Fish Poacher Fined, Boat Confiscated

Last month’s newsletter of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) reported that on August 12, officers of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Law Enforcement Response Unit arrested Albert Reeves of Rehoboth, Massachusetts, and charged him with illegal possession of striped bass.

Officers had received information that Reeves was exceeding the recreational limit of striped bass (2 fish at 28” or greater per day), and that he was hiding the illegal fish in a hidden compartment on his boat, then selling the fish to dealers in Massachusetts.

According to sources familiar with the case, Reeves was stopped and his boat boarded after he landed in Galilee, Point Judith. When encountered, Reeves was in possession of a legal recreational limit stowed in one of the boat’s hatches. When questioned about any additional fish, Reeves insisted that he had no more fish aboard, and allowed the officers to search his boat. Officers inspected the boat and found a concealed switch, which opened a hidden compartment under the deck. Inside the compartment were 10 additional striped bass.

Reeves was issued a citation to appear for arraignment on September 10.

It turns out that RIDEM officers are familiar with Reeves. In July 2003 he was also arrested and fined $450 for illegal possession of striped bass.

RISAA has recently reported that the boat used by Reeves in his poaching arrest last month has been seized by the U.S. Customs Service because it had a hidden compartment used for transporting illegal goods through federal waters.

The RISAA Board of Directors recently voted to push for legislation to increase fines and penalties for fisheries violations, including the confiscation of any boat and gear used to commit the infraction and including the loss of commercial license.

RISAA plans to seek input from DEM enforcement, research the laws of neighboring states, then seek out legislators who will put in the necessary legislation to fix this problem when the General Assembly reconvenes in January.

For more information, go to Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association