The commercial striped bass fishing season has ended early in Massachusetts, after the state Division of Marine Fisheries projected the annual quota for the fish was reached last week.

DMF allowed for 700,379 pounds for striped bass to be caught by commercial fishermen this year, during a season lasting from June 19th to August 11. That quota was a reduction of around 35,000 pounds from the 2022 quota.

“It was a strong season,” said Crockett Cataloni, co-owner of Edgartown Seafood fish market, He attributed the early closure to fishermen’s success bringing in a consistent catch.  The market had no problem selling out of striper each week this summer, Mr. Cataloni said, even at the price of 34.99 a pound for filets. “It’s a nice-looking white fish and people go crazy for striper,” he said.

The fishery closure comes at a time when the striped bass fishery has gone under increasing scrutiny. In May, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), a federal body which regulates the fishery on the east coast, took emergency action to protect the species, restricting recreational fishermen to only keep fish between 28 and 31 inches.

That restriction, done to protect a particularly strong class of breeding age fish, was extended into October 2024, according to a release sent out by ASMFC earlier this month. The body intends to put forth a draft rules to protect the fishery next year.

Some activists have criticized the management of the commercial fishery, which was not required to conform to that emergency size restriction. According to data from federal fisheries landings database, commercial fishermen harvested 3.5 million pounds of striped bass in 2021, compared to 16 million by recreational fishermen.

Phoebe Walsh, manager at the Martha’s Vineyard Seafood Collaborative, hopes the fishery closure will push people to try unfamiliar kinds of seafood.

“I think there’s so many other fish that are incredible,” she said. “This gets chefs and the consumer to expand their palate.”