Tag Archives: Massachusetts Environmental Police

Up to 70 North Atlantic right whales were spotted in Cape Cod Bay

About one-fifth of the world’s entire population of North Atlantic right whales were all spotted hanging out in Cape Cod, Mass., heading into the weekend. Between 60 to 70 right whales, including a mother and calf, were seen feeding outside the east end of the Cape Cod Canal in the Cape Cod Bay on Friday, according to the Massachusetts Environmental Police. The wildlife officials sent out two patrol vessels to protect the whales from boat traffic. By Saturday, the whales had seemingly moved on. >click to read< 11:00

‘Wicked Tuna’: T.J. Ott Pays 5-Figure Fine for Illegal Act

Back on Dec. 7, 2022, the Massachusetts Environmental Police revealed that its officers began investigating the illegal sale of bluefin tuna, a federally regulated species in October 2021. During the investigation, they discovered that bluefin tuna was being sold at a Gloucester fish market, and a captain faced criminal charges. In November 2022, the captain reached a plea deal with the state and paid $13,000 in fines for the illegal sale of the fish. Although the post didn’t mention Ott, the Gloucester Daily Times later reported that he was the captain involved. >click to read< 07:57

‘Wicked Tuna’ captain pays $13K in tuna sale plea deal

The captain of the fishing vessel Hot Tuna, featured in the hit reality television show “Wicked Tuna,” found himself in some wicked hot water in October 2021 and recently paid for it. The case on nine counts of violation of a commercial fishing license against Capt. Timothy J. “TJ” Ott of Great Neck, New York, was disposed of on Oct. 28, 2022, according to Essex District Attorney spokesperson Carrie Kimball and court documents. Kimball said Ott was ordered to pay $13,500 in restitution. According to a district court clerk, the money goes to the state’s environmental trust fund. >click to read< 07:12

Large scale investigation into alleged lobster fishery violations

Massachusetts Environmental Police swarmed the dock at Sandwich Marina Thursday and Friday for a large-scale investigation into alleged fishing violations by a lobsterman. Approximately 10 Environmental Police trucks were parked at the marina. The agency’s boat “Jessie” returned to the marina at mid-morning Friday fully loaded with 30-40 lobster traps it had retrieved from offshore as well as three barrels of lobster pot lines. photos, >click to read< 17:29

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr wants more MEP whale patrols to reduce entanglement, prevent shutdowns

A state senator wants to step up marine patrols for endangered North Atlantic right whales to reduce collisions with boats, entanglements with fishing gear and prevent shutdowns of the state’s lobster fishery. An amendment to the $47 billion state budget, offered by Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, would earmark another $250,000 for the Massachusetts Environmental Police to conduct more whale patrols in state waters. >click to read< 14:16

Environmental Police Investigate Mysterious Menemsha Harbor Lobster Deaths

“It was reported that a commercial lobsterman within Menemsha Harbor discovered what appeared to be motor oil poured on top of several of his lobster crates that were tied along his mooring slip,” the report says in part. According to the report, the contamination of oil resulted in the death of “multiple” lobsters that were stored in the crates. The report also noted that the oil did not appear to have any other environmental impact in the surrounding area. >click to read< 09:09

F/V Leonardo found off Martha’s Vineyard

Fishing vessel Leonardo that capsized and sank with four fishermen aboard on Nov. 24 has been found, according to the Massachusetts Environmental Police. “We located and identified the sunken fishing vessel on Sunday morning,” Major Patrick Moran said Monday. The Leonardo is a 57-foot scalloper, based out of New Bedford. The vessel sank in choppy seas some 24 miles southwest off Martha’s Vineyard. Major Moran said the boat was found 140 feet down near where it was reported missing and was “sitting perfectly upright.” >click to read< 10:55

New rule allows NB and Southern NE fishermen to stop throwing away fish

The change, which is also expected to be made in Rhode Island and Connecticut, will allow fishermen to make one trip and then return to the three states and offload their catches without going back to sea after every offload,,The conditions are that they must have licenses to catch fluke in the states where they offload, and the states must be open for catching fluke. “We just want to go from state to state and not kill fish unnecessarily. Anyone who thinks fishermen don’t care about fish is wrong,” said Tony Borges, owner and captain of Sao Paulo, Photos, >click to read< 14:12

Environmental officers outnumbered by complaints of poaching.

