Thursday, January 6, 2011

Fishing law violations on decline in Ohio

In spite of an economy still chained to hard times, improvement is being seen in the number of fishing-related arrests.

And while the statistics provided by the Ohio Division of Wildlife do not discriminate between the various violation possibilities the agency’s law enforcement administrator says most of the tickets issued are for failure to buy and show a necessary fishing license.

“I looked at our annual reports, which are organized by fiscal year. We do not break down the arrests specifically for fishing without a license, but have all sport fishing violations counted together,” said Ken Fritz, the agency’s law enforcement program administrator.

“From personal experience, I would say the vast majority of these are fishing license violations.”

Fritz’s caveat includes the fact that during the period when the Wildlife Division is conducting a wildlife officer academy often times field personnel are called in as instructors. This action pulls these officers from scouting streams and lakes for fishing law violators, Fritz says.

“Retirements will then cause this to taper off as they are assigned to counties and pick up other responsibilities,” Fritz said. “Of course, the greatest variable is the weather, as it affects the water level and the participation level, especially amongst the more casual anglers.”

Here is a brief outline for the past four years as to the number of anglers contacted by Wildlife Division officers and the number of violations they recorded:

Fiscal Year Anglers Contacted Sport Fishing Violations
2007 43,630 2,144
2008 41,563 2,184
2009 44,535 1,986
2010 42,356 1,872

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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