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  #1  
Old 02-09-2010, 02:36 PM
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Mark P Mark P is offline
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Default Major EEZ Violations in VA and NC

This has been copied from Darkskies Forum http://stripersandanglers.com/Forum/index.php. I did request permission to put the info in here. If anyone has any problems with the links and needs to moderate I understand. This is a major problem to me and I would hope it would bother a lot of us.

How you can help if you live in another state:


I
Write a letter or send an E-mail to state and federal fisheries management:

Federal:
NMFS/NOAA NMFS Enforcement Agent Joe Wilson
[email protected]
MAFMC
http://www.mafmc.org/

Va Marine Resources contact: [email protected]
http://www.mrc.state.va.us/staffdirectory.shtm

NC Division of Marine Fisheries:
Director’s Office: Via E-mail: [email protected]
Marine Patrol OBX-Va-line email: [email protected]



**************************************
To:
__________


I would like to inform you of illegal striped bass fishing in the EEZ off the coast of VA and NC, which is federal waters. These fishermen are regularly harvesting pre-spawning female striped bass from the biomass.

I feel the striped bass fishery, although declared healthy, is slowly declining. Many fishermen along the East Coast are concerned with a possible decline of the biomass if this is not addressed. These are fishermen who lived through the Striped bass moratorium of the 1980s and don't want to see it happen again.

I would request that the fines for catching or possessing striped bass in the EEZ be increased to a point where they are a serious deterrent. As it is now, the illegal violators are thumbing their noses at the authorities who are just trying to enforce the law. However, the laws as written are not strong enough.

This is a hot topic of discussion now on many internet fishing sites. Some links to those sites are attached:

2-1-10 Discussion of EEZ fishing and ACTION PLANS
http://stripersandanglers.com/Forum/...ead.php?t=5801

Poaching past 3 miles common or not?
http://www.tidalfish.com/forums/show...-common-or-not

1-14-10 Followed the Pros today (Honest fishermen speak out against this illegal EEZ fishing)
http://www.tidalfish.com/forums/showthread.php/279816-Followed-the-pros-today!

1-18 Offshore striper fishing
http://www.tidalfish.com/forums/show...triper-fishing

How far? (Candid discussion of EEZ fishing pro/con, details of Illegal EEZ fishing)
http://www.tidalfish.com/forums/show...279528-How-far


Misbehaving Recs (and some comms) 10pgs
http://www.tidalfish.com/forums/showthread.php/280242-Misbehaving-Recs-(and-some-Coms)-Take-2

Open letter to DNR Secretary
http://www.tidalfish.com/forums/show...d-Bass-Fishery

http://www.virginiafishing.com/default.htm

http://www.striped-bass.com/Stripertalk/stripertalk/61706-stripers-fed-waters.html

Thank you for looking into this matter.
Respectfully,
_______________________






*******************************************
Please be advised that the MOST effective letter will be the one above addressed to the NOAA. If you only have time to send one, send that. States getting these letters and E-mails are already disclaiming jurisdiction and referring concerned fishermen to the NOAA.
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  #2  
Old 02-09-2010, 06:16 PM
DarkSkies DarkSkies is offline
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Default Re: Major EEZ Violations in VA and NC

Hey, I want to thank Jackbass for doing the legwork and contacting Striperjim to get this thread started here.

Striperjim, thank you for allowing us the space to have rational discussions about this. I will be copying those posts I put up and putting them here. Some of them have links in them. Feel free to edit as you see fit.
I'm glad to be able to get the word out.

Please be aware that some of the posts will be long as hell.

I tried to compress it all into 12 or 13 key posts. There's a lot of research behind those posts. Even though I'm against opening the EEZ to rec striped bass fishing, I tried to make it as fair as possible to all sides by puttiing up and detailing the links of what people on both sides are saying about this hotly contested issue.

As always, Striperjim has the final say. It's his site and he's a great guy and fisherman.

