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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here is an article (go to the Last paragraph) from JCAA Striped Bass Chairman Paul Haertel which challenges the assertion that the vast majority of watermen legally pursue their profession.

I would think, that if this number is even close to the truth, this would add fuel to the current challenge to ban the nets given the watermens seeming inability to police themselves.

GT

Illegal and Unethical Commercial Fishing Kills Thousands of Stripers
by Paul Haertel, JCAA Striped Bass Chairman
(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association March 2011 Newsletter)


According to news reports, thousands of striped bass have recently been killed by illegal and unethical commercial netters fishing in North Carolina and Maryland. The first travesty occurred in mid-January when a commercial trawler off North Carolina was found to be responsible for dumping and estimated 3000-4000 large striped bass off the outer banks of North Carolina. Outraged recreational fishermen took photos of all the dead bass floating on the surface. The suspected cause at the time was high-grading which occurs when small fish are thrown back dead so that they can be replaced by larger ones that were more recently caught. North Carolina had allowed a commercial limit of 50 stripers per day so therefore the larger bass were more valuable when they were sold. The boat responsible for the carnage was located by authorities who interviewed the Captain. He claimed that his net had become so full that the net was too heavy to bring into the boat and therefore the net had to be opened so the fish could be released.

Numerous complaints about the incident resulted in the NC Division of Marine Fisheries changing the law in order to prevent high-grading and to ensure that fish would not be wasted. A new limit of 2000 lbs .of stripers per boat are now allowed each day. Furthermore, trawlers are now allowed to transfer any excess catch to other trawlers, a practice that had previously been illegal. While many anglers applauded this action, I had my doubts that the new law would result in stripers being saved. Previously each boat was allowed to harvest 50 stripers per day and now they are allowed 2000 lbs. per day. Under the previous law, stripers would have had to average 40 lbs. each in order to take that many pounds in a day. This is something even netters are unlikely to accomplish. I also suspected that large trawlers would simply transfer their excess catch to other trawlers so that they all could return to port with their limits. North Carolina's annual commercial quota for bass caught in the ocean is 480,000 lbs. with 160,160 lbs. of that allotted to the trawl fishery. Since commercial fishermen have not caught their entire quota in recent years, the relaxed rules make it more likely that they will now be able to fill their quotas. While it certainly is better that the practice of high-grading seems to have been curtailed, the end result may be that even more stripers will be killed.

As of early February it appears that there is very little transferring of excess stripers from one boat to another. Once again, on or about 2/2/11, thousands of dead stripers were found to be littering the ocean's surface as evidenced by photos taken from a helicopter. There is no doubt that these fish were, once again, dumped by trawlers. The question of exactly why these stripers are being dumped is unresolved. Some claim that it is simply the fact that the nets became too full and the excess bass were dumped as there were no other trawlers nearby to transfer them. Others claim that the stripers were, in fact, lost in the act of being transferred or that they were dumped because the seas were too rough to make a transfer. Some individuals believe that transfers are not being made in order to prevent the price of the bass from being driven down and also so that the state's quota will not be quickly filled, thereby making it possible for the offending trawlers to continue to fish for and devastate a public resource. There have even been claims that the stripers are being discarded out of spite as the commercial fishermen are upset over the fact that recreational fishermen have been reporting their unethical actions. It was further reported that they were thumbing their noses at authorities in an act of defiance to prove that they can get away with anything.

Whatever the reason, we need to put an immediate stop to this carnage. I spoke with Dr. Louis Daniel who is the Director of North Carolina Marine Fisheries Division. He stated that the trawler fishery will be closed at least until after a special marine fisheries commission meeting which is scheduled for 2/10 and 2/11. He further stated that his agency's investigation could not confirm that thousands of bass were killed and suggested that the number may have been more like a couple hundred bass being lost in each incident. His agency also dismissed one of the photos taken from a helicopter as being birds sitting on the ocean rather than dead bass. He went on to say that some of the discarded bass were under the minimum size limit of 28". Regardless, though, Dr. Daniel seemed sincere in his desire to properly manage our striped bass resource and intends to do whatever he can to correct the situation. He stated he will be recommending changes that will prevent the unnecessary waste of striped bass. He further explained that he does not have the authority to make regulatory changes. However, he intends to make recommendations for regulations that will benefit our striped bass resource, and while this will take time, he is optimistic that his proposals will be in effect by next year.

Over 20 years ago JCAA worked hard to make striped bass a no-sale fish in New Jersey. JCAA has always supported and worked toward making striped bass a no-sale or game fish along the entire east coast as it is in New Jersey and five other east coast states. JCAA believes that this is the best solution. In the interim, I suggest that we ask North Carolina to eliminate the netting of stripers in the ocean and restrict their commercial fishing for them to hook and line only. At the very least we should encourage them to eliminate their trawler fishery for striped bass and transfer its quota to other commercial netters who are not as destructive. Those who would like to help may mail their comments to Dr. Louis Daniel, NC Director of Marine Fisheries, 3431 Arendell St., Morehead City, N.C. 28557, or email him at [email protected] or call 1-800-682-2632.

