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PA fish poaching fines increased


November 1, 2012

HARRISBURG, PA — Gov. Tom Corbett has signed into law tougher anti-poaching legislation that increases the maximum fine for illegally harvesting fish from $200 to $5,000 and extends the period the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) can revoke fishing and boating privileges from two to five years.

The law particularly targets poaching of trophy and game of fish stolen and sold on the black market, according to Rep. Michael Peifer (R-Greentown), who sponsored the legislation in the Pennsylvania Assembly. “This is a serious problem that has a detrimental impact on our regional economy,” Peifer continued. “Under this law, we finally have a punishment that fits the crime.”

The law creates a new section in Pennsylvania’s fish and boat code for “serious unlawful take,” which increases the penalty for harvesting more than the legal daily limit of fish from a summary offense of the first degree to a misdemeanor of the second degree. It also allows the PFBC to collect from violators the costs to replace the poached fish, and it increases the amount of time a violator can be sentenced to prison from a maximum of 90 days to two years. The legislation takes effect immediately.