New Pre-Season Striped Bass Catch & Release Rules Begin on March 22
Annapolis, MD (March 12, 2010) — The Maryland Department of Natural
Resources (DNR) Fisheries Service will implement new regulations March 22
addressing pre-season striped bass fishing. These restrictions will be in effect
until the April 17 start of the spring trophy season. The regulations are being
introduced to address a serious concern over sub-lethal impacts on pre-spawn
female striped bass, that are moving up the Chesapeake Bay to their spawning
grounds in March and April.
“It is never easy to restrict the access and opportunity to a resource, but let’s not forget how far we have come from the striped bass moratorium of 20 years ago,” said DNR Fisheries Director Tom O’Connell. “We are fortunate that all sectors of our fishing community benefit today from the sacrifices of past management efforts. The latest stock assessment raises some concerns that require us to pause and evaluate how our actions may be impacting the long-term sustainability of this resource. If we remain vigilant and prudent in our management of this resource, we will ensure that our premier striped bass fishery will remain available for us and future generations to enjoy.”
Preseason recreational fishing has increased since 2002 causing concern among fisheries biologists and managers over the potential effect of the stress of being caught, handled, and released.
These restrictions apply in all open catch and release areas. The catch and release fishing areas include the Chesapeake Bay from the Brewerton Channel to the Virginia line including Tangier and Pokomoke Sounds. Spawning rivers and the Upper Bay spawning area are off limits until June 1 to striped bass fishing.
The Preseason Regulations:
The spring trophy season runs from April 17 through midnight on May 15 with a
creel of one fish and size limit of 28 inches or longer. The open fishing area
includes the Chesapeake Bay from the Brewerton Channel to the Virginia line
including the Tangier and Pocomoke Sounds. From May 16 through December 15, the
creel limit is two with a minimum size of 18 inches. However, only one of those
two fish may be longer than 28 inches.
These actions to reduce the impact of angler encounters prior to the opening of the season should not be seen as the endpoint of DNR’s efforts to ensure adequate protection of pre-spawn stripers. DNR will continue to evaluate the situation and will work with representative stakeholders to determine if additional restrictions are prudent going forward into 2011 and beyond. Additionally, DNR will continue to promote ethical and careful catch and release practices with outreach and education efforts online and in person.
To view a chart of open catch and release and spring trophy season areas go to www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/regulations/sbrecseasons/sbregmap022.
|March 12, 2010||
Contact: Josh Davidsburg
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2009, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 467,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries, and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic, and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov