Uniformed and Undercover Patrols of the Cape Cod Canal Land Big

On Sunday, August 4, 2019, Massachusetts Environmental Police Officers conducted uniformed and plain-clothes patrols of the Cape Cod Canal area, targeting striped bass violations. Throughout the early morning and into Sunday night, Officers seized in excess of 50 striped bass, issued nearly $8000 in citations, and made one arrest. All salvageable fish were donated to the Plymouth Area Coalition – For the Homeless.

Massachusetts Environmental Police Dispatch can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-632-8075.
Violations can also be reported online here: www.mass.gov/forms/report-a-violation-online

56 on “Uniformed and Undercover Patrols of the Cape Cod Canal Land Big

  1. William Finnegan

    Step up enforcement we need more of this it should be a daily routine. Stop these poachers, make them pay more, take away their right to fish and fine them more. Unless they are made to suffer they will keep doing this.

  2. Tom

    Maybe this resource wouldn’t be in the decline it is is both recreational (and I loathe calling these bastards recreational) and commercial fisherman would just follow the rules. The fine are way too low and all the gear and their vehicles should have been siezed. If they can’t be honorable, take their stuff and make it hurt their wallet

    1. GV

      Every one who wants to see stricter penalties for poaching should call their state and fed lawmakers and demand action. Change won’t happen unless we all get involved.

  3. mark

    Thats one spot, multiple that by the hundreds of locations were others are doing this. Its not isolated to the canal. Thats possibly thousands of stripers taken from the waters. ridiculous.

    Yes, please setp up patrols at whatever cost, on land and on the water.
    I wrote another comment that i’m on the water alot all over the state, and have never seen anyone checked/boarded. This scenerio is also happening boat-side also.

    Saddens me.

  4. Ted

    Great Job EPO”S we fisherman that care about the species thank you!

  5. Lucknow Kittergee

    When will we learn from the past?
    The earth is sacred!
    Protect our seas Varuna!
    O woe of Shiva to the desecrators!

  6. John Geffert

    This is good news ,but there really needs to be regular patrolling. The day before,Sat. Aug 3rd there were guys on the mainland side of the canal with 3-4 striped bass in the grass, still fishing. These fishermen were shoulder to shoulder every ten feet and my wife and I counted limit violation after violation. The fishing was incredible so everyone was “dumb catching”, and these were “the big boys”. It got to the point I couldn’t take it anymore and called EPO. They said they were aware of it and there was someone in the area ,but I’m a seasonal at the campground, and never saw anyone on Sat. I agree with the posts above, I’m down here every year and it is getting worse and worse, because the penalties don’t match the crime! Its great to see the picture of all the fish being donated to the local shelter, but I would have like to have seen an EPO truck bed filled with these same anglers fishing rods, tackle boxes and bikes! Cheers!

  7. BrianP

    It’s crazy the number of scumbags out there. Why isn’t the canal patrolled daily, probably the biggest concentration of fisherman there that can easily be targeted. Also, as Mark states the fines are way too low, take everything they have with them plus huge fines are the only solution. Do they take into account the massive amount of illegal fish taken when considering quotas and days for commercial fishing?

  8. Bill

    Well done and about time ..still should take gear auction off for charity at the end of the yr..post names and faces. Mug shots let’s all in the striper community know who to look for so won’t happen again

  9. Ben M

    Raise citation fines, take away licenses for a year or even life depending on how many offenses, and post pictures of mugshots instead of just fish and I guarantee that this will not happen as often. The canal community is a stronger one than people think. Tight lines ladies and gents!

  10. mike

    Glad to hear EPO are out there doing a good job. I fish the Canal a lot and I have to be honest the amount of trash left on the rocks by people fishing is almost as terrible as the poaching. I wish they would fine people for littering also. The canal is a special place for a lot of us and I hate to see it abused.

    1. Tim Petracca

      More EPO staff is needed. I called on poachers and no one showed for 2 hours. I called back and they said they only had 2 officers on all of Cape Cod. I am happy to pay much more for a license to get enforcement and I’m sure many anglers would. OTW should help lead a charge! We need industry behind us individuals and ahead of us as leaders! What do we do OTW? How can this change? We are your customers and we need a leader!!!

  11. Jeffrey Swayze

    Arresting and fining poachers is a great first step but poachers with that much fish are not using them for personal consumption. It’s part of a bigger web of complicity selling on the black market to restaurants along the seaboard. Residents need to put pressure on law enforcement to investigate and bust up poaching rings and find out where the fish are going. That’s what our recreational license/registry fees pay for.

