Division of Marine Fisheries to hold bass hearing

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The Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) is holding a public hearing on proposed amendments to the current state fishing regulations on Monday, March 5, at the Katharine Cornell Theater in Tisbury, at 10 am.

Proposed changes will affect the commercial harvesting of black sea bass and striped bass.

For black bass, the DMF is looking to keep the current three fishing days per week, but to adjust the open days so that they are non-sequential. Potential open fishing days would be Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays or Sundays, Tuesdays, and Fridays. When there are two open fishing days in a week, they would be Sundays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Fridays.

“If there is a reduction to the number of open fishing days in the directed black sea bass fishery, then a commensurate increase in the daily trip limits may be considered,” the DMF states in a press release

Trip limits for sea bass pots could be increased from 300 pounds up to 400 pounds and with all other gear, trip limits could be increased from 150 pounds up to 200 pounds.

From April 23 to June 9, the DMF is proposing to allow vessels using small mesh trawls for squid to retain a bycatch of black sea bass — a trip limit of 50 pounds per day during this season, with a cap of 75,000 pounds. Once the cap is reached, the retention of sea bass would be prohibited until the directed fishery opens.

The black sea bass season for pots and for hook and line opens on July 9.

On the striper front, the DMF is proposing to prohibit commercial striped bass fishing between July 3  and July 5 and on Labor Day, to prevent conflicts with recreational fishermen around holiday weekends.