ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Six charter boat operators were charged with multiple fishing violations after an investigation into the use of prohibited fishing gear.

Maryland Natural Resources Police began an investigation in October 2019 after receiving tips from concerned citizens.

Police discovered several charter boats had allegedly violated the size and catch limit for striped bass, failed to use non-offset circle hooks while chumming or live-lining in tidal waters as required in Maryland and other violations.

“While the vast majority of Maryland’s fishing community is law-abiding and understands the need for our regulations, there unfortunately are those who break the rules,” Maryland Natural Resources Police Col. Adrian Baker said. “Our conservation laws are designed for the protection and sustainability of our resources, and we will stay vigilant to see they are enforced.”

Natural Resources Police charged the following people:

Brian Councell, Chestertown, operator of vessel Sea Dux:

  • Failure to use non-offset circle hooks while live-lining or chumming for striped bass (6 counts)

James Harris, North Beach, operator of vessel Compensation:

  • Possessing croaker less than 9 inches total length.
  • Failure to comply with condition of pilot program permit (two counts)
  • Possessing more than 15 pounds of fish whose size cannot be determined
  • Failure to use non-offset circle hooks while live-lining or chumming for striped bass (6 counts)
  • Failure to retain carcasses of filleted striped bass until arriving dockside
  • Possessing striped bass less than 19 inches total length.
  • Mutilation of striped bass carcass to the extent that the total length or species cannot be determined

John Reynolds Sr., Marydel, operator of vessel Retirement Fun:

  • Possessing striped bass less than 19 inches total length
  • Using more than 2 hooks per line while using active line fishing gear (6 counts)

John Motovidlak Sr., Wittman, operator of vessel Dawn Marie:

  • Possessing more than 15 pounds of fish whose size cannot be determined
  • Exceeding the summer-fall striped bass possession limit
  • Failure to use non-offset circle hooks while live-lining or chumming for striped bass (3 counts)
  • Failure to retain carcasses of filleted striped bass until arriving dockside
  • Mutilation of striped bass carcass to the extent that the total length or species cannot be determined

William Eason, Oxford, operator of vessel Dana-Kat:

  • Failure to use non-offset circle hooks while live-lining or chumming for striped bass (8 counts)

Jesse Bolton, Dunkirk, operator of vessel Wild Goose:

  • Failure to use non-offset circle hooks while live-lining or chumming for striped bass (6 counts)
  • Exchanging a striped bass in possession to possess another striped bass (1 count)

If convicted, first-time offenders face a maximum fine of $1,000 and second-time offenders face $2,000. Their license could also face the potential suspension or revocation of fishing privileges.

 

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