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  #1  
Old 02-01-2009, 09:41 AM
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I'll use this page to post enforcement actions taken against individuals caught poaching striped bass. Fishery managers do not count illegally taken fish when they do their population modeling, so not only do poachers steal the fish, but the fish are never accounted for - which is ridiculous. They are after all, very real, dead stripers.

If you find a report of illegal striped bass fishing activity, please post the link to the source. If you copy & paste the text, be sure to list the source info.

Thanks!

I'll get started with my fisheries column for the FCA newsletter, which references enforcement actions taken in December.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________
/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Plain and Simple - my thoughts on the commercial striped bass fishery.

I'll go out on a limb here, and speak from the heart about striped bass. On December 30, 2008, Sgt. Ken Turner of Maryland's Natural Resources Police boarded the fishing vessel Mount Vernon in West Ocean City and charged Jack C. Colbourne with exceeding his 1,900-pound seasonal allocation of striped bass, or rockfish, by 138 pounds. Now let's take a minute to really digest that little bit of information. In a single day, this individual managed to not only catch, but exceed his quota for the entire season. Unfortunately, this type of event is not unique, nor is it limited to any one specific geographic region. Frank Sabatino managed to catch most of his season limit in a single trip around Breezy Point, during the closed season of 2007. But that's not where the comparison ends.

Just like Mr. Sabatino, who was picked up again within a week (during the closed season), the operators of the fishing vessel Mount Vernon were right back at it (during the closed season) several days later when they were once again nabbed by Sgt. Ken Turner. This time, they had close to 6,000 pounds of striped bass on board. The similarities between the two incidents, separated by hundreds of miles of water, are truly remarkable.

First, I think I speak for nearly all recreational anglers when I say, "Thanks Sgt. Turner, we really appreciate your work." In fact, I reached out to Sgt. Turner in an effort to find out more about the two stops of the Mount Vernon, and I look forward to speaking with him in the very near future. (since writing this I did get to speak with Sgt. Turner, who was as frustrated with the light fines as we are)

These violations exemplify everything that is wrong with the commercial striped bass fishery. Starting with the fact that licensees can manage to catch more than their season limit in a single trip. When Jack C. Colburn exceeded his season limit during one trip on December 30, were we supposed to believe that was Mr. Colburn's first striper trip of the year? Undeterred by fines that are unconscionably miniscule, he was right back at it a few days later, during the closed season. That begs the question: Just how many times did Mr. Colburn catch his season limit of 1,900 pounds? We do know for a fact that he managed to catch that amount of striped bass four times in less than a week. That's just one licensee. How many times did he get away with it before? How many other poachers never get caught?

For years, I have listened to defenders of commercial striper fishing tell me how the cumulative effects of the many thousand recreational anglers is far greater than the impact of the commercial striped bass fishery. After seeing the magnitude of the abuses by just a handful of commercial fishermen, I say with conviction - that is a load of crap. For commercial striped bass anglers, the only bass of value is a dead one, and the number of illegal, unreported and unaccounted-for dead bass is an obstacle to restoring striped bass to their full potential, that may be insurmountable.

If these abuses make you angry, then we have something in common. As we begin a new year, I am reaffirming my commitment to end commercial striped bass fishing. I hope you will do the same.
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  #2  
Old 02-01-2009, 09:47 AM
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Watermen charged in illegal striped bass sales - millions of dollars worth of fish

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."

