The Department of Natural Resources proposes to extend the fall rockfish season by 12 days for recreational and charterboat fishermen while continuing a minimum size limit of 18 inches and allowing anglers to keep two per day.
As proposed, the season would open Aug. 24 and run through Nov. 23.
Under guidelines set by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, the seasons could have been extended further, but after discussions at the recent Striped Bass Summit, a cautious approach was chosen.
The summit was attended by representatives of commercial, recreational and charterboat user groups as well as DNR fisheries staff.
"While there is a variety of opinions between and within the user groups, all agree on the importance of protecting the resource and fishing at a conservative level," said DNR Secretary John Griffin. "We are continuing a conservative course in managing the striped bass fishery."
DNR estimates there is a 2-million-pound reserve of striped bass stocks and that recreational, charter-boat and commercial fisheries will catch at a rate well below that allowed by the ASMFC.
The ASMFC is a federal group that oversees coastal fisheries that catch migratory stocks such as rockfish (striped bass).
Recreational and charterboat fishermen will receive an allocation of approximately 2,776,000 pounds.
On the commercial side, the hook and line fishery would receive a larger portion of the commercial allocation of approximately 2,350,000 pounds, while the share for the drift gill net fishery would be reduced.
The pound net/haul seine season would run June 2-Nov. 28, with an 18-inch minimum and a quota of 587,000 pounds and individual seasonal quotas per net.
The hook and line season would run July 7-Nov. 28, with an 18-inch minimum and a quota of 352,000 pounds.
The bay gill net would run Dec. 1 through Feb. 27 with a total quota of 1,410,000 pounds and equal monthly quotas. It, too, would have an 18-inch minimum length.
Public meetings on the ruling are scheduled from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on April 28 at Annapolis High School and April 29 at Easton High School.
Pub Date: 4/20/97