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Thread: Poaching BUSTS!

  1. #1
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    Default Poaching BUSTS!

    Watermen charged in illegal striped bass sales

    State, federal investigators uncover extensive poaching ring in Md., Va.

    By Candus Thomson January 31, 2009
    State and federal investigators have broken up a black market involving watermen and fish dealers who sold millions of dollars' worth of striped bass, illegally taken from the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River, to shops and restaurants across the country, according to court documents filed in federal court this week.

    Four Maryland watermen, one Virginia waterman, two Washington fish dealers and an upscale Georgetown fish market have been named in criminal complaints, and officials said more are expected. In addition, two St. mary's County watermen were indicted by a federal grand jury last fall for their part in the poaching scheme, which law enforcement officials in Maryland and Virginia say is the largest ever.

    The timing couldn't be worse for Maryland. On Monday, the region's fishing regulatory agency is to meet in Alexandria, Va., and state officials fear that the news could trigger harsh penalties that would cripple the multimillion-dollar commercial fishing industry in the Chesapeake Bay and drive up retail fish prices.

    "These were fish pirates," said a high-ranking Virginia official, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak about the case. "This was racketeering. Computers and records were seized. You're going to see some places go out of business."

    The watermen and fish dealers have been charged under the Lacey Act, which prohibits the illegal taking of wildlife in one state for the purpose of selling it in another. Violations of the act carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, plus potential forfeiture of the boats and vehicles used.

    Yesterday at U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, criminal complaints were filed against these watermen: Thomas L. Crowder Jr., 40, of Leonardtown; John W. Dean, 53, of Scotland; Charles Quade, 55, of Churchton; Keith Collins, 57, of Deale; and Thomas L. Hallock, 48, of Catharpin, Va.

    "It's news to me," Dean said when reached by phone yesterday. "It may be me. I don't know."

    "There have been a whole bunch of plea agreements, but I can't talk to you about it," Crowder said.

    Law enforcement sources said individuals have admitted to poaching as much as $1 million worth of fish each over five years.

    Annually, Maryland's 1,231 licensed watermen account for about 2 million pounds of the 7 million pounds of striped bass legally caught commercially on the Eastern Seaboard. The poaching scheme described in court documents and by sources means that the state vastly exceeded its annual striped bass quota for five years.

    Maryland's watermen are required to report their catch at one of about 30 check stations, which are run by volunteers holding fish dealer licenses. Each fish must be tagged before it is unloaded from a boat. The check stations send the information - number of fish and weight of the catch - to the Department of Natural Resources in daily phone calls and file more comprehensive in weekly written reports.

    But insufficient tag monitoring and allowing fish buyers to run check-in stations created a loophole that was exploited, Maryland officials acknowledge.

    "This is a time to be sad about the lawlessness on the bay," said Maryland DNR Secretary John R. Griffin. "There's not a whole lot you can do to sugar-coat it. We toughened the rules last summer, but that obviously wasn't enough. It's become clear we need even more accountability."

    The DNR is proposing regulations to tighten monitoring and enforcement of the commercial catch.

    Andy Hughes, chairman of Coastal Conservation Association Maryland, called the poaching "both alarming in its scope and tremendously disappointing in that it was not dealt with many years earlier."

    "We can't bring back the striped bass that have been stolen from us, but we can learn a lesson," Hughes said.

    The investigation began in 2003, when Maryland Natural Resources Police tipped the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to poaching in the bay and the river. Here's how the scheme worked, according to sources and court documents:

    Watermen, like Joseph Peter Nelson, 69, and Joseph Peter Nelson Jr., 45, of St. Mary's County, received additional tags by filing false reports with the state about the number and weight of the striped bass they caught illegally in Maryland waters.

    After reaching his Potomac River quota, the younger Nelson allegedly began using his tags designated for Chesapeake Bay use. From 2003 to 2006, he also used the commercial license of a waterman referred to in the indictment as "J.R." to secure more tags and falsify that catch.

    Instead of carrying out transactions dockside, the indictment says, undercover officers from Virginia Marine Police posing as wholesale buyers took delivery of the fish from the Nelsons or unnamed men listed as unindicted co-conspirators at a private home in St. Mary's County, a walk-in cooler, a parking lot and near a bridge on a county road.

    Other watermen joined the scheme, creating a supply of striped bass so vast that poachers and dealers brought workers into fish packing houses after hours to process the catch, sources say.

    Both Nelsons have pleaded not guilty and contend that the statements they made to Maryland officers were made before they were read their rights. Louis Fireison, lawyer for the younger Nelson, said he could not discuss the case at this point. Lisa Lunt, lawyer for the elder Nelson, declined to comment.

    To catch buyers, undercover officers peddled undersized, oversized and out-of-season striped bass.

    Court documents show that for four years, beginning in April 2003, Robert Moore and Robert Moore Jr., who own Cannon Seafood Inc., in Washington, sold illegal striped bass and helped other unnamed people buy and sell fish.
    Griffin said he hopes to see more joint enforcement efforts on the bay, an idea seconded by Rod J. Rosenstein, U.S. Attorney for Maryland.

    "This is not the sort of case you can prove by looking at a fish once it's on a plate in a restaurant or somebody's kitchen. You have to actually be there when the fish are caught and when they're sold at the first stage," Rosenstein said. "I hope that this will be a model for other similar investigations because it's really critical that we join forces to pursue these kinds of cases."

    DNR officials worry that this poaching scheme might eventually lead to Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission sanctions.

    ASMFC Commissioner Pat Augustine of New York predicted that his fellow commissioners "will demand some form of punishment when this hits the table ... that could shut down commercial striped bass fishing in the Chesapeake. Maryland needs to come to the table eating humble pie."

