Warren man pleads no contest in bass poaching case

Michael Saviano caught with 11 illegal bass last September

By Ted Hayes
Posted 7/16/19

A Warren man pleaded no contest in Fourth Division District Court last Thursday to exceeding the state's striped bass limit, following the discovery of a hidden storage compartment on his boat, and …

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Warren man pleads no contest in bass poaching case

Michael Saviano caught with 11 illegal bass last September

Posted

A Warren man pleaded no contest in Fourth Division District Court last Thursday to exceeding the state's striped bass limit, following the discovery of a hidden storage compartment on his boat, and 11 poached bass, last September.

Michael Saviano, 38, of 424 Water St., in Warren, was cited by DEM last September after enforcement officers, aware that his boat had been associated with "repeated hunting and fishing violations," boarded it in Port Judith. DEM officials said the bow of the boat appeared to be dipping, suggesting there was considerable weight in the hull. An inspection uncovered a hidden storage compartment that contained 13 striped bass, 11 more than the legal limit of two on a boat carrying two fishermen. Officers noted that the bass had not had their pectoral fins clipped, a requirement to prevent recreationally-caught bass from being sold commercially. Due to the fins, Mr. Saviano was also cited for selling seafood products without a permit.

In a press release after the incident was first reported last September, Steve Medeiros, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Anglers Association, said, “It’s a shame that a few people are greedy and have no respect for our fisheries. We need stricter penalties along with judges who are willing to treat fisheries violations with the severity they deserve.”
According to the DEM, however, the fine, $1,506.75, is less than what the bass would have bought if sold commercially — approximately $2,000.

The seized bass were photographed and donated to the Amos House in Providence. In addition, five fishing poles that were used were seized as evidence, though they have been returned as their forfeiture is not provided for under state law, Kurt Blanchard, Deputy Chief of DEM Law Enforcement, said Tuesday.

This was not Mr. Saviano's first arrest for violating state fisheries laws. In 2016, he was the first Rhode Islander arrested in 2016 under the state's then-new pectoral fin clipping law.

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