Maryland DNR Nets Striped Bass Poachers

Natural Resources Police Officers Pounce on Poachers

striped bassMaryland Natural Resources Police officers charged poachers in Queen Anne’s and Somerset counties with fishing violations in recent cases.

Four Prince George’s County residents were charged with poaching 33 striped bass in Kent Narrows as a result of an ongoing effort by officers to target illegal fishing hot spots.

Officers conducting surveillance on Nov. 26 noticed several recreational anglers fishing on shore and on boats violating state fishing regulations.

Epifanio Malave, 60, of College Park, received citations for possessing 15 undersized striped bass and possessing 13 striped bass over the daily recreational limit. Most of the fish were able to be released back to state waters.

Juan C. Villeda Sandoval, 36, Mirna Y Majano Villanueva, 33, and Brenda Brisayda Lopez Linares, 25, all of Bladensburg, each received two citations for possessing  six undersized striped bass and possessing four striped bass over the daily recreational limit.

With these cases, a dozen people have received citations since Aug. 1 for recreational fishing violations in the Kent Narrows. The charges involved the poaching of a total of 164 striped bass.

“Poaching is not only illegal but also a threat to the sustainability of striped bass,” said Lt. Col. Ken Ziegler Jr., NRP acting superintendent. “We will not tolerate the blatant illegal taking of this resource at the expense of tens of thousands of recreational anglers and watermen who abide by the law.”

In January 2014, Malave was found guilty in Queen Anne’s District Court of possessing undersized striped bass and was fined $125. On these charges, Malave must appear in Queen Anne’s District Court in January. If found guilty, he could be fined as much as $1,000 plus an additional court-imposed penalty of $1,500 for each illegally caught fish.

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Sandoval, Villanueva and Linares can avoid a court date by paying pre-set fines of $500, However, if they choose to go to court, they face the same maximum fines and penalties.

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Officers on the lower Eastern Shore charged two watermen with oyster violations in separate incidents.

Last Friday morning, officers on patrol in Tangier Sound saw a green-and-yellow work boat patent tonging on Halls Bar. While boarding the boat for inspection, officers learn that the operator did not have a commercial oystering license. They also found that one bushel contained 12 percent unculled oysters and another bushel had 7 percent unculled oysters.

Harvey Thomas Bowers, 50, of Rock Hall, received two citations. The oysters were returned to the water.

Bowers is scheduled to appear in Somerset District Court on March 8. If found guilty of both charges, he faces a maximum fine of $1,000.

Yesterday morning, officers saw a waterman power dredging in a non-designated area of Tangier Sound.

After verifying the boat’s location with GPS, William Cloyde Catlin Jr., 44, of Upper Fairmount, received a citation. He must appear in Somerset District Court on Feb. 9.

In 2013, Catlin was fined $155 after being found guilty by the same court of possessing unculled oysters.

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