Using two undercover officers posing as fishermen, environmental police focused their efforts on the canal, and on Sunday they seized 50 illegally caught striped bass and issued $8,000 in citations to 14 anglers. “The violators are both recreational and commercial fishermen,” said Environmental Police Maj. Patrick Moran, who said the sheer numbers for a one-day action were incredible. “Poachers are becoming more daring, devious and furtive, and it’s a daily struggle to figure out the newest scheme to skirt the fisheries laws,” Moran wrote in an email. >click to read<17:11

Man jailed 47 days for illegal lobsters

The Gloucester man caught landing 230 illegal lobsters in two separate incidents — 183 in one case, 47 in the other — now is essentially paying for his most recent crime by spending what amounts to as a day in jail for each illegal crustacean. James A. Santapaola Jr., 42, of 16 Forest Lane, has begun serving 47 days in Middleton Jail after he entered guilty pleas to 28 counts of possession of illegally short lobsters and 19 other counts related his possession of 16 V-notched lobsters and three oversized lobsters among his illegal landings. >click to read<08:19

Lobsterman accused of witness retaliation in headless tuna case

Harold E. Wentworth, 41, with listed addresses of 28 Revere St. and 24 Liberty St., was arrested Wednesday by officers from Massachusetts Environmental Police and Gloucester Police on charges that on March 12 he retaliated against the prime witness against him in the tuna case..,,, According to police reports of Wednesday’s arrest, the prime witness against Wentworth contacted Environmental Police Officer Ryan Lennon on March 28 that he suspected Wentworth dumped some of his gear into Pigeon Cove earlier in the month and may have committed other retaliatory acts, such as cutting his lobster trawls. On Monday, Lennon and the witness reviewed security footage of Pigeon Cove from March 12. >click to read<21:57

Lobsterman back in court – Only $720 of $10K fine paid for illegal lobsters

When James A. Santapaola Jr. got nabbed landing 183 illegal lobsters at a local lobster wholesaler two years ago, the Gloucester lobsterman eventually cut a deal with prosecutors to plead guilty to 20 of the counts and pay two fines totaling $10,050. Now, nearly two years after the plea deal, Santapaola Jr. — who was arrested again last week on charges of possessing 47 illegal lobsters — has paid only $720 of the $10,050 in fines, according to the clerk’s office at the Gloucester District Court. ,,, The haul, according to law enforcement reports, included 28 undersized lobsters, 16 V-notched females and three oversized lobsters.>click to read<20:48

Massachusetts Environmental Police recreational vessel inspection nets criminal summonses

On Tuesday, June 19, 2018, a Massachusetts Environmental Police Officer conducted a fisheries inspection of a recreational vessel at the boat ramp in Sandwich. The inspection of the vessel yielded 300 pounds of jumbo black sea bass, 73 pounds of large black sea bass, one short black sea bass, and 7 pounds of scup. The vessel operator presented the Officer with a New Hampshire commercial fishing permit and indicated he believed he could fish commercially in Massachusetts with said permit. The operator and his passengers were each issued criminal summonses for fishing commercially in Massachusetts without a Massachusetts commercial permit and possession over the legal limit of black sea bass. 15:37

Busted! Environmental Police discover scallops hidden in bathroom, refrigerator

A commercial scallop vessel was found to be hiding scallops in the bathroom and refrigerator following an inspection on Sunday, according to the Massachusetts Environmental Police. The fishing vessel Lugia was on a “closed area trip” which restricted the landing limit to 18,000. Upon completion of the off-load, the vessel was found to be over the limit by three-hundred pounds. Environmental Police officers asked the captain if there were any more scallops on the vessel after the off-load, according to Maj. Pat Moran. >click to read<18:24

Mass Environmental Police confiscate Scallops over permitted limit on Carlos Rafael vessel

