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Coast Guard will intensify efforts to stop striped bass poaching

The Coast Guard announced it will intensify efforts this winter to stop offshore poaching of Atlantic striped bass along the New Jersey and Delaware coasts.

In an effort to ensure the health of the striped bass population, the Coast Guard is working to raise awareness of federal regulations stating Atlantic striped bass may not be caught, harvested or possessed in the Exclusive Economic Zone. The EEZ begins three nautical miles from shore and extends out to 200 nautical miles.

While striped bass are typically found closer to shore, changing sea temperatures can cause them to migrate farther than three miles offshore. A person caught fishing for, or in possession of striped bass while in the EEZ is subject to civil fines.

“It’s important to remember Atlantic Striped Bass have not fully recovered from years of overfishing,” said Capt. Kathy Moore, the commander of Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay in Philadelphia. “Complying with these rules will ensure this resource is available to future generations.”

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In related news,at the request of the New England Fishery Management Council, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is taking two actions based on new information showing changes in Gulf of Maine cod and haddock stocks.

In an emergency action, NOAA intends to decrease cod quotas on “the severely depleted Gulf of Maine cod stock,” the agency said. It plans to increase the Gulf of Maine haddock quota because the stock size has increased to healthy levels.

A public campaign is revving up to persuade NOAA not to implement emergency cod measures that could shut down the Gulf of Maine to Gloucester’s day-boat groundfishing fleet and those of other day-boat groundfish ports, according to the Gloucester Times.

NOAA Regional Administrator John K. Bullard said the emergency measures, which will be announced around the middle of this month, likely will include quota cuts and area closures and will have a “disproportionate” negative impact on small-boat groundfish ports such as Gloucester and Portsmouth, N.H.