About 3.3 tons of dead and decaying striped bass were recovered by Natural Resources Police Tuesday from an illegal net submerged in the waters off Tilghman Island. It was the second largest seizure of poached fish this year.
The net, the 10th seized since Feb. 1, was found on Sunday by a recreational fisherman whose lines became fouled in the tangle of mesh and fish. Police believe it had been in the water since the beginning of the year.
It took an 80-foot work boat with a crane several hours to gather up the nearly mile-long net and the ensnared fish, which averaged 15 pounds. So far, NRP has seized almost 16 tons of illegally caught striped bass, Maryland's state fish also known as rockfish.
The commercial gill net season has been closed since the end of February and is not scheduled to reopen until Dec. 1. The total tonnage of poached striped bass will be deducted from the commercial allotment.
In January, authorities found nets filled with 6,000 pounds of poached rockfish near the Bloody Point Lighthouse between Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties.