Poachers Busted with 66 Striped Bass in NJ

Charges carry a penalty of $100 per fish/per violation

During the COVID-19 response, New Jersey Conservation Police continue working to protect New Jersey’s wildlife resources. This is evident from a March 30th case in Atlantic City involving the early morning apprehension of two men in possession of 66 undersize Atlantic striped bass.

The accused were caught by NJ Conservation Police Officers after they returned to a private dock after fishing all night from a small vessel. Earlier in the evening, they drew attention to themselves when officers observed them running their vessel at high rates of speed from various fishing locations under the cover of darkness and fog without any navigation lights. Despite the conditions, and losing sight of the vessel on multiple occasions, officers utilized their intimate knowledge of the area to relocate and ultimately inspect the vessel. The Atlantic striped bass retention limits on March 30th were one fish from 28” to less than 43” and one fish 43” or greater per person. When inspected, sixty-six striped bass were found between 13” and 24” in length.

Charges for undersize and over the limit violations were written, which carry a penalty of $100 per fish/per violation, adding up to a potential of $12,800 in penalties for each angler. Additionally, the men were charged with unsafe operation of a vessel, operating a power vessel without valid registration, and failing to have appropriate vessel safety gear. Fishing gear was also seized for evidence and the Conservation Police Officers will seek forfeiture due to the severity of the violations. The seized fish were released to the Atlantic City Rescue Mission.

Due to recent stock assessment results that determined overfishing for Atlantic striped bass was occurring, mandatory coastwide reductions were put in place to end overfishing and reduce fishing mortality in 2020. Regulation changes effective April 1st aim to achieve an 18% harvest reduction. The current recreational limit is one fish per day, which must measure from 28” to less than 38” in total length. There is no commercial harvest or sale of Atlantic striped bass in New Jersey.

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119 on “Poachers Busted with 66 Striped Bass in NJ

      1. Karina Delvecchio

        Probably because they were white. Minority names are always published.

      2. Daniel

        I see what you’re implying. I read articles like this, time to time, and more often than not it’s not what you’re thinking.

      3. Micheal

        At lake powell you can be fined for not keeping those lake killing eating machines

      1. Jay

        So watching them for 10 hours in a boat with no lights and arresting them at the dock while they were in the boat “WITH” the fish….OH…they definitely deserve a Fare Trial….wtf

      2. KayCee

        Jeezily H Crow, Ruby, they WERE proven guilty & proven SIXTY SIX times! Did you not read the story nor see the picture of those young & very undersized stripers? I say pictures of these “winners” along with their names should be put on billboards across the state & this should happen for all poachers, both for fishing & hunting, as well as banning them from being able to fish or hunt for the rest of their lives. Coddling criminals doesn’t help anyone & it’s time our state realizes this before installing more revolving doors on the jails & prisons. The damage these two selfish sacks of excrement have done will have repercussions for law abiding & conscientious fishermen, as well as the “environment.” Shame on anyone who stands up for these two & other scofflaws.

      3. Mike

        Really Ruby? What could be the LEGAL justification for possessing 66 undersized fish?? No navigation lights? No vessel registration? They knew exactly what they were doing. I hope the maximum fine is imposed– if they even show up for their court date.

    1. Bill McBurney

      Just one of those fish can have a million eggs so no big deal . The big deal is the longliners your politicians are in bed with that does the real harm to any species. A hunderd buck fine so the judge can get coodoos at his next lib cocktail party is what that’s all about. Now if a Walleye I could understand the fine.

      1. Tobias Tyler

        They willingly and knowingly broke the law and need to own their actions. It’s part of being a citizen and a man. Has nothing to do with left or right, it’s right and wrong. Long liners are an issue but a separate one.

      2. Mike

        I understand your point Bill, but thats a whole other ball of wax. Anybody that fishes in this country knows the unfairness of the laws between commercial and recreational fishing. So while we continue to fight for a better balance between the two, everyone has to respect the quotas if we want our kids and grandkids to enjoy the same sport we have.

