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Local environmental police officers have been on high alert, kept busy by excessive poaching activities on a variety of species.
By Toby Lapinski  |  June 3, 2019

It happens every season, anglers think that either the rules do not apply to them or they simply do not care. While there are those rare, “honest mistakes” that do happen, when the offense require a calculator to tabulate the total number of fish taken then any sort of honesty goes right out the window. Further, when the offender takes action to hide their catch, the intent and knowledge of their action becomes quite apparent. Anglers who commit these type of violations are not recreational anglers, and they surely are not commercials. By my definition, anglers who fall into either of those categories follow the rules which govern their harvest so I do not feel that violators can hide under such titles. Instead they are poachers, plain and simple.

The recent warm weather has ramped up fishing across Southern New England, and so too has it brought out the pirates. Below is a sampling of recent posts by the Massachusetts Environmental Police on their Facebook page.

During the weekend of June 1st and June 2nd, Massachusetts Environmental Police conducted patrols in the greater Buzzards Bay area via land and water. Fishing activity was extremely heavy due to the amount of Black Sea Bass being caught in the area. Officers issued upwards of $3000.00 in fines for various fishing and boating safety violations. Fishing violations included possession of over the limit Black Sea Bass, possession of undersized Black Sea Bass, Striped Bass, Summer Flounder, and Tautog. Additionally, several violations were issued to individuals who did not possess a valid saltwater fishing license.

Violations can be reported 24 hours a day to Massachusetts Environmental Police at 1-800-632-8075.

A variety of bottom fish seized over the weekend of June 1 - 2, 2019.

On Saturday, June 1, 2019, Massachusetts Environmental Police received information from a concerned citizen regarding individuals actively taking white perch in excess on the Taunton River and storing them in a vehicle. Officers were able to locate the individual based upon the description provided. Further investigation showed that the individual was in possession of 68 white perch – 43 fish over the legal limit.

Citations were issued for possession over the limit and failure to display catch. The fish were not fit for human consumption due to improper storage and were subsequently destroyed.

Massachusetts Environmental Police Dispatch can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-632-8075. Violations can also be reported online at bit.ly/MEPReport.

68 white perch, 43 over the legal possession limit, seized on June 1, 2019 on the Taunton River.

On the morning of May 27, 2019, at the mouth of Falmouth Harbor, an Environmental Police Officer investigated a tip provided by the Falmouth Marine Environmental Services (MES) which resulted in a striped bass violation. The individual was found to be in possession of eleven (11) undersized striped bass. Each fish measured between 19-inches and 22-inches. The recreational possession limit for striped bass is one fish per day, a minimum of 28-inches in length.

The individual was arrested and charged with possession of undersized striped bass and being over the daily retention limit. The individual’s rod and reel, tackle box, and catch were seized; the catch was subsequently donated.

The individual was arraigned in Falmouth District Court on Tuesday, May 28, and is scheduled for a pretrial hearing in early July.
The Massachusetts Environmental Police would like to thank Falmouth MES, Falmouth Police Department, and the Massachusetts State Police for their assistance with this case.

11 striped bass seized on May 27, 2019 in Falmouth, MA.

On the evening of Thursday, May 16, 2019, Massachusetts Environmental Police Officers responded to a report in New Bedford of an individual keeping undersized striped bass and hiding them within a duffel bag.

Officers encountered the individual as he was leaving the area and found him to be in possession of 6 striped bass ranging from 16-23 inches in length. The gear was seized and the individual was criminally summonsed for fishing without a saltwater permit, possession of undersized striped bass, and possession over the recreational limit. The fish were still alive and returned to the sea.

The Massachusetts Environmental Police remind fishermen that the recreational limit for striped bass is one fish, a minimum of 28-inches.
To report poachers, please contact MEP Dispatch 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-632-8075 or report online at bit.ly/MEPReport.

6 striped bass seized on May 16, 2019 in New Bedford, MA.