Maryland Sets New Regulations to Conserve Species

News Release, Maryland Department of Natural Resources

TheMaryland Department of Natural Resourcesannounces the opening of the Chesapeake Bay summer-fallstriped bassseason May 16in most of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries.

Under the new final regulations, the 2020 summer-fall seasonin most areas of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributariesis open May 16 through Aug. 15, and Sept. 1 through Dec. 10. Anglers will be able to keep one striped bass per person, per day, with a minimum size of 19 inches. The season will be closed on all other dates. During the closure period from Aug. 16 through Aug. 31, anglers will be prohibited from targeting striped bass, which includes catch-and-release and charter boats. During a chartered fishing trip, the captain or mate would not be permitted to land or possess striped bass for personal consumption.

The season dates are valid only until the end of the 2020 season. At the end of the 2020 season, fishery managers and scientists will review the effectiveness of these measures based on observations and data and may revise the regulations accordingly.

The department reminds all anglers that all conservation efforts implemented by the department last year, including the required use ofcircle hooks, remain in effect. More information on how to properly catch and release can be found on the department’swebsite.

The2018 benchmark stock assessment for striped bassindicated declines in the striped bass population, so the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) has determined that conservation measures are needed for the 2020 fishing season to reduce the amount of striped bass being removed. This includes dead discards, which are fish that die after being caught and returned to the water.

Also, in an effort to improve data collection for striped bass, the department has launched apilot program of the E-reporting with FACTS systemfor charter boats to begin this spring and continue through the summer-fall season. Participating captains will be required to use FACTS and, as a participant in the pilot program, will be allowed to keep 2 striped bass per guest per trip. Only one of those two fish may be greater than 28 inches.

FACTS is an e-Reporting system that will provide real-time data on harvest, discards, and fishing activity. Electronic reporting in Maryland requires that participants send a Trip Start Hail before they leave the dock and a Trip End Hail before they return to the dock.

Additionally, restrictions and guidelines remain in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19; the latest updates are provided on the DNR website.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...