Esther Daube-Valois: Urges support for increased poaching penalties

Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Supports increased penalties for poaching

Massachusetts’ poaching laws are antiquated and insufficient to deter poachers, who are cheating the system and jeopardizing ecosystems that wildlife depend on for survival.

Each year, Massachusetts Environmental Police receive more than 1,000 hunting complaints and violations. We can combat these illegal activities and support our officers by updating our poaching laws.

A bill pending in the Legislature would increase penalties for illegal hunting and fishing and enter the commonwealth into a nationwide law enforcement network that already benefits 48 state wildlife agencies and officers.

If Massachusetts passes this bill, both the animals and environment would prosper as poachers are stealing thousands of dollars of aquatic life essential to local ecosystems. Poachers are drawn to Massachusetts because of our expansive coastline and diverse ecosystems, and because they know our penalties are outdated (some by about a century) and we don’t share information about poaching violations and hunting or fishing license revocations across state lines.

Furthermore, poachers are aware that if they’re caught in Massachusetts and convicted of a crime resulting in their license being revoked, it would not impact their license status in their home state.

Help prevent poachers from harming our wildlife and our economy. Senate bill 464, filed by Sen. Michael Moore, a retired environmental police officer, will help deter poachers and protect the incredible wildlife that inhabit our land and waters.

Esther Daube-Valois