  12. RealDeal

    What a waste of time. Only 26% of bass quoto is filled. Start ticketing people once its 100% filled

    Let people catch the quoto and make some money

    1. Jack I

      Petty sure the Quota you are talking about is for commercial fisheries and there is still a size limit for that. With commercial permit from boat 34″- 15 fish, All other 34″- 2 fish. none of the fish pictured looked like a 34″ fish to me.

      There is no “Quota” for recreational fisherman! One fish at least 28″ in length per day.

      Follow the limits and there will be plenty of fish around. Don’t follow the rules get busted. I would like to see all gear and equipment seized and sold at auction at the end of year. All proceeds to go into the same fund as the new license plates fees!

  13. John Larner

    When I was scuba diving for lobster we were checked constantly….not sure why the same effort is missing here. Is it staffing? Legal fisherman have no issue with being checked, in fact, I think they encourage it. Is there a tip line…post it on the canal….I guarantee people would report violations.

  14. John Marshall

    Very simple, once you have your limit, you must stop fishing, immediately!!!
    This goes for all fish with a catch limit!!!

  15. Henry DeJesus

    Name the poachers ! Maybe you can embarrass the criminals.

  16. dave

    I’d like to see pics taken of the people who are found guilty and published in the paper. To see by all.

  17. Todd

    EPOs do what than can on canal
    Problem is fines are too lcheap and what fines are issued are thrown out by the courts!
    Total bull ship!!!!!
    Make it hurt more
    You’ll see less outlawing !!

  18. Jeff D

    I personally know the new commander of the epo’s. He said there was going to be a huge presents of epo’s on the canal this season. I was very happy to hear that, but as of now, I have yet to see a epo truck on the canal. I have seen plenty of poaching, u have heard of kids running back and forth to vehicles with fish while the people they were with kept catching them. They need a presence dedicated from Memorial Day to Labor Day with at least one epo vehicle on each side of the canal every day. I caught 10 fish on Sunday morning, 9 of legal size. The only fish I kept was a fish that swallowed my stick shad and didn’t survive. 33” 14lbs. Everything else was 15-21 lbs I let go. What a great morning. Caught over 20 fish over the weekend. If we don’t do something soon with these poachers, there may not be many days like this again. Everyone has to be vigilant and turn in these scumbags and take everything they own related to fishing!!!!!!!!

  19. Rick

    Agreed….. fines too light, gear should be confiscated.. if it’s in their vehicle, impound them. Make them pay the towing, storage and any other fine associated with it. Many out of town license plates here fishing legally ???? Who knows…..

  20. John mitchell

    Great job by law enforcement ,it’s everyones responsibility to stop poaching ,if you see something say something.

  21. Dave

    The patrolman should take everything in their possession and auction the stuff off at the striper cup in the fall! I see people taking small fish all the time. When I say something to them they say “ no Engly””. I doubt they even have a license!

    1. Patrick Aponte

      Just they have a nonfly list for people w questionable behavior, there should be a no fish/hunt list shared between new england and the tri state area. If you end up on the lost youre persona non grata in all of those states….thatll get these fuckers thinking twice.

      1. matthew haramut

        The government is corrupt and are reallocating state and federal budget monies to their chronies and tax cuts to the wealthy and cutting EPA and environmental police budgets.. vote for democrats they are concerned with the environment and protecting our resources

  22. Patrick Aponte

    Just like they have a no fly list for people w questionable behavior, there should be a no fish/hunt list shared between new england and the tri state area. If you end up on the list youre persona non grata in all of those states….thatll get these fuckers thinking twice.

  23. Celeste

    I admit I frequently call the DEM in Rhode Island where I live and fish. I see constant violations… buckets of short fish, out of season fish and, of course, small stripers. And we all know the little trick of hiding fish in the bushes or in the car. I try to educate these people and give them the cards with all the info. The fact is they just don’t care. I agree that the funds aren’t stiff enough And that licenses should be revoked for at least a year, maybe two. And hell yes, second offense ? Takeaway the car !

    1. Bill

      First offense should probably be a no-fine citation (so there’s a record). Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone deserves a second chance. On a bad day, most would admit to squeezing an extra 1/2″ out of a fish to make it legal so they have something to justify a day of fishing to their wives. Second offense should be the greater of $100/fish or triple the wholesale value of the fish. 3rd offense should be $1000/fish. 4th offense should be potential jail time.