  2. #2
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    Default river poachers busted!!

    Great job catching these guys!

    May 7, 2009
    Capping a lengthy undercover investigation, Conservation Officers with the Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish and Wildlife have cited eight people for illegally taking and selling river herring from South Jersey waters. Fishermen are allowed to take up to 35 herring per day, but are not allowed to possess more than 35 herring at one time, or sell herring, unless they hold certain commercial fishing licenses.

    Herring are anadromous fish, meaning they live in saltwater, but return to fresh water to spawn in the spring. In recent years, herring migrations have precipitously declined, raising concern and prompting regulatory action by federal and state government. Since Colonial times, many populations of blueback herring and alewife, collectively known as river herring, have faced threats from commercial and recreational fishing, habitat loss from dam construction, silt and pollution – among others.

    The National Marine Fisheries Service identified a 90 percent decline in commercial landings of herring between 1985 and 2004, and those numbers have continued to decrease. The closure of river herring fisheries by Atlantic coastal states -- including Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Virginia and North Carolina -- and documented declines in river herring abundance have raised questions about the adequacy of current management of the species to promote healthy fish stocks.

    Given the circumstances, the Delaware River Basin Fish & Wildlife Management Cooperative’s Fisheries Technical Committee in 2008 took regulatory steps to reduce the current daily limit of 35 river herring to 10. If approved in Pennsylvania, the regulation would take effect in 2010. A regulation to reduce the herring limit to 10 is also proposed for New Jersey’s fresh waters and would require anglers wishing to possess more than 10 fish to produce a receipt proving that they purchased the extra herring.

    The seriousness of the decline is also reflected by a May 7 Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission approval of an amendment to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for river herring. The amendment prohibits commercial and recreational fisheries for herring in marine waters beginning Jan. 1, 2012, unless a state or jurisdiction develops and submits for approval a sustainable management plan by Jan. 1, 2010. The amendment defines a sustainable fishery as "a commercial and/or recreational fishery that will not diminish the potential future stock reproduction and recruitment."

    During the past several years in New Jersey, amateur harvesters have refined their gear and techniques to boost the size of their catch. However, as conscientious sportsmen witnessed anglers taking more than the 35 herring a day limit, they reported it to the DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife. Through information and surveillance, Conservation Officers learned that hundreds of thousands of herring likely have been illegally taken and sold out of the waters in Atlantic County. Anglers stockpiled many of these fish in holding pens, a violation of New Jersey’s possession limit.

    Herring are prized as bait in the increasingly popular recreational striped bass fishery, and at a price tag of up to $5 a piece, the demand and profit incentives has fueled black market commercialization at the expense of the species.

    In an effort to help protect this important wildlife resource, plainclothes Conservation Officers worked for more than 14 months alongside herring fishermen in Mays Landing in Atlantic County on the Great Egg Harbor River, and compiled evidence on at least 16 people for taking more than the legal daily limit of herring, having more than the possession limits and for illegally selling herring.


    On May 3, Conservation Officers executed search warrants at three locations in Atlantic County, and wrapped up the undercover investigation, led by Lt. Greg Honachefsky by citing eight men with dozens of violations in connection with illegally catching and selling herring. Eight others were apprehended and charged last spring at the start of the investigation. All told, possible penalties for the violations exceed $33,000. The eight men cited this week are:

    • Peter May, 29, of Hutto, Texas, formerly of Mays Landing, was charged with possession of 350 river herring over the legal limit, unlawful use of a bait seine, and unlawfully screening a river.
    • Thomas Valiante, 49, of Galloway, was charged with possession of 270 river herring over the legal limit, unlawful use of a bait seine, and unlawful screening of a river.
    • Anthony Compton, 37, of Mays Landing, was charged with possession of 37 herring over the legal limit and conspiracy to sell wildlife illegally.
    • Victor Stott, 69, of Barnegat Light, was charged with 25 river herring over the legal limit.
    • Joseph Milza, 52, of Egg Harbor City, was charged with 31 river herring over the legal limit, unlawful sale of wildlife and conspiracy to unlawfully sell or purchase wildlife.
    • Mark Constantino, 19, of Egg Harbor Township, was charged with illegal sale of wildlife.
    • Thomas Vanzant, 24, of Brigantine, was charged with possession of 119 river herring over the legal limit, unlawful sale of wildlife, conspiracy to sell wildlife illegally, and failure to keep required records.
    • John Hoagland, 27, of Egg Harbor Township, was charged with possession of 125 river herring over the legal limit, unlawful sale of wildlife, conspiracy to illegally sell wildlife and failure to keep required records.
    To report violations of fish and game laws, call the DEP’s 24-hour hotline at 877-WARN DEP (877- 927-6337). Information can be reported anonymously and will be kept confidential.

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    i stopped fishing the delaware because the herring was going down in latest years, not worth it, now i see why. azzholes like this taking more than the limit, throw the book at the *****!

  4. #4
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    It about time they catch some of those scumbuckets. I am tired off the good fisherman being blamed for the the other lamebrains do.

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    Probably nothing will happen this is the 3rd or 4th time they have caught Victor. Remember there are no marine judges,regular judges could care less as it's outside of there expertise . As it says possible penalties for the violations .

    Pay attention to what history has taught us or be prepared to relive it again

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    Quote Originally Posted by finchaser View Post
    Probably nothing will happen this is the 3rd or 4th time they have caught Victor. Remember there are no marine judges,regular judges could care less as it's outside of there expertise . As it says possible penalties for the violations .

    It kills me that these guys will get a slap on the wrist if what you said is true finchaser. That's why they keep doing it, they know the penalties will not be that bad if caught.

