Rhode Island DEM Seizes Undersized Cod and Cod Fillets

The boat was found in possession of undersized cod and fillets twice this month.

Over the past several weeks, DEM’s Division of Law Enforcement (DLE) received multiple reports of the charter boat named “Island Current III” allowing its customers to keep undersized cod during their trips. Last week, working closely with federal partners in National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Office of Law Enforcement, state and federal officers conducted two boardings of the vessel Island Current III.

On March 17th, the vessel was boarded at the dock in Snug Harbor and officers discovered that the captain was found to be concealing several bags of what appeared to be undersized cod fish fillets and one whole undersized cod onboard the vessel. 

On March 22nd while patrolling approximately 35 miles offshore, RI Environmental Police Officers observed the Island Current III actively fishing. As the patrol boat approached officers observed that several fish were being thrown overboard, after the vessel had been hailed and told to stand fast. The cod that were thrown overboard were recovered and found to be undersized along with other indications that the poachers had intended to maintain possession of the fish. 

Both of these cases have been forwarded to NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement for prosecution. All accused parties are presumed innocent until proven guilty through the criminal justice system. The penalties for these alleged violations will be determined by the presiding judge in court. DLE works closely with NOAA to protect RI’s marine resources in both state and federal waters. #TeamDEM is committed to protecting this vital resource for the benefit of properly licensed fishermen who pursue these fish. 

Help us protect what is yours and protect RI’s precious natural resources. Report suspected poaching activity directly to DLE at 401-222-3070 (24/7). Calling our dispatch unit directly while suspected violations are actively occurring allows officers the most immediate response possible to stop poaching. Please be prepared to provide accurate location information, details of the alleged illegal activity, clothing descriptions, and vehicle/vessel descriptions. 

Adhering to the rules is not only good for the health of our fisheries; it’s the law. Find possession and size limits for commercial and recreational fishing at http://www.dem.ri.gov/marine. 

11 on “Rhode Island DEM Seizes Undersized Cod and Cod Fillets

  1. Peter Mueller

    Good work, D E M. Get these criminals off the water, and keep ’em off.

  2. Aaron T

    I’d love to see OTW do some in-depth reporting on what DEM and DMF are tracking as far as trends in poaching. Where are the hot spots? What species are they targeting? Why are they doing it? Is it just greedy a-holes or are there language/cultural barriers causing some of the poaching? Do charter captains feel pressure from clients to push the limits of what’s legal? And what can the rest of us do to prevent it? And I think they touch on it routinely, but maybe a series focusing on ethics and coastal fishing/shell fishing.

    1. Arthur Bishop

      Perhaps OTW should open up a hall of shame photo gallery for any poachers you see actively poaching. Use your phone, take a few pics, then put those pics up. I bet you we can fill that photo gallery up faster and with more volume than DEM can generate tickets and court summons, on the people they catch.

  3. Rangoonguy

    I was on a boat out of Scituate MA on a charter for Stiped Bass who’s Capt did the same type of thing with Stripers. He caught legal fish but kept fishing after the limit was caught. I was amazed that he didn’t even flinch.

  4. Pete

    they’ve been doing this for a while, and wonder how many of their customers will stop going on their charters if the captain stops allowing it

  5. AllenT

    I remember afew years back , There were a group of boats that always fished together. They would give all the fish to one boat and they would have them tied off and weighted overboard. Any sign of trouble they would cut the line. Blackfish, Fluke, most whatever was hitting.
    I think one guy got caught filleting fish at the dock. Anyway, word got out and that was the last anyone heard of it.
    Anything illegal is wrong, but with all the pressure on Recreational fishermen, and Party boats , people rebel against what is unfair.
    Commercial fishery enjoys a 14″ minimum while Recreational fishermen are at 18″ for Fluke. Commercial fishery was directly responsible for the loss of Winter Flounder, Whiting and Ling. Either from being over fished, pulled up from the deep too quickly, or just getting crushed by the weight in the net.
    I hope they would once set up some laws to help the Recreational fishermen. Thankyou.

  6. Jim

    This is nothing new to the Island Current. A few years ago a so-called sportsman asked me to go fishing with him on the island current, and he specifically stated the captain let them keep over their limit. Needless to say, I did not bother to go.

  7. Richard J. Cloonan

    Any follow up on this story as to what charges if any were filed against the Island/Super Current?
    The charges should be both state-Rhode Island waters and NOAA Federal (waters) charges.

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