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/loc...,7520864.story
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  #3  
Old 02-07-2009, 02:16 PM
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Summary of ASMFC Winter meeting
Quote:

Added to the Board’s agenda was discussion of the ongoing investigation into illegal commercial striped bass harvest, sale, and purchase in the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River. Thomas O’Connell, Director of the
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Fisheries Service, reviewed the currently known aspects of the investigation, and informed the Board that the DNR has proposed regulations to improve harvest reporting and accountability measures. Because the investigation is ongoing, the Board requested another update from the DNR at the Board’s next meeting.
For more information, please contact Nichola Meserve, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at (202) 289-6400
or [email protected].
ASMFC Spring Meeting, May 4 - 7:
Crowne Plaza Old Town Alexandria, 901 N. Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia; (800) 333-3333.
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Old 02-07-2009, 10:26 PM
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i propose that since we won't get them to halt commercial fishing for striped bass that, we make them put a halt to the commercial fishery for two years! that law on the books then should be held in abbeyance on the condition no commercial fisherman be caught red handed overfishing. if one commercial fisherman is caught doing such then the law goes into affect. at this meeting every comm/ will be crying "why do we have to suffer for the acts of a few?" Marine fisheries should be the Drill Sergeant of the fishery! when in the service, if one guy screws up then the whole plattoon drops and gives the pushups. see how fast everyone gets in line. and it's a win win as you know there are no shortages of knuckleheads out there so it WILL be closed eventually for 2 years. just a thought mind you and prolly won't get any consideration.



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Old 02-12-2009, 06:56 AM
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He didn't have any stripers on board, but it is still post-worthy:

HAMPTON BAYS FISHERMAN TICKETED FOR TAKING FISH OUT OF SEASON AND EXCEEDING LIMITS
By Michael Wright
The Southampton Press 2/11/2009

A Hampton Bays commercial fisherman was caught by state fisheries officers last weekend with nearly five times the legal limit of fluke on his boat and 100 pounds of black sea bass, which may not be harvested at all at this time of year.

John Berglin, owner and captain of the commercial trawler Mary Elizabeth, was charged with failing to tag containers of summer flounder, but more serious charges are expected, according to a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The DEC said officers boarded Mr. Berglin’s vessel shortly after it docked at Soleau’s Wharf commercial dock on Dune Road in Hampton Bays and found that he had approximately 1,500 pounds of fluke, or summer flounder, on board. There is currently a 350-pound-per-trip limit on fluke for New York State boats, according to the DEC. The Mary Elizabeth also had 100 pounds of black sea bass on board even though the species may not be caught by commercial fishermen at this time of year.

The DEC seized the illegal fish, which it estimated to be worth about $2,400 at market.

“Overfishing and fishing out of season have been shown to have devastating effects on our local marine populations,” said James Gilmore, the head of the DEC’s Department of Marine Resources, in a statement on Tuesday.

Mr. Berglin could not be reached for comment.
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Old 03-14-2009, 11:09 PM
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More losers...

From: Maryland Natural Resources Police Blotter

Kent County – On Friday, February 20, the Maryland Natural Resources Police charged two Rock Hall men with striped bass commercial fishing violations in the Chesapeake Bay near Rock Hall. The charges are the result of an investigation that started in mid January of this year.

John F. Riggs, 42, and Stephen L. Tyer, 27, both of Rock Hall were each charged with four counts of improperly marking gill nets when fishing for striped bass; four counts of unlawful use of anchored gill net; four counts of unattended gill nets and two counts of fishing for striped bass with gill net during restricted time. Riggs was also charged with three counts of possession of fish whose size or weight cannot be determined and one count of possession of striped bass in excess of 36 inches total length.

The two men were allegedly fishing several illegally set gill nets in the area of Swan Point and Hodges Bar in the Chesapeake Bay on Jan. 12. Officers boarded the men’s vessel and located three striped bass whose tails had been altered to make the fish appear to be smaller in length and one striped bass in excess of 36 inches total length. A court date of March 26 has been scheduled for the individuals in Kent County District Court.

A gill net is a net used for the commercial harvest of fish. The net is maintained in a vertical position in the water with sinkers or floats. The net captures fish by means of a mesh too small to permit passage of the body of the fish or withdrawal of the head once the posterior margin of the gill covers has passed through the mesh.

A drift gill net is a net not secured to or anchored to the bottom, including a net rigged with up to 20 pounds of weight at each end. These nets must be attended by the licensee in a boat within two miles of the net while it is in waters of the Chesapeake Bay, or within one mile when the net is in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, its coastal bays and their tributaries, or a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. A drift gill net may not be set before 3 a.m. and shall be retrieved and in the boat by 6 p.m.

