Massachusetts Environmental Police Seize 560 Pounds of Black Sea Bass

MA EPO counting illegally harvested scup

On the afternoon of Wednesday, May 30, 2018, Massachusetts Environmental Police Officers in New Bedford inspected a head boat that had just returned from a fishing trip in Buzzards Bay; 35 passengers aboard the vessel were found to have engaged in fishing.

MA EPO officer searching for illegally harvested black sea bass and scup
MA EPO officer searching for illegally harvested black sea bass and scup

Upon completion of the inspection, Officers found 560 pounds of black sea bass over the legal limit, 33 of which were under the legal limit of 15-inches. Officers also located 90 pounds of scup over the legal limit, one undersized striped bass, and one undersized tautog.

MA EPO officers gathering the illegal catch
MA EPO officers gathering the illegal catch

The illegal catch was donated to the New Bedford Salvation Army. Multiple citations were issued in response to the violations.

65 on “Massachusetts Environmental Police Seize 560 Pounds of Black Sea Bass

  1. Jeff Farrington

    Excellent. We need to crack down on head boats! I am sure this is a drop in the bucket! We as recreational anglers ask for tougher regulations on commercial guys but we need to lets start cleaning up our violations to! Captains should be held accountable so they will tow the line. Great job EPO!

  2. Alex

    Another instance of the people of New Bedford being blissfully unaware that that this illegal activity happens on their boats. Try to shut one of these boats down and we’ll be forced to read twenty articles about how the ice, gas and net guys are losing their jobs because there are no more boats illegally fishing in NB.

    1. Eric

      You know there’s a differencE between a head boat and a commercial trawler right?

    1. Rozziebo

      Agreed. The EP missed an opportunity to make a real statement here. We’re talking over a quarter ton of illegal catch here.They should have confiscated every piece of equipment in addition to the boat. Pull all the Captain’s licenses ,arrest the entire crew and every person onboard found to be a lousy scum sucking poacher. Then let I.C.E. sort out the whole bunch for possible deportation. I’m sick of this S*&T.

      1. Josh

        No, the boat captain is not responsible for legal catch limits as on a six pack charter. I just fished for haddock and red fish out of Hampton and was told that the crew had no control over what went into the cooler whole, but they would not fillet anything under size. And they warned everyone that the likelihood of EPO’s being at the dock was high, so use your own discretion. It is up to the angler to know the rules and follow them. I saw more than one pollock under 19” that had already been bleed out tossed back overboard because a novice angler thought it was a legal haddock over 17”. Once the mate saw it he correctly identified it and made him aware of the difference. There were a lot of people new to deep sea fishing, including a large group of great guys from Canada, ocean fishing for the first time, a few Indians, and an oriental family from Missouri never seen an ocean up close. Personal responsibility as well as crews willing to educate their charters is what will make the difference. For those in violation, throw the book at them with no mercy, ignorance is not an acceptable excuse.

      2. Bill

        Holy crap, Josh! That’s like the captain saying “I’m not going to question or stop you from taking whatever you want.” That’s totally not OK. The charter provides the fishing license for people fishing on a headboat in MA, unless I’m mistaken. The captain/mates are 100% responsible for all retained catch on their boats.

      3. Bobm

        Totally agree, a missed opportunity, but un fortunately just a drop in the bucket. Greed and stupidity seem to rule our world, don’t even think about what kind of world we will be leaving to our kids…this story sickens me
        Kudos to environmental police

      4. Will

        Congratulations about making this about race and immigration! You’re the man!

      5. Kenneth Ingalls

        i agree ! total BS ruins it for the rest of us who follow the laws!

  3. Kevin

    Greed is gross. We need to keep the fantastic fishing we have on Cape. If Captains are caught they should hace liscense suspended in definitely

  4. Rob

    How about publishing the name of the boat so I can make sure I never fish on it?
    Ridiculous that the captain and crew watch this going on and are not penalized!
    So they got caught this time and they’ll be right back out there every day doing it again until someone holds the captain and crew accountable.

    1. Bill

      On the MEP facebook page, someone pointed out that there is only one headboat that fishes out of New Bedford. It shouldn’t be hard to figure out.

