, the recreational black sea bass fishery and the commercial Gulf of Maine groundfish fishery.The emergency regulations enacted on April 16 prohibited the retention and landing of Gulf of Maine cod from state-waters by recreational fishermen. MarineFisheries is also proposing to enact recreational Gulf of Maine haddock limits of three fish per day with a minimum size of 17 inches to match federal regulations.