  1. BoB Tallon

    Our natural resources are precious elements in our lives and part of our planets environmental balances that must be respected and protected for all of us to thrive.

  2. Curtis

    If they start impounding the boat and or vehicles all the gear with hefty fines you may have many second guessing about doing this.

  3. Brian Wilson

    Their names should be posted! Let these guys suffer the embarrassment of their gutless act. Clowns like these two ruin it for all of us. The ONLY saving grace is that it fed some needy folks…Thankfully.

      1. Peter L

        Yes Ruby, and hickory batons, and let the “reeducation” begin

  4. Rich

    $100 violation per fish. That is a lame deterrent. $1,000 per fish would make a difference

  5. David watters

    Their names and addresses should be published here & in the newspaper. Same as someone arrested for drug possession or dui

  6. Scott Van Daley

    They should also loss their right to fish and hunt . P
    Possible life time band.
    Even though it was a great loss of resources, there were not wasted.

  7. Phil Fischer

    The striped bass is an important resource on the Atlantic East Coast. Not just for the party votes what are the charter boats that take people out but full of private boats and people fishing on the beaches. It is also an important resource for all the tackle shops. What it became more popular up in the Sandy Hook area of New Jersey with the Advent of clamming them. Or fishing chunks of Bunker. It made the catching easier because the striped bass as a rule is a very wary competitive. Had to catch a trophy fish back in the early days with something to be proud of. But they have been thinned out considerably. By states to our South and to our North that do not have game Fish laws on them. But an example has to be set by fishermen at poached these fish. The fines for these fish are very steep. But people need to learn that we have our own responsibility on the water just like we do with other species of fish. If you see someone in the process of taking something more than they should. Then say something because it hurts you as well as other Anglers I agree the laws are not fair or just. What we need to continue to fight to have the right to catch the fish that are available to all of us.

  8. Frank

    Wonder how long they’ve been getting away with it? Great job gentlemen!

  9. Alexander Duplessis

    There really is no reason for grown men to act so stupid. 66 fish…even 6 is embarrassing and should be looked down up but 66 your just an asshole

  10. Jlab

    Names should be published, vehicle(s) seized for 1 momth, let them walk home to the hole they came from.

  11. Michael

    It is obvious that they could care less about the fishery. Hopefully they will learn a valuable lesson as they appear before a judge and pay fines per illegal

  12. Ryan Bulle

    Disgraceful, shameful and reckless behavior that robs the fishery and true sportsman each and every time! Hopefully they get exactly what’s coming.

  13. Ed

    Great news to hear these guy’s got caught . I believe the fine should be much steeper so that it will convince that it’s not worth it. They’re privilege to drive a road vehicle should also be suspended.

  14. Mark Comerford

    These (2) guys are deliberate criminals. This is a great opportunity to throw the book at them, and use this as an example to everyone else.

  15. ST Richards

    I hope NJ makes sure to enforce every single citation for every single penny of each fine. No pity. No warnings. 66 under/over sized fish, each a $100 fine, $6600 … per angler. Plus the fines for boat operation, lacking safety equip, no registration. Collect every penny! And if it’s legal, put names in to the public record.

    1. Fiore Vitola

      They are a minority of fisherman caught every year, think about those that are not caught. Names do not matter but the fines and seizure of boat and all equipment do!!

      I agree “Throw the book at them”

  16. Shayam sooklal

    I think the law is too easy on people who violate fishing regulations

    1. real judah

      The entire world has been poached by the colonist,you have taken everything killed off entire species, even man, yet you cry about some fish f@*#@! Idiots, i dont believe anything should be killed for sport, the whiteman also hunted man for sport,mic drop….AAAHMAAZINNNN

      1. Ruby Twilite

        Then you shouldn’t be using technology invented by the evil White man! Go hunt your broccoli and shit in the woods because indoor plumbing is evil too!