The situation in Maryland is not much better. Within the first two days of the Chesapeake Bay gillnet season which began on 2/1, authorities seized 10 tons of illegally caught striped bass. Authorities also confiscated an illegal 2,100 yard long net that recently had been placed in the bay. At that time there were only a few fish in it which were released. The net had been hidden, submerged and not properly marked with floats as are the legal nets.

I also learned that in 2008, a staggering 43 % of Maryland's 3,940 active watermen received summonses for violating the law. It certainly appears that these offenders just accept their fines as part of the cost of doing business. However, Maryland's Department of Natural Resources has taken notice and legislation creating stricter penalties was recently passed and will become effective on 2/22. Those wishing to recommend game fish status or otherwise comment may do so by writing to Secretary John Griffin, Maryland Department of Resources, 580 Taylor Av., Tawes State Office Building, Annapolis, MD. 21401, or email him at [email protected] or call (410) 260-8367.
 

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Here is an article (go to the Last paragraph) from JCAA Striped Bass Chairman Paul Haertel which challenges the assertion that the vast majority of watermen legally pursue their profession.....

I also learned that in 2008, a staggering 43 % of Maryland's 3,940 active watermen received summonses for violating the law. It certainly appears that these offenders just accept their fines as part of the cost of doing business. However, Maryland's Department of Natural Resources has taken notice and legislation creating stricter penalties was recently passed and will become effective on 2/22. Those wishing to recommend game fish status or otherwise comment may do so by writing to Secretary John Griffin, Maryland Department of Resources, 580 Taylor Av., Tawes State Office Building, Annapolis, MD. 21401, or email him at [email protected] or call (410) 260-8367.
just for clarity is he saying they were charged with natural resources violations or just anything like speeding.....
 

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As much as I hate poachers - might not be an accurate number reported.

DNR enforces many laws and a person can get a DNR violation for something as simple as a burned out navigation light or forgetting your boat registration. Not exactly poaching in any way , shape or form.

Think it would be much better info if poaching charges could be broken down.

It might end up being 43% though - six men were just reported to be caught oystering in a sanctuary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
just for clarity is he saying they were charged with natural resources violations or just anything like speeding.....
Marcus:

I just talked with Paul Haertel, the author of this article and he told me they were 100% fisheries related.

GT
 

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The real sad part is that unless you are a real dumb a$$ loser, you only get caught about 1 in every 100 times you break the law. Just think about how much was poached and never caught. :eek2: The jails are full of people who said, " I'll never get caught.":hysterical:.............Gary
 

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Marcus:

I just talked with Paul Haertel, the author of this article and he told me they were 100% fisheries related.

GT
thanks for following up....you are BREAKING my heart... most jobs you lose your job for too many infractions... not here.. seems like a rite of passage
 

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Marcus:

I just talked with Paul Haertel, the author of this article and he told me they were 100% fisheries related.

GT
GT -

I think he is getting inaccurate information. If the information is accurate I would ask that (since charges such as this are public information) he provide you with the names of each of these. Should be easy, right?
 

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And also not broken down, how many times to DNR agents "Cut them a break" and charge them with a PFD or light out violation instead of hitting the POACHERS with a fisheries violation.

And something else that is NEVER reported. The overwhelming evidence that OUTLAWS & POACHERS (importantly I am not calling them "Watermen") often have other serious criminal and civil matters before the courts. The ability to easily commercialize - turn into cash - their catches feeds other OUTLAW problems. Just look at the young POACHERS caught with oysters in the last few days, or the Kent Island POACHER a couple of weeks ago that was arrested for attacking a 90 year old man in a wheel chair. The list goes on and on. WATERMEN, in the classic sense are not the problem. POACHERS and OUTLAWS that benefit from the insanely lax penalties for violations and the ease with which they can commercialize their catch are the real problem. Classic WATERMEN (as Simns calls them, the "99% that are honest") should be leading the charge against the OUTLAWS.
 

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Scott,

The statement in your linked document (bolded portion) Is not backed up by any data that the DNR has.

"During calendar year 2008, the Natural Resources Police issued 2,043 citations to 1,670 individuals who violated Maryland's commercial fishing laws. That is, nearly 28% of commercial waterman received a criminal citation."

When I requested the information here is what I got from the PIA officer.
(take note to the section I bolded) Based on this the "poachers" who were just caught illegal oystering "without a commercial license" would have been placed into the percentage of "Commercial Waterman receiving a violation", but in reality they are NOT "Commercial Waterman" wouldn't you agree? Or are we considering them "Commercial Waterman" even though the only thing they have in common with "Commercial Waterman" is the fact that they are stealing the things that Commercial Waterman legally harvest.

