Police nabbed man with ton of illegal rockfish in dead of night

Annapolis, Maryland (November 26, 2010) – On November 24, the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) charged Jerome William Janda Jr., age 55  from Tilghman, Md with multiply striped bass (rockfish) violations after an investigation relating to illegal fishing activities in the Tilghman area.

 On November 10, at approximately 2:35 am, NRP Officers observed Janda Jr. and his fishing vessel exit Knapp’s Narrows without using his navigational lights and proceed to a pound net located on the south side of Poplar Island, Talbot County.  The Officers observed the occupants of the vessel fish the pound net and then docked at Lowes Wharf.  At approximately 4:00 am, the Officers confronted Janda Jr and the two other occupants on the vessel, Jerome William Janda 3rd, age 28 from Tilghman and Burton Robert Curtis, age 25, unknown address.  The Officers found the individuals loading untagged striped bass onto a truck.   The Officers seized the 2,731 pounds of untagged rockfish. Initially, the Officers thought Janda Jr. was 1,784 pounds over his seasonal allocation limit according to the information noted on his allocation card.  Subsequent investigation into the seafood dealer’s records indicated that Janda Jr. was illegally checking striped bass caught from a pound net as fish caught by a commercial hook and line fisherman.  This record information indicated that Janda Jr exceeded his quota by 7,568 pounds (2,273 fish), Janda Jr. would have obtained his limit on October 6 had  the catch been check-in properly.

 Commercial fisherman are allowed to catch striped bass by using three gear types; hook and line, drift gill nets and pound nets.  Each gear type has specific poundage of fish that can be caught by each gear during specific periods of the year. A striped bass pound net and striped bass drift gill net license can not be held by the same licensee at the same time.  All commercially taken striped bass must be tagged and checked into a designated check-in station. Janda Jr had a pound net license that had 3,760 pound quota.  The 2010 pound net and hook and line season runs from June 1, to November 30.  The last segment of drift gill net season starts on December 1 until December 31.

 Jerome Janda Jr was charged with 21 counts of using striped bass allocation permits assigned to another, 19 counts of using striped bass tags assigned to another, 14 counts of exceeding seasonal allocation limit of striped bass, one count of possessing striped bass greater than 36” commercial size, one count of possession of undersize flounder, one count of possession of untagged striped bass, one count of operating a vessel at night without proper navigational lights.

 Jerome Janda 3rd, age 28 of Tilghman, was charged with one count of aiding and abetting exceeding seasonal allocation limit of striped bass and one count of possession of untagged striped bass.

 A court date has been set for February 17, 2011 in the District Court of Maryland in Talbot County.  The maximum penalty for each count is $1000 plus $1500 per each striped bass.  The investigation is on-going and additional charges may follow.

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