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    Default Poaching records - merged with other thread 2-17-10

    I started this thread because there seems to be no shame anymore when people are caught poaching. It's no big deal, just part of doing business, no guilt.

    Instead of separating different threads out for each state, let's realiize that poaching occurs in all states, and poaching of striped bass occurs in all EEZ coastal areas, not just in NC and VA.

    The ASMFC posts records every year of people caught poaching. Feel free to locate those public records from the meetings and post them in this thread. Thanks people.

  8. #8
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    This first one comes courtesy of Bababooey, who originally posted it in the EEZ thread.
    http://stripersandanglers.com/Forum/...?t=5801&page=8


    Thanks.




    http://www.jdnews.com/news/illegal-7...s-efforts.html


    Fishermen caught with nearly 3,000 pounds of illegal bass

    February 12, 2010 5:45 PM

    DAILY NEWS STAFF

    Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration personnel combined efforts Tuesday to stop illegal striped bass fishing off Oregon Inlet and found one vessel with illegally caught fish that had more than 2,900 pounds of fish aboard.

    The economic pressures being felt nationwide and the meteorological conditions driving the striped bass population farther off shore into warmer waters have set the stage for a situation that may entice fishermen to break the law, according to a news release from the Fifth Coast Guard District.
    In an effort to ensure the longevity of the striped bass population and maintain a level playing field for all fishermen, federal authorities are taking action.

    On Tuesday, in response to multiple reports of commercial and recreational striped bass fishing within the Exclusive Economic Zone, the Coast Guard and NOAA conducted a joint effort to curtail this illegal activity.

    Fishing for striped bass is permitted within state waters, but catching or possessing striped bass outside three nautical miles from shore is a violation of federal regulations. In an effort to catch fishermen participating in this illegal activity, the Coast Guard mounted a patrol within known fishing grounds off Oregon Inlet, using Station Oregon Inlet’s small boats with the assistance of additional boarding team personnel from Station Hatteras Inlet, the release said.

    One of the boarding teams sighted the fishing vessel Lady Samaira as it was heading back into port. It was within the Exclusive Economic Zone when the team boarded the vessel to ensure compliance with both fishery and vessel safety regulations.
    Their investigation revealed more than 150 striped bass aboard the vessel. The boarding team documented their findings and relayed all pertinent information to NOAA, the regulatory agency for such violations, for further guidance. As a result of the boarding team’s findings, NOAA asked the Coast Guard to direct the Lady Samaira to port where NOAA agents met the vessel.

    When the vessel moored in North Carolina there were less fish aboard, approximately 100 striped bass. The fish, weighing in at almost 3,000 pounds, were abandoned by the vessel’s captain to the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement.

    Typically, if less than 10 illegal fish are discovered, in addition to having to abandon their catch the master is levied a $100 fine per fish and the matter is closed. In this case, the NOAA OLE investigation continues, and the final action to be taken against the master or vessel has yet to be determined.

    This case, while significant, is just one example of illegal striped bass fishing activity recently interdicted by federal, state, and local authorities, the Coast Guard said.

  9. #9
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    Feel free to post any others from the ASMFC meeting reports or other sites where these public records are listed.

    The legal stuff:
    Please be aware when a citation is written, the person it is given to is not a poacher until they're convicted or plead guilty in a court of law.

    Let's try to keep a focus on that here, thanks.

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    Default NJCOA records, 2009 Highlights

    Sent in by OGB, thanks!

    Marine Region

    *On 9/14/09 COs Scott and Swift conducted an evening patrol in Perth Amboy, Belmar, Avon and Point Pleasant Beach. The result of the patrol netted six summonses for possession of 15 undersized tautog, one summons for undersized crabs and a summons for an undersized striped bass.

    *While responding to the seemingly endless complaints in Barnegat Light, on 9/26/09 CO Swift set up a surveillance along a path used by illegal fishermen and their accomplices. CO Swift observed a female carrying a backpack walking to a vehicle. CO Swift then observed two male fishermen walking up the path approximately 100 yards behind the female. He inspected the fishermen who possessed one legal tautog. When questioned by CO Swift, the fishermen initially denied knowing the woman with the backpack. CO Swift obtained the backpack which contained 7 undersized tautog. As CO Swift went back to his vehicle to write a summons, a local resident alerted him that the woman made several trips back and forth to the vehicle during the day. CO Swift went back to the subject’s vehicle and found an additional 9 undersized tautog. All three individuals were issued summons for possession of undersized tautog, possession of over limit tautog and interference.

    *On 9/25/09 Lt. Fresco and CO Swift set up a surveillance on the Point Pleasant canal in reference to many ongoing complaints. One individual was observed running fish back to a vehicle and was apprehended with four undersized tautog and one summer flounder out of season. Another individual was also apprehended for running fish back to their vehicle with undersized scup and tautog. Later that day the officers met up with CO Dravis to conduct an inspection of the FV Paramount in Brielle. An individual fishing on that vessel contacted CO Dravis in reference to violations by patrons as well as their descriptions. Two individuals were apprehended with 27 undersized black sea bass.

    *On 09/25/09 CO Jones was watching a fisherman on a jetty in Deal. The fisherman eventually packed up his gear and started to come off the jetty. At this time another fisherman arrived and started to walk onto the jetty. The original fisherman gave the new fisherman a wide berth and hid his bucket on the side opposite this fisherman's view so the new fisherman could not see into the bucket. CO Jones watched the fisherman walk onto the beach and then proceed up the beach passing the normal access location and go to a more remote access location further up. CO Jones arrived at the second access site and climbed out of his patrol vehicle. When the fisherman, who was now climbing stairs towards the parking lot, saw CO Jones standing at the top of the access, he quickly turned around, ran down a flight of stairs, and threw the bucket over the railing and into the weeds. CO Jones advised the individual to retrieve the bucket. At this time the fluke season had been closed for 21 days. CO Jones inspected the contents of the bucket and found five fluke. The fisherman was issued a summons for having five fluke during closed season.

