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Anglers be mindful - No striped bass fishing in the EEZ

It’s that time of year, again -- striped bass on on the move and NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement wants to make sure anglers understand and abide by federal regulation. The Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is closed to all striped bass fishing.

“We have a very important mission to ensure sustainable marine resources,” said OLE Enforcement Officer John Ford. “But, our success relies heavily on regulation compliance by each and every fisherman.”

In the Atlantic, the EEZ is a water zone beginning at 3 nautical miles and extending to 200 nautical miles off of the U.S. coastline, including the coastlines of U.S. territories and islands. These waters have been closed to striped bass fishing since 1990, when federal legislation was implemented in order to protect striper spawning and the rebuilding of the species, which was recovering from decades of overfishing.

According to the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act, as well as prohibitions found in Title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations part 600.725, it is unlawful for any person to fish for Atlantic striped bass in the EEZ, harvest any Atlantic striped bass from the EEZ, retain this species taken in or from the EEZ, and/or possess any striped bass in or from the EEZ.

There is, however, one exception to the possession restriction. In the waters between Montauk Point, Block Island, and Point Judith, possession of Atlantic striped bass is permitted, provided no fishing activity is conducted from the vessel while in the EEZ and the vessel is in continuous transit.

“Long ago the federal waters were open to numerous species, including striper” said Ford. “We’ve come close to losing a few species and we want to make sure that striped bass maintains a healthy population - not only for the survivability of the fish, but also for the sustainability for the fishing industry.”

For more information, call your local OLE field office or visit http://www.asmfc.org/species/atlantic-striped-bass. State seasons and regulations vary, contact your state department of natural resources for local striper fishing information.