Recently it was reported here (in Oregon) that a few "High Profile" individuals were cited for Poaching. Although these particular infractions (30 total for one of the individuals) had to due with Hunting, it brings to the forefront the ongoing problem of Poaching in general.
Here's some stats;
In Pierre, South Dakota a man was found with a cooler containing 110 Walleye.
On the Kamchatka Peninsula, Illegal Salmon poaching is run by organized crime gangs (and you thought the only competition came from the Bears)
In Florida, poachers using gill nets are reeking havoc on the states Pompano stocks.
Brewster Mass. officals had to crack down on Herring poachers who went wild on the Stony Brook run.
In Oklahoma, 3 men had illegal nets set in a state reservoir to catch Striped Bass that they were selling commericaly for $1.- per pound.
There are 2 types of Poachers according to officals that I spoke with;
These are the type we as flyfisherman encounter most often. "Hit and Run" as was described to me. They are most often single or pairs of individuals who are in a particular spot for the day. Case in point, I was fishing a section of a well known "fly fishing only, catch and release" river here in the N.W. and came across 2 men using bait and killing fish. When I questioned wheither this was part of the F.F.O. area, things got a little tense, with the younger of the 2 going into how he grew up here and how his dad used to fish here long before catch and release. I decided to de-escalate the situation by moving on. Most of these individuals are trying to get away with something that they know is illegal and flat WRONG, or they are down and out and trying to subsidise diet.
These, like the gangs on the Kamchatka Penn. can be far more devastating to niche fishery eco-systems, pulling huge amounts of animals out of areas in short time spans. Recently 8 men were fined a total of $55,000.- for the poaching and illegal sale of Yellow Perch. In another instance, 14 men were fined a total of $16,000+ , lost a total of 35 years of fishing privlages, and spent 72 days in jail after pleading guilty to poaching and commerical sale of Walleye and White Bass. The info in this case was gathered from a T.I.P. Program (Turn In a Poacher)
Regardless, all Poaching is a crime, and should be dealt with a accordingly! Officals I spoke with said if you observe a potential poaching incident you should;
NOT approach the individuals on your own!
Try to get description of the incident, individuals, auto info, etc.
Call your local D.F.W. and ask to speak to an officer, or if your state has a T.I.P. line, use that.
I am not saying that these actions always work, but in most cases it's whats on the books now, and so that's what we have to work with. You can petition your particular State angency to stiffen existing laws or actions against Poaching. It is a huge problem, everyday, worldwide!
Fishing is a PRIVLAGE, not a RIGHT! Poaching for those of us who fish Legaly causes Lost Fishing Opportunitys and Higher fees!
Let's help keep Angling on the up and up!