Striper Poachers Keeping Mass Environmental Police Busy

The Massachusetts Environmental Police have caught several individuals for poaching striped bass over the past two weeks, sharing these violations on social media. Publicizing these violations lets potential poachers know that there are consequences and encourages law-abiding fishermen to report them.

If you see someone violating a fisheries regulation, make a call to your state EPOs.

Program your state’s tip line into your cell phone:
Maine: 207-287-6057
New Hampshire: 800-344-4262
Massachusetts: 800-632-8075
Rhode Island: 401-222-3070
Connecticut: 800-842-4357
New York: 1-844-332-3267
New Jersey: 1-855-OGT-TIPS

On Monday, June 26, 2017, a Massachusetts Environmental Police Lieutenant was on a marine fisheries patrol in the town of Sandwich. At approximately 11:30 p.m., the Lieutenant observed a pickup truck stop at a temporary commercial striped bass dealer location.

The Lieutenant approached the male operator of the truck and asked if he had any luck. The party stated he had caught five striped bass; the lieutenant subsequently asked the operator where he was fishing, to which the operator responded – in the surf by the canal. The operator presented the Lieutenant his Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries Boat Permit with an endorsement for striped bass. The Lieutenant advised the male party that because he was fishing from shore, he was in violation of the commercial striped bass regulations which state: “while fishing from shore or any location other than the registered vessel listed on the permit may not possess, land, offer for sale or sell more than two striped bass per day.”

Three striped bass were seized and the male party was issued a citation for possession over the commercial limit of striped bass. He was allowed to sell his legal limit of two striped bass.



Prior to the opening of commercial striped bass season, a Massachusetts Environmental Police Officer on patrol in Marshfield found two persons fishing commercially for striped bass. The fish were seized and sold at auction; the two individuals were criminally summonsed.

On Tuesday, June 27, 2017, Massachusetts Environmental Police Officers responded to a report of an individual taking over the limit striped bass along the Cape Cod Canal in Bourne and storing them in his vehicle. Upon arrival to the scene, officers located the individual actively fishing. Officers subsequently approached the man; during their discussion, the man indicated that he had not caught any fish that day. When asked for his fishing license, the man indicated it was in his vehicle. Officers then met the man at his vehicle; in plain view was a large cooler. Officers asked the man if there were fish in the cooler, he then opened the vehicle and showed officers three large striped bass on ice.
Officers subsequently placed the 38-year old male from Taunton under arrest for failure to display catch on demand, over the limit striped bass, and *one count of a commercial fisherman in possession of a commercial fish without its right pectoral fin cut. The individual was transported to the Massachusetts State Police Barracks in Bourne for booking.
*Any striped bass over 34” possessed by a fisherman on a closed commercial day must have its right pectoral fin completed cut off. This law was passed to prevent fisherman from “stocking up” on striped bass on closed fishing days.


On Wednesday, July 5, 2017, Massachusetts Environmental Police Officers assigned to the North Coastal Bureau received a tip that individuals were taking undersized striped bass off the Plum Island jetty in Newburyport. Officers encountered two individuals leaving the jetty and discovered they had 5 fish in their possession, 3 of which were under the legal size of 28”. One individual was issued a summons for fishing over the limit, undersized fish in possession, and having no fishing license. The fish and fishing gear were seized.

    • Joe

      Joppa flat is a well know poachers spot, these poacher fished in their boat and taking any size and everything they catches .They fished late into the night and leave early morning and they knew that EPO not around .
      Than they be selling it !

    • Pete

      Great work! I agree with Joe, the fines should be wicked steep. Remember: we are also competing with about 40,000 other un-regulated fishermen i.e. the seals.

  1. Josh Wainwright

    A good article that illustrates just how ineffective our laws are,if they are not fully enforced, wit appropriate lengthy jail times and LARGE fines. Confiscation of vehicles, boats, fishing gear will put a stop to this heinous activity!

