ASMFC Meets This Week Via Webinar - The Fisherman

ASMFC Meets This Week Via Webinar

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASFMC) is meeting this week via webinar; members of the public interested in sitting in on the session can visit

The Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board is expected to meet on Monday morning, reconvening again on Tuesday, August 4 at 3 p.m.  One item of note that should come out of discussions via webinar at the ASMFC this week is Addendum VI to the striped bass fishery management approved in November of 2019.  Among changes to recreational size/possession limits and commercial quotas, the addendum included a section that mandates the use of non-offset circle hooks when using bait and fishing for striped bass.  The states are required to implement regulations to meet this requirement, with the first step in that process including the states submitting circle hook implementation plans to the ASMFC no later than August 15.

“Those plans will be reviewed and then approved by the ASMFC at their annual meeting in the fall of 2020,” said John Depersenaire from the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA).  While the agency buzz within some coastal states is the significant enforcement challenge that a gear mandate will bring, some states like Massachusetts have already implemented a partial circle hook requirement for striped bass fishing; partial meaning that Mass has required it for private anglers, but not for the commercial sector or those fishing on for-hire trips.

“There is some question whether ASMFC will allow section 1) to stand which provides an exemption to the circle hook requirement when fishing on a for-hire boat,” Depersenaire said.  It will be interesting to see how New Jersey and Delaware respond to the August 15 deadline, but the fact that the ASFMC addendum leaves wiggle room for different set of rules for private anglers versus those on for-hire boats could be

Sometime by April of 2021, recreational anglers will be required to use an in-line circle hook when fishing for striped bass with whole or cut natural baits. A circle hook is defined as a fishing hook designed and manufactured so that the point of the hook is not offset from the plane of the shank and bend and is turned perpendicularly back towards the shank to form a circular or oval shape.  The circle hook requirement does not necessarily apply when a recreational angler is fishing with natural bait attached to an artificial lure that is trolled, jigged, or casted and retrieved (e.g., ‘tube and worm’)

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