ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Investigators are widening their net, trying to hunt down whoever is illegally pulling tons of striped bass out of the bay.  Police are using every weapon they have, even tracking devices.

Kelly McPherson explains the new clues investigators are following.

Striped bass—also known as rockfish—season closed just days after it began.  More than ten and a half tons of the fish have been captured illegally and more anchored, illegal nets have been discovered this week.

“It is striped bass season.  We are in gill netting season.  We have illegal nets out there. Our force is focused on that problem right now,” said Joseph Gill, Department of Natural Resources Deputy Secretary.

All of the illegal nets have been found off the Eastern Shore, south of the Bay Bridge.  Investigators believe that this isn’t just one person, but a group of people poaching the striped bass.  The nets can catch massive amounts of fish while anchored to the bay floor for days.  Nets are supposed to be tended to prevent other wildlife from dying.  Police have been monitoring the illegal nets, but none of the owners have shown up to collect their catch.

Black devices have been discovered by irritated watermen, who called police, thinking the box was a bomb.

“I can tell you that whatever surveillance techniques we’re using have been authorized by law,” said Gill.

But those breaking the law are putting honest watermen out of work for at least two months.

“They’re just like people in the dope business.  They show up and they know where the cops are and what they’re doing. To me they’re just as bad as that because they’re stealing from the other watermen,” said Larry Simns, Maryland Watermen’s Association President. “I hope they catch them so they can lose their license.”

When the officers pull up fish already captured, they send the under- and oversized fish to homeless shelters.  The others are sold at market.  The money goes toward increased enforcement.

Poachers face thousands of dollars in fines and a year in jail.

Comments (38)
  1. says:

    I have just one word – DISGRACE

    1. mlclark says:

      where can people purchase the fish, and what shelter are the fish being given

      1. says:

        ???? Poaching in any form is sad and shameful and needs to be targeted to see that it doesn’t happen again. As for the nets, any kind of net needs to be banned because as mentioned before these do not descriminate and take the lives of anything that gets caught in it — not just fish.

  2. Donald Huber says:

    Until striped bass is made a gamefish, this type of poaching is going to happen. These poachers are like roaches, if you catch one then there are probably 10 more that you don’t catch. Remember, these poachers need to land the fish and need to sell the illegal fish. Soneone in the commercial trade knows what is going on. The commercial fisherman know what is going on and are not turning the poachers in to authorities. Sportfisherman don’t have nets like that. If the striped bass is not made a gamefish then you will need to up the enforcement, as there is money to be made off of illegal fishing. If funds or taxes are to be raised for such enforcement then tax or levy the commercial fishman, as it is their brethren who are doing the illegal fishing. The commercial fishing trade is a discrace.

    1. OPEN YOUR EYES says:

      The only thing illegal about the fishing is the way the nets were set. Nets are legal Any fish with the proper tag when sold (even from an illegal net) is legal and counted in the quota. Get off your high horses and think a little. NOW, if someone sold fish WITHOUT the tags and they were unreported that would be poaching.

      Recreational fisherman keep illegal fish as well, don’t think for a minute when you are fishing recreationally that you are not being watched.

      Sportfisherman don’t have nets like that, yeah, no kidding. They are also not trying to make a living.

      NRP should be aware of who set the nets, because they SPY on fisherman, find issues, then take months to “make a case”, all of the while they allow the illegal practice to continue knowingly. There is the DISGRACE, and they portray themselves as heroes.

      Commercial fishing is not a disgrace, the few “poachers” involved do not make up the whole trade. WJZ is helping make a media craze here, there are more articles to read from other media sources without the Annapolis slant.

      1. alaskasalmonfisher says:

        Commercial fishing is not a disgrace. If done properly and legally, it is a viable human endeavor. I make my living commercially fishing for salmon in Alaska. MD has a long history of lax/no enforcement. That seems to be finally changing; it’s way overdue. Penalties for people convicted of poaching should be strong enough so that there is no question of deterrence. And, buyers of illegal fish should also face the same penalties. It can be done if there is the will. In Alaska, there is not too much poaching going on anymore, as penalties are strict enough to act as a deterrent.


