Revised Striped Bass Regulations Adopted,
Effective Feb. 10

January 26, 2005

Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary John A. Hughes has issued an order adopting revised tidal finfish regulations affecting Delaware’s striped bass fishery effective Feb. 10, 2005.

According to Fisheries Administrator Roy Miller, the revised regulations increase the commercial gill net season for striped bass from the current March 1-April 30 open season to a new open season of Feb. 15 through May 31. Drift nets will be required for any gill nets with a mesh size of 4
inches or greater that are used to take striped bass during the February striped bass season extension.

The new regulations also increase the length of the commercial hook and line fishing season for striped bass from the current Sept. 1 through Dec. 31 to the new season of April 1 through and including Dec. 31. None of the above season extensions change the harvest quotas the commercial
industry has been operating under for several years.

Non-offset “circle hooks” will be required when recreational fishing with natural bait in designated striped bass spawning areas during the April 1-May 31 spawning season. The circle hooks requirement only applies to hooks with a gap greater than 3/8 inches as measured from the hook point to the shank.

“These revisions are meant to continue management of our striped bass fishery in a manner that provides improved business opportunities for our commercial fishermen” said Miller. “At the same time, we’ve implemented a recreational fishing conservation measure during the spawning season by requiring the use of circle hooks that should reduce the likelihood of catch and release mortality during this vulnerable period for striped bass. The new circle hook requirements complement action previously taken by the state of New Jersey on their portion of the striped bass spawning grounds.”

A public hearing was held Dec. 30, 2004 on the proposed revised regulations. The Delaware Advisory Council on Tidal Finfisheries initially recommended that the Department draft regulations to extend the commercial season and consider circle hook requirements. After discussion of various options, the council recommended the proposed revisions adopted in the order.

For further information, contact Roy Miller or Craig Shirey, Fisheries, (302) 739-3441.

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