The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Law Enforcement has busted a “vast criminal conspiracy” that included the illegal harvest, sale and purchase of more than one million pounds of striped bass with a market value of up to $7 million. The bust, the result of a seven-year sting operation, happened in the Chesapeake Bay, the primary spawning and nursery ground for striped bass on the east coast.
“This may be the largest case of its kind in U.S. history,” said Special Agent Kenneth Endress of the USFWS.
This is welcome news. Fish poaching—whether it’s for bluefin tuna, Atlantic salmon, striped bass, blackfish or many other species—gets very little media play and very little enforcement funding. (For instance, there are only three conservation officers who cover the 650-mile shoreline of the New York City Harbor).