More losers busted....
Stripers Forever - We know that having the EEZ closed to the taking of striped bass is not complete protection against greedy commercial interests, but can you imagine if it were not closed? If the population of large stripers was as healthy inshore as some would claim, would it be necessary to fish illegally in the EEZ to fill the commercial quota? Check out this story from the Falmouth Enterprise, a Cape Cod newspaper and see our website stripersforever.org for the accompanying picture that appeared with the story.
Officials Seize 1,100 Lbs.
Of Fish Caught Illegally
By MARK A. BROWN
Hundreds of pounds of illegally caught striped bass were unload-ed at Falmouth Inner Harbor Wednesday afternoon, after the boarding of five fishing boats in federal waters off Chatham.
The bust netted about 1.100 pounds of fish, most of which was brought to Falmouth by federal officers and agents returning in their vessels.
At about 4 PM, the men turned about 800 pounds of the catch over to R. Charles Martinsen III, assis-tant director of the Falmouth De-partment of Natural Resources. Assisted by DNR Officer Sarah M. Brooks, Officer Martinsen loaded the fish into a pickup truck and donated it to the nonprofit Fal-mouth Rod & Gun Club.
"It's what we usually do with illegal catches," said Massachu-setts Environmental Police Offi-cer Matthew Bass. "We try to find a charity that can use them so they don't go to waste."
The remaining 300 pounds of fish were taken by other officers to Nantucket to give to a charity, Mr. Bass said.
Officer Martinsen said Rod & Gun Club members filleted the fish and froze it. The fish will be served at a future Game Feed Dinner fundraiser, he said.
With the state's commercial fishing season for striped bass drawing to a close yesterday, Of-ficer Bass, along with a counter-part from Nantucket and federal officers and agents from the US Coast Guard and the US Depart-ment of Commerce National Di-vision of Marine Fisheries, pa-trolled the waters off Nantucket and Chatham Wednesday looking for poachers.
Officer Bass said some fisher-men decide to take their chances in federal waters, outside the three-mile limit from Massachu-setts' shorelines. The taking of striped bass in federal waters is prohibited, he said, but the mar-ket provides an incentive for ille-gal fishing.
"They can get $3 to $3.50 a pound for it, which can add up to several thousand dollars a day," he said.
The officers and agents stopped four boats in federal waters and seized all the fish on board, Of-ficer Bass said. One of the boats, he said, had 30 stripers, which is the state's daily limit. "They claimed they'd caught the fish within state waters and were on their way back to Chatham, but they were four to five miles out of their way," Officer Bass said.
A fifth boat fled from the en-forcement vessels as crew mem-bers frantically threw their catch of striped bass overboard, he said. The men aboard that vessel later admitted to taking the fish illegally, he said.
The captains and some crew members from the five fishing ves-sels will face federal charges, Mr. Bass said. The case is being inves-tigated by Special Agents Todd Nickerson and Louis Jachimczyk of the Department of Commerce in New Bedford, who both partici-pated in Wednesday's patrols.