BOARD THE SANDUSKY ——
Natural Resources Police on Monday morning began pulling more than 600 yards of illegal net filled with hundreds of pounds of dead striped bass.
The netting was discovered Sunday by a recreational angler trolling off Tilghman Island.
The commercial season has been closed since the end of February and isn’t scheduled to reopen until June.
Officers on 25-foot patrol boats were unable to haul the netting in by hand Sunday night and the 80-foot Sandusky, a work boat with a crane, was dispatched Monday morning to begin the task of raising the fish-laden gear.
It is likely the netting has been in the water since February and has continued catching fish, said NRP Sgt. Art Windemuth.
In February, NRP hauled in thousands of yards of illegally submerged net off Kent Island holding 12.6 tons of striped bass. The state closed the commercial season for two weeks to assess the situation before allowing watermen to fish the final two days.
This is spawning season on the Chesapeake Bay, the nursery for at least three-quarters of the striped bass population on the East Coast.