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Old 03-11-2007, 09:35 PM
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Thumbs up Captain of recreational fishing vessel convicted, fined for illegal catch

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Captain of local fishing vessel convicted, fined for illegal catch
By Karen Dandurant
Portsmouth Herald

RYE, NH -- A Hampton man who runs a charter sea fishing business out of Rye Harbor (NH) was convicted of illegally fishing for striped bass in federal waters and fined $1,000.

Capt. Patrick Dennehy, who charters the fishing vessel Tontine, entered into a plea agreement in Boston District Court on Wednesday on a charge of fishing for striped bass in the Exclusive Economic Zone, a violation of the Atlantic Striped Bass Conservation Act and the Atlantic Coastal Fishery Cooperative Management Act.

Attorney Charles Julian, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said Dennehy was out with patrons on a striped bass tournament charter in the EEZ on June 22, 2005, when his vessel was boarded by the Coast Guard and National Marine Fisheries Agent Chris Shoppmeyer.

"Mr. Dennehy claimed to be fishing for bluefish," said Julian.

It is legal to fish for bluefish in the Exclusive Economic Zone, but striped bass fishing is limited to the first three miles off the coast.

Julian explained that it's considered OK in the eyes of the law if a person accidentally catches a striped bass in the EEZ, as long as that person immediately brings the fish alongside the vessel and releases it with a minimum of harm.

Julian said Dennehy broke the law when, instead of immediately releasing the bass, he brought it onboard, measured it and logged it on a tournament form for a 13-year-old patron.

Further, Julian said, while Dennehy claimed he was in the EEZ for bluefish, his actions in netting the fish and filling out the form made the case that he was there for the bass.

Julian accused Dennehy of claiming the bass was caught and the tournament form filled out in the legal zone. But, said Julian, a teen onboard the Tontine refused to claim the catch, saying it wasn't within the rules. That teen's uncle later shared their story as a witness for the prosecution.

"The bluefish had come in to the three mile legal zone and could drive stripers away," said Julian. "When they couldn't catch any legally closer to shore, (Dennehy) said Let's go catch bluefish.' He announced loudly to everyone when they crossed into the EEZ, We are fishing for blue fish.'"

Reached by phone, Dennehy said he does not feel he broke any laws. He said the only reason he entered into an agreement was because the judge threatened to pull his licenses.

"I would say I was browbeaten into pleading guilty," said Dennehy. "The judge told me if I wanted to continue fighting the case, he would look into having my licenses suspended. I can't risk losing those. It was strictly a business decision."

Shoppmeyer said the Tontine was fishing east of the Merrimack River near Newburyport, Mass.

"From three miles to 200 miles offshore is federal waters," said Shoppmeyer. "Under three miles falls to state jurisdiction."

Dennehy said the striper was a by-catch of bluefishing. He said he does not remember signing the form.

Dennehy said he filed a complaint against Shoppmeyer for allegedly being rude and threatening when he boarded the Tontine. He has not heard back yet on his complaint.

Shoppmeyer could not be reached by deadline to comment on Dennehy's complaint.

Shoppmeyer said the boarding of the Tontine was part of Operation Tournament Scam.

"We had information there were several vessels in the tournament alleged to be fishing in federal waters," he said. "Based on that, we put together an operation with Coast Guard stations Merrimack River and Portsmouth Harbor. Out of six boats boarded, four were found in violation. The others were given $50 tickets for fishing and possessing. The fines could have been higher, but we were doing a COPPS approach, Community Orientated Police and Problem Solving, using minimum enforcement to gain compliance. Only Dennehy chose to fight it."
http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/0...p-tontine.html
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Old 03-11-2007, 10:52 PM
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Default Re: Captain of recreational fishing vessel convicted, fined for illegal catch

Imagine that! Maybe Fishpicker and Bentrod are on to something complaining about people fishing for stripers more than 3 miles off...
I was fishing with my son in his boat last year, within a mile or two of the beach. We didn't get squat. Lots of chatter on the radio about good sized striper's a little south of where we were. Headed down there, and sure enough, there were lots of boats fishing. Only problem was, they were way beyond 3 miles out. We were at almost 3 miles off the beach by his GPS, and they were a lot further off than we were. Think about a mile or more... Even though their radio chatter said they were getting striper's, how much do you want to bet if they were boarded, which they weren't, they would claim the were fishing for blues?
Yeah, us recs are lily white, and NEVER break the rules. If by some chance, we do, ahem, break them and get caught, you can always plea bargain the charge, so that you can keep your license.
And people worry about comms raping the ocean. Then, complain that they have a say on a rec board.
Take off the rose colored glasses, and realize that there are those in both sectors that break the rules. They get caught, hammer them, no matter what way they fish, comm or rec. The difference is the comms have to report all they catch, even the lowly sea robin. Ask Fishpicker to show you the forms he MUST send in to keep his ticket. Then, ask a rec what he has to report, and notice the difference...
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Old 03-12-2007, 10:15 AM
Number5 Number5 is offline
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Default Re: Captain of recreational fishing vessel convicted, fined for illegal catch

