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Old 01-18-2005, 02:34 AM
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Default Coast Guard warns fishers: Stay within the boundaries

Coast Guard warns fishers: Stay within the boundaries
By LEE TOLLIVER, The Virginian-Pilot
? January 16, 2005

Coast Guard officials have a warning for striped bass anglers:

?Obey the laws.?

At the center of the warning is an increase in the number of anglers fishing outside the state?s 3-mile limit. Waters 3 miles outside the East Coast are considered federal territory. Striped bass fishing is illegal in federal waters. It is also illegal to possess rockfish in federal waters.

?We?re hearing more and more complaints from other anglers about their peers breaking the law,? said Petty Officer Wade Hughes, a spokesman for the Coast Guard?s Fifth District law enforcement branch. ?We got a charter the other day that was 4? miles off the beach with six people and 14 fish. So not only did they have more than their limit, they were way outside the line. We had another one 5.7 miles off. While we?re getting them, boats that were farther out are managing to get back in.

?From what we?re seeing, this has been the worst year yet for people fishing outside of the line.? Hughes said the Coast Guard is trying to have more of a presence around the 3-mile line. He said Homeland Security duties prevent them from doing more.

Then there?s the difficulty of anglers warning others when enforcement officials are near. ? We wrote two cases last weekend and by the time we went looking for a third boat, everybody had hauled back into 3 miles,?? Hughes said.

?And as soon as we get back into the Bay, you can hear them back on the radio telling everybody that the coast is clear, and they all go back out.

?It?s bad.?
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