From Stripers Forever:

A petition signed by more than 1,000 fishermen requesting a 50 percent reduction in both the recreational and commercial harvest of wild striped bass starting with the upcoming 2013 season has been delivered by Stripers Forever to Paul Diodati, Director of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries.

“The recreational catch of striped bass in Massachusetts has declined by nearly 90 percent since 2006, yet the harvest levels have remained undiminished,” said Dean Clark, co-chair of the Massachusetts chapter of Stripers Forever, an internet-based conservation organization which advocates for responsible stewardship of wild stripers. “The great majority of stripers that migrate every year to Massachusetts waters are spawned in the Chesapeake Bay and there has only been one good spawning year in the Bay since 2006. To compound matters, microbacteriosis, a fish wasting disease which affects striped bass, is rampant in those waters.”

“The striped bass clearly is in trouble,” Clark added. “The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which has overall responsibility for the fishery coastwide, is notoriously slow in making changes in the way it manages a resource. So to make sure the striped bass doesn’t go the way of the cod in Commonwealth waters, Stripers Forever is asking Massachusetts to act proactively.”

Stripers Forever believes that striped bass in Massachusetts should be managed as game fish, just as they are in Maine, New Hampshire and Connecticut. The recreational fishery is many times more valuable socially and economically than the commercial fishery. But because of the real threat posed by continuing the unsustainable high striper harvest in Massachusetts, Stripers Forever has decided to put the game fish issue aside for the moment and push for anglers and commercial harvesters to take a 50 percent cut for conservation.

For more information, contact Dean Clark at [email protected] or 508-769-9765.