  2. Ed

    Other than being find money there should be a harsh jail time to stop these poachers

  3. Mike

    Way to go Mass EPO’s! Let’s erradicate theseland and sea rapists! See something/ say something!!!

  4. John

    Derek from Lights Out Lures was the 38 year old caught poaching , for a second time.
    I wouldn’t by plugs from a poacher.

    • Roman

      If that’s true, he should be black balled from all shows and advertising from any magazine .

    • Catch 'em!

      Nice! Thanks for the info, John! If it is truly Derek, “Lights Out Lures” will soon be shuttered! I never understood why people have a desire to involve themselves in these types of activities…crimes. These folks are a big part of why we need catch limits and restrictions. Fools!

    • John N Costa

      Completely right on that John. He wouldn’t get my business nor any from my friends & family. They should face at least 2 years in Jail, permanent loss of all Fishing & Hunting capabilities. If he has kids I feel sorry for them having to go through this stigma. I hope they learn what not what to do but the right things in life!

  5. B

    They shouldn’t be worried about the poachers as much as they should be worried about the Draeger’s that kill all the fish they kill thousands of striped bass a day but I don’t hear anybody complaining about that do you

    • kahuna

      I concur B the commercial fishermen “FOLLOWING” government fisheries laws and regulations have to “release” the non target fish which are dead or will b dead after the target fish are removed from deck. have u ever followed a dragger? it’s disgusting and wasteful.
      and one more thing on draggers or any commercial fishermen, they catch our fish(meaning those fish belong to all of us) and sell them to other countries not our country for big $$$$$$.

  6. B

    And let’s not forget about the Gill netters that killed thousands of striped bass that they throw back into the water

  7. Colin

    Good job on the arrest.
    Arrest every poacher and people might start to get the message!

  8. Vince

    MA gov need to revisit their strategic plan for commercial striped bass. Perhaps reinstating the old daily limit therefore shortening the commercial season. A longer season is keeping the doors open for commercial poaching, fish mortality due to gagging sub 34″ fish on commercial days, and waste of tax dollars with excessive MEP investigations. If anything, poaching is creating a big paycheck and keeping MEPs employed. Let’s cut cost and the headaches and not continue to create them.

  9. Greg W

    From all sport anglers,
    THANK YOU to both law enforcement for hard work done well and On The Water for keeping the spotlight on this issue.

  10. Kan Krusher

    Plum Island Jetty has poachers every night of the week.
    So no,EPO aint doing their jobs.
    I saw a 15incher gutted and scaled.
    Also ferry lots lane got poachers filling up coolers every weekend.
    I tipped yet i see no gawd damn arrests. Instead i get harrassed at cashman docks for my fishing license instead. Good job EPO..
    Harrass lae abiding citizens fishing visible not the poachers stealing under cover of darkness.. (roll my eyes)

    • John N Costa

      Kan Krusher you need to find out who the EPO is in your area. Note his badge number. Note the time and date of the offenses you noticed and where and cell camera pics if you have the capability. It’s a lot of work but it will pay off. If you call into the EPOs and you get no response. Keep calling every 20 minutes until someone shows up. If no one shows up call the main MEP office on Causeway street and open an investigation. I guarantee something will be done then. Logs are kept on all EPO computers and do have GPS on their vehicles.

  11. Roman

    Good job guys. They are the only ones doing anything. I laugh at how they say that by posting this it will keep other people from doing it. That doesn’t do anything. Take all their stuff when they are caught including their car, boat, fishing stuff and then send them to jail for at least 5 years with no chance of ever getting another fishing license. Then we can get the legislature to walk their nasty feet over to NOAA to make sure every commercial vessel has an observer and they rotate so they don’t become buddies. This way they can document what is going over board dead and take it out of their quota.

  12. John Cherubino

    Good job guys. Take their gear, but they usually use crap stuff any way, so impound their cars, coolers, trailers, boats etc. PLEASE. Then put this on the front page with mug shots. We all know whos been sitting on the jetty at plum island. They’re from the same country their rods and reels are made in. Next… change the bycatch laws, and hi-lining laws. Which is killing many metric tons of bass a year.

