Regulation of Striped Bass and Hybrid Striped Bass Fisheries in the United States
William R. Collier, Phillip W. Bettoli, George D. Scholten,and Timothy N. Churchill
Abstract.—Inland populations of striped bass Morone saxatilis and hybrid striped bass (white bass M. chrysops × striped bass) are intensively managed across the United States for their recreational value using a variety of regulations; however, the full extent of different regulatory strategies is unknown. This paper describes regulations used by states to manage their inland striped bass and hybrid striped bass fisheries. An Internet-based survey seeking information on issues such as stocking dependency, trophy potential, catch rates, and statewide and specialized regulations for both striped bass and hybrid striped bass fisheries was created and distributed to all state agencies. The survey found that 32 states have inland populations of striped bass, hybrid striped bass, or both. Daily creel limits for striped bass and hybrid striped bass ranged from 2 to 30; the most liberal creel limits were found in southern states. Half of the states reported that their statewide length limit for both taxa has few or no exceptions for conditions in particular water bodies, and 85% of states with striped bass and 92% of states with hybrid striped bass enforce a minimum length limit as their statewide length limit. Although both taxa were generally managed with similar regulations, striped bass were usually considered a more important sport fish species and were managed more intensively than hybrid striped bass. A literature review confirmed that little research has been published on the response (or lack thereof) of striped bass and their hybrids to any of the various management schemes reported herein.