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January 27, 2011

Wildlife Commission Stocking Cape Fear River with Striped Bass

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This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

Hello from beautiful downtown "sunny" Topsail Beach, North Carolina!

RALEIGH, N.C. - To help boost the striped bass fishery in the Cape Fear River, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will conduct the first of two stockings of this popular game fish at the Castle Street boat landing in Wilmington on Monday.

The first stocking will consist of approximately 10,000 striped bass, ranging in length from 4 to 6 inches. A second stocking of more than 100,000 fish will occur in early December. The fish were produced at the Commission's Watha State Fish Hatchery in Pender County.

The Commission has stocked striped bass of various sizes in the Cape Fear River on an annual basis since 1998; however, this is the first stocking of fish that were produced using brood fish collected exclusively from the Cape Fear River. All previous stockings were from brood fish collected from the Roanoke River.

"The hope is that by stocking fish raised from parents collected from the Cape Fear, the fish will imprint to the system and return years later as adults to spawn," said Keith Ashley, a fisheries biologist with the Commission.

Striped bass migrate into the Cape Fear River from the Atlantic Ocean each spring. Beginning in 2003, the Commission initiated an annual survey of the Cape Fear River striped bass stock. The objective was to obtain up-to-date information on the abundance, distribution, length, age, and sex composition of striped bass collected from the Cape Fear River.

Survey results continue to document low numbers of spawning adults and poor recruitment. In an attempt to promote recovery of the fishery, the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) and the Commission implemented a moratorium on recreational and commercial striped bass harvest in the Cape Fear River system in 2008.

"We hope that the harvest moratorium, in conjunction with this new stocking program, will ultimately result in the restoration of this important fishery on the Cape Fear River," Ashley said.

For more information on fishing in public, inland waters, visit www.ncwildlife.org/fishing.

About the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission

Since 1947, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has been dedicated to the conservation and sustainability of the state's fish and wildlife resources through research, scientific management, wise use, and public input. The Commission is the state regulatory agency responsible for the enforcement of fishing, hunting, trapping and boating laws and provides programs and opportunities for wildlife-related educational, recreational and sporting activities. To learn more, visit www.ncwildlife.org.

Get N.C. Wildlife Update - news including season dates, bag limits, legislative updates and more - delivered to your Inbox from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. Go to www.ncwildlife.org/enews.

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Jodie B. Owen