    *On 09/26/09 CO Jones walked the Keansburg Pier inspecting fisherman as he went. He encountered a father and teenage son who were attempting to leave. Both men walked past CO Jones as he tried to inspect them. CO Jones now had to get in front of both fisherman and stop them so he could conduct the inspection. The father kept his teenage son on the far side of him away from CO Jones. The father then showed CO Jones an empty bucket and said "no fish". The men then tried to walk away. CO Jones again got in front of both men and asked to see the contents of the soft-bodied cooler which the teenage son had strapped across his shoulder. The teenage son said "its' only drinks". CO Jones had the teenage son remove the top drink and plastic bag. Underneath the plastic bag CO Jones observed scup. Upon inspection CO Jones found the soft-bodied cooler held 40 porgies of which 39 were short.The father took responsibility for all the fish and the appropriate summonses were issued.

    *On 10/01/09 CO Jones conducted surveillance of a fisherman fishing along the Arthur Kill in Perth Amboy. CO Jones observed the individual catch two porgies before the fisherman packed up his gear to leave. CO Jones arrived at the parking location as the fisherman was approaching his vehicle. Upon seeing CO Jones the fisherman walked to the passenger side of his vehicle and threw his bag of fish under the vehicle. CO Jones had the fisherman retrieve his bag of fish and upon inspection found that the bag contained 5 bluefish, and 37 porgies (scup). All 37 porgies were short. The appropriate summonses were issued.

    *On 10/5/09 COs Soell and Swift set up surveillance on exits used by fishermen fishing on the Barnegat Light jetty. CO Swift observed two individuals with fishing equipment dragging a cooler to their vehicle. CO Swift inspected the cooler and it container 17 undersized tautog. Summonses were issued to both individuals for possession of undersized and over limit tautog. Meanwhile, CO Soell received a call from a local resident on another exit that a male and female were returning to their vehicle. The resident observed the female carry two buckets to their vehicle during the course of the day. The COs stopped the vehicle as they were leaving the area. When asked if they had caught any fish, the individuals showed the officers two buckets containing approximately 30 bergalls. CO Swift spotted a backpack in the vehicle and asked to inspect it. The backpack contained 10 undersized tautog. The male admitted to catching all of the fish and received a summonses for possession of 10 undersized tautog and 9 over bag limit.

    That same evening, CO Swift observed a female walk to a vehicle with a backpack. When she returned to the path the backpack appeared empty. Approximately fifteen minutes later a male carrying a backpack and no apparent fishing equipment, returned to the same vehicle and proceeded to leave the area in his vehicle. The COs followed the vehicle which then stopped at a gas station. The COs questioned the male if he had been fishing and he replied that he did. When asked if he possessed any fish he stated, “no”. CO Soell asked if he had a cooler and permission to inspect it, to which the male consented. The cooler contained 40 tautog which were hidden under a jacket inside the cooler. The backpack he was observed carrying contained another 9 tautog. Out of a total of 49 tautog, 30 were undersized. The male was issued summonses for possessing 48 tautog over the limit and 30 undersized tautog. It turns out that all of these fish were caught utilizing hand lines. As a side note, the woman originally observed going to the vehicle was apparently left behind by the male and was observed by COs walking down the main roadway on Long Beach Island. Over the course of that patrol, 84 illegal tautog were seized.

    *The National Marine Fisheries Service made a closure of the black sea bass recreational harvest season to federally permitted party and charter vessels, effective October 5th . On October 4th, prior to the federal recreational black sea bass season closure, CO Snellbaker organized a boarding of the charter vessel Capt Collet in Atlantic City. At 1600 hrs, CO Snellbaker, CO Nicklow and Lt. Canale boarded the vessel as they returned to the dock on Maryland Ave. The Conservation Officers encountered 15 patrons from Maryland and Washington, DC. When the inspection was complete, Officers, Snellbaker, Nicklow and Lt. Canale documented a total of 613 undersize black sea bass, 404 black sea bass possessed over the daily bag limit of 25 fish per person, 5 undersize scup, and 5 undersize fluke which were also possessed during the closed season for the charter. Although individual totals varied, violations per patron averaged 40 undersized fish and 26 fish over the limit. Officers issued a total of 32 summonses to the patrons of the CV Capt Collet for their violations. All of the seized fish were donated to the Atlantic City Rescue Mission.

    *CO Petruccelli, assisted by NMFS Special Agent Jason Couse, apprehended the F/V Sonja H with several violations of New Jersey’s Commercial fishing regulations. On the evening of September 23, CO Petruccelli observed FV Sonja H enter its dock area in Cape May Harbor. While observing the vessel from an adjacent dock, CO Petruccelli was seen by the owner of H&H Fisheries LLC, Blair Hansen.


    H&H Fisheries is the documented owner of the FV Sonja H. Mr. Hansen was able to warn the captain of the vessel, Jasen Hansen, about CO Petruccelli’s presence. Jasen Hansen immediately dumped illegal black sea bass and tautog overboard into the harbor. CO Petruccelli arrived to find black sea bass and tautog from the FV Sonja H floating in the water. With the assistance of the vessel captain, Jasen Hansen, CO Petruccelli retrieved most of the discarded fish. CO Petruccelli documented that the FV Sonja H landed 70lb of black sea bass during the closed commercial season, 35lb of tautog during the closed commercial tautog season, 17 undersize lobsters and the possession of 2 egg bearing lobsters. Additionally, a federal violation for failing to complete a Fishing Vessel Trip Report and a State violation for interference for the attempt to discard the illegal fish were documented. CO Petruccelli issued 9 summonses: four to the Vessel owner and five to the captain. Federal Charges for the logbook violation are pending.