Feel free to chop out the parts you don't want Jim. I just appreciate being given the space to help raise awareness.


For those who haven't been exposed to my long-winded posts before, grab some popcorn and some aspirin, or just run for the hills.

The most strategic post is the post #1 that Jackbass put up already, which is post 21 in my original thread. For those who do have an interest, it gives you an easy Copy and paste letter you can send, along with e-mail addreses.

The rest of my posts will be providing some background so anyone who's interested can go and do their own research, form their own opinions.
Many people aren't aware that this is a Coast wide issue. My goal is to bring this awareness to as many people as possible and get some rational discussions going.

Please be aware that the posts I put up are my copyrighted material that I spent a lot of time researching and documenting. I don't mind others using this info on other sites to raise awareness, as long as you include the red link as Jackbass has in post #1, and let me know where you put it up, thanks.

Thanks for reading, people.
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  #3  
Old 02-09-2010, 06:20 PM
DarkSkies DarkSkies is offline
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Default Re: Major EEZ Violations in VA and NC

(As originally posted 1-29-10)


Fishing in the EEZ, a Moral dilemma or Economic decision?
What would you do if....

You knew groups of people were fishing in the EEZ and targeting striped bass?

You knew they were targeting them consistently, because that's where all the biggest bass are?

You knew they would catch them and quickly run them back to state waters so they could "prove" they caught them in state waters, from 1-3 miles offshore?

You knew they had a "system" of evading LE so they and their buddies would pass intel on the VHF whenever they saw someone coming out to investigate?

You knew that rather than getting caught, they would gut and dump their dead bass overboard long before Marine enforcement got there?

Further, these guys justified what they were doing with the lamest excuses..

"Everyone does it!"

"I'm just trying to feed my family!"

"All the bass are past the 3 mile limit. It's no fair to exclude us from catching them!"

"Aw, what's a couple of bass anyway, it doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things!"

"What's the difference if I catch it in the EEZ or not? A dead bass is a dead bass wherever you catch it."
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  #4  
Old 02-09-2010, 06:21 PM
DarkSkies DarkSkies is offline
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Default Re: Major EEZ Violations in VA and NC

Would it bother you?

What would you do?

Would you turn your back on them and ignore it?

What if it was your friends who were doing it?

What if it was your boss, and you needed the job?

What if you were on a charter, and the Captain told you, hey these bass are all legal, nothing to worry about?.... and somehow you knew he was lying to you?


Would there be a sense of unfairness, of inequity?

Would you feel these people were cheating, stealing from a shared resource?



Or would you just turn your back on it, ignore the problem, and hope it would go away?







I may have some possibilities for you people out there who have an interest. I've been working on this all week.
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  #5  
Old 02-09-2010, 06:23 PM
DarkSkies DarkSkies is offline
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Default Re: Major EEZ Violations in VA and NC

This is something I've carefully researched for a while now. The problem is there is a core group of people who consistently fish the EEZ for striped bass in violation of state and federal law.

When you're out on a boat, it's sometimes difficult to stay in the EEZ. Say you're 2.75 miles out and catching fish. That's certainly legal. It's quite possible that you could drift to the 3 mile line and momentarily not be aware of it until you looked at your GPS.

Honest mistakes have been made, and will continue to be made, as long as the coastline is irregular. It's difficult to stay within that boundary even when you're a guy who does his best to comply.

Yet, if you have the appearance of being over the line oven one meter, the Coast Guard has the right to board you and ask questions. I understand many are frustrated by this. Any reasonable person would be.

However, the Coast Guard and the Marine Police are just doing their job. It's the same thing when we go through security at airports. It's inconvenient, but we put up with it. For the good of society, and the safety of all of us.

I'd like you all to remember that thought as we go through these posts here. The Coast Guard and Marine Police are charged with protecting us and bringing lawbreakers to justice. We all need to be aware that if fishermen weren't flagrantly violating the law, there would be no need for this enforcement.

