Striped Bass Poachers Busted in Maryland

Two men face nearly a million dollars in fines after they were caught poaching hundreds of pounds of striped bass on the Patapsco River in Maryland. Terry Myrick and John Messenger were caught exceeding their daily catch limit, according to Maryland Natural Resources Police. The pair face fines in excess of $400,000 based on a maximum fine of $2,500 per fish, for exceeding their daily harvest by 532 pounds.

Striped bass poaching has been a recurring problem in Maryland. An eight-year sting investigation by federal and state agencies that ended in 2010 led to the conviction of 19 men for poaching and selling 1.6 million pounds of striped bass on the black market. The next year, state Natural Resources Police found more than 16 tons (32,000 pounds) of striped bass in illegal gillnets. State officials shut down the commercial striped bass season early to protect the species from overfishing. Maryland DNR has been recently criticized by recreational fishing groups for increasing the allowable catch of striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay in 2014, despite troubling trends in the coastwide striper population.

Read more:

Two men charged with over harvesting rockfish from Patapsco River” – Baltimore Sun, 1/8/2014

Anglers object to increasing rockfish catch” – Baltimore Sun, 12/10/2013

Maryland DNR photo shows confiscated striped bass taken in an illegal gill net.

Maryland DNR photo shows confiscated striped bass taken in an illegal gill net.

*An earlier version of this post quoted a CBS Baltimore article that stated 13 million pounds of striped bass were found in illegal gillnets by Maryland DNR in 2011. The number has been corrected to 16 tons (32,000 pounds).

  1. Keith

    God and I hope they loose their fishing license for good, there is no place for this type of behavior and they ruin it for everyone else!!

    • Jason Ludwig

      That just makes my skin crawl !! Something bigger has to be done across the board to protect them..

  2. Brian Mac Mullin

    Hopefully they seized all their equipment…these derelicts don’t deserve to be allowed a fishing pole, let alone netting gear. No Breaks!

  3. Mrfrantastik

    They should put those guy’s heads in a gillnet.It screws it up for us honest fishermen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Capt Ahab

    Keel Haul the bastards!
    Sorry, just my politically incorrect mind remembering the day’s when…

  5. Tom

    Nothing like taking advantage of a fishery that was once almost non existent.I guess lessons have not been learned from the past ? So next year while I’m out there trying to catch my two fish limit and there are no fish, I will know why. No mercy for these rapers of resources. This kind of stuff makes my skin crawl. Hang em and hang em high. BUSTED. Way to go Maryland fish and game (MNRP) Make an example of these bad characters. Make the rest of them think three times before they even think about going over their quota.

  6. gary engblom

    why don’t they get rid of the gillnets so anyone that puts them out will be held accountable.rod and reel is all that should be needed.I have artices that were written by Hal Lyman and Frank Woolner that I have in my fishing scrapbook that suggested back then that if management for the fisheries didn’t get there act together things like this would slowly compromise the fisheries for years to come.


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