  24. KF

    The only way is to fine them $1000 a fish. Revocation of a license is a non issue. They obviously don’t care about that. If the fine is only $238. They will do it again and it sends a message it’s worth the risk

  25. Louis paress

    Just a note to say thank you to the law enforcement individuals for a fine job. You work doesn’t go unnoticed and is much appreciated by all us true sport fishermen . God bless and please keep up the good work .

  26. Leo

    Thanks OTW for publishing this story. I called in 1 poacher last Sunday. I suggest everyone who cares to program the EPO number into your phone and use it. If they hide fish in car, tell the EPO the plate number and location. They like the pole numbers. Lots of good enforcement ideas here. How do we get our laws changed in Mass? Can OTW publish a story on the current laws, infractions and penalties for each? I am curious to know what infraction is cause for arrest? I had always thought equipment was confiscated…I guess I am wrong. Tight Lines…not Lips.

  27. John N. Costa

    The fine was way too small and like Tom stated ban them from possessing a saltwater for life along with confiscation of all gear and vehicles, unless the vehicle is the only one in the family and there is a wife and kids in need of said vehicle. Make the scum suffer for a very long time.

  28. Don C

    I couldn’t find a parking spot at the Herring Run on Sunday.
    I was tempted to go down on the roadway and hold up my drivers license and yell “Environmental Police- show me your license” and see how many guys run into the trees?

  29. Al

    This goes on in Maryland all of the time. 90% of the poaching is by Hispanics. In Md. they give the names of the poachers. The names are how we know they are Hispanic. Md. Does not enough wildlife officers to cover all of the areas where poaching exists.

  30. Metalmanbob

    Me and my wife was on the canal that Saturday and the shit we seen was unreal she called the E P A to report what we were seeing guys taking fish 3and4 at a time(u no who u r u read this fishin report) we pay to fish because we love to fish.We don’t steal fish but the shit we seen?You guys need to go to jail ITS STEALING

  31. Spike

    Aug 30th till the weekend risen tide starts. Go get em epo good job?

    1. Joe Verlicco

      This ain’t rocket science. Fine them so it’s not worth them to do it again. Take their gear, name them, show their faces! I’ve seen the Asians doing it at Blacks Creek in Quincy!

  32. Wes

    I agree with the others! Although I don’t live in the areas mentioned, & it’s been years since I’ve been down to the Cape…I plan on one day going for some fishing!
    It’d be such a shame for all the fish to be gone, as these folks aren’t even thinking of their & our future generations, but only of themselves!
    Get them where it hurts, & stick to your guns! For my 40 yrs on this planet, one thing I’ve learned is that ppl only do what you allow them to.
    They poach because they know there’s a high chance they’ll get away with it! Make the consequences hurt more, & ppl will think twice before doing it.

  33. Corey Briggs

    $8000 fines is a joke.
    1 arrest?
    How about they all lose their driver’s license for awhile (say a year for starters) and the next time they are caught a bit of time in the hoosegow

  34. Jay Cadoret

    If more patrollers coming in to check more and they will find more poachers, believe or not there’s plenty of them .. come on guys !! do more some ball busters !!

  35. Frank Rose

    They should all lose there right to fish and i agree much bigger fines , loss of gear and post there pictures so we know what assholes to watch for they are ruining an already declining fish resource

  36. Buck

    The epo are understaffed they have to cover the entire state with
    Far too less officers. How about a five dollar fee to fish the canal
    With all monies raised to pay for the officers to patrol the canal.
    The striped bass stock is in real trouble if something is not done to
    stop the poaching there will be no fish left for anyone to enjoy.

  37. Whaler

    It great to see so much outrage at dead fish. I wonder if any one of the posters ever posted a word about our government putting children in cages.

    1. Mike

      more Fake News, you could stay on the topic of Striper poaching…

  38. Michael Sommerville

    I do NOT understand why the authorities don’t confiscate all of the poachers fishing gear and vehicles. Put some teath into the enforcement.

  39. Derrick D. La Rue

    I say we throw the maggets in the friggin canal. See if they can swim!

  40. Derrick D. La Rue

    Whaler! what the heck are you talking about. Go to a welfare site.

  41. Derrick D. La Rue

    Let’s start ourselves by taking measurements of the fish that they are leaving on the bike path and asking who’s fish it is! Then take a picture of the scum and put in on Facebook!

  42. Barry B

    The E V Os don’t have the coverage to patrol the canal all the time. There are many other locations they cover- fresh and saltwater. So instead, if you see scum taking shorts tell them- I do!

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