        Commercial fishing should be banned entirely. The unemployed fisherman could find jobs o’ plenty on the resulting explosion of the recreational fishing industry (pumping gas in fishing boats, tour guide, fishing guide, beer salesman, bait shop owner, coffee, box lunch and donut shop owner).

        Me and 20 of my neighbors and fellow fisherman pooled our money and bought a crate load of night vision equipment and will be taking our adventure high tech as soon as this evening. I cant wait to see who is responsible for stealing the entire rockfish season from 100,000’s of recreational fisherman, bait shops, marinas, donut and sandwich shops, gas stations, hotel owners, dockside bars (aka drive thru drug replenishment centers) and others that count on that surge of income just like everyone else.

      3. Verification says:

        Possibly authorities should do like on some of the commercial boats in Alaska. There are video cameras placed onboard, which are activated by the fishing equipment. There could also be monitors, as to time and place, which said monitors would be controlled by DNR. The monitors would have to be tamper proof, with huge fines for tampering with the devices. That way when nets are found, the offending boat could be tracked. Then anyone caught poaching in other boats would have boats and all equipment confiscated, among other penalties. This is like dealing with drug smugglers. This has gone on long enough.

      4. CSP says:

        Taking fish illegally is more than poaching – if it is done with others, it is tantamount to a federal RICO violation (look it up) and because those fish end up in interstate commerce. RICO should be enforced in federal court because it is a FEDERAL CASE. Maybe if the United States Attorney and FBI got involved, these perps would finally get the message.

      5. Claudius says:


  3. catcall61 says:

    I agree,the recreational fishermen by sheer volume poachs far more fish than this,they just do it a few at the time and think no harm is done,these fish were taken off the commercial quota so they would have been harvested anyway.I guess our friend Donald thinks that rockfish should be only for the few rich fishermen who can afford to catch them and that they don’t belong to the rest of the non fishing public too who get theirs from watermen harvesting them.

    1. Sickness says:

      Why are we even consuming these amounts of striped bass rockfish. Isn’t there supposed to be an advisory about PCBs. These are the same fish that the recreational anglers catch. Why eat them at all?

      Atlantic Coastal States Issue Joint Advisory to Protect Public Health

      BALTIMORE (June 6, 2009) The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), in coordination with other eastern coastal states, issued a fish consumption advisory Wednesday to cover striped bass and bluefish caught through recreational fishing in Atlantic coastal waters.

      The Department advises that striped bass and bluefish caught through recreational fishing in Atlantic coastal waters should not be eaten by sensitive populations such as pregnant women, women of childbearing age, nursing mothers, and children six years of age and younger. The general population should eat no more than one meal (eight ounces per adult and three ounces per child) per month of striped bass, and one meal every other month of bluefish.

      Bluefish over 20 inches and large migratory striped bass tend to contain higher levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a banned substance that is classified as a neurotoxin and a probable human carcinogen. Because levels at which PCBs are found in these popular fish are of concern to MDE, the Agency is taking this action.

      “This effort reflects the benefits of cooperation across state lines to protect public health,” said MDE’s Science Services Director Rich Eskin. “To protect public health, MDE will monitor PCB levels in coastal marine striped bass and bluefish, and we will update consumption advisories as needed.”

      Other states issuing similar advisories include: Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Delaware. These advisories are based on a 2008 report by the Eastern Coastal Striped Bass and Bluefish Consumption Advisory Workgroup. In an effort to develop consistent advisories for striped bass and bluefish caught in eastern coastal waters, the Workgroup evaluated methods used by states for developing consumption advisories regarding PCB concentration in striped bass and bluefish from Maine to Georgia.

