Block Island Striper Poachers Busted

On Aug. 22, officers from the Rhode Island Dept. of Environmental Management’s Division of Law Enforcement cited two Rhode Island residents who are Massachusetts commercial fisherman for being in possession of 38 striped bass believed to have been caught in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), a portion of federal waters reserved for conserving and managing fishery stocks.

Officers working on information obtained through Operation Level Playing Field began to investigate two fishermen, who were believed to be fishing in the EEZ and selling their catch in Massachusetts. The practice of taking striped bass from Rhode Island state waters or the EEZ and selling them in Massachusetts is prohibited.

During the investigation, officers approached the two fishermen at a residence in West Greenwich and found them to be in possession of 38 striped bass with a total weight of 1,054 pounds. All of the fish were larger than the 34-inch minimum size and none of them had the right pectoral fin removed as required by regulation. Both fishermen were in violation of the possession limit of one fish per person, as well as failing to clip the right pectoral fin of a striped bass 34 inches or larger in total length. The fish were seized as evidence.

The two fishermen were identified as Robert Majors, 41, of Bristol, Rhode Island and Peter Parente, 53, of West Greenwich, Rhode Island. Both were summoned to the 3rd Division District Court for 37 counts of exceeding the daily possession limit of striped bass and 38 counts of possession of a striped bass 34 inches or larger without having the right pectoral fin clipped. The fishermen potentially face $3,700 in fines, $100 for each fish illegally taken.