Maryland Natural Resources Police officers charged four men with illegal striped bass fishing on Monday after they were stopped in protected federal waters off Ocean City.
James W. Bunting, 44, of Georgetown, Del., Cory Tyler Lednum, 18, and Douglas Dale Mumford, 35, both of Selbyville, Del., and Kirby Edward Short, 37, of Bishopville, were each charged with two counts of harvesting striped bass from an area known as the Exclusive Economic Zone.
The EEZ, as it is known, begins three miles offshore, where state waters end, and extends to 200 miles out. Federal fisheries regulators closed all but a tiny segment of the EEZ to all striped bass possession or fishing.
NRP officers on a saturation patrol along the three-mile boundary found the four fishermen’s boat well into the EEZ as it was returning to Maryland waters. They escorted the vessel back to shore, where citations were issued.
The fish were seized and donated to the Diokinia Homess Shelter.
The four fishermen are scheduled to appear in Snow Hill District Court on Feb. 20. If found guilty, they could be fined a maximum of $250 for each fish.