The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced that the use of a gaff to handle any striped bass caught by recreational anglers is prohibited, effective immediately, to ensure Delaware’s compliance with the Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Amendment 7 to the Atlantic Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan (FMP).
The FMP cited the ban on gaff use as one of a suite of required management measures intended to reduce the mortality of recreationally-caught striped bass. Recent ASMFC striped bass population assessments have shown that recreational release mortality is currently the largest source of mortality for the overfished striped bass population. The ASMFC’s gaff ban is seen as aiding the recovery of striper stocks by helping reduce recreational release mortality of fish that could go on to spawn after they were caught and released by anglers.
Delaware’s gaff prohibition regulation can be found on the DNREC regulatory orders webpage. For more information, anglers may call the DNREC Fisheries Section at 739-9914.