The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Outdoors

October 26, 2012

Corbett signs anti-poaching law

HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Corbett has signed into law tougher anti-poaching legislation that increases the maximum fine for illegally harvesting fish from $200 to $5,000 and extends the period the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat commission can revoke fishing and boating privileges from two to five years.

“This new law will have an immediate impact on our ability to deter large-scale poachers from illegally taking fish,” said  commission Executive Director John Arway. “These are the individuals who deliberately come in after dark and take large amounts of game fish, often by using illegal methods such as netting or spearing in the streams. In the past, poaching was subject to a $200 maximum fine. Now we can hit violators with up to $5,000 in fines, as well as the cost of replacing the fish they illegally harvest.”

The legislation was signed into law by Gov. Corbett and took effect immediately.

“Weak laws made our waterways extremely vulnerable to poaching, with highly sought-after trophy species of fish repeatedly stolen from our waterways and sold on the black market,” said Rep. Michael Peifer, R-Greentown, who sponsored the legislation. “This is a serious problem that has a detrimental impact on our regional economy. Under this law, we finally have a punishment that fits the crime.”

The law creates a new section in the Fish and Boat code for “serious unlawful take,” that increases the penalty for harvesting more than the legal daily limit of fish from a summary offense of the first degree to a misdemeanor of the second degree. It also allows the commission to collect from violators the cost to replace the poached fish, and it increases the amount of time a violator can be sentenced to prison from a maximum of 90 days to two years.

The law will be particularly beneficial in the Erie watershed, where the annual steelhead season is just beginning. Annually, waterways conservation officers  apprehend and cite five or six individuals for large cases of poaching. These individuals typically have in their possession dozens of fish more than the legal creel limit.

“We’ve had violators in the past who have simply handed the WCO cash to pay the small fine,” added PFBC Commissioner Glade Squires, who represents the agency’s southeast region and chairs the Law Enforcement Committee. “Now our WCOs have the tools to hit them hard in the pocketbook and to send them to jail for a longer time. And if a poacher has a current license, we can suspend that license for up to five years.”

The law also substantially increases the penalties for individuals who fish while their license is suspended. Previously, that violation was a summary offense of the first degree, subject to a $200 fine. The penalty is now a third degree misdemeanor, subject to a fine up to $5,000. 

Also, Gov. Corbett signed into law another piece of legislation sought by the commission to better protect and equip its WCOs for the challenges they face in the field. The new law adds waterways conservation officer and deputy waterways conservation officer to the list of individuals who are protected under the aggravated assault provisions of the Pennsylvania Crimes and Offenses code. It takes effect in 60 days.

 

To read stories in their entirety, visit one of these links:

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Outdoors
  • Local sports in brief 2/11/2014

    February 10, 2014

  • Pa. game commission asked to expand deer hunting

    Members of the Pennsylvania Game Commission are being urged to expand deer hunting opportunities in the commonwealth.

    January 27, 2014

  • Hough, Matt Hough chosen to lead Pa. Game Commission

    The Pennsylvania Game Commission named former Johnstown resident Matt Hough as its new executive director on Wednesday.
    The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Hough, who had been the agency’s deputy executive director.

    January 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • CWD found in deer killed on Bedford County highway

    The Pennsylvania Game Commission has reported that a white-tailed deer that was killed by a vehicle in Bedford County last fall has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD).
    The 1½–year-old buck was hit on Interstate 99 in November and sent for testing as part of Pennsylvania’s ongoing effort to monitor the disease, which is fatal to members of the deer family, but is not known to be transmitted to humans.

    January 2, 2014

  • 18-year-old girl attacked by bear while deer hunting

    A black bear attacked a teenager in central Pennsylvania as she hunted deer on a family farm, state police said Tuesday.

    December 10, 2013

  • Allegheny forest snowmobile trails to open Dec. 21

    The first day of winter will also mark the first day for snowmobiles in northwestern Pennsylvania’s Allegheny National Forest.

    December 5, 2013

  • 750,000 hunters open 2-week rifle deer season

    Warmer than average temperatures and mostly clear weather was expected as an estimated 750,000 hunters take to the woods as deer rifle hunting season opens in Pennsylvania.

    December 2, 2013

  • 2 deer rescued after falling down NE Pa. well

    Game commission officials say two 8-point bucks were rescued after falling down an abandoned well in northeastern Pennsylvania.

    November 14, 2013

  • Russia Eagle Attack1.jpg Stunning images of eagle killing deer in Russia

    Remote cameras intended to monitor Siberian tigers in Russia instead caught a golden eagle’s fatal attack on a deer, snapping three photos as the massive bird dug its talons into the distressed animal’s back.

    September 26, 2013 3 Photos

  • Agency offering tour of Game Lands 108

    As part of the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s efforts to highlight its ongoing habitat improvement initiatives, the public has invited to take part in free tours of several state game lands.
    Among them is Game Lands 108 in northern Cambria County, which will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 6.

    September 18, 2013

Poll

Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads