New Jersey

NJ fisherman faces criticism after fish-toss video goes viral

A New Jersey fisherman has been widely criticized after a video emerged showing him toss a number of striped bass that appear to be dead or near death off the side of his boat during a fishing trip. reported Tuesday that the video appeared on Facebook and YouTube on Monday. The report identified the fisherman as John Contello, 19, who was apparently on board his father’s 37-foot Sea Hunter fishing boat.

Contello is seen in the video tossing the fish overboard, saying, “This is for people who want to know what Johnny Bucktail-style is.” A bucktail is a common fishing jig.

His father, who was not with his son at the time, supported his son's decision, saying the fish were not dead and defended his son’s treatment of the fish.

“People are saying that’s not the way you release them,” the father told the paper. “That’s bull s---.”

Contello’s father told the paper that his son has revived fish in the past and is “upset over this.”

According to New Jersey state law, fishermen are only allowed to keep striped bass between 28 and 43 inches, the report said, with a few exceptions.

John Tiedeman, the associate dean at the Monmouth University School of Science, told the paper that the tossed fish appear to be dead.

“He’s clearly, to me, culling for size,” he told the paper. “But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say it’s not dead. You then need to revive those fish.”

He said those fish in particular are valuable to the ecosystem because they appeared to be spawning size.