History Of The Striped Bass

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Striped bass, otherwise known as stripers or rockfish, have a rich and varied history which has seen them come close to extinction before relatively recent conversation efforts stabilised their population. Fortunately, this strong, beautiful fish is now thriving once again throughout Maine’s waterways and continues to offer anglers an unforgettable fishing experience.

During the mid-nineteenth century, the striped bass was overlooked as a food source in favour of herring and shad. In fact, many fishermen believed that the striped bass was a nuisance predator that was responsible for declining herring catches. Unfortunately at this time, fisheries were completely unregulated and many stripers were caught and subsequently discarded.

By the turn of the twentieth century, catches of herring and shad were significantly lower than fifty years earlier. As a result, fishermen turned their interest to striped bass, which was presently abundant along much of the Atlantic Coast and inland areas. For nearly seventy years, commercial fishing of the striped bass prospered, with the 1950s and 1960s considered to be the Golden Age. Recreational fishing was also at an all-time high following the war and restoration of financial stability. However, few could have predicted the dramatic decline in striped bass numbers that would threaten the species with extinction just two decades later.

By the mid 1980s, catches of striped bass were already in decline and would soon hit an all-time low as the Government intervened and imposed a moratorium in 1985. A five-year study investigated the decline of the striped bass and concluded that severe over fishing combined with environmental factors had led to the dramatic fall in population. Subsequently, strict laws and regulations were put in place to ensure the survival of the species.

In the early 1990s, fisheries were reopened and recreational fishing for striped bass was once again allowed. However, strict bag and size limits were introduced with the aim to prevent over fishing and ensure that the population remained stable. Since then, a number of management and conservation plans have been put in place across the US to ensure that the striped bass continues to thrive. Artificial stocking of the species has also taken place, and has so far been largely successful.

Currently, the striped bass population is thriving thanks to the continued emphasis on conservation and breeding of the striped bass.

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