A meeting of the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council’s committee on striped bass was held at the Nacote Creek station on December 3rd along with its advisor’s to develop a new striped bass statute that affects size and possession limits proposed for 2015. The following is a quick update on the results of this meeting:

The Council is moving forward with two proposals to comply with the Atlantic State Marine Commission’s (ASMFC) mandate that our striped bass quota be reduced by 25% during 2015. To comply with this directive, the Council is considering two options and both of them allow for a possession of two striped bass. These options are NOT FINAL and they still have to approved by the ASMFC’s technical committee to ensure that they meet the 25% reduction. It is better to give this technical committee at least two options to review in the event one of them does not meet the technical committee’s approval. Only one of these two options can be our striped bass regulation for 2015.

1. 1st striped bass – 29 inches to 36 inches., 2nd fish – 36 inches and above (26% reduction).
2. 1st striped bass – 28 inches to 42 inches, 2nd fish 42 inches and above (24% reduction).

This option is the preferred one by the Council because it starts at 28 inches, just like our present striped bass regulations do today. It was felt by the Council and its advisors that it is better to start the regulations with 28 inches since our anglers are familiar with that number and using it will lessen the confusion if we start with other numbers. Also note that there are no gaps in these options so that anglers can better understand them.
There will also be a Bonus Tag program and details of it still have yet to be developed. The two options for it follow and they also have to be approved by the technical committee. Only one of them will receive final approval. Also, these options directly affect the above options. The distribution of the bonus tags also needs to be developed.

1. One striped bass 25 inches to 29 inches.
2. One striped bass 28 inches and above. This is the preferred option since it starts at 28 inches.

The new striped bass statute for 2015 needs approval by our legislators. The Council is moving quickly to receive final approvals from the ASMFC and its technical committee by mid-January and by our legislators in early March 2015 if not sooner. The New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council will hold its meeting on January 8th and take public comment on all these options.