An anchor gill net is a net that is stationary in the water and secured to the bottom by conventional anchors or heavy weights.

Kent County – On Monday, February 23, the Maryland Natural Resources Police charged a Rock Hall man with striped bass commercial fishing violations at the mouth of the Chester River. The charges are the result of an investigation that started Feb. 10.

Daniel L. Dierker, 30, of Rock Hall was charged with failure to have commercial tidal fish license in possession; failure to have allocation permit in possession; failure to tag striped bass prior to landing; failure to have commercial tidal fish license transfer paperwork in possession; five counts of possession of striped bass in excess of 36 inches total length; possession of fish whose size or weight cannot be determined; fail to check in striped bass as required; willfully acting in a manner that disturbed the public peace; and fail to obey a reasonable and lawful order made by a law enforcement officer to prevent disturbance of the public peace.

On Tuesday, Feb. 10, NRP observed Dierker allegedly setting several illegal anchored gill nets at the mouth of the river. Surveillance was maintained on Dierker’s vessel as it returned to the Rock Hall Harbor; however he and his crew were able to exit the vessel and hide before officers approached.

NRP maintained surveillance on the vessel and on Wednesday, Feb.11, Dierker was observed going to his vessel and retrieving striped bass. Officers met Dieker at a local seafood dealer in Rock Hall where he was attempting to sell the striped bass. Through their investigation, officers located striped bass whose tails had been altered to make the fish appear to be smaller in length and five striped bass in excess of 36 inches total length. A court date of April 30 has been scheduled for Dierker in Kent County District Court.

NRP also charged Dierker with unlawful use of anchored gill net in the Chester River near Piney Point in Queen Anne’s County. This charge is connected to an incident that occurred on Dec. 18, 2008. A court date of April 29 has been scheduled for Dierker in Queen Anne’s County District Court.

NRP had charged Dierker along with William M. Ashley III, 30, and Anthony Vandewal, 42, all of Rock Hall on Jan. 11 of this year for fishing for striped bass with gill net during restricted time; unlawful use of anchored gill net; improperly marking gill nets and unattended gill nets in the Chester River near Piney Point in Kent County.

The three men were allegedly fishing gill nets during the pre-dawn hours of Dec. 18 when NRP boarded their vessel. Dierker was also charged with failure to obey a lawful order of a police officer and littering upon the waters of the State after he cut a line attached to an anchor at the end of one of the nets. NRP seized as evidence one box of stretched mesh gill net, five anchors, one drag bar and 385 pounds of striped bass. A court date of March 26 has been scheduled for the individuals in Kent County District Court.
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Old 04-11-2009, 08:23 PM
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Two More Commercial Fisherman Plead Guilty to Illegal Harvesting of Rockfish


WASHINGTON, April 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Two commercial fisherman pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Md., to violations of the Lacey Act, the federal law that prohibits individuals from transporting, selling or buying illegally harvested fish, in this case striped bass or rockfish, the Justice Department announced.

Jerry Decatur Sr. of Stafford, Va., pleaded guilty to a one count criminal information for illegally taking and over-harvesting striped bass. Additionally, Kenneth Dent of Dumfries, Va., pleaded guilty to a one count criminal information for trafficking illegally taken striped bass.

According to documents filed with the court, on at least 13 occasions between 2004 through 2007, Decatur Sr. illegally harvested more than 10,000 pounds of striped bass from the Potomac River. The commercial fisherman fished out of season, kept over-sized fish or used nets that violated applicable regulations. He then sold the catch to two fish wholesalers in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he failed to affix tags to the majority of the striped bass that he caught thereby exceeding their limit by thousands of pounds. In April and May 2003 through 2007, Decatur harvested more than 65,000 beyond his limit. The fair market retail value of the over- and illegally- harvested rockfish was in excess of $329,000.

