The Baltimore Sun reports that members of Maryland’s Natural Resources Police have seized an illegal fishing net filled with nearly three tons of striped bass worth around $15,0000 on Tuesday morning (February 1) off the tip of Kent Island. It is believed to be the largest single illegal netting take of striped bass In 25 years. The haul was so large that the 25-foot patrol boat had to radio a 73-foot buoy tender for help.
“My gosh, I did not expect this many fish,” said Cpl. Roy Rafter, who spearheaded the operation that began Monday afternoon and continued overnight. “It’s overwhelming.”
The seizure is part of an ongoing push by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to ramp up enforcement of fisheries laws. The department has increased its monitoring of state waterways and is pursuing tougher penalties for violators. The penalties include everything from loss of licenses to jail time.
Members of the Chesapeake’s angling and conservation groups, while applauding the efforts of officials, are appalled and angered by the number of fish killed, and are calling for the Waterman’s Association to do a better job of policing their ranks.
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