    • Jeff D

      Fines need to be bigger and tougher! Real tough so people won’t do these things!

    • Kan Krusher

      Nah bro.
      Im asian.
      Its true some fobbers are stealing..
      Ive seen it but so have whitedudes n latins. So dont umbrella that crap.
      Scumbags r scumbags regardless of ethnicity.

  13. Charles baxter

    Derek from lights out lures is a scumbag when I read the article and they said the age and town but no names I knew it was him he’s been caught twice but has been doing it a long time

  14. Glen

    A few rotten apples spoil it for all. Fine them confiscate their gear, revoke there fishing priledges

  15. Dane Hathaway

    As a retired fish and wildlife law enforcement officer I know that EPO’s cannot be everywhere. It is up to all fisherman to report any and all violations as soon as possable. That information should include vehicle regustrations, discription of persons involved and any other information that would be helpful. Help them do their job. Get involved.

    • kahuna

      If there isn’t enough EPO’s out there then we should involve the police to check the parking areas and check the catch, cooler and such. seems our town, state and federal departments just don’t work together attacking crime for the people of this country….. instead sitting around wasting time waiting for a crime to happen and as Dane said, get involved.
      don’t take this as police/epo bitch slapping, take it as a solution to a growing issue.
      I support all the protectors of the people who place their lives on the line everyday.
      but we as a country r losing our natural resources, war on drugs, our freedoms, etc…….
      wow, what a rant……..

  16. Ripper

    Put their mugshots up in baitshops. Put their names in the paper. Shame the living shit out of these scumbags!!

  17. Ryan

    When we do call, we get told that there under staffed and they can’t send anybody.

  18. Jason grout

    It’s sad should be way harsher penaltys for these dirtbags from here it’s 92 miles to the canal and we always release great times sad to see some slimeballs be so greedy no more fishing for life

  19. Face The Fish Facts

    Poachers are bad. Gill nets are bad. But all are mild compared to the true, most devastating destroyers of our game fish in New England.


    20,000 seals in Cape Cod Alone. They eat a fish a day. Do the math.

    They are literally eating our future fisheries in Front of our eyes.

    When will fisheries – commercial and recreational, businesses and tourism unite to Face The Fish Facts before it’s too late?

  20. brad fournier

    Come on EPO’s you gotta do some night shifts!!! We were launching at Gloucester high school ramp in darkness 1 morning when a boat was just taking out (with an overload of fisherman on it.) As they drove up ramp a cooler tipped in boat spilling out a pile of undersized stripers!!!

  21. Fitzy

    Sell all the gear confiscated and use it for building new public locations.

  22. Carl Johansen

    Any one who is caught as a poacher should be convicted for a crime against the environment and along with being outed as such , lose all rights to fish legally for a period of 5 years pay a fine and lose all gear used in the commitment of this crime. While we are at it, any one that uses a gaff to stick an undersized fish from a boat, like is done on a daily basis during the commercial season also be charged with a crime as well. Has any one seen the floating dead small bass gaffed by those who fish PT and cape cod bay of late . It is uncalled for

  23. skip

    EVERY poacher should have his gear confiscated! and be FINED.
    It’s will hit ’em where it hurts and maybe slow them down a bit.
    I agree the draggers and the gill netters are unbelievably WASTEFUL!
    But that’s no reason not to be angry at anyone who is poaching!

  24. Armand Normandy

    Thanks Guys for what you do for all of us. Pamit Harbor Cape Cod Bay people fishing the race late at night returning early next day you should check it out.

  25. F.R.E.D.

    Take the gear and seize the vehicle! WTG EPOs, thank you for your service.

  26. chris

    how about commercial and recremercial guys gaffing fish under 34″ and tossing them back in plain view to get to their “easy 15”??? what about those f wads pissing on the resource?

  27. chris

    And by the way, amid all this hyperbole about “big government” and deregulation – it’s worth remembering what and who keeps poachers, and more importantly, draggers, in line if at all.

