In 1635, William Wood, in a book called New England’s Prospects, wrote
"The Basse is one of the best fishes in the countrey, . . . The way to catch them is with hooke and line: the fisherman taking a great cod-line, to which he fastneth a peece of lobster, and throwes it into the sea, the fish biting at it he pulls her to him, and knockes her on the head with a sticke . . . the English at the top of an high water do crossee the creekes with long seanes of Basse netts, which stop in the fish: and the water ebbing from them they are left on the dry ground, sometimes two or three thousand at a set . . ."
Striped Bass as well as codfish were among the first resources protected by conservation measures. In 1639, the Court of the MassachusettsBay Colony passed a law prohibiting the sale of either fish to be used as fertilizer.
In 1670, an act of the Plymouth Colony required that all income from striped bass, mackerel, and herring to be used for a free school. The school financed from these fisheries off of Cape Cod was the first public school in the thirteen colonies. Today the fish holds just as important role as it did then and has been given a place of honor on the Great Seal of Maryland.