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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let's see, ...maximum $250 to $500 fine! ...for 3 tons of rockfish w/ a market value somewhere around $24,000 @ $4/lb ...filets in N. Va sell for $12.99/lb. Might as well let them keep the catch!

Baltimore Sun, Illegal fishing charged; tons of rockfish seized
By Candus Thomson
January 7, 2009

Link: Baltimore Sun Illegal fishing charged; tons of rockfish seized -- baltimoresun.com

Natural Resources Police seized nearly 3 tons of striped bass Sunday from a trawler and charged a Dorchester County seafood processor with illegal commercial fishing in Maryland waters. It was the second time in less than a week that officers had charged Jack C. Colbourne, owner of Colbourne Seafood Inc. in Secretary, with illegal fishing.

Officers boarded the Mount Vernon after watching the 80-foot vessel drag a net about two miles off the Ocean City inlet all day Sunday, according to Sgt. Ken Turner, a police spokesman.

Officers issued citations to Colbourne, 69, Mark H. Bryan, 53, and Bayard Lewis Taylor III, 64, all of East New Market, for fishing between 6 p.m. Friday and 5 a.m. Monday, when the season is closed. They are to appear Feb. 22 in Worcester County District Court. The maximum fine is $250 if they plead guilty before their court date and $500 if found guilty by a judge.

The boat is owned by Mount Vernon LLC in Cape May, N.J. The catch was sold and the money is being held in escrow until the cases are settled, Turner said.

On Dec. 30, officers boarded the Mount Vernon in West Ocean City and charged Colbourne with exceeding his 1,900-pound seasonal allocation of striped bass, or rockfish, by 138 pounds, Turner said.

The U.S. government has banned striped bass fishing from three miles to 200 miles off the East Coast. The area between the shore and federal waters is governed by the states. New Jersey is one of six East Coast states that prohibit commercial striped bass fishing; Maryland allows recreational and commercial fishing.
 

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I believe we would all be sick if we really knew how much illegal take of striped bass was actually going all. It seems like too many anglers have forgotten when there were no stripers to catch and think that there cannot be an end again. In the Virginia Beach winter striped bass fishery I have heard many stories of anglers (charter boats included) catching and keeping more than their two fish limit. Come on! How many of these big fish can there be. These fish produce our future stripers. Hopefully, our law enforcement agencies will put a stop to all poaching before it is too late.

The Legend
 

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$4.00/lb? I could buy all I wanted from fishmen in Reedville this fall for $2.00/lb. Don't be so hard on the souce of seafood for those who do not rec. fish. We deserve to have fish to eat too.
 

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I'll add my 2 cents here. In the Va area commercial gill net and hook-n-liner guys in the fall get $1.50 - $2.50 for whole fish, thats not much, a little more in the spring as demand is high and supply little. In Va commercial guys are regulated tightly, if one gets caught with fish not tagged, selling to unauthorized buyers, or over poundage allocation...the penalties are much stiffer. All the puplic can read about Va violations on VRMC website, look at the montly meeting minutes. In fact commercial guys can loose their entire license just for not reporting their catch montly. Its a shame the Md is so easy on these guys.

I fished out of Lynn Haven and Rudde 4x in late Dec and never once was there someone there looking at fish box's, should there be?
 

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I think you all have heard the rumor that if we are caught w/ illegal rockfish that our boat ,truck and equipment would be confiscated. This rumor has always been enough for me to throw back the undersize or over limit rockfish; plus, it is the right thing to do for the fish! They should impound the boat until all fines are payed and the fines should at least equal the market value. .02
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Illegal Rockfish

Colbourne Seafood Inc., Secretary, MD is a wholesaler/retailer outlet for seafood. There is no "middle man" here in this case, ... they are the middle man! ...so in our dreams they might be selling these rockfish @ $2/lb. What is ridiculous is that Colbourne Seafood is getting a $250 - to $500 max fine for having some 3 tons of rockfish caught illegally. Furthermore, the official calculation of illegally caught striped bass is zero against the commercial quota . That's right, zero. This ought to give you an inkling of why the real condition of the striped bass population is not reflected by the ASMFC stock assessment science. ... and unless one is really naive, we know this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Here is what will happen to you if you are a RECREATIONAL FISHERMEN IN the same AREA!

