Tip Helps Environmental Officials Thwart Poachers

Officials from the Falmouth Department of Marine and Environment opened an investigation after they received conclusive evidence that two men attempted to poach elvers, or juvenile eels, from a Falmouth water body.

Gregg P. Fraser, director of Marine and Environmental Services, said that a Falmouth resident reported two suspicious men at a herring run. The report eventually led to the safe passage of tens of thousands of protected elvers.

On Saturday, May 10, the resident drove by a herring run in town and observed activity he believed to be suspicious. The reporting party saw two men, who he believed were not from the area, jump into a nearby waiting truck and flee the area at the sight of his truck. In a department news release, Mr. Fraser said that this type of activity is consistent with glass eel/elver poaching.

Following the report, officers found a very large school of elvers.

R. Charles Martinsen III, deputy director for the department of marine and environmental services, said it was important for the safe passage of future elvers not to report the location.

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For four hours, Mr. Martinsen and environmental services officer Daniel J. Donahue captured and relocated 35 pounds of elvers. The payday for this haul, if sold illegally by poachers, would have been $28,000, Mr. Fraser said.

“The Department of Marine and Environmental Services considers the report by the anonymous party extremely important,” he said. “This action precipitated the protection of a significant protected natural resource in our community.”

Mr. Martinsen said that the two poachers did not make modifications to the stream. He said that he believed the poachers were scouting the area for a later date.

Guilty poachers can serve jail time. Violaters of any provision of state poaching laws can be punished by a fine of $100 and up or by imprisonment for no more than 30 days, or both, said Amy Mahler, assistant press secretary for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

A video shows environmental officers releasing the baby eels. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Falmouth-Department-of-Marine-and-Environment/548112741892417

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