The Maryland Natural Resources police say the state's radar eyes on the Chesapeake Bay helped them catch a waterman Friday poaching oysters in Somerset County.Maryland has a relatively new, hi-tech radar system which covers their whole portion of the Bay. If you're on the water, you should just assume that DNR is watching you, or at least able to if they want to.
Police say officers patrolling Tangier Sound learned via the state's Maritime Law Enforcement Information Network that a vessel was headed toward an oyster sanctuary in Somerset. Masked by heavy fog in the area, the officers staked out the sanctuary and caught up with the boat as it dredged for oysters after the radar showed it had entered the sanctuary, according to police.
When the officers boarded the boat, police say they found two bushels of undersized oysters. The boat's operator, Adam Rodney Antes, 32, of Nanticoke in Wicomico County, was issued two citations each for harvesting oysters illegally from a sanctuary and harvesting oysters smaller than the legal minimum size.Basically it's just a cost of doing business. And he's not a beginner at this.
The oysters were returned to the sanctuary, police said.
Antes is to appear in Somerset District Court to answer the citations on March 10. If found guilty of all four charges, he faces a maximum penalty of $8,000.
Antes was charged in December with overharvesting oysters in Wicomico County, police said. That case is to be tried March 3. He was found guilty last year of possessing undersized crabs and of possesing unmeasured oysters.Maryland commercial fisherman have a long history of lawlessness, dating back to the Oyster Wars. Many of the commercial fishermen now are the children, grandchildren, or great grandchildren of the original oyster pirates of Chesapeake Bay, and the old habits die hard.