Maryland Sets New Regulations to Conserve Species
News Release, Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Under the new final regulations, the 2020 summer-fall season in most areas of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries is 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 of circle hooks, remain in effect. More information on how to properly catch and release can be found on the department’s website.
The 2018 benchmark stock assessment for striped bass indicated 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 a pilot program of the E-reporting with FACTS system for 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.