Michigan DNR catch sturgeon poacher in St. Clair County

by Justin Clark on November 14, 2012

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A photo of DNR conservation officer Kris Kiel with the sturgeon poached from St. Clair County is available below.

A cooperative effort between the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Clay Township Police Department has resulted in the citation of Wadhah Noori Jabro, of Sterling Heights, for taking sturgeon during the closed season in St. Clair County.

DNR conservation officers Todd Szyska and Kris Kiel were on patrol, looking for illegal shining activity in Macomb County, when they received a call from the DNR Report All Poaching (RAP) line attendant that an anonymous citizen had reported the illegal activity. The citizen supplied a description of the suspect’s vehicle and license plate number.

The DNR conservation officers, who were 40 minutes away from the scene, called the Clay Township Police for assistance. Clay Township officers located the suspect and held him for the conservation officers.

The officers found Mr. Jabro in possession of a 61-inch sturgeon. He was fishing without a proper license, without a mandatory sturgeon tag and was taking a sturgeon during the closed season (an offense punishable by up to 180 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, restitution of $1,500 and a loss of fishing license for three years).

Mr. Jabro was arraigned yesterday, Nov. 13, in the 72nd District Court in Marine City. The magistrate reviewed the misdemeanor charges and determined the case was sufficient to be heard by a district court judge. The pretrial hearing is set for Nov. 28.

“Based on the tackle he was using, the suspect was obviously fishing for sturgeon,” said Szyska. “We wouldn’t have had this case at all if it weren’t for the RAP line and an alert citizen who called it in. And we really appreciate the Clay Township Police Department’s help, which made this case possible.”

Sturgeon are relatively rare Great Lakes denizens.

“The lake sturgeon population in the St. Clair system is a unique and valuable resource,” said DNR fisheries biologist Mike Thomas. “Fishing regulations have been designed to protect that resource. Poaching is a direct threat to the viability of the sturgeon population.”

Anglers, in possession of an all-species fishing license, are allowed to harvest one sturgeon per year, which must be tagged immediately. Sturgeon season on the St. Clair River closes Sept. 30.

Anyone who witnesses illegal hunting, trapping or fishing is encouraged to call the DNR’s Report All Poaching (RAP) line at 800-292-7800.

To learn more about Michigan’s fishing seasons and catch limits, visit www.michigan.gov/fishing. To learn about the work of Michigan’s conservation officers, visit www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers.

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