Just received a message from Justin Davis, to the FAC members this afternoon. News of new penalties for illegal Striper fishing. __________________________________________________________________________
I want to make you aware of a DEEP legislative proposal to change penalties associated with striped bass sport fishing violations. The text below describes the proposed change. Please distribute as you see fit – it would be particularly helpful if those of you who belong to fishing clubs or other such organizations could distribute this to your membership. Please also feel free to reach out with any questions – thanks.
The DEEP has proposed legislation to enhance enforcement of striped bass sport fishing regulations. Under current State law, our conservation officers can write tickets (infractions) for any sport fishing violation – with the exception of striped bass violations, for which the only option is to issue a misdemeanor summons. If found guilty, the violator faces heavier fines than for other sport fishing violations. Unfortunately, due to the overburdened nature of our state’s courts, existing laws are not having the desired effect. Prosecutors routinely decline to prosecute (nolle prosequi) fishing-related misdemeanors. Additionally, a misdemeanor case requires substantial time and effort on the part of DEEP conservation officers– making it all the more frustrating when such cases are dismissed. Our Environmental Conservation Police Division and the Marine Fisheries Program agree that allowing officers to write tickets for striped bass sport fishing violations would actually provide more effective deterrence against poaching. The new legislative proposal would provide that ability by converting hundreds of written warnings into tickets and paid fines and over time would likely translate to reduced striped bass poaching. This change is urgently needed given the recent finding by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) that the Atlantic striped bass stock is overfished and in need of enhanced conservation.
Justin Davis, PhD
Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection