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For Release: Tuesday, July 21, 2015

DEC Adopts Required Restrictive Regulations Governing Recreational Black Sea Bass Harvest For 2015 Season

New York State Along with Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Jersey Directed to Reduce Recreational Harvest of Black Sea Bass in 2015

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) adopted new regulations governing the recreational harvest of black sea bass to meet the 33-percent harvest reduction required by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. The proposed changes will ensure New York's fishery is consistent with the coast-wide fisheries management plan for summer flounder, scup and black sea bass.

"Black sea bass are very popular with marine anglers, but under the current federal catch limits New York's recreational landings must be further restricted," said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens.

The adopted changes include a one-inch increase in the minimum size, from 13.0 to 14.0 inches, and an increase in the possession limit during the months of November and December only, from 8 fish to 10 fish. The current eight fish possession limit will be retained from July 15 through October 31. The open fishing season remains July 15 through December 31 with a minimum size limit of 14.0 inches during the entire open season.

Weaknesses in the current stock assessment caused federal scientists to exercise extreme caution when recommending annual harvest limits for black sea bass. As a result, for the third year in a row, New York, along with other states in the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's (ASMFC) northern region (Massachusetts-New Jersey), must take steps to reduce the black sea bass harvest despite an apparent abundance of fish. A new stock assessment by the ASMFC in 2016 will be more robust and should provide the basis for expanded harvest opportunities in 2017.

Information on the most up-to-date marine recreational fishing regulations for all species can be found on the DEC website.

Marine recreational anglers 16 years or older are reminded that they must register each year in New York's free Recreational Marine Fishing Registry on the DEC website.

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