Sunday, January 25, 2015

More Oyster Poaching Stopped

The Piracy Continues; Two Crisfield Poaching Pirates Snared by NRP Officers
Natural Resources Police report that the piracy and poaching of oyster sanctuaries in the Chesapeake Bay by the persons most likely to see a direct benefit of the effort to perpetrate oyster harvesting in the future continues.

Police say that two Crisfield watermen were charged Monday by the Maryland Natural Resources Police with illegally harvesting oysters from protected waters.

Using the Maritime Law Enforcement Information Network system of cameras and radar, two officers monitored Paul Franklin Tyler III, 29, and Jeffrey Alan Cuff Jr., 31, at 10 a.m. as they dredged for wild oysters in the buffer zone surrounding the Somerset Oyster Sanctuary near Tangier Sound.

Once Tyler, the vessel operator, saw the NRP officers, he quickly left the sanctuary buffer with the dredge still in the water. The officers stopped the vessel and saw 14 bushels of oysters on board.

The officers checked all four corner buoys marking the sanctuary boundaries to ensure that they were on station as defined in state regulation. The 14 bushels of oysters were returned to the waters of the state.

The two watermen are scheduled to appear in Somerset District Court on March 10. If found guilty, Tyler and Cuff each could be fined as much as $3,000 and have their tidal fish licenses suspended for six months up to a year.
Could be being the operative word. In most cases, judges are reluctant to take away the livelihood of workers who are not exactly rolling in wealth. 14 bushels of oysters at $49 a half bushel (washed and delivered) isn't going to put a man on easy street. A government bureaucrat can make that much money in a day waving a pen typing a memo and not have a boat to feed and maintain. And in the end you have nothing to eat.

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