NYUP.com Reports— A trio of bass poachers who were nabbed by state Environmental Conservation officers for catching and keeping out-of-season smallmouth bass on a Catskill reservoir for purposes of selling them in New York City ended up paying a hefty price for their actions.
The men — Le Ming Mai, 35; Hua K. Yu, 54, and Zhong-Hua Chen, 49, all from Brooklyn — pleaded guilty in Town of Hurley Court in Ulster County on Dec. 3 to charges including taking black bass out of season and illegal commercialization of protected wildlife. They paid fines totaling $2,425.
The three were nabbed April 26 when Conservation Officers Jason Smith and Lucas Palmateer charged the men at the Ashokan Reservoir after finding them with 35 smallmouth bass affixed to a stringer and hidden on the shoreline. The regular bass fishing season this year opened June 15. Prior to that, only catch and release fishing for small and largemouth fishing was allowed in most areas of the state.
According to the DEC, “two of the defendant’s vehicles were fitted with ‘live tanks’ to transport the fish, with one vehicle registered to a retail fish market in New York City.”
All three were charged with failing to wear personal flotation devices and trespassing. One didn’t have a fishing license.
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection also revoked access permits and boat permits for the NYC reservoir system for all three individuals.