According to the documents, on multiple occasions, Dent sold hundreds of pounds of rockfish that were illegally harvested or tagged to an undercover special agent with the Virginia Marine Police, who told Dent that the fish were being transported to Pennsylvania. On one occasion, Dent illegally harvested 400 pounds of fish from Virginia tributaries of the Potomac River and sold it to the undercover agent for $990. He knowingly tagged much of the fish with incorrect tags to exceed his limit of Virginia-caught fish. The majority of these fish were also not within the legal size limit. On a second occasion, Dent sold the undercover agent 430 pounds of rockfish for $1000 that were larger than the legal size limit. On a third occasion, he sold the agent 480 pounds of fish for $1,375. All of these fish were more than the legal size limit. The fair market retail value of the transactions was in excess of $5,000. Further Dent illegally sold the undercover agent 100 striped bass tags despite a prohibition against private sales.

Decatur Sr. and Dent both face maximum penalties of up to five years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and three years supervised release for the Lacey Act violations.

Today's guilty pleas are the result of the investigation by an interstate task force formed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Maryland Natural Resources Police and the Virginia Marine Police, Special Investigative Unit in 2003. The task force conducted undercover purchases and sales of striped bass in 2003, engaged in covert observation of commercial fishing operations in the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River area, and conducted detailed analysis of area striped bass catch reporting and commercial business sales records from 2003 through 2007. The investigation is continuing, and charges against others are possible.

As part of the investigation and prosecution to date, a total of 11 individuals and one company have been charged including today's defendants. Nine of those have pleaded guilty to wildlife crimes for their involvement in illegally harvesting and trafficking in striped bass. Two fishermen, Joseph Peter Nelson Jr., of Great Mills, Md., and his father Joseph Peter Nelson, of Avenue, Md., are awaiting trial, and one other commercial fisherman is awaiting arraignment and entry of a plea.

Sentencing dates in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt for five Maryland fishermen who pleaded guilty in this case are listed below.

Thomas L. Hallock April 22, 2009 9:30 AM
Charles Quade April 27, 2009 9:30 AM
Thomas L. Crowder April 28, 2009 9:30 AM
John W. Dean April 30, 2009 9:30 AM
Keith A. Collins May 28, 2009 9:30 AM

Cannon Seafood, a Washington, D.C. fish wholesaler, its owner Robert Moore Sr. and his son Robert Moore Jr. are scheduled for sentencing on May 8, 2009, at 9:30 AM in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacy Dawson Belf for the District of Maryland and Senior Trial Attorney Wayne Hettenbach of the Justice Department's Environmental Crimes Section.




SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice
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Old 04-29-2009, 03:12 PM
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Virginia waterman sentenced in poaching case

