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Trying to Stop the Commercial Striper Poaching Bastages

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, FEBRUARY 9, 2012

PRESS CONTACT, TINA BERGER, 703.842.0740

 

ASMFC Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board Initiates Addendum to Address Illegal Striped Bass Harvest

 

Alexandria, VA – The Commission’s Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board initiated an addendum to address illegal striped bass harvest. The Board’s action is in response to recommendations of the Interstate Watershed Task Force (IWTF). The IWTF conducted a multi-year, multi-jurisdictional investigation on illegal striped bass harvest within Chesapeake Bay which resulted in over $1.6 million dollars in fines levied against 19 individuals and three corporations for more than one million pounds of illegal striped bass harvested estimated to be worth up to seven million dollars.

 

The covert investigation determined that some Virginia commercial fishermen were illegally harvesting fish during the Potomac River Fisheries Commission’s closed season, as well as illegally harvesting oversized fish from Virginia waters during the spawning season. Additionally, some Maryland commercial fishermen were taking advantage of loopholes in the state tagging system to falsely report large numbers of smaller, legal-sized fish, allowing them to obtain more tags and exceed quota limits. The investigation also found some wholesale dealers were complicit through false record-keeping, false check-in, and knowingly buying illegal or untagged fish.

 

The investigation revealed that the current control measures for regulating striped bass harvest could be improved. The IWTF and the Commission’s Law Enforcement Committee (LEC) recommended increasing penalties for illegally harvested fish and implementing a uniform commercial tagging system among all states with commercial striped bass fisheries.

 

The IWTF and LEC acknowledge the efforts of Maryland, Virginia and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission in initiating measures to deter the activities detected by the Task Force. Maryland has reformed its commercial fishing management rules, including the suspension or revocation of commercial licenses from violators and increasing the penalty for commercially fishing without a license. The Potomac River Fish Commission has permanently revoked the commercial licenses of the violators identified from the investigation, while Virginia suspended the commercial licenses of identified violators for two years, the maximum amount allowed by Virginia law.

 

The Board will consider potential management options for inclusion in the Draft Addendum for public comment at the Commission’s Spring Meeting in May. For more information, please contact Kate Taylor, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at ktaylor@asmfc.org or 703.842.0740.

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'The IWTF conducted a multi-year, multi-jurisdictional investigation on illegal striped bass harvest within Chesapeake Bay which resulted in over $1.6 million dollars in fines levied against 19 individuals and three corporations for more than one million pounds of illegal striped bass harvested estimated to be worth up to seven million dollars.'

 

Fined 1.6 million against a 7 million payday makes it worth while to take a risk :mad:

Should increase fines to at least the worth of the catch. Maybe big fines and loss of license will be somewhat of a deterent. .

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Should also include the confiscation of the vessel.

 

+1 and i also agree with the post prior to this saying the low fine makes the risk worthwhile. such bs, they should have their boats confiscated, huge fines, and face possible jail time. they need to be made an example of so people will think twice before illegally harvesting fish..:mad:

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How about jail time? 7 million dollars in theft and fraud, that should earn some jail time. I mean hell if I were to purchase a "Hot" TV I would do 6 months, isn't this the same? Its illegal, there is fraud, and so what if you take away the licence, will that stop them? NO! Take the boats, close the purchasers, put some in jail, when 1.6 mil in fines is weighed against the 7mil made why stop?

 

its just sickening...period

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Let it be known their boats will taken, that will curb the poaching in the future as much anything.  It is fairly shocking that this scale of crime could be perpetrated without the occurrence of jail time for the felons.  The repeated, and conspiratorial nature of this ring is what demands harsh punishment.  



 



I follow every fishing reg there is, and worry about the one time I might mess up and forget exactly which law I have to follow here in our border fishery with Maine.  Am I a fool for worrying about one fish while there are thousands of poachers conspiring up and down the coast?  No, because compliance and cooperation begins with each of us, and we observers of the laws, the millions of us, will win out in the end.


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the fines are really a joke,,they need to make it where these guys lose alot of money...not make it. Make it where if they're caught the fine is double( maybe triple?) the the acutal cash amount( so 7 millon dollars in fish costs them 14 million), then take their boat ,,, and after that do some talk of then doing some jail time...maybe that will help stop it

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$1.6 million in fines for fish worth $7 million? That doesn't seem to stop these A Holes. The fines should be more than the worth of the fish :confused:

 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mumichog View Post


Let it be known their boats will taken, that will curb the poaching in the future as much anything.  It is fairly shocking that this scale of crime could be perpetrated without the occurrence of jail time for the felons.  The repeated, and conspiratorial nature of this ring is what demands harsh punishment.  



