The New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council unanimously voted to support a two fish bag limit for striped bass beginning sometime in 2015, with one fish at 28 to less than 43 inches, and a second fish equal to or greater than 43 inches.
Yesterday’s decision at the council’s regular meeting in Galloway Township must now be picked up by New Jersey legislators, as any changes to striped bass regulations in the state must be made through Trenton by an act of law.
It is expected that both a Senate and Assembly bill will be adopted next week, with the appropriate committees in Trenton then responsible for reviewing, discussing and ultimately approving the change before it can be voted on by the full legislature.
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) recently mandated a 25 percent or better reduction by all coastal states on striped bass harvest beginning in 2015, with ASMFC technical committee members approving New Jersey’s proposal of one striper at less than 43 and one striper at 43 or greater as meeting that 25-percent-reduction goal.
As for New Jersey’s bonus striped bass program which utilizes the unused commercial quota of striped bass through a $2 tag system, the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council also voted to convene their striped bass advisory committee to look at possible changes to the program.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) also put forward a new regulatory proposal for fixed gear on New Jersey’s artificial reef sites which was unanimously approved by the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council. NJDEP expects the new regulations to go into effect before the summer and should help improve public access at Axel Carlson and Sandy Hook reef sites in New Jersey coastal waters.
On the fluke front, the next important meeting coming up for public comment for New Jersey anglers is Monday, January 12, at the Toms River Township Administrative Building, L.M. Hirshblond Room at 33 Washington Street in Toms River. This meeting will not be focused on striped bass, but on Draft Addendum XXVI for summer flounder management.