  5. Rob

    about publishing the name of the boat so I can make sure I never fish on it?
    Ridiculous that the captain and crew watch this going on and are not penalized!
    So they got caught this time and they’ll be right back out there every day doing it again until someone holds the captain and crew accountable.

  6. Alex Reyes

    My family and I are from new bedford and we are fisherman . We catch and release 40 inch stripers all the time. So I take offense to the comment. Come to new bedford and say that to someone’s face… doubt it so next time watch your mouth or we will see you.

  7. Steve

    Not to stand up for the party boat but, think about it.. Its impossible for the captain and his crew to keep an eye on every fish that comes in, when you have multiple hook ups at the same time.
    If you have ever fished on one I’m sure you would agree.

  8. chris

    As long as “red tape” and the “shadow state” are denigrated here’s what you get: mouth breathing dismissal of fisheries management

  9. Darlene Ostrosky

    Good job catching these sea crooks. They probably thought they were “above” the rules and no one would check them. Glad to see the catch went to good use as well. They should have their boat & fishing licenses pulled.

  10. C.C

    It boggles my mind that mates and Captains are not held responsible for the actions of the fisherman on their vessel. I get clients pay their bills but wtf, I dont see how taking undersize fish and overbagging is job security.. makes no sense at all. My Dad always said you can’t teach common sense… Those guys should be banned from the charter business. I couldn’t agree more with some of the other comments, seize the boat!! ?D.E.P

  11. Douglas A FILLION

    The boat Captain should be the first one to get busted.

  12. albie


  13. albie

    The fish can wait,,Put those police to work on keeping us alive….

    1. John

      Are you kidding me these police are trained to keep a eye on fish and game I think you are on the wrong page

  14. Roman Dudus

    Here we go again. Slap on the wrist for stupidity and incompetence. The boat should have been named in the report. Here we go protecting these scumbags. What happens if someone boards these boats with illegal drugs? The captain calls the Coast Guard or police and they meet the boat but allowing these criminals to catch undersized fish and taking more than they should makes the captain and crew accomplices, they are just as guilty. They printed the name of the boats on Long Island when they got caught. It’s time they start taking this seriously. Back in April a charter boat got caught dumping illegal fish so this makes two so far that have been caught, what lesson did people learn from this? Our judicial system sucks. They are doing nothing to deter this problem and letting these people off with a slap on the wrist. And I am not just talking about Party and Charter Boats, the Commercial boats and recreational anglers are equally to blame. We need to start reporting these violations and enforcement needs to go undercover on these boats and report what really happens.

    1. Al

      I agree totally These limits are put into place for a reason so let’s enforce the law to the fullest
      Two years ago when returning to the marina on my boat there were two agents in the process if arresting three men in another boat. In following up I found out they had 22 striped bass with 19 under size. That needs to be done to everyone who does not follow the limits

  15. TC

    My children thank me for teaching them to play by the rules…just sayin.

  16. Gunner McShad

    Great job by our game wardens, but the fines are still a slap on the wrist.
    Confiscate their boats and this crap will stop.

  17. Gunner McShad

    Great job by our game wardens,but the fines are a joke and they will get a slap on the wrist.
    Confiscate their boats and this crap will stop.

  18. richard mah

    was the entire boat’s catch confiscated or just those from the violators? I’ll tell you, if my catch was all legal and I lost it because of those idiots, I’d be PISSED! I would be looking to get reimbursed for the cost of my trip PLUS the value of my catch.

  19. Rome Perez

    These action will not stop until real fines and equipment are confiscated.
    Furthermore I guess the captain of the ship is not the captain.
    How many others have gotten away with the same action? To many.
    Ex. Look at the codfather case, nasty slap on the hand, thousands of dollars in his pocket, so sickening

  20. Fishwish

    Great job by the ep . As fisherman we have to report illegal fishing
    Call the local law enforcement they will take it from there. Keep our eyes
    and ears open to protect our fisheries.

  21. Martin

    After reading the article, I am very happy that we fished with Captain Mike on the Nor’easter out of Kennebunk. He told us the regulations, followed the regs, the mate enforced the regs, and we still had a great day. Martin in Freeport

  22. Bill

    For everyone who says the boat should be named, on the MEP facebook page, someone pointed out that there is only one headboat sailing from New Bedford. A quick google search should tell you the name of the operation.