"NOTE: NR 4-1201(d) allows for the following additional penalties (Above those listed in the Maximum Penalty column) for a violation of any provision of Title 4 or regulations adopted pursuant to Title 4 concerning the taking of or creel limits for striped bass (rockfish):

1st offense $1500 per fish
2nd offense $2500 per fish and revocation of fishing license for one to two years
3rd offense $2500 per fish and revocation of fishing license for two to five years"

Looks to me like the "fox is guarding the henhouse."
 

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Unfortunately Maryland is very easy on commercial guys. They seem to catch the same people over and again for the same offenses. A big deal is made when they are caught breaking the law but when it goes to court they get the same slap on the hand and low fine they got the last time they were caught.
 

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It's interesting that the MD guys that are so rabidly "anti OMEGA" aren't apparently very concerned with this and it's potential effect on rockfish stock.:rolleyes:
 

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Its not compareing apples to apples, but when fishermen and hunters from Paraguay sneak across the Paraguay River and poach in the Pantanal Park on the Brazil side of the river and get themselves caught,,,,,,,well,,,,the game wardens shoot them on sight. Same is true with Ivory Poachers in Kenya. I don't necessarily agree with these drastic measures,,,,,,, just pointing out how fish and game laws are enforced in other parts of the world. I would say the Maryland boys don't give a hoot about the striped bass resource. I would think the recreational fishermen in Maryland would make the state chance the rules regarding fines and what not.
 

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It's interesting that the MD guys that are so rabidly "anti OMEGA" aren't apparently very concerned with this and it's potential effect on rockfish stock.:rolleyes:
We are actually much more than concerned.. We write letters, go to court and beg for more than a slap on the wrist, contact elected officials.. do just about everything a citizen can do. no need to roll eyes..
You have no idea what you are talking about. But, you already gave that away by insinuating that Omega isn't a huge problem.
 

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So, you agree that it's a huge issue...

The fact is Capt.. The bay and the tribs are all our backyards. What happens with Omega in Va has an enormous impact on what happens with striped bass in MD. I am as much concerned with Omega as I am with water quality, development, oysters, poachers.. rec or commercial..and power plants.
You can't be so simplistic. Everything has to be addressed. Filter feeders.. menhaden and oysters.. being at the top of the list. Keep ignoring the issues and pretty soon it'll be your "backyard". It's only a matter of time.
Currently, it pays to poach in MD. I'd love to see across the board.. recs and commercials.. boat and license taken after third offense. It gives us all a bad name right now.
 

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Depending on which scientists you believe, the protein fishery may or may not have a small or large effect on rockfish population.
Uncontrolled commercial fishing in Maryland most certainly has an immediate effect.
There have been endless petitions on this board to end, or drastically reduce the catch of menhaden, at least one of them by the board owner himself, the gentleman from Maryland.
Perhaps there have been similar petitions to get a handle on commercial rockfishing in Maryland. If so, I missed them and I apologize.
 

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i'm a commercial fisherman on the Potomac and i think that fine[250.00 - 500.00 max] is a joke. if they were caught in virginia they would have taken there boat, license, fish, and fined them into next year. maryland needs to get with the program and stiffen fines. that captain just laughed at them for that. heck he got caught just a week before for about the same thing. i mean cmon.
 

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3 Tons of Illegal Stripers Versus $500 Fine

I agree with Going2Fast! Just do the math! With fines like that, it won't stop them from doing it again! It seems a lot like a unarmed mall security guard yelling at someone, "Stop or I will yell stop again." :nono::nono::nono:

Maryland needs to fix the issue with the levels of fine quickly to help stop these kinds of criminals from breaking the laws. In addition Virginia needs to protect the Menhaden in the bay from being overfished or there will be very few stripers, trout, blue fish, flounder left to catch or keep.

Kevin Smith
Weekend Mistress
Coastal Conservation Association-Virginia
 
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