Striper plate applications continue to grow

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The Massachusetts Striped Bass Conservation Specialty License Plate will help fund the conservation of saltwater fisheries. — Courtesy Executive Office of Ene

Just under 350 people have submitted applications for the commonwealth’s new striped bass conservation plate, according to the deputy director of the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF), Dan McKiernan. Once the application count reaches 750, DMF will request a plate run from the Registry of Motor Vehicles, McKiernan said. The ultimate goal is 3,000 plates. 

The plates and the mechanism for managing them are special, he noted. While whale, trout, and Blackstone Valley plates are helpful conservation tools, the striper plate will have its own dedicated committee made up of recreational fishermen, commercial fishermen, and other stakeholders. The proceeds from the plates will be steered by the committee to fund conservation projects beneficial to stripers. For instance, one type of project may be herring ladders, McKiernan said, because herring are a mainstay of the striped bass diet, and ensuring they can spawn helps sustain herring as a food source. DMF considers herring so vital to striper ecology, it made a point of including them on the license plate image it commissioned from Cape Cod artist Janet Biondi. 

For those who like to sport a low number (three digit) on their license plates, McKiernan said the striper plate presents that opportunity, because numbers 101 and above will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis through the application process. The first 100 plates will be the subject of a registry auction. Striped bass conservation plates cost $40, plus a $20 plate swap fee at the time of pickup, and can be purchased through a DMF