The U.S. Coast Guard plans to crack down on striped bass poaching off the coast of New Jersey and Delaware this winter, the Asbury Park Press reported. Petty Officer Nick Ameen, a spokesperson for the Coast Guard, says with the increased patrols will come more frequent boat boardings and inspections.
It’s illegal to catch striped bass in the Exclusive Economic Zone, a U.S.-controlled area that stretches three nautical miles from the coastline and covers 200 nautical miles outward. Normally this isn’t a problem for striped bass anglers, as they tend to stay close to shore, but shifts in sea temperatures can push them into the EEZ.
Tempting as it may be to make any opportune catch, you’re liable to wind up with civil fines if the Coast Guard finds you in the EEZ with a striped bass onboard. But this law is rooted in common sense: Striped bass populations are still weakened from years of overfishing. So do a favor for yourself, future anglers and the bass, and let the stripers be.