      The Department continually updates fish consumption advisories to reflect new data. For the latest information, go to

      Source: Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE)

  4. Annapolis says:

    This is poaching, plain and simple. It is not about making a living, or the commercial fisherman would police their own trade. Just the attitude about the NRP, in “Open Your Eyes” is the problem. If it were not for the NRP, the bay would be lined with illegal nets of those, just making a living. This is stealing from all of us in Maryland. Theft is theft, so call it like it is. One would have to be naive to think that all fish need a tag to be sold. Once chopped up or in a restaurant, illegal fish looks just like legal fish. I get checked by NRP all the time while sportfishing, my fish are always legal. This is why I would never buy striped bass at the market or while out to a restaurant. One should not have to steal from others in order to make a so called “living.” The striped bass need gamefish status for protection.

    1. OPEN YOUR EYES says:

      These violations occured in years past, citations issued, no media blitz on WJZ. What we have here is NRP doing a belly flop. OK, genius, NRP had ILLEGAL tracking devices in the boats, and did not catch the violators. Where are the arrests? They targeted the wrong people and bellyflopped Then they get WJZ to air thier side of story so they can gather public support, and in these tough monetary times, can convince everyone that they need more money for thier budgets.

      Yes, I do have a problem with NRP. They historically harass people on the water. Once you point a video camera at them, they turn tail and run. Why? Because they know they cross the line, otherwise, why be scared.

      Think for yourself, not what Annapolis tells you, or even WJZ, as they do not question Annapolis

      1. Conserve and Protect says:

        What BS. That is why the nets are abandoned, because the poachers know that the NRP are watching. The NRP needs more resources, like helicopters, UAVs, FLIR and night vision. Then lets see how much poaching is done. There should be electronic monitors and video cameras on commercial fishing vessels, controlled by DNR. That should be a condition of having a commercial license. Otherwise, gamefish status for stripers and no nets. Let there be a commercial hook and line season only. There must be verifiable limts. If the nets were banned, the stripers would flourish, and there would be a sportfishing industry that would bring far more money into the state. Wake up Maryland, follow the lead of Florida and Louisiana.

      2. OPEN YOUR EYES says:

        NRP already has helicopters, airplanes and BOATS. Unfortunately, they ride around in $35,000 dollar trucks sitting on thier butts drinking coffee and eating donuts while using telescopes. But that doesn’t cut it, they need to be in the BOATS where the fisherman are working and that would stop the illegal sets. The gill net fishery is very limited entry, and NRP knows where to watch, so put on the foul weather gear, man up, and be directly involved in monitoring the fishery.

        We need to remeber Orwell’s 1984. Why should we have cameras everywhere?

        You act as if I am supporting the lawbreakers, which I am not. I am outraged by a rouge NRP officer (whose name was released in other publications and NOT on WJZ) who has been rouge most of his career. This officer boarded boats in the middle of the night, much like a common thief, drilled holes in boats, had 6 ILLEGAL devices secretly placed AND STRUCK OUT. The devices should have been placed in full knowledge of the fishermen without damaging the vessels. Law enforcement in this country is supposed to have limits too. But there are many NAZIS in this state who don’t want thier rights infringed, but are oh so willing to let that happen to others

        What BS. They ALREADY have verifiable limits, every fish must be tagged and fishermen and buyers ALREADY are closely monitored, please refer a few comments down where someone outlined different offenses on record and they are tag related.

      3. No Poaching says:

        The NRP officers are not setting the illegal nets. They are not the problem. More and more violations, which are increasing, is the problem. Enough is enough, DNR is only responding to the complaints of society. The poaching is affecting the viability of the striped bass species. Don’t you get it. If the species dwindles, so will the livelyhood of the fisherman. Thats the problem. The poachers have gotten used to the soft penalties and accept them as the price of doing business. So the enforcement and the penalties must go up. It must be working. The poachers are not comming back to the illegal nets. They know that they are crooks. The NRP needs more resources to put a stop to the poaching or stripers and oysters.

