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2017 BLACK SEA BASS CHANGES SET

Following the May 12, 2017 meeting of the ASMFC in Alexandria, VA, recreational black sea bass regulations have been adjusted.
By Toby Lapinski  |  May 15, 2017
2017 BLACK SEA BASS CHANGES SET
The ASMFC has enacted changes to the Wave 6 recreational regulations for black sea bass in 2017. (Photo by Andrew Oliveri)

When the 2017 recreational black sea bass regulations were announced throughout the spring, some states, like Connecticut for instance, noted that, “Rules for black sea bass may change during 2017.” This notation was included as, at the time, the 2016 Wave 6 data had not been reviewed.

Wave 6 includes the months of November and December, a time when many states increase their daily bag limit and when black sea bass harvest generally increases as the fish move offshore and mix with other target species such as cod. The waters off Block Island, for instance, see a great mixed-bag fishery which includes the possibility to target cod, black sea bass, scup and fluke on the same trip.

On the afternoon of Wednesday, May 12, at the spring meeting of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), the subject of 2017 black sea bass regulations was discussed. While initially a motion to “close the recreational black sea bass fishery in Wave 6 (November 1 through December 31) in state waters for the states of Massachusetts through New Jersey and maintain all other management measures from 2016” was proposed by David Pierce (MA) and seconded by John Bullard (NOAA.) A substitute motion was proposed by Bob Ballou (RI) and seconded by Mark Alexander (CT) to “impose a 5-fish possession limit for recreational black sea bass in Wave 6 in state waters for RI through NJ and maintain all other management measures for 2017.”

It was then amended by Adam Nowalsky (NJ) “to allow for conservation equivalency.” It was discussed/noted that proposals for conservation equivalency are always permitted (so long as it meets approval of Technical Committee) and the motion eventually carried (passed) by a vote of 9 in favor, 2 opposed and 2 abstained.

The following was included in the May 12, 2017 Press Release from the ASMFC:

The Board also reviewed the final 2016 black sea bass recreational harvest estimates and considered changes to current measures to meet the 2017 RHL. Based on the performance of the 2016 fishery, which indicated a reduction is needed to stay within the 2017 RHL, the Board set the possession limit for wave 6 (November/December 2017) at five fish in state waters from Rhode Island through New Jersey. All other state measures remain unchanged from 2016.

For more information, please contact Kirby Rootes‐Murdy, Senior Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at krootes‐murdy@asmfc.org or 703.842.0740.

Recreational black sea bass regulations will now be changed as follows in the following Northeast states. Once again, this is subject to change should a state propose alternate measurements through conservation equivalency:

  • Massachusetts: NO CHANGE as the season is closed in Wave 6.
  • Rhode Island: Bag limit REDUCED from 7 fish to 5 fish in Wave 6. &-fish bag limit would remain from October 22 – October 31. A public hearing has been scheduled for June 12 at 6:00 pm.
  • Connecticut: NO CHANGE as bag limit already set at 5 fish in Wave 6.
  • New York: Bag limit REDUCED from 10 fish to 5 fish in Wave 6.

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