      2. Paul

        White man didnt hunt other man we bought them from the chiefs of villages were they were criminals, prisoners of war between other tribes, and men who gave themselves up to pay debt to there chief. These hunted men were there countries or tribes biggest export at the time. They were alsp traded to the Ottoman empire which weren’t white men. Knowledge is key Judah

  17. Matt Atkins

    Very unfortunate, however, with what’s going on, it could very well be two guys who’ve lost their job and are looking to feed their family.

    1. Matthew

      I disagree, sneaking around all night, taking 66 fish, these two had a market for these fish. The officers stepped in too soon. They should have followed them to the sale and busted the buyer, too.

    2. L. Mccartney

      My Dad had eight kids and fished for food, yet he followed laws and never wasted the gift of creation. We ate fish at least 3 days a week when I was young and I listened when my father taught us not to eat the seed corn or the females so you can eat tomorrow. There is no excuse for these poachers. Every thing has a limit and nowadays even the oceans limits are being tested.

  18. Greg

    These guys sell these Fish in Philly Neighborhoods , However , I have witnessed this same action by affluent ppl as well ,” ppl.who have a Blatant Disregard for the Fragility of these Magnificent Fish. Stripers were on the Brink of Extinction just a few short decades ago. I have assisted Fish and Game in Arresting these ppl (Poachers) before , they had over 4 dozen Schooly size stripers , they were arrested and fined , and one year later they were Right Back at it ! Unfortunately there arent enough Agents to be effective, It should be made a Mandatory Criminal Offense , because apparently to these ppl the Fines are less than the Monetary Black Market Value. All Fish deservecOur Respect,” though the Striper is a True Survivor Story. I am 61, years of Age, and have Fished Ardently Avidly since I could walk, I keep one Maybe two keepers per season, One keeper feeds five ppl, it is Pure Greed and Lack of Respect to keep Anything more than this. Take a Picture and let them go to Enjoy the Thrill Again.

  19. John Meserve

    Great to see an arrest! The striper is the lifeblood of our northeast saltwater fishery. Hopefully the confiscation of the tackle and the boat is added to the fines and the full fines are collected too!!

  20. LOU


    1. Irene Dunne

      You sound like CNN, accusations, give us the proof. Senseless fake news. If you accuse someone mention their name. What trawlers, what country of origin, when, when.

      1. Tommy Miller

        Another Fox news Junkie. Honey get your head out of your azz

  21. Bruce Steves

    They should lose their right to fish and boat completely. Thats not a minor infraction but a complete disregard for our fishery. I can see 1 or 2 if you are trying to feed…maybe…but 66…i personally follow limits & practice catch n release of over 90% of my catches to protect it for you and our children. People like this….irritate me to the fullest possible extent and i dont feel they should have the right to be out there next to me. I too have watched these fish from the verge of extinction and agree it couldnt have rebounded without our help and limits being imposed

  22. Russel

    I hope they get Corona virus and die . Their families to! We want their names …..

    1. Bouy 50

      I am commercial and I know commercial guys , I’ve always seen recreation people being the big part of poaching , they don’t have there lively hood to lose , next it will be the Black fish on there menus . Dushes

  23. Mark Springman

    Make it a 3 fish per person limit , period. You catch and no release. Cut out all these length limits , to much time in measuring, fish will probably die anyway . If you want to catch bigger fish , go hunt them down and leave the smaller schools of fish alone.

    1. Henry Santer

      The law is wrong! Catch n release is wrong.
      88% of all fish caught and release die from trauma, stock, fungi or predators.
      Their is no conservation in releasing fish until you hopefully get the right size. It should be
      catch one Stripper ANY SIZE per person and go home, that should be the law. Plus no wholesale or retail,sales of Strippers any where.
      That’s conservation.