      4. OPEN YOUR EYES says:

        Well, no poaching, you are wrong on several counts. First I never said NRP set the nets, what I said was if they were out on the water like they are supposed to be, the fishermen would have no chance, I repeat, no chance to set nets illegally. Second, thier actions in this case are a part of the problem , not being in the vicinity of the fishermen has allowed these illegal practices to continue. Third, the violations and the fish directly associated are well WITHIN the quota limits set by DNR, so accordingly, the species has not been affected here, so the livelihoods of other fishermen and recreational users will be protected. Fourth, there were no complaints from society until the media blitz, which by the way, was concocted by DNR in these tough monetary times to secure budgets, more regulations, and controversial tactics.

        I will agree, however, that penalties should be levied against lawbreakers, but the NRP must obey the law as well, no sneaking aboard boats like a common thief drilling holes and attatching whatever they please. Wrong is wrong, no matter if it is a citizen or an officer of the law. Those specific tactics are wrong, and furthermore didn’t work. No arrests. What I said above will work, NRP on the water, in state boats which are already available, and monitor from the water and not from a pickup truck. I don’t want poaching either, but Gestapo-like tactics must cease as well.

      5. Must Stop says:

        When the poachers operate at night, DNR can’t be everywhere. Fine, like was said earlier, the cost for more enforcement should be added to commercial license fees. When sportfishing, I am checked regularly, the NRP are out there. It is that the poachers operate to avoid the NRP. There is the problem.

        Believe me, if the NRP had the proper resources, the tracking devices would be so small that you would not find them. The NRP would also be able to put tracking devices into some of the fish on those illegal nets. However, they don’t have enough resources. Besides, how does one know that the NRP has not gone to the courts to get authorization for tracking. That surely would not be made publc.

        No one likes big brother, but the culture of poaching on the Chesapeake has got to stop.

  5. A Rich Man says:

    Ha Ha, I am now a rich person, because I can afford a fishing rod and fish off the shore. I would reason that I make a whole lot less than some of these poachers, struggling to make a living. Illegal rockfish at $16.99 a pound. I would starve first. One can obtain farm raised fish. Maybe the commercial fisherman could make a living that way.

  6. Real Penalty or Not says:

    What about the Talbot County case comming up in court on February 17, will WJZ report on that:

    Here’s a few more pounds to toss towards the total illegal take.

    On November 24, the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) charged Jerome William Janda Jr., age 55 from Tilghman, Md with multiply striped bass (rockfish) violations after an investigation relating to illegal fishing activities in the Tilghman area.
    On November 10, at approximately 2:35 am, NRP Officers observed Janda Jr. and his fishing vessel exit Knapp’s Narrows without using his navigational lights and proceed to a pound net located on the south side of Poplar Island, Talbot County. The Officers observed the occupants of the vessel fish the pound net and then docked at Lowes Wharf. At approximately 4:00 am, the Officers confronted Janda Jr and the two other occupants on the vessel, Jerome William Janda 3rd, age 28 from Tilghman and Burton Robert Curtis, age 25, unknown address. The Officers found the individuals loading untagged striped bass onto a truck. The Officers seized the 2,731 pounds of untagged rockfish. Initially, the Officers thought Janda Jr. was 1,784 pounds over his seasonal allocation limit according to the information noted on his allocation card. Subsequent investigation into the seafood dealer’s records indicated that Janda Jr. was illegally checking striped bass caught from a pound net as fish caught by a commercial hook and line fisherman. This record information indicated that Janda Jr exceeded his quota by 7,568 pounds (2,273 fish), Janda Jr. would have obtained his limit on October 6 had the catch been check-in properly.
    Commercial fisherman are allowed to catch striped bass by using three gear types; hook and line, drift gill nets and pound nets. Each gear type has specific poundage of fish that can be caught by each gear during specific periods of the year. A striped bass pound net and striped bass drift gill net license can not be held by the same licensee at the same time. All commercially taken striped bass must be tagged and checked into a designated check-in station. Janda Jr had a pound net license that had 3,760 pound quota. The 2010 pound net and hook and line season runs from June 1, to November 30. The last segment of drift gill net season starts on December 1 until December 31.
    Jerome Janda Jr was charged with 21 counts of using striped bass allocation permits assigned to another, 19 counts of using striped bass tags assigned to another, 14 counts of exceeding seasonal allocation limit of striped bass, one count of possessing striped bass greater than 36” commercial size, one count of possession of undersize flounder, one count of possession of untagged striped bass, one count of operating a vessel at night without proper navigational lights.
    Jerome Janda 3rd, age 28 of Tilghman, was charged with one count of aiding and abetting exceeding seasonal allocation limit of striped bass and one count of possession of untagged striped bass.
    A court date has been set for February 17, 2011 in the District Court of Maryland in Talbot County. The maximum penalty for each count is $1000 plus $1500 per each striped bass. The investigation is on-going and additional charges may follow.

