Commercial striped bass season opened on Sunday with mixed reviews from fishermen. Fishmongers, however, are happy to have the desirable fish in stock again for the Island’s many interested customers.
Striped bass is a highly regulated fishery, especially on the commercial side. Last year the season come to a quick end on August 9 when fishermen reached their allowable catch about a month after the season opened.
In order to prolong the season as much as possible, fishermen are only allowed to catch striped bass on certain days. Rod and reel fishermen who have a commercial striped bass permit are allowed to pursue the fish on Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. They have a bag limit of five fish on Sunday and 30 fish on the three other remaining days. The minimum size is 34 inches.
The total allowable catch for Massachusetts commercial striped bass anglers this year is 997,869 pounds, down from 2012.
Recreational fishermen have no specified season, but they also have a substantially smaller bag limit. They may catch two striped bass per day at a minimum size of 28 inches.
Louis Larsen of the Net Result fish market said he knows of fishermen having a hard time, but he also knows a few who have had success since the season opened earlier this week. Mr. Larsen said angler Jeffrey Canha showed up at his store on Wednesday morning with a 54-pound striped bass. It was one of eight fish he brought in, he said, the smallest being 45 pounds.
Sandra Healy of John’s Fish Market in Tisbury said she got her first striped bass on Sunday from one of her favorite anglers, Scott Terry.
Michael Holtham, local seafood coordinator with the wholesale seafood handler Menemsha Fish House, said fish were landed on Sunday and Tuesday, but the numbers were lower than he and the anglers would like.
“We didn’t get that many,” said Mr. Holtham on Wednesday. On Tuesday, they saw a dozen fish.
Of course, it’s not just striped bass that was highly prized this week. Mr. Holtham reported he saw the first yellowfin tuna on Monday.
Menemsha Fish House bought seven of them. “It was all sold by noon time” the next day, Mr. Holtham said.