Two men are facing are variety of charges after they were caught with dozens of undersized Atlantic striped bass, state officials announced.
New Jersey Conservation Police officers stopped the anglers after they returned in a small vessel to a private dock in Atlantic City on March 30, according to a New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife news release.
The men, who had been fishing at night, “drew attention to themselves when officers observed them running their vessel at high rates of speed from various fishing locations under the cover of darkness and fog without any navigation lights,” the release said.
The officers had lost sight of the vessel on multiple conditions but were able to location the vessel due to their knowledge of the area, authorities said.
On March 30, Atlantic striped bass retention limits were one fish from 28-inches to less than 43-inches and one fish at 43-inches or greater per person. When officers inspected the vessel, they found 66 striped bass between 13-inches and 24-inches in length, according to the release.
The men, who were not identified, face a penalty of $100 per fish, or potentially $12,800 for each angler, authorities said. Officials say the men were additionally charged with unsafe operation of a vessel, operating a power vessel without valid registration, and failing to have appropriate vessel safety gear.
Authorities seized the anglers’ fishing gear for evidence and will seek forfeiture due to the severity of the violations, the release said. The seized fish were given to the Atlantic City Recuse Mission.
As of April 1, the current recreational limit is one fish per day, measuring between 28-inches to less than 38-inches. New Jersey law prohibits commercial harvest or sale of Atlantic striped bass.