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In a bold move, the Director of the RI DEM goes against the recommendation of the RI Marine Fisheries Council.

By Toby Lapinski  |  March 12, 2020
Rhode Island will be moving forward with Addendum VI coastwide measures for striped bass in 2020. (Photo courtesy of Booked Off Charters)

On March 2, 2020, a public hearing was held in Rhode Island to discuss (among other items) recreational striped bass regulations for 2020. On the agenda were the slate of ASMFC approved measures, including 1 fish, 28 - <35; OR 1 fish, 32 - <40 for all; OR split mode 1 fish, 32 - <40 private/shore and 1 fish, 30 - <40 for-hire. Public opinion was said to be somewhat divided with much of the for-hire fleet in favor of the split-mode options, and much of the private fleet in favor of the 28 - <35 option.

Based on the public comment entered at this hearing, the RI Marine Fisheries Council recommended the split mode of 1 fish, 32 - <40 private/shore and 1 fish, 30 - <40 for-hire boats to director Coit. Many, including myself, felt that this was a done deal which would result in Rhode Island passing differing regulations than its neighbors of Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York who all intend to pass the 28 - <35 slot. However, in a surprising turn of events, a press release was distributed on March 12, 2020, which noted the following by Janet Coit, Director of the RI Department of Environmental Management.

For the reasons detailed below, I find that it is in the best interest of the striped bass resource, and the Rhode Island recreational fishing community as a whole, to enact the Addendum VI coastwide measure of a one fish bag limit, slot limit of 28" - <35", with a season open year round, for the entire Rhode Island recreational striped bass fishery. The regulation applies to the 2020 calendar year and is subject to revision in the future.

The complete announcement can be found here, with the quote referenced above beginning on page 4.