    1. chris

      captain leroy – but this incident could wind up being free publicity she specializes in low cost easy meat fishing trips for porgy and BSB

  23. Don Sproul / Old Mud

    I would not even fish on a boat that the Capt. is not responsible. To me that’s ludicrous. The Captain of a vessel Any vessel Is responsible for everyone on that vessel. He has sole say as to what happens on his vessel as well as how his crew and clients conduct themselves. No he dosn’t need a contract.

  24. Mike

    There’s going to be a few dishonest guys on the party boat that throw their catch into their cooler without any boathand measuring it. So they end up with roughly 10% undersize fish being poached on the boat. The fact that they could be determined to be undersized means that they weren’t fileted and that the fisherman themselves were concealing their catch in their coolers. These boats are more than happy to filet for you but they often will toss back undersize fish at that time. I say fine the individual anglers that had the small fish!

  25. Joe Gomes

    Pretty racist comments from Roszziebo….what’s ICE got to do with it,? You don’t think Citizens commit crimes against the Commonwealth? Race and gender do NOT affect ETHICS! The captain and crew are responsible to see the limits are followed. They should, at the very least, have their permits suspended and sit on the sidelines for awhile watching others make LEGAL money and go to an education facility before they’re allowed back on the water. In addition to the fines, of course.

    1. Rozziebo

      I’m not playing favorites. If they’re citizens put them in jail. If they’re Illegals put them in jail, then deport them. What’s the problem? They’re still poachers. Once arrested if they can’t prove citizenship get rid of them. That’s where I.C.E comes in. If your feelings are hurt, too bad.

  26. Rob kushman

    Capt don’t care what you keep,but smoke a joint on the boat and see the shit happen

  27. chris

    captain leroy headboat new bedford

    *keep in mind it’s always possible captain instructed fares of the rules and mates may have attempted to

  28. chris

    captain leroy

    *reminder: we do not know the whole story here and whether captain and crew tried to rein it in and the extent to which deadbeat fares played a role. just keep that in mind this boat has been sailing out of NB for many years

    1. Rozziebo

      Captain is responsible for everyone and everything on their boat, period. As far as I’m concerned this excuse for a captain has allowed poaching on their boat for years. They got caught. Good for the EP. I only feel bad for the poor ethical,responsible anglers on the boat that got stuck fishing with these rapists of the Commonwealth’s fisheries.

  29. Tim

    As a former Conservation Officer in a neighboring state. We need to educate the judges and work on our Reps. to change the fish and game laws. Captains and crew should be fined as well and their licenses shoulld be revoked or suspended. The captains and crews job is to take people out for a day they won’t forget when they are having fun and not a day they won’t forget while getting arrested. Ignorance is no excuse but many people rely on the captain and thier crew to educate them. Unfortunatley this puts a blemish on the Captains and crew who do everything by the book.

  30. Joe P

    I’ve been out of Hampton,NH and they seem to stay on top of things like this. I also fish out of Pt.Judith, RI for fluke and sea bass. They try very hard to watch limits and sizes, but there are always a few that sneak shorts into their cooler. The mates can’t watch everybody but I have seen them chew out some people with short fish and even take some out of coolers and throw them back.

  31. Rome Perez

    If you see it happen
    Call 1-800-632-8075
    Mass Poachers Report
    I believe that their number.

    1. Bruce

      I’m just angler- it not fair that everyone jumping on this NB
      I knew people that goes on Halen H with 196qts cooler – fill it up n take wth they want !
      Bus full of out state get on first!poacher on the party boat n there nothing captain can do about ( regulation posted on boat)! All I knew someone in this
      business got connected with EPO ❗️

  32. kenny

    when are they going to check those commerce boats that are raping the ocean I’m from NJ

      1. Bill

        I thought you guys have almost no fish in NJ, but the few fish you do have break world records?

  33. bob

    OK,I suggest to the EPO officers to pay a visit to the chinese markets in Quincy.Plenty of illegal fish there.234 Quincy avenue,how about this tip?Not to mention animal cruelty and so on going on in there…But guess what ?They never go there…

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