|The striped bass is one of the most
popular sportsfishing targets as well as one of the best tasting food fish
on the East coast. Reaching weights well in excess of 50 pounds, the striper
(also called "rockfish" in the southern states) provides fine dining and
recreational opportunities to millions each year.
East coast striped bass stocks suffered serious declines in the 1980s but stringent management measures involving major sacrifices by the commercial fishermen, the recreational fishermen and the consumers contributed to a major rebound. Today our coastal waters are once again "filled" with striped bass. Their reciovery has been so pronounced that the head of the National Marine Fisheries Service, Rollie Schmitten, has stated that there are more of these highly desirable fish available today than there have ever been.
Unfortunately, this fish which is so highly regarded as table fare is beyond the reach of most New Jersey citizens. State legislation bans both the capture of striped bass by any but sportsfishermen and their sale, regardless of where they were caught, anywhere in the state. Any New Jersey citizens wishing to enjoy the unparalled experience of dining on an ocean-fresh striper must catch it him- or herself, must receive it as a gift from a sportsfisherman or woman, or must leave the state to do it.
[ Link to Chapter 7 of Peter Matthiessen's Men's Lives that discusses striped bass biology, striped bass angling, and the history of the New York recreational angler's struggles to keep make this fish their own "personal" property.]
|An illustration from the early days in the commercial fishing villages on the eastern end of Long Island, NY. Beach seining for striped bass was one of the economic mainstays of these villages. The illustration was modified from Peter Matthiessen's MEN'S LIVES, a history of the surfmen and baymen of the South Fork that captures the essence of the way of lifeof the small scale commercial fisherman. Unfortunately this way of life is increasingly threatened by "progress" and if present trends continues, many of our traditional fishing communities will very likely be absorbed by coastal development. (published in 1986 by Random House, NY)|
|The chart on the right shows (in pounds) commercial and recreational striped bass landings in the Mid-Atlantic states from 1990. New Jersey has a commercial striped bass quota but, because state law prevents the sale of striped bass to consumers in New Jersey, that quota has been allocated to recreational anglers.|