Five anglers were charged with illegally catching rockfish and other protected fish in a spawning area in Charles County this week, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
Department of Natural Resources police observed on surveillance video the five men, who are from Charles, Prince George's and Montgomery counties, catching and keeping Maryland's official state fish in an area of the Potomac River that is closed for spawning. Shortly before 2 a.m. on Monday, the men left and four of them were promptly charged by DNR and local authorities with possession of the fish in a closed season and failure to display a sport fishing license. They also face hundreds of dollars in fines apiece.
The fifth man was charged with possession of 21 blueback herring during a closed season.
Rockfish, or striped bass, has been designated a federally protected fish since 2007. Maryland placed blueback herring under a fishing moratorium in 2011 to prevent extinction.