Striped bass reductions working, need to formalize conservation measures

Posted 8/19/21

By CAPT. DAVE MONTI The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s review of the performance of the 2020 striped bass fishery yielded some positive news. Coastal states reduced total …

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Striped bass reductions working, need to formalize conservation measures


By CAPT. DAVE MONTI The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s review of the performance of the 2020 striped bass fishery yielded some positive news. Coastal states reduced total striped bass removals by 28 percent in 2020, which is above the 18 percent reduction target from total removals coastwide in numbers of fish compared to 2017 levels.

This in part was done by new regulations of one fish/person/day in a slot size of 28 inches to less than 35 inches. The aim was to reduce mortality, particularly of larger female fish that have great egg bearing potential.

Total removals include commercial harvest, commercial dead discards, recreational harvest, and recreational release mortality. The reductions were outlined in Addendum VI to the striped bass management plan initiated in response to the 2018 benchmark assessment. The goal was to reduce total removals in order to end overfishing and reduce fishing mortality to the target levels in 2020.

The next stock assessment update for striped bass, scheduled to occur in 2022, will provide an update on the status of stock relative to the biological reference points. 

For more information about striped bass from the ASMFC contact Emilie Franke at or 703.842.0740.        


Low dissolved oxygen in southern Cape Cod Bay

The Massachusetts Division of Marine Affairs (DMF) issued a low oxygen level advisory for southern Cape Cod Bay on August 11. Low dissolved oxygen at lower levels of the water column can lead to fish kills with species that are not mobile and unable to move to waters that have greater oxygen levels. This includes fin fish, crabs and lobsters that may be caught in traps.

DMF said in an advisory, “Preliminary data indicate that dissolved oxygen (DO) levels are decreasing at some locations in the southern portion of Cape Cod Bay, within the same region that experienced low DO and hypoxic conditions in 2019 and 2020.”

DMF recommends fishermen check traps frequently, and possibly consider moving gear out of the affected region to prevent trapping lobsters or crabs in hypoxic conditions.

For information contact DMF at 617-626-1520 or visit

Where’s the bite?

Striped bass and bluefish

fishing has slowed in Narragansett Bay. John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside said, “It has been so warm that anglers haven’t gone out to fish in the afternoon. Most activity is at night with anglers catching some striped bass and bluefish at Barrington Beach and Colt State Park.” Large bluefish continue to make their presence know at Block Island, earlier this week we hooked up with a couple of 12 and 13-pound fish. Capt. Ray Stachelek of Cast-A-Fly Charters said, “We hooked up with what had to be a 15-pound bluefish, only to loose most of it to a seal off Block Island.” Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown, said, “The bass bite at Block Island is strong at night with eels and good during the day with anglers trolling tube & worm on the Southwest Ledge.” Jeff Sullivan, an associate at Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren said, “The striper bite on the Cape Cod Canal is exploding once again.  Anglers are catching slot and above slot fish.” The striped bass regulation is one fish/person/day that is in a slot limit between 28 inches to less than 35 inches.

Summer flounder, black area bass and scup

fishing at Block Island continues to be good. Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown, said, “Lots of cool reports today (Sunday). A large fluke 14 pounds and 29 inches was caught last week by Tom Torrico of Massachusetts at Block Island. And, this weekend the fluke were at the Hooter Buoy (off Pt. Judith) along with black sea bass.” However, in Narragansett Bay the black sea bass and scup slowed with warm weather. Last Friday we had difficulty picking up a decent drift and conditions were very warm off the Sakonnet River, off Newport and in the Bay with few fish expect scup. “Albert Bettencourt one of my good customers, said he and his son fished for fluke in the Bay last week and caught 17 short fluke (under 19 inchers) and just two keepers,” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle. 

Squeteague (weakfish).

 Angler John Kim reports on the RI Saltwater Anglers Association blog, “My buddy and I have caught keeper weakfish for the past two mornings just north of the Jamestown Bridge on the west side, in 20-40 feet of water.  This morning a massive school of them passed under us and they were going after the grub teasers on our BSB rigs. We thought they were bluefish at first because of the way they were fighting and peeling drag!  Literally snatched the grubs on the drop. Got a keeper each (21 and 22 inches).”


fishing season opened up August 1 with a three fish/person/day limit and a 10 fish per boat maximum, 16-inch minimum size (in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts). Associates at Quaker Lane Bait & Tackle, North Kingstown said the bite had been pretty good for the few anglers that have tautog fished so far. Angler Jeff Sullivan of Lucky Bait & Tackle, said, “Not many anglers have tried tautog fishing yet as there is so much else to fish for and the water is a bit warm to tautog fish.”


fishing has slowed with the heat. As things cool off a bit this week, fishing is expected to improve for largemouth bass.

Dave Monti holds a captain’s master license and charter fishing license. He serves on a variety of boards and commissions and has a consulting business focusing on clean oceans, habitat preservation, conservation, renewable energy, and fisheries related issues and clients. Forward fishing news and photos to or visit



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