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For Release: Tuesday, March 31, 2020

DEC Announces Changes to 2020 Striped Bass Fishing Regulations

State Adopts New Recreational and Commercial Slot Size Limits

With Striped Bass Seasons Approaching, New York Anglers Are Encouraged to Get Outside Safely, Practice Social Distancing during COVID-19 Public Health Crisis

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced the adoption of new regulations for recreational and commercial fishing for Atlantic striped bass. These regulations, which take effect immediately, are to reduce state commercial and recreational harvests by 18 percent as required by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). Recreational striped bass seasons start on April 1 in the Hudson River and tributaries and on April 15 in marine waters. DEC reminds anglers to practice social distancing to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19.

The Atlantic coast-wide harvest of striped bass is managed by ASMFC. To address the finding that the striped bass resource is overfished and experiencing overfishing, ASMFC initiated and approved Addendum VI to Amendment 6 (PDF) of the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Atlantic Striped Bass to reduce harvest, end overfishing, and bring fishing mortality to the target level in 2020.

After presenting several options and seeking stakeholder input last year, New York State adopted state fishing regulation changes that reflect ASMFC's Addendum measures and are in accordance with the FMP. The open seasons for striped bass in all New York waters have not changed. New York State worked cooperatively with other members of ASMFC to adopt consistent slot limit regulations and comparable season dates. The Addendum also requires all states to require the use of circle hooks when fishing with bait for the 2021 striped bass fishing season. Catch and release practices contribute significantly to overall fishing mortality and circle hooks work effectively to reduce release mortality in the recreational striped bass fisheries. Anglers are encouraged to use circle hooks in 2020 when using bait.

2020 Striped Bass Recreational Regulations:

In marine waters:

  • Slot size limit: 28" - 35" total length
    (No fish smaller than 28" or greater than 35" may be kept)
  • Season date: April 15 - December 15
  • Daily possession limit of 1 fish/angler

In the Hudson River and its tributaries:

  • Slot size limit: 18"- 28" total length
    (No fish smaller than 18" or greater than 28" may be kept)
  • Season date: April 1 - November 30
  • Daily possession limit of 1 fish/angler

In the Delaware River and its West Branch bordering Pennsylvania:

  • Slot size limit: 28" - 35" total length
    (No fish smaller than 28" or greater than 35" may be kept)
  • Season date: All year
  • Daily possession limit of 1 fish/angler

2020 Striped Bass Commercial Regulations:

  • Slot size limit: 26" - 38" total length
  • Season date: May 15 - December 15
  • Note: Commercial harvest of striped bass is limited only to striped bass permit holders.

Check DEC's Recreational Saltwater Fishing Regulations for the most up-to-date information before going fishing. Make sure to enroll in the annual no-fee Recreational Marine Fishing Registry before going fishing in New York's Marine and Coastal District waters or when fishing in the Hudson River and its tributaries for "migratory fish of the sea" (e.g. striped bass). Anglers can enroll for the registry online or by phone or by visiting a license issuing agent location.

While enjoying the outdoors, DEC advises New Yorkers to continue to follow the CDC/New York State Department of Health guidelines for preventing the spread of colds, flu, and COVID-19:

  • Try to keep at least six (6) feet of distance between you and others.
  • Avoid close contact, such as shaking hands, hugging, and kissing.
  • Wash hands often or use a hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid surfaces that are touched often, such as doorknobs, handrails, and playground equipment.

When fishing, DEC recommends avoiding busy waters and following the guidelines on DEC's website about fishing responsibly in New York State. If an angler arrives at a parking lot and there are several cars, they should consider going to another parking lot. If an angler is fishing upstream, they should fish downstream of the other angler or consider fishing another day. Anglers fishing from boats should be able to maintain at least six feet of distance between one another. For more information about the benefits of being outdoors safely and responsibly, go to DEC's website.

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  • NYSDEC Division of Marine Resources
    205 N Belle Mead Road, Suite 1
    East Setauket, NY 11733
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