December 11, 2015
The Coast Guard issued two separate violations earlier this week off Cape May for possession of Atlantic striped bass within the exclusive economic zone.
Coast Guard law enforcement crews conduct routine boardings in the Mid-Atlantic with a focus on protecting the Atlantic striped bass against commercial and recreational fishing within the EEZ.
On Wednesday, a crew from Coast Guard Station Cape May discovered three Atlantic striped bass while boarding a pleasure craft about eight miles off Cape May.
A team on the Virginia-based Coast Guard Cutter Dependable found five Atlantic striped bass Tuesday on a pleasure craft about three-and-a-half nautical miles off Cape May within the EEZ.
The Coast Guard issued an enforcement action report in both cases.
Atlantic striped bass, commonly known as stripers or rockfish, usually migrate south during the winter seasons, following their ideal sea temperatures. Striped bass are typically found closer to shore, but changing sea temperatures can cause them to migrate farther than three miles offshore.
More stringent regulations adopted in the 1980s were lifted in the mid '90s as stocks replenished, but the prohibition of catching, fishing for or possessing Atlantic striped bass in the EEZ continues to be a federal offense.
“It is illegal to possess or target the Atlantic striped bass in federal waters, which begin three miles from shore,” said Lt. Cmdr. Patricia Bennett, the deputy enforcement chief for the Fifth Coast Guard District in Portsmouth, Virginia, in a statement.
“In state waters – waters less than three miles from the coast – each state has its own laws designed to protect stripers," she said. "Even though the Coast Guard does not enforce those state laws, if we find a violation at the state level, we may notify state authorities.”