  24. Matt Jakubowski

    Anyone else think these to poachers are going to use covid 19 as an excuse for their illegal act? I was a police officer for 25 years and a fisherman my entire life and Ive seen too many people get away with crimes because of our bleeding heart liberal system

  25. Nicholas Derenze

    There should be a death penalty for poaching, like they do in other countries

  26. Lucio LaDuca

    Tell us the names of those arrested. So we can hang them by the balls. Thats so terrible what they did. I commend the wildlife conservation officers, for a Job well done.

  27. Jing

    They are too greedy and deserve a really big punishment. Their names should be disclosed.

  28. Craig

    Great job! Size restrictions aren’t effective without enforcement and the fear of getting caught is the only detergent.

  29. Jake

    I wish they hadn’t been caught. We gotta get rid of those darn fish. Too many of em

  30. Jose pagan

    Someone should report the name to News media like fox News investigators in Philadelphia

  31. Karina Delvecchio

    How were they released back to anywhere? I feel like they’re clearly dead at the point of taking this picture….

    1. Eric Roderick

      “Released” in this instance means “donated” to the Atlantic City Rescue Mission to feed people in need.

  32. Brian

    Given the severity of crime(s) involved, there should be a lifetime ban on all conservation activities, hunting and fishing.
    Hats off to the conservation officers catching these POACHERS…. Well done..

  33. Tommy Miller

    Another Fox news Junkie. Honey get your head out of your A$$

  34. Andy

    66 fish and not even one keeper goes to show you how these fish are overfished

  35. Ben crescimanno

    That’s why we’re all doing without any fish! Hope they throw the book at them! Lock em up!

  36. D.Palmer

    Great job CO’s !! Confiscate n Humiliate !! They’ve done it before they’ll do it again! Jack up the fines, take their gear, n let the honest fisherman help police these Scumbags !! They gave up there right to privacy wn they boated the first fish, Faces n Names please!!!

  37. Joe

    Don’t understand They got find $100 a fish that does not equal $12,800 apiece somethings wrong

  38. Terry Allen

    I became a catch and release guy years ago; even when I hook a monster. Selfies made it easier to take a pic and put the fish back in the water
    Unfortunately, these guys were up to no good. Probably looking to make a fast buck. My guess is, not citizens. If they were, low life scum bags!

  39. Alan

    You people really have no idea how many stripers are out there do ya? It’s probably why there’s no weakfish. I hope everyone of them die.

  40. Tom

    I was caught while observed they told me no evidence like they have on these guys and was still charged based on observation my name made front page must be a game wardens kid or a cops kid

  41. Jack Sullivan

    Are stripers still caught in Lake Farington? I used to fish for them there at night with my dad when I was a teenager 70 years ago.

    1. DamonOutdoors

      The article clearly states they gave them to the Atlantic City Rescue Mission.

  42. Dennis Ray Seals

    In my opinion noone knows the exact population of the fish and I see someone posted that the fisherman should get the death penalty I mean really for a few fish they deserve death your very demented

    1. Matthew

      The Stripers are not in serious decline, global warming is a liberal hoax and these two poachers should be given a slap on the wrist, right Dennis? You have no idea how important it is for the future of this priceless resource to make a serious and visible stand against poachers as a deterrent.

  43. Dennis Ray Seals

    Just another cash grab for the police state we live in and I can see by the comments that most people agree with it. I ask you this what caused more damage the guys fishing or the law knowing they were doing something illegal and watching them for hours letting them do it and finally getting them at the boat ramp. It’s kinda like the police making drug busts then putting the drugs they confiscated back on the street making money and more arrests it’s not about protecting the public it’s about making money.For those of you wishing the Corona virus on the fisherman and their families what is wrong with you that’s terrible, also to the ones who said they should get the death penalty for a f few fish that just proves the disturbing society we live in it’s sad. Fish were put here to feed families we havent been told the situation of the fisherman so the story is one sided. I do know this for fact that wish harm or destruction on another human being is wrong

    1. Matthew

      Dennis, you are confused. We do not live in a police state. We are a nation with laws. Those laws protect the fish and the would-be poachers, at least until they break the law. We don’t arrest people on suspicion of intending to poach. These officers did a good job. Your drug example involves the cops breaking the law, that has nothing in common with donating the confiscated fish to feed the poor. The virus is too good for these two poachers. Possession of more than 10 under or over size fish should result in mandatory jail time and a felony conviction. These fish are too valuable to us and our children.