    A full list of all activities/violations including hunting/game law infractions can be found here:

    http://njcoa.blogspot.com/

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    Default NJCOA records, 2009 highlights

    Some more:


    Marine Region

    *CO Swift recently settled a case in Highlands Borough Court stemming from fillet permit violations observed by undercover officers on the party FV Elaine B II on 7/31/09. The mate and captain pleaded guilty and paid a total of $600.00 in penalties plus costs. The vessel also had its fillet permit suspended for a period of 60 days.

    *CO Scott also settled a case in Middletown Township Court involving a commercial conch pot fisherman. The individual pleaded guilty to this second violation for placing of conch pots in a marked or charted channel. He paid a penalty of $750.00 plus costs.

    *On 11/7/09, CO Soell settled a case in Barnegat Light Municipal Court involving an individual who was apprehended with 48 tautog over limit and 30 undersized tautog. This individual pleaded guilty and was assessed a penalty of $2340.00 plus court costs.

    *On 11/15/09 District 7 COs conducted a plain-clothes operation at Barnegat Light SP jetty in response to complaints from local citizens of unlawful activity. The officers posing as fishermen, observed several instances in which fishermen deliberately attempted to conceal their illegal catches and avoid detection. Groups of fishermen would send out illegal fish with individuals in backpacks with no fishing equipment, while the rest of the group brought out legal fish and all the equipment. The carriers of the illegal catch would walk out to side streets along the beach to be later picked up by their counterparts or go to separate vehicles. A total of 15 individuals were apprehended by the officers with a total of 23 summonses issued. Summonses issued included: 2 summonses for possession of a total of 23 winter flounder out of season; 8 summonses for possession of a total of 23 tautog, over bag limit; 4 summonses for possession of a total of 10 undersized tautog; and 9 summonses for interfering with the duties of a CO.

    *On 11/22/09 COs Scott and Swift observed a fisherman returning to the Neptune City ramp. They recognized this individual as a habitual marine fish violator who is currently awaiting trial on another case involving 47 summer flounder out of season. An inspection of the vessel revealed 6 undersized striped bass. Summonses were issued for 6 short striped bass and 2 over limit.

    *CO Scott later inspected the charter fishing vessel, Right of Way II that just returned to the Belmar Municipal Marina in the Shark River, from a tautog fishing trip. The inspection was uneventful. A short time later, CO Swift while driving through the Belmar Marina parking lot, observed a well-dressed individual carrying a bag of three, large tautog. When questioned by CO Swift, this individual claimed he bought the fish from the Right of Way II. CO Swift took the individual back to the vessel to point out the seller, who turned out to be one of the patrons. A summons was issued to the patron for sale of tautog without a permit. Earlier that day while on boat patrol with USCG Sandy Hook, CO Scott inspected a sport fisherman in possession of 12 tautog, 6 over the daily possession limit. A summons was issued for the overage.

    *CO Dravis conducted a dockside inspection of a sport fishing vessel in Brielle on 11/22/09. As he approached this vessel, he observed some of the three occupants scurrying around to fill out striped bass bonus tags. CO Dravis asked what they had caught and one of the fishermen stated they had 8 striped bass. At the time they had not filled out any of the bonus tags. When CO Dravis told them he was going to inspect the vessel’s fish holds, one individual told them they were also in possession of a summer flounder. The holds contained 8 striped bass and a 24 inch summer flounder. A summons was issued to the captain for not filling out the bonus tags and possession of summer flounder during the closed season.

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    Some more:

    Marine Region Highlights

    *Joint operations with NMFS agents and NJ COs were conducted in response to the black sea bass closure in federal waters. On 11/3/09 CO Scott along NMFS agents boarded the party fishing vessel Ocean Explorer in Belmar. Undercover agents aboard the vessel documented the vessel fishing for black sea bass in federal waters as well as short black sea bass filleted by the mate and hidden on the vessel. CO Scott issued a summons for undersized black sea bass to the mate. A federal case has been initiated for the closure and other violations.

    *On 11/9/09 another joint operation for black sea bass enforcement was conducted aboard the party fishing vessel Dauntless in Point Pleasant Beach. Undercover agents documented this vessel fishing for black sea bass in federal waters. The agents also observed the mates filleting undersized black sea bass which were discarded as the vessel entered the Manasquan Inlet prior to docking. This is a violation of the requirements of the vessels state-issued fillet permit. When the vessel docked and the officers boarded the vessel, the patrons left behind 152 undersized black sea bass and 45 legal size black sea bass. Based on information supplied to CO Swift, three patrons were issued summonses for possession of undersized black sea bass. The vessels owner, captain and two mates were issued summonses for filleting undersized black sea bass and discarding carcasses prior to docking. Along with penalties ranging from $300-3000, a 60 day suspension of the fillet permit will be assessed upon conviction.

    *CO Swift was provided information in reference to the party fishing vessel Queen Mary II keeping any striped bass that were caught on their annual Thanksgiving Day fishing trip. On Thanksgiving Day, COs Scott and Swift boarded this vessel as it returned to its dock in Point Pleasant Beach. The inspection uncovered five undersized striped bass carcasses. A summons was issued to the captain.