The Massachusetts Environmental Police confiscated 120 pounds of scallops off a Carlos Rafael fishing vessel on Sunday, according to Major Pat Moran. The scallops at being held with their final destination to be determined by the National Marine Fisheries Service, environmental police said. Officers boarded the fishing vessel Dinah Jane, owned by Rafael, on Sunday to conduct a marine fisheries inspection. >click here to read< 14:17

Arrest made in the case of the headless tuna

The mysterious autumnal tale of Gloucester’s headless bluefin tuna has taken another arresting turn. Literally. On Friday evening, following the first day of the re-opened tuna season, Massachusetts Environmental Police officers arrested a Gloucester fisherman whom they believe dumped the illegally harvested 400-pound giant bluefin tuna in the woods off Revere Street in late October. Harold E. Wentworth, 40, of 24 Liberty St., was arrested by Environmental Police officers at the dock in Rockport and transported to the Rockport Police Station to be booked on the charges of improper disposal of waste, expelling trash or litter from a motor vehicle and operating a motor vehicle after suspension for operating under the influence. click here to read the story 08:26

Tally’s hauls big tuna from the woods

What would you do if you came across a 400-pound tuna in the woods? Perhaps a better question: What in the world was a dead tuna doing in the woods in the vicinity of Revere Street? Those are just some of the questions the Massachusetts Environmental Police and NOAA Fisheries’ Office of Law Enforcement are trying to answer in their investigation of who dumped the headless giant tuna in the woods. “I can’t really discuss it because it’s an ongoing investigation,” said Maj. Patrick Moran of the Environmental Police. Ditto for NOAA Fisheries’ law enforcement folks click here to read the story 18:30

2 men arrested on drug charges aboard fishing boat in Buzzards Bay

Two men were arrested Wednesday on drug charges while aboard a fishing vessel in Buzzards Bay as a result of a port security operation with New Bedford Police Maritime Special Response Team, Massachusetts Environmental Police, the Department of Homeland Security and the New Bedford Police Port Security Unit.,,, The two men were charged after members of the security operation boarded the fishing vessel Blue Ocean, which is homeported in Virginia. The vessel was headed outbound from the Port of New Bedford, police said. click here to read the story 12:39

State and Federal Authorities’ visit to fish house remains a mystery

Business appeared to be carrying on as usual Friday at Lou-Joe’s Fresh Seafood, a day after agents from the Internal Revenue Service and two other government agencies visited the small fish processing plant. Workers were cutting fish on Friday inside the 3,800-square-foot plant at 24 Washburn St., New Bedford, near where Interstate 195 crosses the Acushnet River. Fish trucks were coming and going from the loading docks. An employee in the office said he was not the owner and declined to comment on the situation. On Thursday, about a dozen officials from the IRS, Massachusetts Environmental Police, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration visited the plant. click here to read the story 21:50

Recreational Fishermen caught with nearly 300 more black sea bass than allowed

On just the second day of the black sea bass fishing season, two boats of fishermen were caught by harbormasters with nearly 300 more of the black sea bass than allowed in the recreational limit. The Wareham Harbormaster Department alerted the Massachusetts Environmental Police to the two boats on Sunday at the Tempest Knob Public boat ramp. When officers inspected the first boat, which had four people aboard, they found multiple coolers that contained 225 more black sea bass than the recreational limit allows, Environmental Police said. Fifty-nine of those fish were smaller than the 15-inch limit. That boat also had 98 more scup than legal possession limit, as well as two undersized tautog and one 17-inch striped bass. Click here to read the story 17:25

Two Vessels suspected of catching too many Monk fish are under investigation

From the Massachusetts Environmental Police: On Wednesday, March 29, 2017, a Massachusetts Environmental Police Officer was on patrol in Saquatucket Harbor, an area that has recently received several fisheries complaints regarding vessels offloading catch that exceed the legal limit. While on patrol, the officer observed two vessels offloading monkfish. The Officer subsequently approached the vessel Captains and began the process of conducting an inspection of the catch offload. The inspection resulted in each vessel offloading catch over the legal limit; Vessel 1 was 1293 pounds over, Vessel 2 was 977 pounds over. The case has been turned over to the National Marine Fisheries Service for further investigation. The Massachusetts Environmental Police remain committed to providing quality and professional enforcement of conservation laws. Link 08:09

