RE:check this one out
Boy, would a dedicated fly guy like me like such a ruling... unfortunately it would be hard to isolate the use of bait for some species like flounder, scup, tautog - even bluefish from stripers. One could isolate the use of live baitfish (herring, pogies, mackeral) and that would slow down the consumption of these baitfish - particularly by the wasteful practices of some guys who net up a horde of herring at the run and use 6 of them (dumping the other 100 dead ones). It would not preclude the commercial kill for frozen bait -or- the real enemy, purse seiners who use fish like menhaden by the ton for chemical and pet food purposes.
If the use of bait was restricted within certain areas in certain seasons, that would work. This is how things are managed elsewhere in the US.
For instance: The Merrimac River from Newburyport Bridge (1A) to mouth, no bait from May 15 - September 15, single barbless artificials only.
This would have such an incredibly profound effect on the welfare of school bass in the system that I would be willing to bet the impact on Massachusetts striped bass mortality levels would be measurable and significant.
Multiply that with other such restricted regions with seasonal restrictions, and you have yourself a working no-bait policy IMHO. If you want to live-line, go somewhere else. Those who are in the groove with this hot fishery can switch to jigs and sluggos, flies and poppers, etc.
The areas should be chosen with consideration for the impact it will have - for instance, an area that gets mostly local attention with some occasional tourist interest... even the most heinous techniques will have little impact on the population.
The areas that are continually elbow-to-elbow or at least very heavily fished should be targeted for special regulations including exclusion of bait.