Despite all the rockfish found in illegal nets in recent weeks, the February catch came in below the harvest quota.
The preliminary total for the last two days of the reopened season, Friday and Monday, was 82,567 pounds.
Combined with the legal harvest early in the month and the fish from the illegal nets, the total known catch for February was 233,515 pounds – below the month’s quota of 354,318 pounds, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
The remaining quota will be added to the allowable harvest for December, the next time watermen are allowed to use gill nets to catch rockfish.
Gill nets hang vertically in the water and catch fish as they swim through. They must not be anchored and a waterman must remain nearby.
In recent weeks, Natural Resources Police found several sets of illegally anchored and unattended nets, containing more than 25,000 pounds of fish.
The gill net harvest had been shut down because of the illegal activity but was reopened Friday and Monday.