Coast Guard and NMFS ask public to assist catching striped bass poachers

Lady JusticeFORT MACON, N.C. — The Coast Guard has received reports Wednesday of thousands of dead Atlantic striped bass off Oregon Inlet.

“Reports of striped more than three nautical miles offshore may be indicative of illegal fishing,” said Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Saunders of Coast Guard 5th District law enforcement branch. “The Coast Guard urges anyone who witnesses illegal commercial, charter or recreational fishing to report it to the Atlantic striped bass hotline at 757-398-6598, contact the Coast Guard on VHF channel 16 or to call the National Marine Fisheries Service’s hotline at 800-853-1964.”

In an effort to ensure the health of the striped bass population, the Coast Guard and the National Marine Fisheries Service are working to raise awareness of the federal regulations governing striped bass and to better protect the migration and spawning of the fish from illegal poaching activities.

Fishermen frequently pursue the striped bass population beyond the authorized state waters. Atlantic striped bass may not be caught, harvested or possessed in the Exclusive Economic Zone, which is between three and 200 nautical miles from shore. A person caught fishing for striped bass outside of three nautical miles is subject to fines starting at $100 per fish.

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