Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Undercover Anglers Nab Non-Compliant Captains

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has charged Viking Starship Inc. with illegal fishing.

State officers and federal agents posed as patrons aboard charter vessels operating in New Jersey and New York. During these undercover operations, two charter operators, Jerome E. Hurd of Avalon, New Jersey, and Steven N. Forsberg of Montauk, New York, caught striped bass in federal waters with patrons. Forsberg, the owner of the F/V Viking Starship, and Hurd were also charged with submitting false oral or written statements about the catch to authorized federal officers. Forsberg and Hurd were each issued potential fines, $30,000 and $25,000, respectively. For Forsberg, the NOAA mandated a 30-day permit suspension.

Possessing, fishing, and harvesting of Atlantic striped bass, a prized sport fish, is illegal in federal waters, which exist beyond a states’ three-mile offshore boundary. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission have been trying to manage the declining population of striped bass in state waters, and the government banned commercial fishing this valued fish species since 1990.

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