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Feds move against charter boats poaching striped bass


A three-year federal undercover investigation into Virginia-based charter boats illegally fishing for striped bass more than 3 miles off the coast led to the seizure Thursday of electronics and records from a number of vessels.

Special agents from the law enforcement office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration served search warrants on at least four boats that primarily operate out of Rudee Inlet in Virginia Beach.

Seizures included GPS units, cell phones, radios, ship logs, manifests and client lists, a source familiar with the investigation said.

The investigation is being handled by NOAA and the Department of Justice Environmental Crimes Unit, the team that last year successfully prosecuted the massive Potomac River striped bass poaching operation.

Last fall, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission complained about illegal fishing in the Exclusive Economic Zone, a wide swath of water three miles to 200 miles off the coast that is off limits to striped bass fishing.

Winter fishing off Virginia Beach and North Carolina, where the big striped bass migrate to await spawning season in the Chesapeake Bay, is a lucrative business. Charter boats from Maryland and North Carolina often spend a month or two working out of Virginia Beach.

Illegal charters use spotters and satellite phones to watch for law enforcement boats and planes. When patrol boats approach, poachers dump fish overboard in weighted containers to destroy the evidence.

ASMFC commissioners called the poaching "problematic" and asked NOAA and the Coast Guard to step up enforcement efforts.

"This high concentration of aggregating fish in the ocean over wintering grounds off the Virginia Capes south to Cape Hatteras makes them especially vulnerable to harvest," ASMFC Executive Director Vince O'Shea wrote. "Depending on their magnitude, unreported landings have the potential to jeopardize the status of the stock."
http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/sports/outdoors/blog/2011/03/feds_move_against_charter_boat.html

That's it!!!!!! All charter boats should be banned!!!!!:hammer::hammer::hammer::roflguy:
 

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A thief is a thief. Hang 'em all. No quarter. None asked, none given. And hang the clients as well, they are just as complicit.
Pat in Joppa
 

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Federal charges will be no joke. Be interesting to see how big the fines are.

With today's electronics - tough not knowing where the three mile limit is.
 

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CRBfisher: I'm impressed with the 4 & 5 syllable words!
 

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Nice use of our taxes.......how many drug rings did they stomp out?
 

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Retards got caught. If you can't make a living doing it honestly find another living. I'd guess 3 out of every 10 americans have been laid off at one time or another including myself and we've managed to find a job and make a living HONESTLY. Good for law enforcement give em the book.

-Evans
 

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Yeah - They shouldn't have to spend OUR taxes on enforcement like this. You would think that the LEGAL charters and Rec who are out there, seeing this happening, would turn them in.
Should the commercial guys be doing the same thing? Spins and twists work the other way too.
 

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are we suprised

:nono:this fishing activity has been ongoing for years, complete disregard for laws n ethical behavior. shame on you all, we have all felt the concequences of this wasteful fishery. Lets hope an example will be made of the guilty captains, no one is above the law, no matter how prolonged the investigation has been. This forum has been priceless for some of the investigative work, as certain captains feel the need to beat their chests and promote themselves on tidal fish, you may be shocked to see how many locals are guilty of poaching, over 3 mile line, and wanton waste of a resource by dumping dead fish to avoid prosecution. tidal fish viewers keep on watching, the best is yet to come! :nono:
 

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Should the commercial guys be doing the same thing? Spins and twists work the other way too.
Apparently you must have just started reading this board...........This is what I was getting at.

Just as an FYI - Every time someone sees mention of a Commercial violation the responses invariably include the old "tight network" and question why the legal waterman don't turn in the illegal, inferring that a majority are on the illegal side.........but thanks for just reinforcing my point.
 

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Nice use of our taxes.......how many drug rings did they stomp out?
So what is the alternative, don't bother to enforce the law? Actually I think it was a pretty effective use of tax dollars. Rather than try to chase them down and round'm up with an LE boat only to have the evidence dumped by the time they catch them, they had undercover agents on a charter. Cost of the charter was probably a lot less then the operating a government LE boat.

Once found guilty, the charter captains should be forced to reimburse the taxpayers for the cost of the investigation.
 

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Apparently you must have just started reading this board...........This is what I was getting at.

Just as an FYI - Every time someone sees mention of a Commercial violation the responses invariably include the old "tight network" and question why the legal waterman don't turn in the illegal, inferring that a majority are on the illegal side.........but thanks for just reinforcing my point.
Never have read a post that said what you posted above,UR the one who reads between the lines inferring the majority are on the illegal side. I try to ignore what you have posted, but your ability to make statemenst that are way out off line concerning the original post. It is questionable why someone won't do the right thing and turn in poachers, so you would assume it is a tight network. If its not a tight network, maybe you can answer why no one has turned in the poachers. Is it because everyone is afraid of the poachers? You said you hold a license for rec and comm. Are you not upset about not making any money for the month of Febuary? Maybe you don't care. Again, poachers need to be caught and held accountable, regardless of who they are. Fines need to be severe enough so poachers do not get another chance.
 

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Kidz,

Charters weren't the only ones out there! The recs that were out there in the midst didn't turn anyone in either. I agree with others on this post--hand 'em all. No one is exempt. The charters are just a start. Wait till they start prosecuting the clients under the Lacey Act or some recreational anglers who followed the charters over the line. That wil send some shock waves. These guys were not close to the line. At times they were 8-9 miles out. Kinda hard to say you thought you were closer.
 
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