    Copied from TidalFish Forum

    We just don’t hear about many of the poaching episodes. WJZ is doing Maryland a service for the coverage given striped bass poaching.

  7. Paul says:

    Its illegal and that is the end of it. Until these poachers, commercial or recreational, are punished severely this will continue. Fault lies at the hands of those who manage these fish and those who fail to persuade them not to commit more crimes through prosecution. There is a culture of poaching that needs to cease.

  8. Jeff says:



    Id say that maybe the NBR should OPEN THERE EYES and stick a tracking device on the boats of some of the people here.

    Personally I think commercial fishing should be banned altogether. How do I benefit from allowing a handful of individuals to pay $1000- a year for a license that allows them to remove tons of fish while I can pay $1000- for a single weekend fishing trip and im limited to TWO FISH?

    Theres a reason why the MASSIVE recreational fishing industries has fallen off by 20%+/- over the course of the last 10 years or so. For one people are forgetting there heritage, and for two its hardly worth the effort anymore. A person spends hundreds or thousands of dollars for a weekend fishing outlet, fishes all weekend catching nothing but mediocre fish if there lucky, and then for all of my time, money and effort im limited to two juvenile fish. Yes every once in while it would be nice to be able to be take home some extra fish on the arer occassions they are biting. Trophy fish are almost impossible to find now and whats left are small and unimpressive, this is another contributing factor in the deterioration of the residential fishing industry. Ban commercial fishing and if you want a fish for dinner then buy a fishing rod and take your kid fishing.

    1. OPEN YOUR EYES says:

      So many things wrong with your comment. Commercial fishing and recreational fishing ARE DIFFERENT. You pay handsomely to charter a boat for a weekend, and yes you are only allowed so many fish. Recreational fishing has declined in recent years, yes, but not due to lack of fish to catch, people cannot afford it.

      Stick a tracking device on my boat, why? Because I spoke out against NRP tactics and the media craze? Your swastika is showing. Typical head up your ass liberal response.

      Yes every once in a while it would be nice to be able to take home some extra fish on the rare occasion they are biting…your words. Sounds to me like you want to do some poaching, NRP better be watching you. Hypocrite.

      1. anti-poaching says:

        Wow, close your eyes, now there is a poacher. If there were fish, recreational fisherman would fish. It does not cost much to catch fish from the shore. It only costs alot, when you buy a fishing rod only to find out there are no fish. Only, there are fewer fish. Why, because they are in these type poachers nets. Otherwise, they would not be supporting the rights of poachers.

        Remember, the tracking device will only hurt if you are poaching.

      2. OPEN YOUR EYES says:

        re-read 1984, before long with this mentallity we will all be tracked all of the time. The fish in the illegally set nets (remember DNR allows the use of nets) were well within the quota. I am not supporting the rights of “poachers”, but the idea of innocent until proven guilty.

        There will be plenty of fish for everyone this spring. DNR set the quota, and it was enforced, there were no fish over the quota.

        Remember, the tracking devices will only hurt if you are poaching. Not exactly. Say, for instance, State Police put a tracking device on your car. It would only hurt if you were speeding or breaking some other law. Are you willing to accept this new leap of law enforcement applied directly to you?

        If the lawbreakers are found, they should be punished, no argument here. Why do we have to punish the people who were not breaking the law. Typical Maryland knee jerk reactions, without no thought, hence OPEN YOUR EYES.

        Yet another NAZI commenting here.

