The NC Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) has issued a statement regarding the thousands of striped bass killed and thrown overboard during commercial trawling activity off the Outer Banks in the last few days.
Patricia Smith, the public information officer of the DMF, released the following statement in response to questions for the DMF and its director Dr. Louis Daniel:
“The NC Division of Marine Fisheries is investigating reports of numerous dead striped bass floating in the ocean waters in northern Dare County areas.
The estimates of the numbers of dead fish have ranged from in the hundreds to in the thousands. The division is trying to determine the actual extent and cause of this event. However, the fish appear to be discards from fishing activity.
There was extensive commercial and recreational striped bass fishing in these waters over the holiday weekend. Both commercial and recreational fisheries have had issues with discards of striped bass in the past. However, this is the first time in several years that striped bass have migrated this close to the shore.
The commercial striped bass trawl fishery is scheduled to close at 6 p.m. Thursday. The division will evaluate the effort and landings in this fishery to determine if quota remains and if the fishery should reopen. The division will also consider if alternative management measures could be used to prevent future discard mortality.”