 



I follow every fishing reg there is, and worry about the one time I might mess up and forget exactly which law I have to follow here in our border fishery with Maine.  Am I a fool for worrying about one fish while there are thousands of poachers conspiring up and down the coast?  No, because compliance and cooperation begins with each of us, and we observers of the laws, the millions of us, will win out in the end.





 Mum,     Well said, unfortunately it will not happen, it's almost impossible to seize a drug dealers car these days, so seizing a boat for poaching- not likely, jail time is rarely given to criminals who commit crimes against people, much less poachers. The fines is where it hurts, they need to be so high is not worth the risk to poach, but the powers that set and impose fines are control ed by those who will not allow the fines to increase to that level because it affects their financial gain.



I comply with the rules and regs because it's who I am, and my sense of obligation to the resource and future surf casters (my grandchildren and yours). IMHO I think we will lose in the end, being right and doing the right thing these days is not enough, its the wealthy who win out in the end, I hate to say it but its TRUE.  This is just history repeating itself, the wealthy corporations back in the 60,  70 and 80's made billions dumping illegal chemicals into landfills and waterways and when caught, were fined a few hundred thousand by the DEP. We the recreational fisherman pay the price for their illegal dumping to this day. It paid for them to dump, same as it pays for these guys to poach. Our limit will be cut or size restriction will increase, and well pay for the poacher..... It's all about history! 



           


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 Mum,     Well said, unfortunately it will not happen, it's almost impossible to seize a drug dealers car these days, so seizing a boat for poaching- not likely, jail time is rarely given to criminals who commit crimes against people, much less poachers. The fines is where it hurts, they need to be so high is not worth the risk to poach, but the powers that set and impose fines are control ed by those who will not allow the fines to increase to that level because it affects their financial gain.

I comply with the rules and regs because it's who I am, and my sense of obligation to the resource and future surf casters (my grandchildren and yours). IMHO I think we will lose in the end, being right and doing the right thing these days is not enough, its the wealthy who win out in the end, I hate to say it but its TRUE.  This is just history repeating itself, the wealthy corporations back in the 60,  70 and 80's made billions dumping illegal chemicals into landfills and waterways and when caught, were fined a few hundred thousand by the DEP. We the recreational fisherman pay the price for their illegal dumping to this day. It paid for them to dump, same as it pays for these guys to poach. Our limit will be cut or size restriction will increase, and well pay for the poacher..... It's all about history! 

           

 

Very well put, and I think you hit the nail right on the head, and it is very very sad. It seems like where one threat is minimized, another one creeps up. But let us not forget that it is not just the poachers of Stripers that will be the downfall of the species, it is also the commercial menhayden guys. How can we keep Stripers strong when most of their food is being raped from the sea so that some health nuts or vain little b*tches can have the vitamins and cosmetics. It angers and saddens me to no end that I may not get to see my daughter and any future kids catch stripers, and they go the way of weakfish.

 

I write letters to any and all congressmen that I can to try and get them to understand the plight, and now I will add the poachers. Even though deralers cars are not confiscated, drug runners cars are, so taking the boat shouldn't be out of the question. we just need harsher punishments, and at this point far is not nearly far enough, make it over the top. I think if you want to fine people do it by weight, like say $100 per pound of fish that is illegally caught, you take 100 pounds of fish that costs you $10,000. there is no money to be made there. and repeat offenders should see jail time 6mo to start then bump it up to years, or make it years if it is so over the top.

 

But we are the ones who will change peoples minds, and by people I mean the braindead politicians that make the laws.

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the vessel should be seized and sold at auction. The offenders should never be able to fish commercially again. Captains sold permanently lose their license. I've been saying it forever many commercial guys rape the fisheries. (always have always will) I've witnessed it first hand many times. the only way to catch them is to board and inspect them. otherwise they just play the numbers game in the logs. shut down the wholesalers and buyers who knowingly break the law. Poaching is easy to do and very lucrative. more enforcement is the real answer.

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What you need to understand is they are smarter than you give them credit for. By leaving a lien on their boat (bank loan, etc..) no law enforcement agency will seize the boat, too much legal paper work and financial responsibility. Drug dealers do it all the time, car is seized then released, financial obligation is the deciding factor. Law enforcement is just spread so thin these days and these poachers know it. Enforcement is the first  to lose personnel during hard economical times,  in my state alone hundreds and hundreds of police and law enforcement officers were laid off.  Prosecution of violators are given sweetheart plea deals just to move them through an over crowded court schedule. Patrols (boat) and investigations are minimized due to monies, fuel, man hours, overtime.


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