Lifetime bans on fishing for rockfish in Maryland: Maryland watermen banned for life following rockfish poaching convictions
Two Eastern Shore watermen convicted last year of a large poaching scheme have received lifetime bans from striped bass fishery by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.We've been following this story since the news of the illegal netting first broke, before they knew who had committed it, but now it looks like the story has just about finished. That's a pretty tough sentence, since I suspect that their economic prospects beyond fishing are fairly bleak. It was a remarkably egregious violation, though, and it should serve as an example.
Michael D. Hayden Jr. and William J. Lednum, both of Tilghman Island, pleaded guilty to running an operation between 2007 and 2011 that involved taking tens of thousands of pounds of striped bass, also called rockfish, in illegal, anchored nets off Kent Island in the Chesapeake Bay before the season had officially opened.
The take was so large that the Maryland Department of Natural Resources had to temporarily shut down the fishery.
The men also have been suspended from all commercial fishing activity for the next year, followed by a four-year probationary period. The fish allocated to their permits will be distributed to other fishers.