MSK1962

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  1. Here's the original article from Martha's VIneyard times 3/8 An ebb in the striped bass population stands to trigger a modest cut in commercial striper allowances and a possible increase in the size limits. “The prognosis is not grim,” Michael Armstrong, assistant director of Marine Fisheries, said of striper stock vitality. However, in order to keep the population healthy and regenerative, he said the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) is likely to reduce the commercial quota of the fish by approximately 15 percent. Armstrong is chairman of the ASMFC Atlantic Striper Bass Board. He stressed that percentile is speculative, and subject to an agreement of the 15 member states of the commission. “The current dip in population is related to environmental conditions in the Chesapeake Bay from 2005 to 2010,” he said. More specifically, he said, the dip was related to “river flow conditions in the spring,” and stressed natural cycles and fluctuations were at play. In the commonwealth, the present commercial size minimum is 34 inches. He does not anticipate this will change. However, he deemed it possible the 28-inch minimum for recreational stripers might be raised by an inch. Also, he said, it’s possible a size cap of 40 inches might be considered. He emphasized nothing is set in stone. Armstrong said the state is poised to require the use of circle hooks for all striper bait fishing. Circle hooks “reduce the incident of gut-hooking by 90 percent,” he said. Gut-hooking or deep-hooking occurs when a fish ingests a hook or gets it caught in its gills. The removal of such a hook for catch and release causes injury to the fish. Armstrong wrote at length on circle hooks and the data that supports their utility in the final Division of Marine Fisheries newsletter of 2018. “Massachusetts recreational anglers released almost 13 million striped bass in 2017,” he wrote. “If we apply the release mortality rate of 9 percent, that means over 1 million striped bass died after being released. That’s compared to only 300,000 that were taken home and eaten!” While circle hooks aren’t used on lures and plugs, Armstrong said anglers can reduce the damage these cause to stripers by smashing or grinding down the barbs on the lure hooks, and only employing a single treble hook on a lure. Armstrong said the ban on gaffing stripers would be the first ever for a fish under Massachusetts regulation. He said it’s conceivable it may only apply to recreational anglers because commercial fishermen may need to employ gaffs because of the conditions they work in. Donald Scarpone, president of the Martha’s Vineyard Surfcasters Association, said he supports circle hooks and a moratorium on gaffing stripers. Scarpone also said he is in favor of stricter size limits for stripers.
  2. bunny
  3. foam
  4. This was in March. Looks the same as of this past weekend