The following was released by NOAA Fisheries:
In an effort to ensure the healthy population of the striped bass in the Mid-Atlantic region, NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) is raising awareness of the federal regulations governing striped bass in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and increasing targeted enforcement efforts to protect the species from illegal poaching activities.
“Right now, the striped bass are beginning to migrate south from the northern states,” said Lt. Wynn Carney, OLE supervisory enforcement officer. “The striped bass will follow the bait south near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, and in spring they will begin making their way up our streams and rivers to lay eggs.”
According to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, overfishing and poor environmental conditions lead to the collapse of the Atlantic striped bass fishery in the 1980s.
In order to ensure the sustainability of the species, the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act, found in Title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations part 697.7, was promulgated. Thus, during the months of November through February, NOAA Office of Law Enforcement is joining state and federal marine law enforcement organizations in supporting a focused enforcement effort, targeting vessels retaining and fishing for striped bass in the EEZ. Marine law enforcement officers, including OLE and the U.S. Coast Guard, in the Mid-Atlantic will be ticketing fishermen who violate these regulations and who target striped bass within the EEZ.
“I am excited about the Mid-Atlantic States conducting a focused enforcement effort,” said Carney. “It’s significant that we’re working together toward a common goal.”
For maximum enforcement, officers will be conducting at-sea, aerial, and dock-side inspections.
For more information, call your local OLE field office or visit http://www.asmfc.org/species/atlantic-striped-bass.