Fishing the Cape Cod Canal this year will take on a whole new look as the state has recognized the striped bass resource is in need of some help along our coastline. Poaching remains as one of the main sources for this decline, especially along the shorelines of this man-made ditch we all call the Cape Cod Canal, but without question it is not the only reason for their decline.

The state has decided to implement a new recreational regulation this year that along with only being able to take one fish per day, that it shall be less than 35 inches in total length. This change will help to reduce the taking of the larger fish by all recreational users. The commercial users will still be allowed to take the daily limits on Sundays and Wednesdays this year, instead of Sundays and Thursdays. However, the minimum length will now be 35 inches rather than the 34 inches it was in the past.

The Division of Marine Fisheries has also decided to attempt to not allow the taking of any commercial fish by the commercial users inside the Cape Cod Canal. They have placed a 90-day emergency request before the state that will disallow the taking of fish by the commercial users inside these waters. This is something that the Army Corps can support and is in keeping with their mission statement to support all recreational use within these waters. Many have been asking for this change for a long time, as it will make the job of enforcement much clearer to the Environmental Police, knowing that they are protecting the new regulations for recreational users. This 90-day emergency commercial order [to not allow any commercial fishing inside the Cape Cod Canal] still must undergo legal scrutiny due to the present coronavirus, which will not allow any public meeting or hearing, as is such the case under these circumstances. It is presently being reviewed for final approval. All it awaits is the legal verification, from legal counsel, to enact it for the official opening of the commercial season on June 24, 2020.

Over these past several years poaching has decreased the striped bass resource, some for money and some for greed. Many fish were caught and released back into the water, in some cases unable to survive, because many fishermen decided to high grade and fish until they had a bigger one. Now that will no longer be the case inside the Cape Cod Canal, as all fish now being kept shall only be less than 35 inches. All fish now caught inside the Cape Cod Canal must be released if they measure at 35 inches or more. This will help to make this waterway a more family-oriented resource, as in the opinion of many it should be. It should be a place where they can come and enjoy fishing and still take home a nice fish of at least 28 inches but less than 35 inches.

Yes, changes are coming inside the Cape Cod Canal and hopefully once the virus leaves us the Division of Marine Fisheries will attempt to make this a permanent order and undertake the public hearings where everyone that wishes to be heard on this matter will be provided that opportunity. Enforcement will help everyone better understand the responsibility we all hold in keeping a thriving striped bass resource alive and well for those who follow in our footsteps. Report all poachers.

Carl A. Johansen

Oxford Road Sandwich

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