Dear Mr. xxxxxxx,

I am sorry for the delay in our response, part of which was due to seeing if we had the capability of complying with your request. As it is, the Department does not have a separate list of names of individual commercial violators for 2008 because the database containing this information aggregates both commercial and recreational fisherman. The percentage of commercial license holders who had a violation in 2008 quoted by the Department in the past was based upon an analysis of total violations in the clamming, oystering, tidal fishing and crabbing categories estimated to be applicable to commercial fisherman by the Office of the Attorney General in a presentation made to members of the Sports Fish and Tidal Fish Advisory Commissions last summer.

Thus, we are unable to comply with your request for a list of individual commercial violators. If, however, you are looking to determine whether specific individuals were convicted of commercial fishing violations, you can find this information by searching individual names at http://casesearch.courts.state.md.us/inquiry/inquiry-index.jsp.

Again, please accept my apologies for our delay in responding to you. If you need anything else, please let me know.

Also, I am giving you my personal cell phone, should you need anything else in the future. 410-279-9735.

Gene
--------------------------------------------
Eugene F. Deems, Jr.
Public Information Act Request Manager
Office of Communications
Maryland Department of Natural Resources 580 Taylor Avenue, D4 Annapolis, MD 21401
410-260-8014
Fax: 410-260-8024
[email protected]
 

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Sounds like you are not asking the right question of the right person...
Ok - When I questioned the Author of the article in the SOMd page (Mike Naylor) for the statistics he used to come up with his percentage, he referred me to Eugene Deems as he is the DNR "Public Information Act Request Manager".

Who would you suggest I get the numbers from? (the numbers used came from DNR)

Who would you ask? What questions would you ask them?
 

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All in jail will tell you they are innocent, its the laws that are wrong.
I'm fortunate to have only had wrongly accused clients.
 

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Sounds like you are not asking the right question of the right person...
Scott - You know what would be really cool? If the DNR Official (Mike Naylor) would come on here.......(yeah he is a registered user) and give us the final word. After thinking about your post I figured he would be the "right" person since he was quoted in the original article.

I'd like for him to clarify this whole situation by telling us, here on a public forum one of two things:

either.....

1) His statement was 100% correct and he KNOWS now that every one of those individuals included in his statement did hold a Commercial License when cited in 2008.

or

2) His statement could very well be incorrect and some of the individuals THOUGHT to have been holders of Commercial Licenses might very well have NEVER held a Commercial License because the violations included were just "estimated to be applicable to commercial fisherman" as I was told by the PIARM (Eugene Deems) at DNR.

What do you say Patapsco Mike? Which of the above is it? Inquiring minds want to know....
 

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C-Hawk, are you trying to say that in a scenario where someone had their commercial license suspended and then subsequently gets a violation, that the subsequent violation shouldn't count as being perpetrated by a commercial waterman because they didn't have an active license?
 

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C-Hawk, are you trying to say that in a scenario where someone had their commercial license suspended and then subsequently gets a violation, that the subsequent violation shouldn't count as being perpetrated by a commercial waterman because they didn't have an active license?
No not at all. By Active means submitting reports. I'm quite sure the author came up with this so the percentages are higher. They started off with license holders which there are some 8200, then in order to make the percentage higher they just included the "active" holders, of which they still couldn't give me the names.
 

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The percentage of commercial license holders who had a violation in 2008 quoted by the Department- the 43% number subsequently re-stated by myself- was based upon an analysis of total violations in the clamming, oystering, tidal fishing and crabbing categories estimated to be applicable to commercial fisherman by the Office of the Attorney General.
 

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The percentage of commercial license holders who had a violation in 2008 quoted by the Department- the 43% number subsequently re-stated by myself- was based upon an analysis of total violations in the clamming, oystering, tidal fishing and crabbing categories estimated to be applicable to commercial fisherman by the Office of the Attorney General.
Thanks Mike - so it looks like it is option #2? Your statement could very well be off and in reality no where near 43%

Scott - You know what would be really cool? If the DNR Official (Mike Naylor) would come on here.......(yeah he is a registered user) and give us the final word. After thinking about your post I figured he would be the "right" person since he was quoted in the original article.

I'd like for him to clarify this whole situation by telling us, here on a public forum one of two things:

either.....

1) His statement was 100% correct and he KNOWS now that every one of those individuals included in his statement did hold a Commercial License when cited in 2008.

or

2) His statement could very well be incorrect and some of the individuals THOUGHT to have been holders of Commercial Licenses might very well have NEVER held a Commercial License because the violations included were just "estimated to be applicable to commercial fisherman" as I was told by the PIARM (Eugene Deems) at DNR.

What do you say Patapsco Mike? Which of the above is it? Inquiring minds want to know....
 
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