But that's human nature. When something is prohibited, even if it's for the benefit of all members of the user group, there will always be a select part of that group that feels they're above the law.

If enforcement is lax, this will encourage other members of that group to break the law as well. They will feel they're "entitled" to break that law, and continue to invent "excuses" as justification as to why it's not that bad.




That's the awareness I hope people will get out of this thread, and maybe they will begin to support the central theme I'm trying to put across here:

1. Just because a group of people is breaking the law on a consistent basis, that doesn't mean what they're doing is acceptable.

2. If you're concerned about this, maybe this thread will be enough to get you concerned enough to become active in speaking up about it, and seeing that persistent violators are caught.

3. If you're concerned, but don't want to become actively involved, please consider helping to raise awareness that striped bass are a shared resource. When people fish for bass in the EEZ, they're stealing that resource from all of us, one bass at a time.
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  #6  
Old 02-09-2010, 06:25 PM
DarkSkies DarkSkies is offline
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Default Re: Major EEZ Violations in VA and NC

Coast Guard and Marine Police, responsibilities, EEZ defined
A little about them.

Please be aware there are several avenues to report poaching in VA. The VDGIF responsibilities as I understood it are mostly for inland violations. For saltwater, striped bass, and other saltwater fish violations you would want to call/E-mail the VMRC.

Some #s:

VMRC marine police

VMRC staff overview
http://www.mrc.state.va.us/mrcoverview.shtm

VMRC staff directory
http://www.mrc.state.va.us/staffdirectory.shtm


VMP are authorized to enforce Federal laws
http://www.mrc.virginia.gov/MP/leoverview.shtm
Officers of the Virginia Marine Police have full law enforcement arrest powers through out the Commonwealth. Virginia Marine Police Officers are required to complete a state mandated basic police academy. New officers are also required to complete the Marine Law Enforcement Training Program held at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia.

Through a cooperative law enforcement agreement between the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, the National Marine Fishery Service and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, officers are deputized to enforce federal fish and wildlife laws. The strong bond between the agencies has proven to be a model in cooperative law enforcement. The Virginia Marine Resources Commission has also recently entered into a cooperative agreement with the United States Coast Guard that allows the Virginia Marine Police to enforce federally designated safety and security zones.


VA coastwide fish regulations:
http://www.mrc.virginia.gov/regulati...hingrules.shtm


VA fisheries management FMAC
http://www.mrc.virginia.gov/fmac/fmoverview.shtm


The VA MRC patrols all inshore waters up to the 3 mile limit, which is the beginning of the EEZ. As stated above, they're also authorized to enforce laws in Federal waters, and actively patrol these waters in partnership with the Coast Guard.


What is the EEZ?
The EEZ is a zone from 3-200 miles where catching, fishing, or targeting striped bass is prohibited. These are also known as FEDERAL WATERS.




************************************************
Duties of the Coast Guard:

In addition to homeland security, drug and contraband interception, and protecting our ocean borders, the Coast Guard has the responsibility of detecting violators fishing in the EEZ and enforcing the laws as written. They work closely with the Marine Police where necessary.

Some CG resource links:

Coaxt Guard Virginia
Main directory
http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/cg531/LMR.asp

US Coast Guard National Telephone directory:
http://www.uscg.mil/top/news/phonebook.pdf



Coast Guard Marine responsibilities relative to Fishing:
Protecting the U.S. EEZ and key areas of the high seas is an important mission for the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard enforces fisheries laws at sea, as tasked by the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act (MSFCMA). Our fisheries priorities are, in order of importance:

1. Protecting the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone from foreign encroachment: The MSFCMA of 1976 extended U.S. fisheries management authority out to the full 200 miles authorized by international law. The U.S. EEZ is the largest in the world, containing 3.4 million square miles of ocean and 90,000 miles of coastline. Foreign fishers operating illegally in this area are, effectively, stealing resources from the U.S., and our fisheries managers have no way of measuring or accounting for this loss.