48-year-old will have to serve a year, plus make restitution

By Candus Thomson
[email protected]
April 22, 2009 GREENBELT -

A Virginia waterman was sentenced in U.S. District Court today to one year and one day in prison and a $4,000 fine and was ordered to make $40,000 in restitution for his part in the largest striped bass poaching case in the history of the Chesapeake Bay
With family and friends watching, Thomas Hallock, 48, of Catharpin, Va., was ordered by Judge Peter Messitte to surrender to marshals on May 22 to begin serving his sentence. One month after his release, Hallock will be required to pay $300 a month for 36 months, after which time the court will work out the terms for the remainder of his restitution.
Wayne Hettenbach, the lead prosecutor for the Justice Department, called the sentence, "fair and just. We are pleased with the sentence the judge imposed."
Hallock admitted to overfishing 68,442 pounds of rockfish that had a fair market retail value of $342,210.
Hettenbach told Messitte that Hallock had provided "substantial assistance" early in the five-year investigation, supplying information about the seafood dealers and other watermen.
That said, Hettenbach told the judge that by overfishing, poachers like Hallock had harmed the striped bass population, undercut the market for other watermen and skewed the quota system used by the 12 Eastern Seaboard states to prevent overharvesting.
The prosecutor noted that overfishing had caused the species to crash, forcing regulators to impose a five-year moratorium that ended in 1990. He also told the judge that as the spawning ground for about three-quarters of the East Coast striped bass population, the Chesapeake Bay needs protection.
"This crime has an impact up and down the East Coast," Hettenbach said.
Gill Cochran, the lawyer for Hallock, said the check-in system used by the Department of Natural Resources created a situation that was like letting "the fox in the hen house."
Allowing fish dealers to act as commercial check-in stations and having no auditing system allowed the poaching to go on unabated.
"That does not excuse what happened here," Cochran said. "The fisherman, he's sort of caught in the middle. The buyers reap the benefit of all this."
In a halting voice and pausing to keep his composure, Hallock said news accounts had made the watermen out to be "poachers and pirates," but "I'm just a father and a husband, a fisherman ... I didn't do this out of greed ... I have a strong desire to support my family."
While saying he had "some sympathy for the watermen out there," Messitte said he had to decide on a sentence "that's going to make the point here."
As part of his plea agreement, Hallock waived the right of appeal.
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Old 06-12-2009, 03:18 PM
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Wholesaler pleads guilty in rockfish case
By Tim Wheeler Baltimore Sun
June 12, 2009
A St. Mary's County fish wholesaler who authorities say is at the heart of the largest striped-bass poaching case in Chesapeake Bay history pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt to falsifying Maryland catch reports and interstate trafficking in illegal fish. Robert Lumpkins, owner of Golden Eye Seafood in Piney Point, admitted that from 2003 to 2007, while acting as a commercial check station for the state Department of Natural Resources, he and his employees falsely recorded the amount of striped bass, or rockfish, that fishermen caught. Golden Eye bought oversized striped bass caught in Virginia waters for sale out of state, according to court documents.
Lumpkins faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 on each of the four counts. The maximum penalty for Golden Eye is a $500,000 fine. A judge could also order restitution. So far, a five-year sting operation by state and federal authorities has resulted in the sentencing of six men for a total of 45 months in prison.
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Old 03-04-2010, 11:08 AM
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https://www.stripers247.com/phpBB2/sh...298#post131298


The forum has three freekin pages of just poaching. Most of it in the Chesapeake.

https://www.stripers247.com/phpBB2/forumdisplay.php?f=41
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Old 09-21-2010, 06:51 AM
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Watermen banned for life

TRIANGLE, VA. --
The Decatur and Dent families have long histories as merchant fishermen and crabbers along the Potomac River in Stafford and Prince William counties.
Now two members of the Decatur family of Widewater have been banned from fishing in the Potomac River for the rest of their lives.
Another waterman, Dennis Dent who fishes the Cherry Hill peninsula, has been banned from ever fishing striped bass – known as rockfish -- in the river again.
And Kenneth Dent, from Cherry Hill in Triangle, has had his striped bass license revoked for a year or less.
The bans stem from a four-year investigation into the illegal fishing in the Potomac River.
Last year, Kenneth Dent pleaded guilty to selling illegal catches and using fish tags on the black market in federal court in Alexandria.
Jerry Decatur Jr. and his father, Jerry Decatur, both of Widewater in Stafford, pleaded guilty to fishing out of season, using submerged nets for striped bass, keeping fish that exceeded the size limit for the Potomac River fishery and incorrectly tagging fish so that the tags could be reused, according to court records.
Dennis Dent owns Dent Seafood on Smoketown Road in Woodbridge and another location in Stafford. The Decaturs run Decatur's Crabs in North Stafford.
Both the Dents and the Decaturs were served with search warrants in 2007 at the conclusion of the federal investigation conducted over several fishing seasons beginning in 2003.
Fishing for striped bass is regulated by several agencies, including the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission.
The rockfish population depends on the capability of older, larger females to reproduce, so size limits are imposed and fishing is restricted to certain fisheries at certain times of the year.
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