The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Law Enforcement has busted a “vast criminal conspiracy” that included the illegal harvest, sale and purchase of more than one million pounds of striped bass with a market value of up to $7 million. The bust, the result of a seven-year sting operation, happened in the Chesapeake Bay, the primary spawning and nursery ground for striped bass on the east coast.
“This may be the largest case of its kind in U.S. history,” said Special Agent Kenneth Endress of the USFWS.
This is welcome news. Fish poaching—whether it’s for bluefin tuna, Atlantic salmon, striped bass, blackfish or many other species—gets very little media play and very little enforcement funding. (For instance, there are only three conservation officers who cover the 650-mile shoreline of the New York City Harbor).
The Largest Black Market Fish Bust Ever? – Monte Burke – Flow – Forbes
Anglers in two states and two federal jurisdictions that do not have saltwater angler registries or licenses will be required to pay a $15 fee next year so that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration can collect information about the health of the fish populations.
While 22 coastal states either had licenses or established a collection system by the deadline, New Jersey, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands failed to meet the cutoff.
Outdoors Girl: NOAA sets National Saltwater Angler Registry at $15 – Maryland parks and outdoors: Life in Maryland’s great outdoors by Candy Thomson – baltimoresun.com
Under a new state registry, Virginia saltwater fishermen will be spared a $15 fee to register with the National Saltwater Angler Registry.
The fee kicks in Jan. 1 but Virginia fishermen will be exempt because state regulators will collect the data and deliver it to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA announced the annual registry and fee structure on Tuesday.
Va. anglers to be spared NOAA saltwater fee – WRIC Richmond News and Weather –
Chilly winds Saturday affected fishing, but it was no knockout.
Delaware Bay anglers had a good Sunday as gusts diminished, reports Pat Harris at Longreach Marina on the Maurice River. She said striped bass and big bluefish were “in close” or right off Maurice River Cove.
Bill Lewis, Bill Witt and Bear Witt, all of Vineland, came back with five striper: 35, 39, 40, 42 and 45 inches in length. An angler from Dividing Creek known as “Big Joe” caught 32-, 38- and 40-inch bass. Joe Laskin had 45- and 49-inch bass.
Harris said a lot more bass were caught and anglers don’t bother measuring the blues. All the fish all took chunks of frozen bunker, Harris said.
The Rips off Cape May was outstanding to Saturday, Matt Slobodjian reports from Jim’s Bait and Tackle in Cape May. Then on Sunday, Slobodjian weighed five bass, the heaviest 28 pounds, caught in the surf at Poverty Beach.
Shep on Fishing: Weekend chill slows but doesn’t stop good action – pressofAtlanticCity.com
Pollution is costing the Chesapeake Bay region millions and possibly billions of dollars in lost jobs, seafood declines and other problems, a new report says.
Credit: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Today is the deadline for Virginia and five other states to send bay cleanup plans to the EPA.
While some people are raising concerns over the cost of a planned bay cleanup — that cost could run into the billions over many years — the report says bay pollution has long hurt the economy.
Report: Chesapeake Bay pollution an economic ‘disaster’ | Richmond Times-Dispatch
Recycling, it turns out, is not reserved for inanimate objects. An increasingly popular Chesapeake Bay program is sending oyster shells collected from restaurants, which save the shells from customers’ meals, back into the bay, where they form homes for new oysters.
Saving the Oyster, and the Bay: Shell Recycling Program Replenishes Endangered Oyster Population : TreeHugger
There’s no shortage of striped bass fishing tournaments between now and early next year.
But a new one that will take place between Christmas and New Year’s is poised to become the big daddy of them all.
That’s a lofty statement, with the Mid-Atlantic Rockfish Shootout in January and the Toys for Tots event in a couple of weeks, but the inaugural Million Dollar Rockfish Challenge has incorporated big money prizes, several fishing options and a striped bass cooking challenge.
Million Dollar Rockfish Challenge
The event is set for Dec. 26-30 out of Marina Shores in Virginia Beach.
Insurance policies have been secured so that tournament officials can offer $1 million to any team breaking the International Game Fish Association all-tackle world record of 78 pounds, 8 ounces. That mark isn’t beyond the realm of possibilities, given that the Virginia state record is 73 pounds.
If a team breaks just the state record, there’s $250,000 waiting for it.
And if 300 teams enter, there will be a $50,000 first-place prize no matter.
Adding to a big-time tournament feel will be Leader’s Row, a set of docks where leading teams will sit in order of placement until they either win or are bumped out by other boats.
New rockfish tournament offers big money | HamptonRoads.com | PilotOnline.com