Maryland NRP Charge Nine Recreational Anglers With Rockfish Poaching

The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) have charged nine
recreational anglers from Delaware and Texas for illegally fishing
in a designated striped bass spawning area in the Choptank River.
The charges come just days before the opening of trophy striped
bass season on April 16.

“The majority of Atlantic striped bass are born and return to
spawn in very discreet areas throughout Maryland. For the health of
the population, it is illegal to fish for striped bass in those
areas during the annual spawn,” said DNR Secretary John Griffin.
“Disregard for this fragile ecosystem – and our State fish – will
not be tolerated.”

“The spawning reaches and areas of Chesapeake Bay are closed to the
targeting and catching of striped bass during the spawning season,”
said DNR Fisheries Service Director Tom O’Connell. “Spawning
imposes significant energy demands on large female striped bass,
and the stress of catch-and-release while spawning or in spawning
areas can cause behavioral changes, including “fallback”, a
phenomenon in which upstream migrating striped bass begin
downstream following release.”

On April 9th, 2011, NRP Officers set up surveillance in the
Choptank River near Ganeys Wharf in Caroline County after receiving
tips of people fishing illegally. This area is designated as a
striped bass spawning river and reach, and catching or attempting
to catch striped bass is illegal. NRP officers caught and charged
four anglers on April 9 and five more the next day.

“Coastal Conservation Association Maryland believes that anglers
both commercial and recreational bear the same burden of protecting
Maryland’s natural resources. The recreational anglers caught
poaching on the Choptank must be held accountable for their illegal
actions,” said Tony Friedrick, Executive Director of CCA MD. “CCA
MD applauds the work of the Natural Resources Police and hopes this
sends a clear message to all those who would consider breaking
natural resources law.”

Officers charged Terry Edward Andrus of Cypress, TX; Timothy Wayne
Barnett, 31, of Bridgeville DE; Paul Edward Daisey, 30, of
Millville, DE; William Darr Hall, 57, of Bridgetown, DE; Kevin Glen
Reese, 46, of Katy, TX; Frederick Joseph Ruff, 49, of Milton, DE;
Kathy Ewing Ruff, 49, of Milton, DE; Mark Bryan Stubbs of Katy, TX,
and Chad Edward Tingle, 35, of Selbyville, DE.

All those arrested face catch/attempt to catch striped bass in a
spawning area/river between March 1 and May 31 charges. The penalty
includes a fine of up to $500 and $1,500 per fish for each
individual and a possible license suspension for up to one year. A
court date has been set for May 13, 2011 in Caroline County
District Court. Charges, fines and court dates are the same for all
subjects. An additional 7 warnings were also issued.

Earlier this year, NRP recovered 25 thousand pounds of illegally
caught rockfish. DNR is offering a $30,000 reward for information
leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

In the State’s ongoing efforts to protect the public trust, the
2011 General Assembly enacted several bills that would increase NRP
authority and penalties for illegal fishing.

 

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