Article from the RTD

Discussion in 'VIRGINIA RIVERS TALK' started by Bomberman, Aug 18, 2009.

  1. Bomberman

    Bomberman New Member

    Messages:
    703
    State:
    Spring Run, PA
    http://www2.timesdispatch.com/rtd/news/local/article/FISH18_20090817-220008/286668/



    By Rex Springston

    Published: August 18, 2009
    MORE
    James River Journal - See the river and its wildlife from the shore, from a boat, and from an underwater camera.

    REPORT POACHERS
    If you see someone fishing illegally, call the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries at (800) 237-5712
    When the James River gets low this time of year, big catfish get caught in isolated pools, where waders and snorkelers like to watch them.
    In recent weeks, however, this river version of fish in a barrel has drawn people who illegally catch them with spear guns, homemade spears, nets and gear resembling small grappling hooks, witnesses say.
    "I imagine this is how the whalers treated the Galapagos Islands," said Ralph White, manager of Richmond's James River Park.
    The big catfish are almost tame, White said. You can walk up to them, and some will let you touch them briefly.
    Chris Hull, a Henrico County engineer, led a Richmond Times-Dispatch reporter and photographer last month to Catfish Alley, a roughly 3-foot-deep pool near Shockoe Slip containing about two dozen catfish the size of fire hydrants.
    Hull said he returned to the pool Saturday and could find just three fish alive. Someone had sliced meat from about 10 and left their stinking remains beside the water.
    "There are an awful lot of catfish in that river, but I still don't think this is right," Hull said. "It's a unique experience to swim around with big catfish."
    Greg Velzy, a river aficionado from Chesterfield County, said he recently saw two men at Catfish Alley casting with gear resembling fist-sized grappling hooks. Another time he saw men herding the fish into nets.
    Yet another time, he saw several men headed to Catfish Alley with spears made from sharpened bamboo.
    "There are huge carcasses all through the area now," Velzy said.
    Jarred VandeMark, an account executive with an online job-posting company, said he was snorkeling near Pony Pasture Rapids in South Richmond about two weeks ago when he found a metal, arrowhead-shaped spear-gun tip in the river near a deep hole that big catfish frequent.
    "I could not believe that people were actually using spear guns to kill these catfish," VandeMark said. "If this gets out of hand, it will be a disaster for the catfish population in these holes."
    Col. Dabney Watts, law-enforcement chief for the state Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, said spearing catfish, snagging them with hooks or leaving their carcasses behind are illegal.
    Punishments can reach as high as six months in jail and a $1,250 fine for the spearing and snagging, Watts said. Netting, depending on the type of net, also can be illegal.

    Illegal fishing appears to be growing across Virginia, but Watts said he's not sure why. "Some people doing it may not even be aware it is illegal until we run across them."
    Contact Rex Springston at (804) 649-6453 or



    I certainly hope the DGIF folks put a stop to this.
     
  2. Dallison

    Dallison Member

    Messages:
    450
    State:
    Virginia
    I heard about this last year, its been going on awhile. I can only hope the flathead population is not dented. They get caught in these holes and can't swim up or down river till it rains really hard to wash them out. It seems that if there are that many in shallow holes the can be removed to water they can swim up or down river from. I hope this article educates the people that abuse is going on. There are alot of different cultures where it may be acceptable to do this, and they are the ones who are doing this here. I saw 3 large flatheads at pony pasture with all the meat cut out of their backs, they were all still moving, weather dead or not, it seemed wrong. There are signs not to eat the large catfish. I don't think these people can read english so the signs don't help. As far as reporting abuse its worth a shot, these are people who hit and run. Short of filming them and getting a vehicle license # I don't know what else you could do, certain areas of the river are kind remote and hard to get to. Especially when the river is low. I hope this comes to an end....we will get a good rain soon to help them out.
     

  3. wallerus

    wallerus New Member

    Messages:
    30
    State:
    Virginia
    After 20 years in the Navy I have been to many other countries. Yes this type of fishing there is not illegal and fairly common. The problem is, if it was folks from Southeast Asia (where I spent my career) none of the fish carcass would be left behind and they would be doing it without regard to getting caught. No, these are people that know its wrong, otherwise you would see them. I sure none of them belong to the BOC but you have probably fished right next to most of them.
     
  4. MUSKAT

    MUSKAT New Member

    Messages:
    12
    State:
    VIRGINIA
    THE PROBLEM IS THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T RESPECT THE FISH AND WILDLIFE. THEY TAKE IT FOR GRANTED. THEY WILL WIND UP RUINING IT FOR EVERYONE.
     
  5. JPritch

    JPritch New Member

    Messages:
    1,852
    State:
    Lynchburg, VA
    WOW. That was certainly eye opening. I had no idea something like that was going on around the river.