Coast Guard to cast net for striped bass poachers

Lady JusticePORTSMOUTH, Va. — The Coast Guard, state and federal agencies are intensifying efforts to stop the illegal poaching of striped bass off the Atlantic coast this winter season.

In an effort to ensure the health of the striped bass population, the Coast Guard is working to raise awareness of the federal regulations governing striped bass and to increase enforcement efforts to protect the migration and spawning of the fish from illegal poaching activities.

Striped bass populations are moving farther off shore into warmer waters and fishermen are often pursuing the fish beyond the authorized state waters. Atlantic striped bass may not be caught, harvested or possessed in the Exclusive Economic Zone. A person caught fishing for striped bass outside of 3 nautical miles and into the EEZ is subject to fines starting at $100 per fish.

The Coast Guard has established an Atlantic Striped Bass Reporting Hotline at 757-398-6598. The public is encouraged to report any suspected poaching activity to the hotline. Calls should include a description of the activity, those involved, the location and the time of the suspected offense. Such information greatly increases the effectiveness of law enforcement operations.

“The Coast Guard is working with state law enforcement and the National Marine Fisheries Service to enforce regulations prohibiting fishing for striped bass outside of 3 nautical miles,” said Lt. Kevin Saunders of the 5th Coast Guard District’s enforcement branch. “By working to curtail the illegal actions of a few fishermen, we can help ensure future generations have the opportunity to participate in this fishery.”

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