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Massachusetts reduces 2015 striper quota

A decline in spawning-age striped bass led an interstate fishery commission that regulates fishing along the East Coast to cut landings for next year by 25 percent from this year.

The daily take for recreational anglers was reduced from two legal-size stripers to one.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission oversees fish stocks, such as the striped bass that migrate north from Chesapeake Bay, according to the Cape Cod Times.

At its annual meeting in Mystic, Conn., the commission voted last week to make the cut in striped bass landings, except in Chesapeake Bay. The states along that shoreline will be required to reduce landings by 20.5 percent.

The new regulations for Massachusetts are expected to be in place Jan. 1 for recreational fishermen. The commercial season doesn't start until June or July.

In the most recent population study, scientists found that since 2006, the number of female spawning striped bass has been steadily declining and could be approaching the level where there would be not be enough fish born to replace those caught. That could be one reason landings have declined by 19 percent since 2008.

Ray Kane, an outreach coordinator at the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen's Alliance in Chatham, attended the weeklong meeting and said both the 25 percent commercial quota cut and the reduction for recreational anglers had widespread support.

Although some states wanted quota cuts phased in over a period of years, Massachusetts pushed for the 25 percent reduction for next year to get the stock back on track as quickly as possible.

"Everyone expected the [commission] to pass the 25 percent," said commercial striped bass fisherman Darren Saletta of Chatham, Mass., who is also the executive director of the Massachusetts Commercial Striped Bass Association. He said his organization supported the reduction but not in the first year.

Charter fishermen were hoping for an exemption.

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