    Not saying all regulation makes sense or that there isn’t a hell of a lot of it on the books. And not saying all commercial guys are bad guys or lack respect for the sea / shared resources. I’ve met decent men and women whose office is the sea and are respectful of it. We all know there are bad apples out there though, and the good folk, unless they have an alternative, have to compete with them.

    The point is we need enforcement – we need regulations and we need them enforced at every level of the food chain from the base (industrial polluters, nitrogen runoff, etc.) all the way up through the top.

    Don’t allow this “red tape” meme to result in an increase in pollution, poaching, mid water trawlers snatching up an entire river system’s herring population in one hour, dragging, high
    -grading, passing cod off as haddock, etc.

    If you want a voice at the policy level, consider joining the Coastal Conservation Association, the Conservation Law Foundation, or the Nature Conservancy.

    • patrick

      chris guys boat boats to make money no one takes better care of your house than you do! commercial guys can no longer make a living a fact of over regulation sport guys take more fish than all the sports guys combined it time to deregulate and go back to the 80s when we all had fun and made money but creating reefs and limits for ALL people now if a commercial guy wants to take home 10 pound of fish he or she get hit with a 20 pound penalty over all catch with effects them the following 10 years you would be out of business.

  28. BRIAN

    It blows me away that they confiscated 3 fish and let the guy legally sell the other 2. He was in violation of the law by having 5 fish. The EPOs just ensure they have a job for the rest of the season. If you violate you should have all your gear confiscated and license to fish comercially and recreationally revoked for life!

    • Vince

      Apparently you’re a bad reader. The guy has a commercial license for his vessel which 15 is permitted per day. Since he’s fishing from land he’s only allowed 2 per commercial day. 2 is his to keep and he’s cited for 3.

  29. patrick

    Natural predation stripers Kill more short lobster in 1 day than any pocher! These laws never were in effect in 1974 NMFS and other agencies has destroyed fisherman and their families since such time this is a free country Yes limits are good but not by hurting people! way to many laws its all a racket for money the federal government should be held accountable under ricco laws against the US citizen who are trying to interrupt the laws and seen as guilty until proven other wise we live under a police state. EVER wonder why we have traffic lights and stop signs because the oil companies want you to use more fuel in bed with the government. theses same laws have now found there way to the fishing grounds and it really A shame when I was a child we filled 2 5 gallon buckets with flounders today that would be a crime! please give me a break but the seals of the coast eat that in 5 we have Great whites Gee I wonder why and scientist say the shark population will not grow ya ok wake up America think! you can walk to Ireland on fish today A study came out about that we have more fish than ever but we are importing over 90 percent of fish from other countries. ya I want gains ship from vietnam were there dropped more bombs than WW2 ya ok just what I want to eat agent Orange filled shimp. wake up people! see whats going on 1998 we tried reporting herring being taken out of watertown fall the answer was oh were to busy with the trout guys! if you can enforce it get rid of it and keep it simple!

    • Elson

      nice talk bro we smart enough now to see it US government is a bull**** law they all care about money

  30. Davo

    Commercial gill / drag netters should have to keep all by-catch and process it separately for little or no money. Goal being a small bycatch = small loss . Large bycatch = large loss.
    I’m sure our more than generous state could supply people who need the food without injuring the market. Their are after all people that could take a largely discounted healthy meal, veterans, disabled, homeless, sick ect.. Win, win?
    As for poaching…hit em in the wallet and take the gear. Pay for more enforcement until it subsides with the serious fine money. ($2000 per short type thing). If a couple fish costs you a season of profit they’ll think twice.

  31. Elson

    its all bull**** about size ant limited the number okk
    I was fishing in Newport ri where I saw a commercial boat throwing fish on the water thousands of fish striper, black sea bass, sea robin, scup and so on …they never get fine or loss anything.. why shore fishing get all this pressure for just because money right …bullshit the government on this

  32. gonefishing

    Derek not the only break the law . I saw his friends did the same. I will report their a## this time. Watch out if you reading this.


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