Lobsters seized from offshore trawler donated to homeless veterans by Massachusetts Environmental Police

Massachusetts Environmental Police donated lobsters seized from an offshore trawler in New Bedford to veterans after officials determined the lobsters could not be returned to the water. Environmental police officers conducted an inspection of an offshore trawler in New Bedford on Sunday and found the vessel caught more than 500 lobsters.  Commercial trawlers are limited to 100 lobsters daily and cannot exceed more than 500 lobsters if caught outside of state waters, authorities said.  “After counting the lobsters being offered for sale, it was determined the vessel was over the 500 count limit,” according to the Environmental Police. “Officers seized the lobsters and cited the vessel for being over the limit.” read the rest here 13:21

Gloucester Lobsterman fined $10K for illegal landings in plea deal – Apology to ‘entire fleet’ delivered in courtroom

The Gloucester lobsterman accused of landing 183 illegal lobsters last November pleaded guilty to 20 of the counts, and was fined $10,000. All other charges against him were dismissed under a plea agreement announced Friday in Gloucester District Court. James A. Santapaola Jr., 40, of 16 Forest St., stood quietly before Judge Richard Mori, responding only with a “Yes, sir,” and “No, sir” when asked if he understood the impact of his guilty pleas and whether he had been coerced by anyone into making them. The pleas, fine and dismissals all came through joint recommendations negotiated by Santapaola’s lawyer, Liam O’Connell, assistant district attorney Aimee Conway, and Massachusetts Environmental Police, which had filed the charges at Capt. Joe & Sons Inc. on East Main Street last fall. While Santapaola did not speak, and left the courtroom without making any comment afterward, O’Connell read into the court record a letter in which his client said he was “humbled and humiliated” by the incident. Read the story and apology letter here 08:03

Arraignment set for man accused of landing 183 illegal lobsters

measuring-lobster_8468_990x742James A. Santapaola Jr., the Gloucester lobsterman accused of landing 183 illegal lobsters last month at a local lobster wholesaler, committed a similar offense in 2006, according to the incident report filed by Massachusetts Environmental Police. On Wednesday, Gloucester District Court Clerk Magistrate Margaret Crateau issued a criminal complaint against Santapaola, 40, of 16 Forest Lane, for allegedly landing the illegal lobsters at Captain Joe & Sons Inc. on East Main Street on Nov. 8. Crateau set Jan. 20 for Santapaola’s arraignment in Gloucester on the misdemeanor charges. The criminal complaint charges Santapaola landed 569 lobsters at Captain Joe & Sons on Nov. 8 that included 144 undersize lobsters, two egg-bearing female lobsters and 37 lobsters with V-notches indicating a breeding female. Earlier, Environmental Police officials said the wholesaler is not culpable in the illegal landings because it never took the lobsters into its possession. Read the rest here 16:09

Massachusetts Environmental Police mum on identity of accused lobsterman

lobster-sizeThe Massachusetts Environmental Police said Wednesday it is not naming the lobsterman for whom it is seeking a criminal summons for allegedly unloading 183 illegal lobsters last Tuesday at a local lobster wholesaler. Major Patrick Moran of the Environmental Police said it is the department’s policy not to divulge the name of the lobsterman or the vessel until its officers have the opportunity to go before the clerk magistrate at Gloucester District Court. “That is our policy and I don’t see it changing,” Moran said. “We still have to protect people who may be innocent.” Moran did confirm the lobsters were landed at Captain Joe & Sons Wholesale Lobster Co. in East Gloucester, but said the wholesale lobster dealer does not share any culpability in the alleged massive violations that included 183 illegal lobsters — 144 undersized, 37 v-notched and two egg-bearing — from the 550 lobsters the unidentified vessel landed. “We are not holding the wholesaler responsible, the reason being they hadn’t taken the lobsters into their possession,” Moran said. “There already was a federal officer on the scene and the vessel was gone by the time they started inspecting the lobsters.” Read the story here 08:02

