Editor’s Log: Current And Future Changes - The Fisherman

Editor’s Log: Current And Future Changes

Some of you might know about the changes that have already taken place to the 2023 regulations. And while only one of them is actually relevant now, since porgy season already opened, another one will become relevant towards the end of June when that season opens as well. Aside from that, another major change is coming that could be regarded at the most impactful of them all. I’ll cover the ones that are official and the one that must become official by July 2nd.

Porgies (Scup)

The changes put into effect for porgies meet the ASMFC and MAFMC requirement of a 10% reduction in the quota for the 2023 season. Also, in case you were wondering, the ASMFC (Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission) is a commission of U.S. states formed to coordinate and manage fishery resources — including marine (saltwater) fish, shellfish, and anadromous fish (migratory fish that ascended rivers from the sea for spawning) along the Atlantic coast of the United States. The MAFMC (Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council) is one of eight regional fishery management councils established by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act in 1976 to manage fisheries within U.S. federal waters. They work together to implement necessary changes to manage the stock and ensure it stays healthy.

Basically, what a 10% reduction equated to for porgies was a new reduced size limit to 9-1/2 inches per fish for shorebound anglers while boaters have an increase in the size limit to 10-1/2 inches. Porgies will now have an open season from May 1 to December 30 with a 30 fish per person creel limit on private boats and off the land. For anglers aboard licensed party/charter boats the 30 fish per person limit increases to 40 fish per person from September 1 to October 30. After the 30th, the number goes back down to 30 fish.

Black Sea Bass

Black sea bass, similar to porgies, also saw a 10% reduction to the quota. Reaching that estimated reduction for the 2023 season was a little more straightforward than porgies. The only change to sea bass regulations for the season is a half-inch size increase from 16 inches last year to 16-1/2 inches this year. The seasons and bag limits will remain the same and they are the following: June 23 – August 31; 3 fish per person, September 1 – December 31; 6 fish per person. While sea bass season has not officially opened yet, be mindful of this change when it does at the end of June.

Striped Bass

What may just be one of the most controversial future regulation changes in a long time is none other than striped bass. While nothing is official yet in New York, it’s coming by July 2. The decision was made on May 2 by the Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board to approve an emergency action to implement a 31-inch maximum size limit for all 15 Atlantic coastal states that it oversees. And yes this means a new 28 – 31 inch slot size for them. The ASMFC said “This action responds to the unprecedented magnitude of 2022 recreational harvest, which is nearly double that of 2021, and new stock rebuilding projections, which estimate the probability of the spawning stock rebuilding to its biomass target by 2029 drops from 97% under the lower 2021 fishing mortality rate to less than 15% if the higher 2022 fishing mortality rate continues each year.” They also said “The board implemented the emergency 31-inch maximum size limit for 2023 to reduce harvest of the strong 2015-year class. The 31-inch maximum size limit applies to all existing recreational fishery.”

The action is not in effect yet in New York but ASMFC has given the state until July 2 to comply and make the necessary changes. The DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) will seek public comment on this once the regulation becomes official on their end. Also for those fishing north of the George Washington Bridge, this action does not affect you.

Please keep an eye on the Fisherman Magazine’s website or DEC’s Recreational Saltwater Fishing Regulations webpage for official changes and updates.

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