  44. William Brites

    To poster Bill McBurney: somehow you couldn’t help yourself and made your political views to an issue that has zero to do with politics. Yet I’m sure you voted for, and still support Donald Trump. I dare you to do a Google search and read about the number of regulations aimed at making our waters and air cleaner that he has removed. You support the most anti environmental President this country has ever seen

  45. Saulo Stewart

    If you get DUI you loose your license.
    Fishing you only pay fines.
    After they pay the fines, they go fishing to celebrate. I vote to revoke licences for 1 year. Then more and more.

  46. Logan

    Are are so many people concerned about their names? They touched 66 fish. Do you really care if their name is out there? With pouching, if proven guilty, they will loss there lic for both hunting and fishing. And here is they catcher… THEY JUST POUCHED 66 FISH. DO YOU THINK THEY CARE ABOUT A REQUIRED LICENSE.

  47. Steve

    Keep in mind – they are despicable – but keeping one 40 incher does more harm to the resource.

  48. Joe Express

    How refreshing it would be if the majority of those that are commenting on this issue could spell even the most simple words! Its unbelievable!


    There is a law and they broke the law. No excuses or plea deals. This is probably not their 1st time. Now they got caught. Pay and move on

  50. Bernie Cataloni

    The sad thing is that those two are not the only ones. Until the punishment is more severe there will always be people who will pouch, and really we all suffer because they are killing future fish as well.

  51. Dennis

    If you get arrested for any other crime they would identify you ,why protect these a holes. Confiscate their boat and whatever they drove to get there make an example of them and anyone else

  52. Marty

    Why did law enforcement just watch while they broke the law and allow them to do more damage then act when they arrived at dock,boy what an inconvenience that must have been

  53. Ralph Daviet

    It’s a good thing that the majority of us care and also obey the law.

  54. Dan

    I’m all for the big fines and printing of names. I don’t assume that the NJ conservation officers had a boat to get to these idiots. They had to keep track of them and get them at the dock. Trying to wave them down would have meant losing them in the dark not having other assistance. Doing the right thing by catching only your share of fish is a choice of being a leader to everyone who sees or knows you do the right thing. Not having a conscious about even one extra fish dying at your hands is a problem when you also advocate for the numbers to come back. Do it right, even when no one is watching and tight lines, gentlemen.

  55. Bill

    Great . 2 years ago netters was throwing short bass over board in the middle of summer half mile off Mantoloking beach a lot of them that should be bigger fines for them to n take the boat too.

  56. Roy Barlow

    WOW!!! It’s nice to see some people have an opinion. first to the guy fishing lake Powell the striper was put their to become a sport fish like no other back in the early 1974 and then again in 1975. Having not fished your lake I can only say I would love to. Here on the east coast were revere this fish for its’ fighting ability and table fare. Regarding the poachers you can akin this to poaching 66 deer or grizzly bears. The population has been decimated due to poaching and commercial fishing as a by catch in my belief from what I have watched in videos and seen 1st hand myself. . I have seen 1000 people fishing on our cape cod canal catching breeding stripers with impunity. they have thrown back commercial sized stripers 34 inches and bigger because they caught a bigger one from shore which would net them more money but that thrown back fish died. Laws dictates only 2 stripers from shore while a boat can keep 15 with minimum length of 34 inches. to sell. 28 inches for the table.

