Monmouth fisherman in hot water for fish-tossing video
A 19-year-old fisherman from Hazlet is getting plenty of bites on a video he posted to Facebook on Monday that appears to show him throwing several motionless striped bass overboard into the Raritan Bay.
John Contello's 35-second clip was also posted to YouTube, but NJ Advance Media reported that version was taken down Tuesday afternoon, perhaps in part because of the backlash the video has received. On Facebook, fellow fisherman called Contello out for the practice of culling — tossing back smaller fish, dead or alive, as larger fish are caught.
Within an hour and a half of Contello putting the video up on his Facebook page, Connecticut resident Wade Evans commented, "Those fish looked dead that they were throwing back in!" Commenters piled on from there. Nick Di Ambrosio wrote, "yeah those fish looked very dead. safe release means throwing them back alive, and placing them in the water gently."
As the video went viral, some chimed in with newly generated memes, or eschewed criticism entirely to comment on the post's increasing visibility. Several also posted links or references to the state Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish & Wildlife page, calling for Contello to be reported. The NJ Advance Media report said that Wildlife Conservation Officers did receive the video and are investigating.
The Division of Fish & Wildlife's 2016 possession limits for striped bass stipulate that anglers may only have one fish between 28 and 43 inches in length and a second fish 43 inches or greater per day.
Patrick Lavery produces "New Jersey's First News" and is New Jersey 101.5's morning drive breaking news reporter. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.