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Fishing for striped bass will be banned on part of Saco River

The state is banning striped bass fishing on part of the Saco River starting Saturday due to the high mortality rate of stripers that are caught and released there. Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher says the section between Route 9 and the Cataract Dam will be closed to anglers to protect the fish stock.

"It is really the most accessible game fish that we have here in Maine along our coast and the population is not doing good," Keliher says. "The commission deemed that it is being overfished right now. We've taken actions to protect the resource and we need to ensure that anglers who are going to participate, to utilize this resource and access this resource, are doing all they can to ensure that they're catching and releasing these fish in an ethical way to ensure that there is a very low level of mortality."

The emergency order lasts for 90 days but Keliher says the Department of Marine Resources will pursue rulemaking to permanently ban striper fishing in that spot. The state recently lowered the slot limit for stripers to between 28 and 31 inches, as directed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, to better protect the stock. Education IS ALSO BEING PROVIDED through social media and fishing shops to improve the stripers' outcomes.