Thursday, May 23, 2019

Sickening Abuse

At least a dozen dead filleted schoolies lie
on the shore of the Charlestown Breachway
boat ramp.  Abuses are on the increase.
Fish abuses are in the increase here in RI.  I saw one of the most disgusting abuses a couple of days ago. A friend of mine sent me a photo of at least a dozen schoolies that were filleted at the boat ramp at the Charlestown Breachway.  These were all small fish in the 15 to 20 inch range. He called DEM enforcement and they said they were aware of the situation since others had called or e-mailed. Many of us try to be conservation minded, but it takes one jerk (or maybe more than one) to stick the middle finger right in the face of most conservation minded anglers by doing such an unthinkable act. I hope they catch the SOB.
Make no mistake, abuses are on the increase here in RI and elsewhere in southern New England.  I also found a filleted schoolie this week on shore in the upper Bay, an area where lots of abuses occur.  Last year I saw anglers taking buckets of small, snapper blues along the East Providence Bike Path. I also saw fishermen at Hazard and Newton Ave. in Narragansett taking undersized tautog.  In both cases I contacted DEM. I could write an entire page of abuses I saw last year at the Cape Cod Canal.
My suggestion is to not confront these abusers.  A few years back I was fishing the Hurricane Barrier in Providence.  A fisherman there caught a small bass and kept it. Another fisherman confronted the law breaker about this, and the discussion quickly deteriorated into a fist fight.  It ended when the abuser grabbed a knife and went after the good Samaritan. Yes, people are nuts these days, many have little respect for the law and many are violent.  It's a reflection of the society we live in.
The DEM Enforcement here in RI makes every effort to investigate any abuse reported. Every time I  have called they have taken down the info about what's going on and tried to get someone there as soon as possible.  Unfortunately, they are understaffed and often arrive late when these things happen. If you see any abuse, I suggest you call the DEM at 401-222-3070.
I think it is about time we toughen up the fishing laws.  If you keep undersized fish, the penalty should be at least $1000. a fish along with confiscation of your equipment. If you can't pay the fine. it's a trip to the ACI.  In addition, the state needs to hire more game wardens. And, we as law abiding fishermen need to be more vigilant and report any abuses.