The March 14 arrests of the watermen was the most recent example of heightened campaigns in both Marlyand and Virginia to crack down on illegal harvest of oysters. Widespread poaching has been a significant barrier to oyster restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay.
“On the water, from the air and on land, Natural Resource Police officers are making it clear that oyster poaching will not be tolerated,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “Poaching oysters not only robs Maryland citizens and law abiding watermen of this important resource, it hampers our efforts to restore the health of our Bay.”
Police in Maryland are using a $5.6 million, high-tech system of nine cameras linked to computers called MLEIN (Maritime Law Enforcement Information Network) to crack down on poachers, according to a recent article in the Bay Journal.