Unusual policy allows Massachusetts Environmental Police to interrupt shifts to work private details

Massachusetts Environmental PoliceFor a decade, the Massachusetts Environmental Police have operated under an unusual paid-detail policy that national law-enforcement experts warn could jeopardize officers’ commitment to public safety. The practice, known as splitting shifts, allows Environmental Police officers to interrupt their regularly scheduled duties to work a paid detail, provided that they return to work afterward and complete their required hours. It is virtually unheard of among police departments, but a similar policy was in place in New Orleans when the Department of Justice X-rayed that city’s Police Department in 2011. The federal agency found that the NOPD’s split-shift policy was a possible incentive for officers to prioritize extra money over public safety. “Just looking at it from a distance, it looks like it would complicate the ability to separate public work from private work, and that is a huge problem,” said Ed Davis, the former superintendent of the Lowell and Boston police departments. He and other law-enforcement experts questioned whether an Environmental Police officer would be as likely to make an arrest or take any police action if that action meant the officer wouldn’t be able to make it to a private paid detail on time. Read the story here 09:47

Undercover sting operation off Sandwich nets alleged Striped Bass poachers

On Sunday night a small fleet of four boats motored out into Cape Cod Bay. The 50-foot Massachusetts Environmental Police patrol boat Thomas Paine, two smaller patrol boats and an undercover surveillance vessel joined a much larger fleet of well over 60 vessels fishing on a striped bass hot spot off Scorton Creek in Sandwich some time before midnight. Environmental Police were acting on tips from commercial and recreational striped bass fishermen that commercial fishermen were engaging in a practice called front loading, catching striped bass in advance of midnight on Mondays and Thursdays and storing them on board their vessel to sell as if they’d caught them the next day. Five commercial fishermen from the Cape and one from Belchertown were fined more than $1,000 in total, according to Moran. A total of $3,000 in fishing gear was confiscated. The fishermen were given civil citations for fishing during a commercial striped bass closure, possession of striped bass without a clipped fin and possession of an amount of fish over the daily limit for recreational fishermen. Read the story here 09:08

Massachusetts Environmental Police busts Maine skipper for six hidden bags of scallops during offload

57647e37c6d2e.imageA Maine captain faces prosecution after an inspector, who was checking the boat as scallops were offloaded Thursday in Gloucester, reported finding additional shellfish, worth more than $6,000, hidden in the vessel’s hold. “He was offloading at the Cape Ann Seafood Exchange in Gloucester and one of our officers asked to inspect the permit and the catch, and in conversation with the captain asked if he had any more than the 600 pounds, and the captain said no,” said Maj. Patrick Moran, coastal bureau chief for the Massachusetts Environmental Police. The vessel in question, the Loriann, has a home port of Bristol, Maine. “On weighing it in, it was found that it was 607 pounds, or 7 pounds over.” Moran said the inspector asked the captain to look at his permit and inspect the hold, not an unusual request. Read the story here 09:34

Breaking: Eight arrested in drug raids on New Bedford fishing boats

unnamed nb drug bustEight people were arrested on local fishing boats over the past two days in drug raids by national, state and local law enforcement, who seized heroin and opiates that fishermen were intending to use at sea, police said. “This is the second time we’ve done this, and it’s actually a continuing effort to tie (off) the flow of illegal drugs from getting to sea, aboard fishing vessels,” said Major Patrick Moran of the Massachusetts Environmental Police. “This operation, we had eight arrests,” he said. Moran said environmental police worked with the New Bedford Police Department’s marine unit and local officers from the Department of Homeland Security in the two-day operation.  Read the rest here 15:44

Cooler after cooler, bucket after bucket, Five Massachusetts men charged with having hundreds of illegally caught fish

five poachers from brocktonOne of the them was caught last year selling fish out of his trunk in Brockton. The men, whom police have not yet identified, are facing illegal fishing and boating violations after they were caught with hundreds of illegally fished black sea bass and scup in their boat, state environmental police said. Environmental police were conducting inspections off Buzzards Bay Saturday when they came upon the 23-foot boat with five Brockton men aboard. Read the rest here 21:20