Illegal fishing charged; tons of rockfish seized

The Baltimore Sun

Natural Resources Police seized nearly 3 tons of striped bass Sunday from a trawler and charged a Dorchester County seafood processor with illegal commercial fishing in Maryland waters. It was the second time in less than a week that officers had charged Jack C. Colbourne, owner of Colbourne Seafood Inc. in Secretary, with illegal fishing.

Officers boarded the Mount Vernon after watching the 80-foot vessel drag a net about two miles off the Ocean City inlet all day Sunday, according to Sgt. Ken Turner, a police spokesman.

Officers issued citations to Colbourne, 69, Mark H. Bryan, 53, and Bayard Lewis Taylor III, 64, all of East New Market, for fishing between 6 p.m. Friday and 5 a.m. Monday, when the season is closed. They are to appear Feb. 22 in Worcester County District Court. The maximum fine is $250 if they plead guilty before their court date and $500 if found guilty by a judge.

The boat is owned by Mount Vernon LLC in Cape May, N.J. The catch was sold and the money is being held in escrow until the cases are settled, Turner said.

On Dec. 30, officers boarded the Mount Vernon in West Ocean City and charged Colbourne with exceeding his 1,900-pound seasonal allocation of striped bass, or rockfish, by 138 pounds, Turner said.

The U.S. government has banned striped bass fishing from three miles to 200 miles off the East Coast. The area between the shore and federal waters is governed by the states. New Jersey is one of six East Coast states that prohibit commercial striped bass fishing; Maryland allows recreational and commercial fishing.

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