Patent Tonging on the Patuxent River
Most commercial watermen work hard and abide by the laws and regulations. Some do not.
On Feb. 3, 2015, several vessels were hard at work on a beautiful winter day bringing up oysters from the bottom of the Patuxent River at Point Patience. Most folks never have the opportunity to view one of the ways that watermen harvest oysters. The watermen seen in this video are hard-working souls, as are most of those who work the water and try to abide by various regulations.
Pirate Poachers of the Bay
Over the past year, THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY has been highlighting the arrests of outlaw watermen in the Maryland and Virginia waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
Readers who have been following these violations and the tracking of the court appearances have been learning that, for most cases, the legal repercussions of these infractions have been very minor or non-existent.
In January of 2015, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission took firm action against ten watermen who were caught inside a condemned oystering area of the James River and suspended their licenses for two years! But before they drew another breath, they immediately revoked the suspension for nine of them and put them on “probation”.
The Talbot County States Attorney, Scott Patterson, made a plea deal with the Lynch brothers and let them walk out of the courtroom “Scott-Free” by letting them post an I.O.U. on their fines.
Now one prosecutor, Somerset County States Attorney Daniel Powell is the first law enforcement official to sound off this year and has decided to take a stand. Powell is calling for mandatory jail sentences for repeat offenders.