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Fish poachers taking advantage of Florida's cold snap

January 12, 2010 |  7:35 am

Common snook during warmer weather. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers are dealing with another effect of the brutal cold snap hitting the state -- fish poachers.

The drop in temperature is making some fish so lethargic that they are just floating to the water's surface and being grabbed up by unethical fishermen, who are taking fish by the hundreds in some instances, reports Florida TV station WFTV.

"We're seeing them using dip nets, and using boats, but you can get them from the shoreline," said FWC officer Steve Van Nortwyck.

The department is receiving reports of filleted fish littering shorelines. A poacher left behind a pile of more than 100 snook carcasses under a dock in New Smyrna Beach, on the eastern shore of the state. Snook season is closed, so possessing even a single fish is a second-degree misdemeanor.

FWC officers are patrolling waterways in an effort to halt the massive fish grab, and have arrested at least five people so far.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Common snook during warmer weather. Credit: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

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