        You guys are really adept at proving my point

      3. Big Brother, Open Your Eyes says:

        Everyone is tracked every day now. When you use a cell phone, when you use a credit card, when you pass through a toll booth, pass a traffic camera, use an ATM, your life can be reconstructed by what you do in a day. The only reason the fish from the poachers nets are now counted in the quota is because the nets were found. If not found the fish would not be counted. The problem is illegal nets not found and all the poached fish that are not being counted against the quota. The police already use radar and traffic cameras on the streets. Now they are watching the poachers. Look up brother, the man could be watching from space. Are you paranoid. Believe me, if the DNR had proper resources, the tracking devices would be so small you would not find them. You don’t what big brother is.

      4. OPEN YOUR EYES says:

        Big Brother is certainly the proper moniker for you. Your statements lead me to believe you are somehow in DNR, if they had the proper resources the devices would be smaller. Paranoid, not really, I’m just paying attention to whats outside of the narrow little box WJZ presents.

        Yet another NAZI that wants us all watched and monitored, so general public, beware as technology gets more sophisticated, Law Officers are going to be more and more willing to use them improperly.

  10. joe says:

    these must be some redneck folks drinking beer and doing shots on the water and poaching rock fish

  11. howardthe duck says:

    F…..k all fishermen, they’re arrogant SOB.


      Everyone please excuse HowardTheDlck…my guess is that hes just drunk again! You know how alcoholics can be when they dont get there drugs! (swallow there tongues, seizures, even more irrational behavior).

  12. Pednik says:

    It’s cultural. Family tradition dating back hundreds of years. From last year:

    Rock Hall, MD (March 8, 2010) — Eight Rock Hall men that were arrested last week for rockfish poaching are the first suspects to face a new, tiered penalty system, which imposes penalties on both first time offenders and repeat offenders, based on the severity of their crime. Two of the eight men—William Howard Beck, 43, and John Franklin Riggs, 43—were charged with oyster poaching by the Natural Resource Police (NRP) in December, and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) subsequently suspended Beck’s rights to catch oysters for the season due to repeat offenses.

    Rock Hall, Kent County (February 25, 2010) – Maryland Natural Resources Police Officers Cpl. Roy Rafter and Officer David Rice unload 978 lbs of striped bass seized from an illegal gill net in Chesapeake Bay, Kent County.

    “Repeat offenders will not be tolerated,” said Secretary John Griffin. “The State, its partners and stakeholders are working together to preserve our resources for future generations of Marylanders and we take these crimes against our public resources very seriously.”

    Under the new system, which went into effect February 22, crimes are now organized into three tiers, which carry both immediate penalties and points that can be accrued to suspend a license. For egregious violations, DNR can suspend a license on a first offense.

    Beck and Riggs are accustomed to facing a judge for natural resource violations. Both were caught at 2:30 a.m. Christmas morning – well outside legal harvesting hours – with seven bushels of oysters on their boats. Less than a week later NRP charged Beck with seven bushels of oysters illegally harvested by dredge in an area reserved for patent tonging and oyster diving.

    On February 23, NRP arrested and charged Beck with possessing striped bass greater than 36 inches and mutilating striped bass to the extent that size could not be determined. NRP officers caught Beck when they checked J & J Seafood in Rock Hall and found striped bass with cut tails.

    NRP charged Riggs on February 24 with failing to check in striped bass during the required times. NRP officers located striped bass hidden in the cabin of a boat belonging to Riggs. The fish were not checked into a DNR check station within three hours of completing a fishing trip and before 9:00 pm.

    Riggs and Beck are also facing charges of failing to properly mark gill nets in the Chesapeake Bay and setting or maintaining an unattended striped bass gill net. On February 24, NRP officers located several unattended striped bass gill nets in the Chesapeake Bay and were able to identify the nets as belonging to Riggs and Beck.

    Also during the week of February 22:

    • Lewis Herbert Cain Sr., 63, Christopher Wesley Lingerman, 37, and Joel Colon, 29, were charged with possession of striped bass greater than 36 inches. The three men were charged when NRP officers boarded a commercial fishing boat on February 23 in Rock Hall Harbor and found three oversize striped bass hidden in a compartment under the deck of the boat.

