Reporting violations to FWC

Mark O.Mark O. Posts: 3,376 Captain

Does anyone every have success in doing this? I have tried on a few occasions to dial the *FWC, only to get an answering machine and no call back. I see people illegally harvesting oysters here in St. Augustine sometimes...taking hammers to oyster mounds. If the FWC doesn't have the manpower to follow up on these, they should stop asking sportsmen to take the time to report them.

Replies

  • FusionZ06FusionZ06 Posts: 875 Officer

    They don't have the resources. I've called a handful of times on blatant issues over the last few decades and it's always been the same. Sorry, we don't have anyone in that area that can assist.

  • jriverajrivera Posts: 160 Deckhand

    Same here tried a few times down in the keys where the weekend yahoo's were fishing and keeping everything they caught pretty sure if the FWC would of shown up there they would of had a field day ticketing just for not having licenses let alone the undersize fish.

  • andrewthe1andrewthe1 Posts: 271 Deckhand

    only time i called, they answered and hear out my request.

    officer called a couple hours later with follow up information, i was impressed.

    People were catching out of slot and too many red and black drum, like 20 people all breaking the law at once!

    I was appalled.

  • tailwaterstailwaters Posts: 103 Deckhand

    I've had good experiences calling an FWC officer directly. If he's not on duty or in the area he calls one of his co-workers who is. It really speeds up the process by going directly to them. Otherwise your call goes to a central point who then has to get in touch with someone from that region who then has to track down someone else in the field. Just ask they next one you see if he/she minds if you call them to report violations. I'm sure they wont.

    Don't get mad if they take credit for the bust. I found a gill net a couple years ago. Normally I just pick them up and dispose of them. This one was 600' and loaded with dead fish. I couldn't even lift the thing out of the water it was so heavy. My buddy and I called it in. A couple weeks later I read a report about how this outstanding FWC found it. No mention of the guy who gave them the GPS numbers to it. Oh well, just glad they got it out of the water.

  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 2,696 Captain

    A few things to remember about the FWC... First is that they're spread pretty thin and have miles and miles of water to cover... The second is that most of the things being reported are misdemeanors not felonies -and that means that any action will only occur if the officer sees it happening and can testify to it directly. Your telling them that X number of folks are taking fish in a closed season, or keeping undersized or over-slot fish is just fine - but the officer has to see them doing it to be able to act... Pretty frustrating for the ordinary guy who sees wrong happening, calls it in and gets no response... Things that are felonies - the officer can arrest on probable cause with witnesses - but the vast majority of violations on the water aren't arrestable offenses at all - they're simply items where John or Jane gets a ticket - and a chance to contest the charge later in front of a judge..

    I've been a full time guide now for more than 21 years - but before that I was in law enforcement myself (1973 - 1995 down here in south Florida during the height of the party years) - and I walked into the job directly off the charter boat docks at the old Castaways where I was a mate working on every kind of charterman... I can tell you from real experience that the the FWC is head and shoulders better than the old marine patrol, all those years ago... Call in the violations you see. If you're lucky there's an officer on the water nearby and action will happen. If not the info will go to the guys and gals working that area and when they're on the water (or at the ramp, pier, bridge, jetty...) they'll be looking for the intel you've provided. No, it's not a perfect system -but our fisheries rules and their enforcement is head and shoulders better than it was back the seventies and eighties... Me, I'm just glad to be working on the water when I'm booked... that world is not very good for you, long term....

    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • bgeorgebgeorge Plant City FLPosts: 1,202 Officer

    You think it is hard to find them on the water, try finding one in the woods. I have seen check station operators request one when there was an issue. No person in several counties.

    That being said, try to learn a few of the officers in your area. They may not be able to get right there but are more likely to follow up.

    People who do not get caught are likely to continue, of the few that do get caught one or two may stop, the rest just get better.

    The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones. Hopefully the next man is not dropping his stones on the mountain you are trying to move.
  • osprey11osprey11 Posts: 799 Officer

    Just go red snapper fishing and you will find FWC. This issue is a thorn in my side. I have been searched over 10 times over 3 miles offshore. usually 40 or more. They have very expensive boats, waste a ton of gas. Every boat has to enter a jetty, why not just post FWC there. I have also been told no officer available in the most urban part of major city. They are or where getting money from Fed govt to patrol Red Snapper, at the expense of everything else.

    Hobbit free zone!!

  • xeniaxenia Posts: 68 Greenhorn

    I've been stopped by the same boat out in the Gulfstream off Miami a couple of times. If I'd had anything illegal on the boat, believe me I would have been cited! They were checking every boat out there.

  • Mark O.Mark O. Posts: 3,376 Captain

    Well I talked to them again today, just to get advice on what I should do when I see violations. Instead of calling *FWC , they suggested calling the actual office for that area, so I will enter it into my phone. For here in St. Augustine, that's the Orlando office. The guy I talked to was pretty helpful and said they could relay a call to a boat on the water if anyone was in the area. Also, with giving a description of the persons and/or vehicle, they will enter a BOLO, even if they can't respond at that time. I'm going to keep calling, knowing that they wont be able to respond to every call.

  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 2,696 Captain

    ...and that's what all of us need to do..... The legal presssure on our fish stocks is plenty enough -anyone breaking the rules is taking fish from all of us.