Thumbs up, I don't like cheaters.
Thumbs down to Rags reply. I don't think any of us think recs are angels. People break laws everywhere every minute off the day.
But, the damage done by a rec who can keep a cooler full of fish on a single trip and a comm who can keep thousands of pounds of fish on a single trip is comparing lemons to bananas.
Is there a difference between a guy who has a small amount of pot for personal use and a guy who traffics hundreds of pounds so he can make a living? Also, I would say that the people reporting these boating striper fishing 3 miles out are not comms, they would most likely be recs. To a comm, time is money and risking being boarded by the CC is not a chance they want to take.
By all means, don't get me wrong, all rule breakers should be punished, but there is a difference in the way the punishment should be implemented. Everyone makes a mistake, I say subsequent law breakers should have licenses suspended, same as DWI laws for both parties. If that doesn't teach them to stop messing around, take their licenses for good.
I think most recs on this board will call at the first sign of seeing a poacher, so really I don't know who you would be talking about saying
[qoute]Yeah, us recs are lily white, and NEVER break the rules. [/qoute]
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Old 03-12-2007, 02:03 PM
River Rat River Rat is offline
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Default Re: Captain of recreational fishing vessel convicted, fined for illegal catch

Kudos to the Offices on busting that guy, what we need is more enforcement to stop the cheaters.

Last edited by Bob D'Amico : 03-12-2007 at 10:42 PM.
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Old 03-12-2007, 02:15 PM
Bob ECT Bob ECT is offline
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Default Re: Captain of recreational fishing vessel convicted, fined for illegal catch

Hard to claim you're bluefishing while you're in a bass tournament.

CG needs to head out there more often and increase the fines to cover the costs.
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Old 03-12-2007, 06:26 PM
BENTROD BENTROD is offline
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Default Re: Captain of recreational fishing vessel convicted, fined for illegal catch

[quote=Number5;237941]But, the damage done by a rec who can keep a cooler full of fish on a single trip and a comm who can keep thousands of pounds of fish on a single trip is comparing lemons to bananas.
QUOTE]

BOLOGNE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! try timesing that cooler by a thousand recs to every one comm boat,,,,and then see where the math takes you
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Old 03-12-2007, 06:46 PM
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Default Re: Captain of recreational fishing vessel convicted, fined for illegal catch

Bent why do you say THOUSANDS of Recs??? Do you think we all go out and take coolers of fish home? How many comm boats are in NJ? 10, 50, 100?? Say there are 50, you're saying 50,000 recs do that in NJ.... I'll tell ya, I used to go out on the PB's ALOT..... I NEVER, and I say NEVER, saw a blatant disregards to the regs as your post insinuates.....

Of course you see a guy here or there throw a short in the coller when the mates looking the other way, and I have been know to say something about it, but a recs taking "coolers of fish" and in the number you're saying is ridiculus....
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Old 03-12-2007, 11:49 PM
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Default Re: Captain of recreational fishing vessel convicted, fined for illegal catch

The real issue here is illegally fishing for bass in the EEZ. Let's use our heads for a change, there are many, many professional guides just here in NJ. Start doing a little basic math, lets say 75% are 4 pack charters and 25% are 6 pack charters. For our math lesson lets say that on any given day during the season, May through November, 9 months there are 100 charter boats operating from Atlantic Highlands to Cape May/Delaware Bay. That number is very low and you will agree is a lot of territory. Also lets say that only 50% of those boats are hired each day.


9 months X 30 days = 270 days
50 boats x 270 days X 2 trips per day = 27,000 fishing charters

Of those 27,000 fishing charters, we'll say that 75% are 4 Pack Charters @ 20,250, the other 25% or 6,750 are 6 Pack Charters.

20,250 X 4 fishermen = 81,000 fishermen
6,750 X 6 fishermen = 40,500 fishermen
Totals = 121,500 fishermen

Now lets say that each fishermen catches only 1.2 bass per trip.

1.2 bass X 121,500 fishermen = 145,800 total bass.

Now lets also say that the 1.2 bass (145,800 total) these guys catch are the bare minimum of 28".

The Average weight of a 28" bass is 10.3 pounds.

10.3 pounds X 145,800 total bass = 1,501,740 Pounds.

In New Jersey in 2004 there were 421,000 bass Landed and KEPT. That's equivalent to 4,336,300 pounds.

Opening the EEZ could mean that our take would increase by 34.6%!

I have not even attempted to factor in Party/head boats but I think you can agree that RECREATIONAL sport fishing can have a big impact on striped bass numbers if we open up the EEZ.