    to the people that are angry at the EP’s for doing their job they are attempting to protect the future for you and your children. To make a point I believe Maryland up until this year they were harvesting stripers starting at 18 inches. they took over a million pounds and fish in that size range in 2018. how can these fish grow to 50lb cows if they are decimated like that? We all have to obey theses laws for our kids and our future. the seas are not endless tubs of fish just waiting for anyone with a rod and reel to just scoop these or any other fish up without thought for the future of the fish stock.
    NOW for the other side. find these pieces of crap hang them by a hook, put their pics on facebook, ;place their pics at all fishing stores, take their boats, fine them all that money and then some and give them jail time like 1 week for every fish. . if caught fishing again mandatory 1 yr jail term. and hard labor cleaning sewage treatment plants

  57. Derrick

    These idiots aren’t fisherman, there criminals! Take everything they own. Great job DEM OFFICERS. It’s THE FISH that were TRYING TO PROTECT FOR GENERATIONS and you a- holes keep messing it up for everyone. I hope regulations goes to 28- 29″ and see who the trophy winners are! All big fish tournaments are a joke! The way they hold the fish out of the water is criminal. The fact is there are plenty more were they came from.

  58. Derrick

    All you poachers who fish the Cape Cod Canal, watch out, cause there’s alot of recreational guys watching you and I for one have no problem throwing you in the canal and calling mass Dem to get your friggin body out of the rip!

  59. Marty

    Poachers are an immoral breed,forget about what they should be doing,whats right and conscious,just ask rhinos, elephants, big cats etc… publish there pictures,I have more faith in vigilante justice than the system and these fines only convince me of such. Best wishes to all,stay healthy

  60. Ed

    Seems like these were not two recreational Googans but guys who were very good at poaching perhaps as income. I find it hard to believe this was their “first time poaching short Stripers. Since they successfully navigated in the dark and dense fog at high speed without wrecking the boat I am inclined to believe they were pros. Sad. Very Sad that someone that skilled turned to a life of crime.

  61. Ed

    If you really want to find out who they are just monitor the hearing docket their names will be published…unless of course they were juveniles which I doubt.

  62. Ed

    I do agree with the person who commented that it would have been nice to catch the buyer.
    Then again we are the buyers…everyone who eats Striped Bass in a restaurant or buys it at the fish monger is the “buyer.” Maybe we should not buy Striped Bass anywhere.
    It worked for Marlin and Billfish I used to see them on menus. They finally disappeared from menus because people boycotted buying it anywhere. They personally invested in the survival of those fish. They cared. We all have a role to play in elevating this fish. Think about it. They would not have poached a single fish if there was no demand. Keep and eat a Striper you catch legally. But do not buy any and they will rebound. Or release them all until we have rebuilt the stocks. It just depends how deeply you care. Righteous indignation and bluster only go so far. The “Buck” needs to stop with everyone of us.

  63. Tom Wahlers

    Send them to China with Covid who rape our waters within the 200 mile limit. Knuckle Heads like this have ruined my fishing experience in the northeast.

  64. Paul T

    Very Frustrating when the Fish and the LAWFUL fisherman pay the price. Always the case!!
    These individuals knew what they were doing was wrong.
    Sentence needs to be stiffer, mandatory jail time (1 week/fish), fine of $20K min. , all future rights revoked. and seizar of all equipment . Names posted in Bait /tackle shops!!
    Thank you officers for all you do. Be sake all.

  65. bob

    Prison time would help with poaching in USA. Minimum, 1 year. DEC did a great job catching these greedy poachers.
    These guys definitely have been doing illegal fishing before they were caught. How long we don’t know.
    I agree take away priverages for fishing and hunting licenses.
    Release their names to the public ,this would help with punishment.
    We are caretakers for the outdoors ,If you hear something or see something that is not right ,report it.
    This tops one of the worst poaching stories i have heard in 45 years of fishing and hunting.
    To all the good sportsman have great fishing season!

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