The U.S. Coast Guard recently issued violations to two recreational anglers for catching and keeping Atlantic striped bass within a restricted area off the Jersey Shore.
During a routine boat inspection, Coast Guard crews discovered five striped bass, also known as stripers, while boarding a pleasure craft approximately three and a half nautical miles off Cape May within the federal Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), according to an agency release.
The next day, another boarding crew found three stripers on a pleasure craft approximately eight miles off Cape May, which is also within the EEZ, the release said.
The Coast Guard issued violations in each instance. For conservation purposes, catching, fishing for, or possessing striped bass within the EEZ is a federal offense. Offenders are subject to a fine.
Striped bass are typically found closer to shore, but changing sea temperatures can cause them to migrate farther than three miles offshore.
“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, Va., 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.”