ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A mandatory commercial tagging program has been approved for striped bass fishing along the Atlantic coast.
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission announced approval of the program on Wednesday. The commission says it was developed following an investigation of illegal fishing in the Chesapeake Bay. The commission says 19 individuals and three corporations were fined more than $1.6 million for taking more than a million pounds of illegally caught fish.
The ASMFC says the program includes increasing penalties for illegally caught fish and improvements over previous tagging programs. States from Maine to Florida participate in the commission, which said all except Massachusetts and North Carolina must adopt the new program for the 2013 commercial fishing season. The two remaining states must implement their programs by the following year.