Department or Program

Environmental Studies


The pursuit for striped bass is nothing new, with recreational anglers first targeting the fish for sport as early as the 1920s as part of exclusive bass clubs . Since then, the species and fishery has endured a tumultuous history defined by several population crashes and rebounds, most recently in the 1980s when a total moratorium was enacted. As will be discussed, the factors leading to such crashes are highly varied: pollution, changing oceanic conditions, poor management and overfishing are all at play. After a miraculous population recovery in the early 2000s, recent trends suggest the species is once again sliding towards a repeat of the 1980s. Conservationists, policy makers, and fishermen alike are now all asking the same question: who is to blame for pushing this fishery to the brink once again? Front and center is the debate between recreational and commercial striped bass fishermen. While the recreational side largely advocates for catch and release, the smaller commercial crowd harvests striped bass as a summer side hustle for added income. The contentious debate challenges traditional notions of what it means to be a commercial fisherman and its political implications in New England. Not only will the outcome of this debate shape the future of the striped bass fishery, but, in a broader lens, it holds important insight into the ethics of fisheries and human interactions with the natural world.

Level of Access

Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access

First Advisor

Tyler Harper

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages



Available to Bates community via local IP address or Bates login.