2. Enforcing domestic fisheries law: U.S. Domestic Fisheries support a $24 billion dollar industry. Fisheries Management Plans (FMPs), to ensure the sustainability of these fisheries are developed by regional Fisheries Management Councils, each of which have a non-voting Coast Guard member. The Coast Guard is responsible for enforcing these FMPs at sea, in conjunction with NOAA Fisheries enforcement ashore. In addition to FMP enforcement, we enforce laws to protect marine mammals and endangered species.

The Coast Guard is the foremost agency with the maritime infrastructure, capability and authority to project a federal law enforcement presence into the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and upon the high seas.





There are those who want to direct anger or frustration at the Marine Police or Coast guard for all the people that seem to get away with fishing the EEZ for 40+ lb bass. There are many honest anglers that are fishing within the limit and not finding them right now. Please be aware LE is out there every day aggressively targeting violators.
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  #7  
Old 02-09-2010, 06:37 PM
DarkSkies DarkSkies is offline
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Default Re: Major EEZ Violations in VA and NC

2010 timeline of events that led to fishing in the EEZ
Here I'll try to chronicle the events that led to many anglers choosing to fish the EEZ, with supporting documentation.

Striped bass traditionally winter off the coast of VA and NC. Normally they're found inshore from 1-3 miles. It's a great fishery. It's been said that most of the E Coast biomass generally concentrates off the shores of those 2 states.

The fishing is legendary. Some days it's possible for each person to have double digit catches of bass above 30#. Tourists and others from as far away as Maine flock to the fishing centers in VA beach Oregon Inlet for a chance at trophy bass. This keeps the marinas and Captains in that area very busy and injects needed revenue into the local economies. This is a very divisive issue, as people feel strongly one way or another.

To many people in VA and NC, it's not about the striped bass, whether fishing for them is illegal in the EEZ or not. They see bass as revenue and many discussions over this turn into arguments.

However, there is a growing number of honest anglers who have always played by the rules. They see the segment of people fishing the EEZ growing, and thumbing their noses at law enforcement. These honest anglers manage to catch striped bass legally, unless the temps drop drastically. These honest anglers are fed up at what has become a common disregard of the law in these states.

The individuals who break the law and still decide to run far offshore to target these bass have a "Don't ask don't tell" mentality. The success they are having at catching trophy bass and evading LE has spurred still more boaters out to fish in the EEZ.

Again, to place blame solely on VA and NC boaters wouldn't be fair.

There are people coming from NJ, NY, PA, CT, RI, MA, ME, DE, specifically taking Winter trips to VA and NC to catch trophy striped bass. Many of these people are not aware of the EEZ laws. They assume their captains take care of all that. However, even when told that the bass are too far to fish for them illegally, many charter customers demand to catch these fish anyway. There is a "gold rush" mentality that exists down in these areas.

People want to point fingers at others, when the truth is we're all responsible. Every single person who fishes for striped bass in those areas, whether charter Captain, paying customer, or solo recreational boater should be aware that it's illegal to target, fish for, or catch, striped bass in the EEZ. Without trying to judge, these posts are an attempt to raise awareness of that so people are better informed.


JAN 2010

Summary of VA fishing from 1-1-10 moving forward:

This year has been a very cold winter for the Mid-coastal states. While the bass were around the CBBT in Virginia for several months at the end of 2009, the extreme cold waters, trending into the low 40s, have driven bass far offshore. In some cases the bass are being located 30 miles offshore.

For the first part of Jan, these bass were inshore. They gradually moved S from the CBBT.

Jan 2- "fish in Corolla moved way offshore. There were very few reports of keepers coming from within 3 miles."


MARS & VA reports

MARS was the Mid Atlantic Rockfish Tournament. It's becoming one of the most popular in the area for that time of year. There are some big prizes for top finishers, up to 60k in some cases.
This is the tournament with the leaderboard of big catches you have seen talked about here and at other internet fishing sites. I want to make one thing clear right away. The winners of this tournament all caught their bass in legal water inside the EEZ, otherwise known as "the fence".