    • James Daniel Elburn, 51, Donnie Bartus Collier, 55, and William Bartus Collier, 81, were charged with striped bass violations when NRP found hidden fish in the forward compartment of their fishing boat on February 23. All three individuals were charged with possessing striped bass greater than 36 inches. Elburn and Collier were charged with two counts of mutilating striped bass to the extent that size could not be determined and catching striped bass in excess of their daily catch limits.

    Under changes to law made by the General Assembly in 2009, each of these individuals, if convicted, could face up to $1000 for a first offense and up to $2000 for each subsequent offense. Additionally, on February 22, 2010, the Department’s new commercial fishing points and suspension system took effect. If convicted, these individuals could face additional penalties in the form of points on their license resulting in license suspensions. Offenses for convictions of possessing mutilated fish whose size and weight cannot be determined are given 5 points each with 30 day suspensions applying to any licensee with at least 10 points. Suspensions increase as the number of points increases on a license. Suspensions, regardless of points, for egregious violations are maintained in this new system and still include provisions of 180 to 365 day suspensions for harvesting oysters more than 2 hours outside of the designated time.

    NRP seized approximately 16,500 yards of illegally anchored gill (approximately 55 nets) and 3,200 lbs. of rockfish during the last week and half of February. The nets were seized as officers patrolled the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries in search of illegal poaching activity.

    Licensed commercial watermen are allowed to fish only attended drift gillnets when catching striped bass. Attended drift gill nets are nets that float vertically in the water column and move with the currents of the water. The fish are caught by the gills as they swim into the net. The watermen must remain with in a 1 mile radius of nets in the tributaries and within 2 miles of nets in the main bay. This attention to the net ensures that non targeted species can be removed from the net and released. The seized nets were found anchored and unattended.

    NRP makes the removal of the illegal nets a priority. These nets continue to catch all species of fish and other aquatic creatures as long as they remain in the water. The seized nets were found to contain not only rockfish but dead diving ducks and loons.

  13. Bite Me says:

    These commercial fishermen think they own the fish in our waterways. They will continue to rape the waters until all fish are depleted and not preserve our resources for future generations of Marylander s. Meaning all walks of life

    All netting should be banned and make the commercial fishing industry hook and lone only

    Anyone can go out and catch fish with a net 5 miles long.

    You call that fishing?

    I call that rape


    Or perhaps its not so much that they cant afford it, but perhaps they cant justify it anymore. Yes its a fun and relaxing hobby. But it would be more enjoyable if I could justify the expense by providng a meal for my family.

    And in response to the other fellow that mentioned something about shore fishing not costing any money. Well just to clarify that statement…yes it does….gas, bait, fresh line, lures, waders, rods, bags, gas, ice, donuts, beer, park entrance fees if applicable all cost money.

    Used to be I could spend $50- on a day trip and come back with a stringer full of fish that could provide a dozen meals. Thats not the case anymore unless you like trout that are barely larger than minnows and bass that were raised at the local DNR ponds and are sometimes smaller than the lures we use. Maybe its time to trade in the antiques for some smaller gear to suit the times.

    Now I spend all of my time explaining to the kids that it doesnt matter is catch anything or not, its all about spending time together, getting out of the house, enjoying mother nature, etc…..but I dont think there buying it anymore!

    Its colder than siberia out here tonight, rain, ice and sleet, little choppy but fresh air is plentiful….no sign of the foreigners yet (It has to be a foreigner cause no American that I know would do what they just did to there own countrymen). Two more hrs and my shift is over….fresh backups due to arrive soon!. Gotta love this technology thing! Plan on repeating this process until we can put a face to the disgrace…..

  15. Fisherman says:

    I have a place on the water been going fishing for 30 years. Since day one I have meet locals who believe it’s their god given right to kill as much as they want and damn the rules. Then they complain about the lack of catch… Police you own or don’t complain about what will happen to your “tradition”..

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