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Greenwich Daily Voice serves Greenwich, CT
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Greenwich Cops Net Illegal Anglers

GREENWICH, Conn. — Officers with the Greenwich Police Department’s marine section have been cracking down on anglers who fish without licenses or who take home more fish than allowed.

“It’s frustrating, and we get a lot of calls on it, because there are other guys following the rules,” said Officer Frank DiPietro of the marine section. “We don’t mind enforcing it. If someone wants to take their kid fishing one day, I want them to have the experience that I had.”

Licenses and permits cost $10 and can be bought online from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection or at any bait shop. Still, marine section officers are issuing infraction after infraction for anglers who don’t abide by the rules. The marine section has particularly started enforcing size regulations for fish. For example, a porgy fish must be at least 10.5 inches long and only 10 fish can be caught per angler. The season is limited, too: Porgys can only be caught from May 24 to Sept. 26. Recently, an angler caught 17 short porgys and had to pay $75 for each violation.

“The DEEP and these biologists set these regulations for a reason. They’re spending countless hours and countless money on research and they know what the stocks are at,” said DiPietro. “These guys who are keeping the short ones, [the fish] are not even at sexual maturity so they can’t even reproduce. You’re affecting stocks not just for yourself but [also] for future stocks. You want to take your kid fishing one day? There’s rules for a reason; they’re not just made up.”

Many of the fishermen charged are from out of state, usually from New York and are often from the Bronx, said DiPietro. The marine section officers check fishermen on land and on water. This season, the marine section officers hit water- and land-based spots, including the fish ladder at the Mianus River, the dock on Steamboat Road, along the back of Greenwich Point and Grass Island. They have issued about 40 infractions this season, although some violations carry a heavier weight.

“Anything with striped bass is a misdemeanor summons,” said DiPietro. “Stocks were dwindled years ago to the point where the government got involved and set up hatcheries to raise and release fish to be caught now. I’m pretty confident that’s why they treat it so seriously.”

Once those tickets are issued, repeat offenders are a rarity, which is good news for businesses in Greenwich that depend on anglers to rent boats or buy fuel and for shops that sell bait and supplies.

“It’s a big part of commerce here. If guys are keeping shorts, they’re affecting future populations of fish, and then people won’t be going out on their boats, they’re not going to be going out on their boats,” he said. “Marinas are going to hurt, the bait shops are going to hurt … everybody hurts in the long run.”

Do you or your family fish on Long Island Sound? Have costs gone up in recent years to comply with state laws regarding boats or fishing? Comment below or email ahelhoski@thedailygreenwich.com.

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