The reason this is worth commenting on is that as I understand it, the boats in this tournament were operating with a "handicap" by being allowed to fish legal waters only. They were all equipped with GPS, and several of the winning Captains were required to take lie detector tests to prove they only fished in legal zones and caught their fish legally. It's also worth noting this was the first year GPS was required because of cheating concerns.

Therefore, the Captains in this MARS tourney should be commended for doing the right thing. I know people have looked at the leaderboards posted and some may have made judgements about the people catching those 45 to 55# bass. However, they all did this within the letter of the law, when others around them, and often at the same marina, were violating the law every day. Hats off to these winners, they truly exemplify the definition of a sportsman.


Jan 7 - "some fish were found inside the line. The MARS tourney group of 171 boats landed some nice bass"

Jan 8 - "MARS tourney boats had only 8 fish weighed in for 171 boats, while the Rudee fleet smashed them"

http://www.tidalfish.com/forums/show...MARS-Skunk-ola

Jan 9 - last day of the tournament...out of 171 boats, only one fish was weighed in, around 25#
MARS results: Hampton Roads team one of the winners.

1-9-10 Only one fish weighed last day of MARS
http://www.tidalfish.com/forums/show...ay-leaderboard

1-10
http://www.tidalfish.com/forums/show...s-in-The-Water

1-10 MARS results
http://www.tidalfish.com/forums/show...-Wheat-Systems





Post tournament reports:
As I understood it, the fishing gradually deteriorated inshore as the water temps got colder. Coupled with a few bad storms, this started to drive the main bodies of bass offshore to warmer waters in the mid to high 40 degree range. Guys inshore of the 3 mile limit were having trouble finding bass. Meanwhile, Charter boat customers were coming down in droves based on the hype about the great reports. This in turn put pressure on Charter boat captains to fish the illegal areas. A chief complaint of some Charters was they wouldn't have customers if they couldn't produce bass.


There were also some Charters who tried to be honest and tell the customers they could go out for catch and release bass fishing (which technically is still illegal in the EEZ). The anecdotes out there tell of many customers rejecting this.

The explanation above was not meant to justify illegal fishing on the part of Charter captains. It was an attempt to show that there are many different groups who are guilty when it comes to illegal fishiing in the EEZ.


Meanwhile, the people who try to play be the rules become increasingly irritated and resentful of this disregard of the law by others.


1-12 VMP checking boats the "Friday" thread
http://www.tidalfish.com/forums/show.../279793-Friday
The Coast Guard and Marine police have been pretty aggressive in giving out summonses. The problem is they have to catch people with bass in their possession, or targeting bass. Many fishermen lie and say they're fishing for bluefish, or they dump their dead gutted bass in the water as soon as they see the Coast Guard on radar.
[Interesting posts #3, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 18]



1-15 Where's all the reports - a thread showing that despite hundreds of big bass being caught daily, all of a sudden people stopped reporting their catches on the internet
http://www.tidalfish.com/forums/show...ll-the-reports

1-15 big fish at VBFC!! - there were fishermen in the MARS tournament that fished within 3 miles. As mentioned, when the fishing was poor inshore, some of the best fishermen in the MARS toournament came in empty handed at the end of the day. Yet, there were boats coming in to the same dock loaded with fish. Many of these catches came from the EEZ.
http://www.tidalfish.com/forums/showthread.php/279741-Big-Fish-AT-VBFC-!!!