    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • stc1993stc1993 Albany, GA Carrabelle, FLPosts: 4,215 Captain

    I reported some people for keeping under size fish. They called me back, I told them where I was fishing at. I had been seeing them for awhile at least every other Saturday. I told them what kind of car they drove what county there tag was from, their ethnicity. I think they were Korean. I never heard from them again. I haven't seen them since though.

  • MathGeekMathGeek Posts: 345 Deckhand

    I'd get all the evidence I could on video and forward it to them, hopefully including boat and vehicle registration info. Even if they can't get someone to the scene and catch the perps in the act, sufficient video evidence may be enough to bring charges or at least launch an investigation into the matter even after the perps are off the water.

    “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" - The Messiah
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • BarrellBarrell Posts: 934 Officer

    Always call. Call the officer in your areas cell number. They will give it to you. Have as much info as possible. Boat and car registration numbers are gold. Then keep quiet dont tell anyone you called. Some cases can get big and they may take up to a year to complete a investigation on illegal selling of fish. So even if you dont see them respond they may be there at a distance watching. If you see the poachers show up again they may be under surveillance. Dont assume they arent working your information.

  • waldnerrwaldnerr Posts: 983 Officer

    @Barrell said:
    Always call. Call the officer in your areas cell number. They will give it to you. Have as much info as possible. Boat and car registration numbers are gold. Then keep quiet dont tell anyone you called. Some cases can get big and they may take up to a year to complete a investigation on illegal selling of fish. So even if you dont see them respond they may be there at a distance watching. If you see the poachers show up again they may be under surveillance. Dont assume they arent working your information.

    Great advice! One thing is for sure - if nobody reports a violation and a FWC officer doesn't see it, nothing will be done.

  • CaptJCaptJ Posts: 452 Deckhand

    For the last week or two FWC has been accompanying the trash pickup crews here in Key Largo. I guess the local law enforcement doesn't have time for this activity. Hardly ever see FWC on the water down here. In Miami a different story.

  • MRichardsonMRichardson Posts: 5,910 Admiral

    Don't blame FWC for not being at hand when you want. They don't control how much funding they get. They have few resources when compared to the population of this state (not to mention all the non-residents here every day fishing and hunting).

    All of the officers I have ever met have been stand up guys who really care about fishing, hunting and our resources. They have to be to give up more lucrative (and easier, and safer) avenues in law enforcement.

    Just do what you can, call when you see something and try to get as much relevant info about the incident and those involved as you possibly can.

  • tjensentjensen Posts: 42 Greenhorn

    @CaptJ said:
    For the last week or two FWC has been accompanying the trash pickup crews here in Key Largo. I guess the local law enforcement doesn't have time for this activity. Hardly ever see FWC on the water down here. In Miami a different story.

    Just out of curiosity why do the sanitary engineers (trash crews) need accompaniment? Are they convicts? Is Key Largo a rough area? The guys here (near Atl.) can do their thing all by themselves!

  • Jack HexterJack Hexter New Port RicheyPosts: 3,990 Moderator

    Yes, the prisoners in the county lockup do road trash pickup

  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 8,203 Admiral

    @Jack Hexter said:
    Yes, the prisoners in the county lockup do road trash pickup

    and they get much needed overtime for that.

    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • bmoodybmoody Posts: 847 Officer

    @tjensen said:

    @CaptJ said:
    For the last week or two FWC has been accompanying the trash pickup crews here in Key Largo. I guess the local law enforcement doesn't have time for this activity. Hardly ever see FWC on the water down here. In Miami a different story.

    Just out of curiosity why do the sanitary engineers (trash crews) need accompaniment? Are they convicts? Is Key Largo a rough area? The guys here (near Atl.) can do their thing all by themselves!

    Based on the scant details here, if it were curbside waste removal, I'd first ask it was certain they were sworn officers accompanying the trash pick up. I'd guess the answer is "no". I'd guess the FWC staff you're seeing in that situation are biological staff looking for exotic species. Trash from the keys is hauled to the mainland, an easy and preventable pathway for exotic species found only in the Keys to spread.

  • Bassin AssassinBassin Assassin Posts: 1,200 Officer
    edited February 4 #22

    The FWC is so under-staffed. As an ethical fisherman, you have to do what you can to stop any illegal activity you see. Hopefully the info you provide will make it to the appropriate personnel who will BOLO for theses violators, maybe not right then, but hopefully in the future.

    A guy from LA posted a video on this site of him and a friend slaying the reds. The cooler was overflowing with reds. I checked the LA regs and called FWC's counterpart in LA. While on the phone I sent him the video link and we discussed the video. He was aghast and said he would do what he could to make sure this guy was cited.

    Do what you can to protect our resources. Report violators and hopefully your actions will make a difference in the long run.

    Improve Our Fishery - Practice Catch and Release
  • BarrellBarrell Posts: 934 Officer

    I was on a fishing sight in NJ. A guy that had moved down to Miami from NJ was chatting with his friends up there telling them he was diving off the beach in Pepper Park. The park is a block from my house. He reported seeing dozens of wrung off lobster bodies on the bottom. This was summer closed season. So I called a friend in Fort Pierce that I knew was tight with local wardens. He called the wardens. A week later 4 guys were busted in the middle of the night at Pepper Park with wrung tails.
    So you never know what small bit of info you give may turn into a big case. Call!!!

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