Will opening the EEZ increase the numbers of recreational fishermen. IMHO it won't do squat, there won't be hundreds, let alone thousands of new fishermen just because the EEZ is opened. The effect on the mighty economic power of the recreational fishing industry won't improve one iota.
What will change can be "prognosticated" from this chart from the ATLANTIC STRIPED BASS STUDIES 2005 BIENNIAL REPORT TO CONGRESS by the National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

I think its time for recreational fishermen to cease and desist from the constant whining about commercial fishing hurting our (?) fish and just keep in mind that WE sport fishermen nearly wiped out striped bass once before and WE sport fishermen can easily do it again.
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Old 03-13-2007, 06:56 AM
BENTROD BENTROD is offline
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Default Re: Captain of recreational fishing vessel convicted, fined for illegal catch

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Originally Posted by chris c View Post
Bent why do you say THOUSANDS of Recs??? Do you think we all go out and take coolers of fish home? .

don't under estimate the POWER OF A FISHING POLE,,,,,millions of fishing poles......stack all the fishing poles ,,and rec boats and recreational fishing power up in 1 pile and just see HOW HIGH YOU COULD CLIMB
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Old 03-13-2007, 09:43 AM
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Default Re: Captain of recreational fishing vessel convicted, fined for illegal catch

Too bad he only got fined $1000.00 that's a slap on the wrist. They should suspend his Captains license or fine him big time and take his boat as collateral.
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Old 03-13-2007, 10:23 AM
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Default Re: Captain of recreational fishing vessel convicted, fined for illegal catch

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Too bad he only got fined $1000.00 that's a slap on the wrist. They should suspend his Captains license or fine him big time and take his boat as collateral.
This is true, but did the guy actually keep the fish? It says he measured and logged it. Now we know he was in a striper tournament, so he was defenitely fishing for bass.
Suppose I was tuna fishing and happened to catch a 65 inch long striper on a butterfish chunk past the 3 mile marker. I sure as hell would like to weigh that fish before sending it back on its way. Should I have my license and boat taken?
Bent, keep in mind recs are not there to rape the ocean and kill for blood. Many tactics today are environmentally safe and cause little harm to a fish. In the past 3 years I gut hooked one striper. 99% of the recs are trying to protect the environment. I can see your reply now, "recs litter all over the place, they rape the ocean and kill all my fish. They are no good."
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Old 03-13-2007, 10:51 AM
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Default Re: Captain of recreational fishing vessel convicted, fined for illegal catch

I never said there weren't thousands of recs Bent. You were implying that all those thousands of REC anglers are keeping a cooler full of fish each.

That's just not the case... I kept 2 bass all of last year! BTW, I ONLY use circle hooks when targeting stripers. I haven't gut hooked a single striper in the past 3 years and my brother has only throat hooked 1 and that was last year.

I'm all for doing my part in making the mortality rate a little lower if I can.
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Old 03-13-2007, 11:03 AM
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Default Re: Captain of recreational fishing vessel convicted, fined for illegal catch

Chris, It's a pointless arguement, sometimes I find myself getting caught up in. Just look at how the stocks rebounded in the last decade and a half. We recs never stopped fishing for them. We're obviously not doing much damage to the fishery as it continues to get better and better.
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Old 03-17-2007, 07:50 PM
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Default Re: Captain of recreational fishing vessel convicted, fined for illegal catch

We can argue forever about which faction,comm. or rec.,does more damage to the stocks. But the question that really bothers me is why fishing for Bass in the EEZ would have any impact on the stocks anyway. The commercial quotas are closely monitored and generally boats engaged in any other fisheries that are federally licensed are forbidden from possessing Bass ,so it's not as if the commercial sector is landing tonnage of illegal Bass on a regular basis. It seems to me that Bass are a highly migratory fish who congregate where the conditions at any given time best suite them, so why would the taking of them by properly licensed comms. and rec. fishermen all abiding by the size and bag limits have any adverse effect on the well being of their stocks. The reason for this law is more of a federal glitch than a conservation issue and it makes no sense that people would scream about this while allowing millions of pound of our biggest Bass to be slaughtered on their winter pre-spawning grounds in the Chesapeake Bay.It's like fishing in a barrel, but the open ocean is off limits.
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Old 03-18-2007, 03:36 PM
J Barbosa J Barbosa is offline
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Default Re: Captain of recreational fishing vessel convicted, fined for illegal catch

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Originally Posted by BennyB View Post
Too bad he only got fined $1000.00 that's a slap on the wrist. They should suspend his Captains license or fine him big time and take his boat as collateral.
I don't know, I think $1000.00 for boating, measuring, and releasing a striper is harsh enough. But on the other hand he knows he wasn't suppost to board it and still choose to do so.
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