    *On 11/28/09 CO Dravis inspected a recreational vessel named "Earley Bird" as it pulled into Southside Marina in Brielle. When the three occupants of the vessel observed CO Dravis at the dock they pretended they were having trouble docking the vessel and stated they would be going to a more sheltered slip on the other side of marina. As they pulled away, CO Dravis reacted by jumping off the dock onto the deck of the boat. CO Dravis found one bluefish and nine striped bass. Eight of the stripers measured less than 28 inches. The captain/owner of the vessel was written a court mandatory summons for possession of eight undersized striped bass and three over limit.

    *CO Swift settled a case in Neptune City on 12/3/09 in reference to the FV Last Lady II where a $300 penalty was assessed and a 60 day fillet permit suspension for discarding scup carcasses prior to docking.

    *On 12/3/09 COs Scott and Swift conducted a patrol of the Barnegat Light jetty in the Barnegat Inlet. Inspections were made as fishermen exited the jetty and returned to their vehicles. A total of 13 summonses were issued for possession of undersized tautog and possession of over daily bag limit of six tautog. A summons for interference with the duties of a Conservation Officer was issued to an individual who tried to elude detection by the COs. A total of 30 illegal tautog were seized by the officers.

    *On December 18th at 2100 hrs Lt Canale assisted National Marine Fishery Service Special Agent Jason Couse with the boarding of FV Carol Marie at Lunds Fisheries in Cape May. The FV Carol Marie was landing a General Category sea scallop trip also known as a day scallop trip limited to 400lbs. The vessel which was identified as a result of their vessel monitoring system was observed entering the Hudson Canyon Closed area which is located 80 miles from the coast of NJ. Lt Canale and SA Couse inspected the vessel when it landed, interviewed the captain and crew about their recent, as well as their two previous trips into the closed area. Officers seized their catch of 400lb of sea scallops. During this investigation, while the crew was being identified, one crewman provided a false name, date of birth and social security number. Numerous warrants for this individual were identified. Officers turned the individual over to Lower Twp police for processing on the active warrants.

    *On December 12th, weather conditions created blow-out conditions at low tide. Lieutenant Canale assisted CO Nicklow on a patrol of the dock areas along the bay-shore in Brigantine. CO Nicklow and Lieutenant Canale apprehended three commercial clammers harvesting clams within dock areas off of 17th St. South. Appropriate enforcement action was taken and all clams were returned to the water.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkSkies View Post
    Some more:


    *CO Dravis conducted a dockside inspection of a sport fishing vessel in Brielle on 11/22/09. As he approached this vessel, he observed some of the three occupants scurrying around to fill out striped bass bonus tags. CO Dravis asked what they had caught and one of the fishermen stated they had 8 striped bass. At the time they had not filled out any of the bonus tags. When CO Dravis told them he was going to inspect the vessel’s fish holds, one individual told them they were also in possession of a summer flounder. The holds contained 8 striped bass and a 24 inch summer flounder. A summons was issued to the captain for not filling out the bonus tags and possession of summer flounder during the closed season.
    You got to be freakin kidding me! They said they didn't fill out their bonus tags? That's one of the classic poaching lies! They didn't fill out their bonus tags because they use those tags every time they go out for bonus fish. They don't return them for new ones like they're supposed to, it's a lot easier to kill extra fish with just the blank tags. Then when they get stopped, they say they "forgot" to fill them out. What BS. I hope those CO's realized they were being flat out lied to.

    That's an example right there why NJ bonus tags don't work and should be eliminated.

  14. #14
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    Do any of you guys know what the penalties are for stripers and fluke. We were having this conversation at work the other day and one guy said it was $150 for one short fluke. Is this correct?

  15. #15
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    I think the minimum penalty is $54 rip316, according to how I read the violations schedule. It looks like its $54 for anything other than striped bass, which would include fluke.
    $124 for striped bass, and $124 for wanton waste of any fish. I learned something clicking on the link above. I did not know that you can be fined for wanton waste of fish, like tossing sea robins or skates. That is covered under the violations.



    7:25-18.1(c)1 Take/possess 1 undersized marine fish $54
    7:25-18.1(c)1.a Take/possess 1 marine fish over limit $54
    7:25-18.1(c)1.f Possess 1 marine fish during closed season $54
    7:25-18.1(c)2 Take/possess 2 undersized marine fish $84
    7:25-18.1(c)2.b Take/possess 2 marine fish over limit $84
    7:25-18.1(c)2.g Take/possess 2 marine fish during closed season $84
    7:25-18.1(c)3 Take/possess 3 undersized marine fish $114
    7:25-18.1(c)3.c Take/possess 3 marine fish over limit $114
    7:25-18.1(c)3.h Take/possess 3 marine fish during closed season $114
    7:25-18.1(c)4 Take/possess 4 undersized marine fish $144
    7:25-18.1(c)4.d Take/possess 4 marine fish over limit $144
    7:25-18.1(c)4.i Take/possess 4 marine fish during closed season $144
    7:25-18.1(c)5 Take/possess 5 undersized marine fish $174
    7:25-18.1(c)5.e Take/possess 5 marine fish over limit $174
    7:25-18.1(c)5.j Take/possess 5 marine fish during closed season $174


    7:25-18.1(d)1 Possess land or sell prohibited species of marine fish $54
    7:25-18.1(d)2 Possess land or sell prohibited species of marine fish - two fish $84
    7:25-18.1(d)3 Possess land or sell prohibited species of marine fish - three fish $114
    7:25-18.1(d)4 Possess land or sell prohibited species of marine fish - four fish $144
    7:25-18.1(d)5 Possess land or sell prohibited species of marine fish - five fish $174


