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DEC Proposes More Restrictive Regulations Governing Recreational Black Sea Bass Harvest for 2015 Season

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is accepting public comments on proposed changes to regulations governing the recreational harvest of black sea bass through June 29.

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Albany, NY - May 14, 2015 - The state Department of Environmental Conservation is accepting public comments on proposed changes to regulations governing the recreational harvest of black sea bass through June 29. The proposed changes will ensure New York's fishery population 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 Commissioner Martens. "These proposed regulations are designed to achieve the 33-percent harvest reduction required by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission."

The proposed 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 will remain 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. 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 provide the basis for relief in 2017.

Interested parties are encouraged to provide input on the proposed rule and public comments will be accepted through June 29, 2015. Comments on the rule can be emailed to or mailed to:

Stephen W. Heins
205 North Belle Mead Road, Suite 1
East Setauket, NY 11733

Additional information on the proposed rule can be found on the DEC website.

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. More information can be found on the DEC website.