Routine Patrol Nets 2 Men Catching Undersize and Over-limit Fish
State Environmental Conservation Officers recently arrested two fishermen in Brooklyn for catching dozens of striped bass that were undersized and in excess of allowable limits, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced.
While on marine patrol in the Breezy Point area, Environmental Conservation Officers (ECO) Jamie Powers and Kevin Thomas spotted activities on a boat that made them suspect poaching and they tracked the vessel back to its dock in Shell Bank Creek off Seba Avenue. There, the ECOs witnessed John Arena of Parksville, Sullivan County, and Mark Sarubbi of Brooklyn, struggling to drag two totes full of striped bass up to a truck.
The officers then approached the men and began counting the catch. The fishermen, who realized their day of "good" fishing had just met its end, watched as the ECOs counted out 46 striped bass - the legal recreational limit for the trip for both men is only 2. The fish weighed a total of 295 pounds and the vast majority of the fish - 40 - were less than the minimum size requirement of 28 inches.
Arena and Sarubbi were arrested and charged with possession of 40 undersized Striped Bass; possession of 44 Striped Bass over the legal recreational harvest limit; possession of 46 untagged Striped Bass; taking Striped Bass for Commercial Purposes without a permit; and failing to possess a valid food fish license. Additional charges are anticipated.
Their arraignment is scheduled for early December. They are facing thousands of dollars in fines and a possible four years in prison. The Brooklyn District Attorney's Office is prosecuting the case. The fish were seized and destroyed because Striped Bass are not permitted to be harvested for commercial sale from waters west of East Rockaway Inlet due to the potential level of contaminants in the fish.
Information on illegal harvest of any species of saltwater fish, shellfish or crabs can be reported to the Marine Enforcement Unit at (631) 444-0460 or by using the toll-free number of 1-877-457-5680.