    09/01/04
    Page 62


    N.J.A.C. Payable
    Amount
    Pursuant to New Jersey Administrative Code
    7:25-18.1(e)1 Possess parts or mutilated marine fish $54
    7:25-18.1(e)2 Possess parts or mutilated marine fish (two fish) $84
    7:25-18.1(e)3 Possess parts or mutilated marine fish (three fish) $114
    7:25-18.1(e)4 Possess parts of mutilated marine fish (four fish) $144
    7:25-18.1(e)5 Possess parts of mutilated marine fish (five fish) $174



    7:25-18.1(f)1 Permitted vessels possess mutilated parts and/or removed skin from marine fish $54
    7:25-18.1(f)2 Permitted vessels possess mutilated parts and/or removed skin from 2
    marine fish $84
    7:25-18.1(f)3 Permitted vessels possess mutilated parts and/or removed skin from 3
    marine fish $114
    7:25-18.1(f)4 Permitted vessels possess mutilated parts and/or removed skin from 4
    marine fish $144
    7:25-18.1(f)5 Permitted vessels possess mutilated parts and/or removed skin from 5
    marine fish $174
    7:25-18.1(h)1 Take/attempt to take/possess 1 striped bas or hybrid striped bass during closure $124
    7:25-18.1(h)1(2) Take/attempt to take/possess 2 striped bass or hybrid striped bass during closure $224
    7:25-18.1(h)1(3) Take/attempt to take/possess 3 striped bass or hybrid striped bass during closure $324



    7:25-18.1(i)1 Take/possess 1 undersize hybrid striped bass $124
    7:25-18.1(i)1(2) Take/possess 2 undersize hybrid striped bass $224
    7:25-18.1(i)1(3) Take/possess 3 undersize hybrid striped bass $324



    7:25-18.1(j)1 Possess 1 over the limit striped bass or hybrid striped bass $124
    7:25-18.1(j)1(2) Possess 2 over the limit striped bass or hybrid striped bass $324
    7:25-18.1(j)1(3) Possess 3 over the limit striped bass or hybrid striped bass $324



    7:25-18.1(k)1 Mutilate 1 striped bass/ hybrids $124
    7:25-18.1(k)1(2) Mutilate 2 striped bass/ hybrids $224
    7:25-18.1(k)1(3) Mutilate 3 striped bass/ hybrids $324



    7:25-18.1M Wanton waste of one marine fish $124
    7:25-18.1M(2) Wanton waste of two marine fish $224
    7:25-18.1M(3) Wanton waste of three marine fish $324




  16. #16
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    Wow those guys are busy!
    And that doesn't include the hunting violations.


    Central Region Highlights

    CO Martiak recently reached a settlement in a case involving the unlawful possession of four alligators in Marlboro, Monmouth County. The owner of the four alligators, a repeat offender of unlawful wildlife possession, agreed in court to pay $16,500.00 for the illegal possession of the alligators. Included in the penalty was $2,400.00 for restitution to the State for the handling and relocation of the alligators.


    On 12/2/09 CO Dravis inspected the FV Jaime Mae, a commercial otter trawl vessel, at the Point Pleasant Co-op dock. The vessel had just returned from an offshore trip targeting spiny dogfish and offloaded its catch. Among other species, they had off-loaded their 200 pound by catch limit of summer flounder. CO Dravis conducted an inspection of the onboard fish holds and observed two striped bass buried in ice within a large fish tote. CO Dravis dug further into the ice and found an additional 102 pounds of summer flounder and 36 pounds of winter flounder. CO Dravis issued summonses for exceeding the summer flounder by catch limit, possession of undersized striped bass and taking striped bass by means of a net. A federal verbal warning was issued for possession of winter flounder caught in federal waters. The illegal summer flounder were sold to the co-op and a check was seized by CO Dravis.

    A case was recently settled concerning the party fishing vessel Big Mohawk. During the course of the investigation, undercover COs observed numerous violations aboard this vessel on August 15, 2009. Guilty pleas resulted in the collection of a total of $2,340.00 plus costs. The vessel also received a 60 day suspension of its fillet permit for the months of June and July 2010, during the intended recreational summer flounder season.

    On January 2, 2010 Conservation Officers’ James and Petruccelli apprehended the FV Abracadabra for possession of black sea bass and summer flounder in excess of New Jersey’s commercial landing limit. The officers determined that the captain of the vessel had harvested and possessed double the landing limit of both species after a five day trip near the Hudson Canyon area of the Atlantic Ocean. The vessel landed and offloaded one day’s limit on January 1, 2010 then left the dock on the morning of January 2, 2010. On the 2nd, the vessel’s captain sailed the FV Abracadabra offshore in an effort to give the appearance of a harvest trip only to return to the dock in under 15hrs. Officers James and Petruccelli boarded the vessel upon its return to the dock, interviewed the captain and seized the excess fish landed. The appropriate State summonses were issued for the violations.


    http://njcoa.blogspot.com/

  17. #17
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    Thanks Hookset.

  18. #18
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    As originally posted by Stripermania:

    2-2010



    8 Rock Hall men charged with rockfish poaching



    Eight Rock Hall men were charged last week with rockfish poaching, the first arrests under a new system that imposes penalties based on the severity of the crime.

    On Feb. 23, Natural Resources Police charged William Howard Beck, 43, with possessing striped bass greater than 36 inches and mutilating the tail to mask the size of the fish. Officers said they caught Beck when they checked J & J Seafood in Rock Hall and found striped bass with cut tails.

    The next day, officers charged John Franklin Riggs, 43, with failing to check in striped bass during the required times. Officers said they found striped bass hidden in the cabin of his boat.

    Riggs and Beck also are facing charges of failing to properly mark gill nets in the Chesapeake Bay and setting or maintaining an unattended striped bass gill net.