VBFC site
http://www.virginiafishing.com/default.htm


1-18 anyone fishing tomorrow (fish are 35 miles to the East)
http://www.tidalfish.com/forums/show...tommorow/page2

************************
North Carolina Reports

OI fishing center - As mentioned in the VBFC, there are quite a few anglers departing from here to fish. Some are playing by the rules, but others are fishing in the EEZ, and committing violations. When the Coast Guard is close, they communicate via VHF and quickly run back to legal water.
http://www.oregon-inlet.com/journal/....cfm?ccat_id=1


NCR over the line [Interesting posts 5, 13]
http://www.tidalfish.com/forums/showthread.php/278557-Striper-Fishing-Sunday


NCR OI 1-15 anyone going?
http://www.tidalfish.com/forums/show...5-Anyone-going

NCR road trip Tues morning
http://www.tidalfish.com/forums/show...uesday-Morning
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  #8  
Old 02-09-2010, 06:59 PM
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Mark P Mark P is offline
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Default Re: Major EEZ Violations in VA and NC



"8 stripers to 44 pounds and a very long boat ride. They taste just as good as they did in 2009"

One quote from that thread. Nothing like chopping down trees in the last forest on earth to make a man happy. Makes me sick
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  #9  
Old 02-09-2010, 07:02 PM
DarkSkies DarkSkies is offline
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Default Re: Major EEZ Violations in VA and NC

The problems with ignoring this, the Culture of Apathy and Indifference
Here I'll try to document what happens when only a few individuals show their concern:

Poaching past 3 miles common or not?
http://www.tidalfish.com/forums/show...-common-or-not


Misbehaving Recs (and some comms) 10pgs
http://www.tidalfish.com/forums/showthread.php/280242-Misbehaving-Recs-(and-some-Coms)-Take-2
Interesting posts: # 1, 5 (mind your own business), 7 (EEZ law discussed), 12, 14, 23, 27, 32 (new career), 36, 37 (Stripers not overfished), 40, 49, 50, 51 (stop whining), 56 (safety in numbers), 61 (don't patronize illegal captains), 65, 67 (tournament GPS not sealed?)


1-27-10 VA/ NC becoming famous, Good or Bad?
http://www.tidalfish.com/forums/showthread.php/280362-Virginia-North-Carolina-becoming-Famous-Good-or-Bad

EEZ question
http://www.tidalfish.com/forums/show...753-Down-South
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  #10  
Old 02-09-2010, 07:22 PM
DarkSkies DarkSkies is offline
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Default Re: Major EEZ Violations in VA and NC

Thanks again to Jackbass for helping to get the ball rolling on this. And to Striperjim for any leniency he might consider in alllowing these links to remain.
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Old 02-13-2010, 11:28 PM
Rusty1652 Rusty1652 is offline
 
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Default Re: Major EEZ Violations in VA and NC

I am a new member to this site. I wish to thank all who contribute to bringing awareness of illegal striper fishing where ever it may occur. I look forward to having intelligent and supportive conversations concerning this topic on this site. I am also a member of the Tidal Fish site where I take a regular Bashing from the many members who support illegal fishing. My screen name "rusty1652" is the same here as it is on that site. Darkskies you have links to many of those threads on Tidal Fish where I have taken a bashing. Actually I think I'm "Public Enemy #1 on Tidal Fish site. I hope the atmoshere here is more different and fair. Keep up the good work...........
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Old 02-14-2010, 11:24 AM
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Mark P Mark P is offline
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Default Re: Major EEZ Violations in VA and NC

Hi Rusty, Thanks for putting up the good fight over there. I am certain there are guys in the northern states that fish past the EEZ not trashing VA and NC but the EEZ is protected for a reason.

I may be Naive but i just can't believe the brazen dis regard down in those parts. Not even an attempt to be subtle. This is from a recent management board meeting. Unfortunately they also have called for another addendum to the management plan increasing the Coastal Commercial Quota. Completely disregarding everything that Happened last fall with addendum 2.

"Also

The Management Board
also recommended that the ISFMP Policy Board consider sending letters to the National Marine
Fisheries Service and the United States Coast Guard requesting greater fines and permit
sanctions for vessels that illegally harvest striped bass in federal waters."


W
elcome aboard!
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