Fish Kill Linked To Recent Poaching

KENT ISLAND, Md. (WJZ) — An unpleasant reminder of the massive striped bass poaching last winter has surfaced in the bay.  Like past cases, an illegally anchored gill net was used.

Alex DeMetrick reports this new find has turned up tons of dead and rotting fish.

Striped bass season is on for sport fishermen but no one was expecting the catch made Sunday off Tilghman Island.

Natural Resources Police were called when an angler snagged an underwater net.

“They say the net is…so full of dead and decaying fish, they were unable to bring it up onto their boat,” said Art Windemuth, Natural Resources Police.

So police put a state buoy tender out to raise the net and its catch, only rough water made it impossible.  Even with winches and a heavy duty boom, only about 10 yards of net could be dragged up off the bottom.

“We couldn’t pull the net up,” Windemuth said.

But just from what could be seen, tons of rotting fish are likely snagged in the net anchored below.

“Couple hundred pounds of fish…so it’s hard to tell how much is down there,” Windemuth said.

Last winter, police found 12.5 tons of illegally netted striped bass.  Because the East Coast population of the fish spawns in the bay and strict quotas set to protect them, the illegal haul by poachers cut the commercial season short for watermen who fish by the rules.  Even though this net is believed to be a leftover from the winter, this poaching could hurt watermen again.

“This will be applied to the December haul,” Windemuth said.  “They certainly could [lose more days].”

Calmer weather will reveal by how much.

A search for suspects in the poaching remains an ongoing investigation.

More from Alex DeMetrick
  • Doug

    What a waste of good food.
    Hope they catch someone and come down hard on them.
    Take their boats at least.

    • ericg

      Take their boats? Definitely Jail!!

    • Kimberly Blackwell

      oh they will u dont mess w/natural resources police theyll definitly fry u hard!!!!

  • Gary O. Lengerhuis

    Commercial gill netting in the Bay needs to be banned. Watermen are only allowed 300 pounds per day and that can be well accomplished by hook and line. There are many more illegal nets out there waiting to be found. What a waste

  • Bullfrog

    These illegal harvesting creeps need JAil TIME AND LOTS OF IT! These creeps not only took food away from people who clearly depend on it but also cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars in revenue for legal fisherman, restaurants and natural resources. A large enough reward should be enough incentive for someone to speak up and talk, money can buy almost anyone if enough of it is offered. I am sure that the stench from these fish is also carried on the body’s of these lowlife creeps.

    • PNR

      Unfortunately money doesnt always get people to talk, the reward for the winter incident was over $30,000 and no one spoke up except to complain about the season being shortened.

  • Squaregrouper

    Aggressively prosecute the ones who are being caught doing this. If a conviction results in BOAT CONFISCATION, along with fines and possible prison time- word will get out soon enough. Too many watermen are losing their livlelyhoods because quotas are lowered due to illegal fishing

  • squaregrouper

    I can’t spell

  • John Card

    Should put them in a net to rot..

  • Mahhn

    How about hunting poachers, no limit :)

  • Mark

    We have a poaching problem here in Colorado as well. These idiots will kill deer out of season and kill bighorn sheep just for the horns and leave the carcas. Colorado wildlife officers persue them aggressively..

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