    The arrests are part of a massive crackdown by the NRP on fish and oyster poachers that employs team patrols, high-tech surveillance equipment and sonar sweeps to look for illegal nets that are submerged. Officers seized approximately 16,500 yards of illegally anchored gill (approximately 55 nets) and 3,200 pounds of rockfish during the last week and half of February.

    "Repeat offenders will not be tolerated," said Department of Natural Resources Secretary John Griffin. "We take these crimes against our public resources very seriously."

    The new three-tier system, which went into effect Feb. 22, groups offenses by severity and sets penalties and points for each. Watermen accumulating 10 points will have their licenses suspended for 30 days. For extremely serious violations, DNR can suspend a license on a first offense.

    If convicted, Beck may be subject to thousands of dollars in fines and at least five points on his license. Riggs will also face thousands of dollars in fines if convicted.

    In December, Beck and Riggs were charged with oyster poaching and DNR subsequently suspended Beck's right to catch oysters for the season due to repeat offenses.

    Also charged last week:

    Lewis Herbert Cain Sr., 63, Christopher Wesley Lingerman, 37, and Joel Colon, 29, for possession of striped bass greater than 36 inches. Officers boarded a commercial fishing boat in Rock Hall Harbor on Feb. 23 and found three oversized striped bass hidden in a compartment under the deck of the boat. The maximum fine for a first offense is $1,000 and $2,000 for a second offense.

    On the same day, officers found fish hidden in a forward compartment of a second boat and charged James Daniel Elburn, 51, Donnie Bartus Collier, 55, and William Bartus Collier, 81, with possessing striped bass greater than 36 inches. Elburn and Donnie Collier were charged with two counts of mutilating striped bass to mask the size of the fish and catching striped bass in excess of their daily catch limits. If convicted, they could be fined a maximum of $1,000 for a first offense and $2,000 for a second offense. Possessing mutilated fish is punishable by five points per violation.

  19. #19
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    Here is a disgusting abuse of power.

    http://www.newsday.com/long-island/n...rmen-1.1793696

    Dozens pack courtroom in support of East End fishermen
    March 4, 2010 By MARK HARRINGTON mark.harrington@newsday.com


    Two dozen East End fishermen and their families packed an East Hampton courtroom Thursday in support of two men charged with harvesting fluke and porgies without permits and out of season.

    The men, brothers Daniel and Paul Lester of East Hampton, pleaded not guilty to numerous felony and misdemeanor charges Thursday. The brothers are sons of the late East Hampton fisherman Calvin Lester, who waged an unsuccessful battle against laws that ended a traditional type of commercial off-beach fishing of striped bass, known as haul seining, in the 1980s. Daniel Lester is an East Hampton harbormaster.

    At a briefing after the arraignment yesterday morning, the men's lawyer, Daniel Rodgers of Riverhead, read a statement saying the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which brought the charges, was "attempting to regulate the commercial fishery into permanent foreclosure."

    Rodgers charged the DEC has a "long history" of "harassing, browbeating and intimidation of local commercial fishermen," and added, "That is going to end."

    He alleged the agency relies on "faulty and outdated" scientific data to set catch limits, and he asserted the DEC "lacks jurisdiction" over East Hampton fisheries. In a statement, the DEC suggested the fishermen's anger was misguided.

    "We understand the concerns of the fishing industry and we share its concerns about the unfair federal quotas for some species," spokeswoman Maureen Wren said. "But it should be pointed out that DEC has led the fight for New Yorkers on this front. It would be in error to place the blame on DEC."

    But Rodgers laid the blame squarely at the DEC's feet, and pointed to the abrupt end to Calvin Lester's career as a storied haul-seiner of striped bass.

    Fishermen who showed up in support of the Lesters said regulations and enforcement are out of step and heavy-handed.

    "The problem is, we in the fishing community are being made to pay a terrible price because of scientific uncertainty when these regulatory decisions are supposed to be made using the best available data," said Arnold Leo, secretary of the East End Baymen's Association, a fishermen's group.

    He said the group plans to conduct an illegal haul of fish in the bay this spring to protest the rules. A chorus of lawmakers who attended a fishermen's rally in Washington last week vowed to change the rules. But environmentalists, marine scientists and regulators say the restrictions are working to rebuild fish stocks long depleted, and should not be weakened.

    One fisherman who supported the Lesters said the laws are crippling their livelihood.

    Jim Bennett, an East Hampton fisherman who attended the court appearance, said armed DEC enforcement officers "are always breathing down your neck" and "always out to get you."

    "We have a right to go fishing in these waters," Bennett said. "They're trying to cut us out of an industry."


    These people think they are entitled but have no concern for the impact they are having. Daniel lester is a harbormaster for East Hampton Town and still holds this position. I have spoken to a few people who know or have known this creep and they have all said he is a very unlikable guy just due to the fact that he feels that since his name is in the history of the east end that he can do no wrong. He is a disgusting representative of any type of fisherman including commercials.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankiesurf View Post
    Here is a disgusting abuse of power.

    .

    Jim Bennett, an East Hampton fisherman who attended the court appearance, said armed DEC enforcement officers "are always breathing down your neck" and "always out to get you."

    "We have a right to go fishing in these waters," Bennett said. "They're trying to cut us out of an industry."


    These people think they are entitled but have no concern for the impact they are having. Daniel lester is a harbormaster for East Hampton Town and still holds this position. I have spoken to a few people who know or have known this creep and they have all said he is a very unlikable guy just due to the fact that he feels that since his name is in the history of the east end that he can do no wrong. He is a disgusting representative of any type of fisherman including commercials.

    Yeah, that sounds like twisted lawyer logic to me. The way that lawyer runs his mouth, if I lost my job I should be able to rob a bank because I have to support myself, right?
    They should have fired Lester, why is he more special than other guys?

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