USA: Following worrying rockfish population data, Maryland looks to cancel spring trophy season for 2024
Regulation & Compliances
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Published Dec 1, 2023
Maryland officials are planning to cancel this spring's trophy season for recreational anglers due to troubling data on the population of young rockfish in the Chesapeake Bay. The emergency regulations aim to protect spawning fish by eliminating the two-week period in which anglers targeted large fish swimming up the bay. The low recruitment of baby striped bass over the past few years has prompted the need for action to give the fish a break and protect their numbers.
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The rules would eliminate the once exciting two weeks each spring when anglers targeted large fish swimming up the bay to spawn. But this period had been delayed from April into May in recent years in an effort to protect the spawning fish, which diminished its allure. "That's the time when Maryland fishermen have access to what is essentially a large, oceanic fish," said Lynn Fegley, director of fishing and boating services at Maryland's Department of Natural Resources. "But given the very low recruitment—baby striped bass numbers—we've had successively over the last few years, we are moving to just give the fish a break." The emergency rules were spurred by a troubling so-called young-of-the-year survey, released in October, that found juvenile striped bass numbers in the Chesapeake Bay at their second-worst result since the survey began in the 1950s. It marked the fifth successive year showing numbers well below the historical average. Under the new rules proposed by the ...