And it's worth noting how many of these actions came in response to calls.
Haulin' Bass - Nassau County
In the early morning hours of April 21, ECO Pabes responded to a report of multiple anglers keeping excess and undersized striped bass in the village of Great Neck. The caller claimed they observed the fishermen placing bags of fish into the back of a vehicle. When confronted by other anglers about these illegal fish, the fishermen left the scene and went to a nearby gas station on foot. ECO Pabes met the caller and the suspects at the gas station where they denied any wrong-doing and had no fish in their possession. ECO Pabes noticed that one of the suspects had car keys on the table next to him, but claimed to be getting a taxi home. Suspicious, the Officer waited next to the vehicle reported by the caller. Within minutes, another vehicle dropped the two suspects off at the SUV, where they quickly jumped into the vehicle and sped away. ECO Pabes hopped into his patrol vehicle and followed, catching up to the SUV at a red light. The suspects began to drive erratically, speeding down a side street and blowing through a stop sign. ECO Pabes eventually stopped the SUV and the driver immediately confessed to having striped bass in the vehicle and driving without a license. The Officer issued four tickets for undersized and excess striped bass, failure to stop at a stop sign, and unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, returnable to Nassau First District Court. The five undersized striped bass were seized and donated to a wildlife rehabilitator.
Seized striped bass
Out of Sight, Not Out of Mind for K9 Cramer - Suffolk County
On April 25, while patrolling Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve, ECO DeRose observed a fishing party from a distance. Officer DeRose and his partner K9 Cramer moved to search the area before approaching three anglers. The men claimed they only caught porgy and turned over their cooler for the Officer to search. ECO DeRose, suspecting there was more to the story, deployed K9 Cramer to take a closer look. K9 Cramer showed a lot of interest in an area thick with vegetation. Officer DeRose discovered three undersized striped bass in a black plastic bag, partially buried in the sand under the vegetation. The ECO escorted the three fishermen from the beach and issued eight tickets for violations including possessing undersized striped bass and taking striped bass unlawfully using J-hooks, which make it easier to catch fish.
Three striped bass discovered by K9 Cramer
K9 Cramer near plastic bag where illegally caught striped bass were hidden
Striped Bass Violations - Nassau County
On April 27, ECO Simmons surveilled Hempstead Harbor where night-time fishing activity at high tide was active. Fishermen were targeting striped bass, which is in season, but it didn't take long for the Officers to discover violations. ECOs Pabes and Cacciola arrived at around 7:15 p.m., and immediately spotted two anglers trying to leave the area with undersized striped bass. The Officers continued their patrol and until 1 a.m., netting more violators. They seized 26 fish and issued several tickets for both over-the-limit and undersized fish.
ECO Pabes and ECO Cacciola with seized striped bass
Spring Striped Bass Detail Nets Poachers - New York City Area
Each year in early spring, striped bass move into the tidal portion of the Hudson River and coastal waters around New York City and Long Island, and with them, an increase of poaching. Officers responded to 24 calls in April from the public regarding illegal poaching of striped bass and issued 88 tickets for 146 unlawfully taken striped bass. Charges included taking striped bass out of season, possession of undersized fish, taking over the daily limit, no marine registry, no party charter permit, failure to release with undue harm, and dumping upon signal to stop. Fines paid to date total $11,325. ECOs conducted many joint boat patrols throughout the month of April with the U.S. Coast Guard in New York City, targeting poaching in Raritan and Jamaica Bay. By land and sea, Officers responded to complaints in Pelham Bay, Little Neck Bay, East River Park, Jamacia Bay, Raritan Bay, Great Kills Harbor, Battery Park, Coney Island Beach, Rodman's Neck, Fort Totten Park, and the Atlantic Ocean.
April 2 enforcement involving 30 poached out-of-season striped bass in Raritan Bay
April 2 enforcement involving 37 out-of-season poached striped bass in Bronx County
ECOs Michalet (left) and ECO Milliron (right) with poached striped bass in Bronx County
Open Season Shenanigans - Suffolk County
On May 1, the first day of the season for summer flounder (fluke), ECO Perkins received a complaint from a fisherman at the Robert Moses State Park boat basin about a man and woman inside a vehicle who took an undersized fluke. ECO Perkins searched the car and located the undersized fluke in a clear plastic bag underneath a pile of groceries in the trunk. ECO Perkins placed the fluke on the gravel lot and continued to search the vehicle for additional fish. As he searched, the suspect grabbed the fish and proceeded to sprint for approximately 60 yards toward the water. ECO Perkins repeatedly ordered the subject to stop and not dump the fish as the subject completely disregarded the ECO's orders and threw the fish back into the water. The fisherman's poor judgement and actions resulted in three tickets for possession of undersized fluke, failure to release without undue harm, and dumping upon signal to stop from a police officer. All tickets are returnable to 1st District Court in Suffolk County.