Two men charged with over harvesting rockfish from Patapsco River

Two Middle River men were charged Monday with overfishing striped bass from the Patapsco River, according to Maryland Natural Resources Police.

Terry Alan Myrick, 53, and John James Messinger, 37, were caught near the Key Bridge on New Year's Day with 532 pounds of the fish, also known as rockfish, more than their daily harvest allotment, police said. They could each face fines of at least $400,000 and could have their fishing licenses revoked.

Having checked Myrick and Messinger's nets and determined they were nearing their daily limit, officers set up surveillance and waited for the watermen to return, according to police. When officers checked the catch a second time, they found it was over the limit.

The men face charges of exceeding the daily common pool catch limit for striped bass and exceeding the common pool fishery boat limit for striped bass, with a maximum fine of $2,500 per fish.

Police seized the catch and sold it at market value.

The annual quota of rockfish harvesting permitted in the Chesapeake Bay rose 14 percent for 2014, to 4.5 million pounds in the Maryland portion of the bay. The rise was because of a large number of fish that were hatched in 2011 that are reaching the legal minimum size of 18 inches, according to the state natural resources department.

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