NRP’s “Don’t Get Pinched” Campaign Nets Violators Across Maryland
The Maryland Natural Resources Police made good on its promise last weekend to crack down on illegal crabbing activities as part of the “Don’t Get Pinched” campaign.
From seafood shops to recreational crabbers and watermen, officers checked catches, licenses and records as they aggressively targeted violators across the State.
“Marylanders are taking our campaign seriously,” said Col. George F. Johnson IV, NRP superintendent. “The public is fed up with illegal crabbing. They are leaving comments on our Facebook page, sending us direct messages on Twitter, writing emails and calling our communications center. The tips are coming from people who have spotted illegal crabbing or seen undersized crabs at restaurants, markets and on docks.”
On Friday morning, officers from three counties fanned out on Tangier Sound on a saturation patrol. In the waters of Wicomico County, they found Vaughn Edward Collins Jr., 44, of Tyaskin, retrieving crab pots in an area closed to harvest.
Officers said Collins was using a grappling hook to snag a line attached to a line of unmarked pots. A total of 60 pots were recovered by NRP.
Collins is scheduled to appear in Wicomico District Court on Oct. 1 on a charge of setting commercial crab pots in a prohibited area. If found guilty, he faces a maximum fine of $1,000.
Later on Friday, Cameron’s Seafood on the 1400 block of Dual Highway, Hagerstown received two citations after an officer found one bushel with 110 undersized crabs and another with 59 undersized crabs.
Hussein Kato Katande, 38, of Columbia is scheduled to appear in Washington County District Court on Oct. 21 on the two charges. If found guilty, he faces a maximum fine of $2,000.
A recreational crabber from Marriottsville was issued four citations on Saturday after officers stopped him on the Rhode River in Anne Arundel County.
Phillip Peter Brew, 26, was cited for violating the recreational ban on harvesting female crabs, possessing undersized crabs and crabbing after hours.
On Sunday, officers inspected seven bushels of No. 2 crabs at Chic’s Seafood in the 300 block of Summit Avenue, Hagerstown. One bushel contained 35 undersized crabs and another bushel contained 24 undersized crabs.
Richard Carroll Herzog, 53, of Hagerstown faces a maximum fine of $2,000 if found guilty of both charges in Washington County District Court.
The bill of sale indicated that the crabs were caught in Maryland and purchased from Golden Eye Seafood in the 16000 block of Piney Point Road, Piney Point. The business is owned by Robert M. Lumpkins.