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For Release: Monday, May 21, 2012

Operation "Spearhead" A Success

A DEC enforcement initiative in the Hudson River watershed and Adirondacks has resulted in the ticketing or formal warning of 117 people for a variety of fishing-related infractions, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today.

Between March 16 and April 30 DEC Environmental Conservation Officers (ECO) wrote 105 tickets and issued 26 written warnings in Greene, Columbia, Rensselaer, Albany, Saratoga, Warren, Washington, Warren, Hamilton, Franklin, Essex and Clinton counties.

"A greater presence during this vulnerable time for walleyes protects this valuable fishery," said ECO Major Tim Duffy. "Walleye poachers will often spear the fish as they pool up in shallow water to lay their eggs. This initiative sends a strong message to the poachers that their illegal actions will not be tolerated."

This initiative was designed to coincide with the spawning run for walleye, an important recreational fishery in the state. In addition to walleye, the Hudson River also provides important striped bass, shad, sturgeon, smelt and juvenile eel fisheries. In the Adirondacks, ECOs focused their efforts on waterways such as tributaries of Saratoga Lake, Great Sacandaga Lake, Lake George and the Saranac River.

In addition to tickets issued for illegal walleye fishing, ECOs ticketed people for taking too many striped bass, fishing in closed areas, taking smelt illegally, possessing loaded firearms in vehicles, taking undersized fish and the reckless operation of vessels.

Most of these illegal activities occur in the evening requiring the officers to work at all hours in order to catch the poachers.

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