When I'm not working as a Washington, DC criminal Defense attorney, I like to go fishing whenever I get a chance. One of my favorite things to do is fish for Striped Bass, known in the DC Metro Area as Rockfish. They were once abundant in our waters, but after many years of over-fishing, they have faced near extinction. The government banned commercial harvesting and greatly increased recreational catch limits. This has seemed to help and regulations are finally being eased up a bit. What I didn't understand was how I kept seeing Rockfish for sale at local markets given the restrictions. This always struck me as odd. It turns out, my suspicions were correct.
According to a statement released by the US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia, the owners of Profish, a local wholesale fish distributer, had been selling illegally harvested Rockfish for over ten years. The Judge fined the two owners of the company $850,000 and sentenced to them to 15 and 21 months, respectively. He said that this type of behavior had been taken too lightly in the past and it was time to send a message.
Sometimes people do not realize how seriously fish and wildlife offenses are taken, especially in the Washington, DC area. Let's say you go trout fishing at a local stream and are planning on keeping some fish. If you keep even one more fish than the daily per person limit, there can be serious consequences. The government can take your equipment used to catch fish and the car or truck in which you transported the fish. After they seize and forfeit your assets, they can impose a fine--and you may even face jail time.