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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Snagging for Salmon is a big problem in Michigan


(salmon caugh illegaly by snagging)
By Sherri Russell

Every year or two, millions of pink salmon return to local rivers to spawn. It makes for great fishing, but it's also tempting with so many fish ripe for the plucking to break the rules and poach or snag them. As a result of poaching, the fall-run chinook salmon population is declining sharply.

One poacher can wipe out a whole generation of salmon. Poaching is just one of the threats facing salmon stocks, but is one which can be prevented.

Washington, who speaks on behalf of some 100,000 sportsmen, women and environmentalists who pay license fees and otherwise financially contribute to the economy of Michigan’s fish, game and other natural resources, says “poaching is nothing but stealing and fish and game are state property”.

What is Snagging? If you hook a salmon anywhere other than the mouth, you cannot keep it. A snagger casts a 3 inch treble hook into salmon filled rivers. He tries to stick the hook into the side of a homecoming salmon by jerking it along the bottom.



(uneducated and ignorant want-to-be-angler snagging for fame)

Many poachers or snaggers have an attitude problem, they think if it is there for the taking, then why not take it. Some have no respect for nature and think it is cool to snag fish for the sport and to make stupid videos and put them on websites like u-tube (see video above). Other poachers kill for profit, fencing meat to wholesalers who peddle it to restaurants.


(butchered salmon carcass left to rot after robbing its eggs)

Most poachers want the salmon eggs, and butcher the fish and leaving the carcass to rot on the streambank. This is a waste of the resource and can lead to public health concerns. Female salmon bulge with up to five pounds of eggs. The eggs can be bootlegged for $3 to $5 a pound. They usually go to Japan where salmon caviar is extremely popular, or they are sold as bait to fishermen.

Every female salmon which is captured by illegal poachers, is denying the river of up to five thousand eggs and threatening the very survival of this endangered species.

What Is A Fair Hooked Fish?
A Fair hooked fish is hooked in the mouth of the fish only. In the mouth means in the upper or lower gums of the fish. It also means inside the mouth. That is it. Anywhere else in the body of the fish is a foul hooked fish.

What Is A Foul Hooked Fish?
A foul hooked fish is anywhere in the body of the fish that is not the mouth or gums. For example, if you hook a fish in the gill plate it is a foul hooked fish... so is the tail dorsal, side, top of the head, fins or anywhere else that is not in the mouth of the fish.

What To Do If You Foul Hook A Fish.
If the fish is not controllable, simply break the line off and start fishing again. It makes no sense to play out a foul hooked fish, when you could be fighting a fair hooked fish.

If the fish is controllable, play the fish quickly, avoid handling the fish, revive and release the fish as soon as possible.

Conservation officers work a lot of overtime during all the peak hunting and fishing seasons. A key factor to their success is the information they receive from the public about illegal activity.

People who hunt and fish according to the rules don’t like to see unethical behavior in the field. It tarnishes the images of outdoors people. The DNR counts on the public’s help to do their job of protecting public resources.

The DNR urges those with information on poachers to call the toll-free “report all poaching RAP” confidential hotline at 1-800-292-7800.

I strongly encourage everyone to be good anglers and report snaggers because it is a crime and snaggers should be punished.  We all need to do our part to ensure that there will be plenty of fish for future generations to carry on the family traditions and the great sport of fishing.

Here are the Michigan fines on snagging:

NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ACT (EXCERPT)
Act 451 of 1994

324.48739 Violation of part as misdemeanor; possession or sale of multipointed hook with weight permanently attached as misdemeanor; penalties.

Sec. 48739.

(1) A person who snags fish in violation of this part is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or a fine of not less than $250.00 or more than $500.00, or both, and costs of prosecution.

(2) A person who is convicted of a second violation of snagging fish in violation of this part is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or a fine of not less than $500.00 or more than $1,000.00, or both, and costs of prosecution. In addition, the court shall suspend a sports fishing license issued to a person sentenced under this subsection for not less than 2 years and order that the person shall not secure a fishing license during that 2-year period.

(3) A person who is convicted of a third or subsequent violation of snagging fish in violation of this part is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or a fine of not less than $1,000.00 or more than $2,000.00, or both, and costs of prosecution. In addition, the court shall suspend a sports fishing license issued to a person sentenced under this subsection for not less than 3 years and order that the person shall not secure a fishing license during that 3-year period.

(4) A person who possesses or sells in this state any multipointed hook with a weight permanently attached is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or a fine of not less than $100.00 or more than $300.00, or both, and costs of prosecution.

(5) A person who is convicted of a second violation of subsection (4) is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or a fine of not less than $300.00 or more than $500.00, or both, and costs of prosecution.

(6) A person who is convicted of a third or subsequent violation of subsection (4) is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or a fine of not less than $500.00 or more than $1,000.00, or both, and costs of prosecution.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I really think its stupid if your dredging for fish yea you should be fined and arrested. But if your going salmon fishing for the fish and plan on eating them and you happen to hook it is the head or tail on a reel in without whipping the pole, I say keep the fish. People always cry about oh u snagged a fish in the side well if the damn fish is going to die might as well eat him I say. Now if your planning on snagging then yea you need to go to jail. but hey sometimes like I said on reel in you do snag them. To me that's a catch and I will keep it and eat it that's what I'm there for.

John said...

I still don't personally see why a person who accidentally snags a fish while fishing legally should not be able to keep the fish if they can land it. Especially if your fishing for personal food, you not taking more than the limit and your using the correct fishing equipment. I saw dozens of salmon snagged the other day by people fishing legally. None of them kept the fish and none of them were trying to snag. I mean the fish is going to die anyway in the case of Salmon, and if they're snagged they swim off sideways from the injury and usually die anyway. In this same area the next day there were dozens of dead fish in the water and washed up on the shore. They were healthy fish, but died after they were snagged and released. Why not let the anglers benefit from a fish they will more than likely die anyway.

John said...

I know some people will answer to my question that it will promote snagging. I don't see that at all. People who will snag, will do it anyway. People who respect the law, will continue to do so even if they were allowed to keep an accidental snagged fish.

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