Chinese restaurant cited by DEC for fishy practices

A week-long Department of Environmental Conservation investigation led to the raid of a West Coxsackie Chinese restaurant that allegedly poached fish from the Hudson River and Coxsackie Reservoir.

DEC police said Dragon Garden, located on Route 9W in Coxsackie, had nearly one dozen striped bass filets, 24 undersized crappies, one largemouth bass and several bags of frozen striper parts on the premises – all of which are illegal to possess commercially.

None of the crappies found by the DEC met the state-minimum of nine inches in order to be harvested, and police are still attempting to find a fine for the other poached fish.

If the total value of the fish exceeds $250, it is considered a misdemeanor, however if the value is higher than $1,500, it would be considered a felony.

“We have to document the evidence, we have to take pictures of it, inventory it and weigh it,” Environmental Conservation Lt. Kevin J. Beiter told The Daily Mail. “We try to determine some kind of value, if it was one fish versus 100 fish, what kind of a value are we looking at.”

The investigation into Dragon Garden comes after a DEC press release was sent out earlier last week calling “Operation Spearhead,” an initiative aimed at curbing fishing-related infractions that ticketed or warned 117 people, a success.

During the operation, the DEC cited people for illegal fishing of walleye, taking too many striped bass, fishing in closed areas and taking undersized fish, among other infractions.

Dragon Garden was issued tickets by DEC police for illegal possession of untagged striped bass in a restaurant and illegal commercialization. The tickets were returnable to the Coxsackie town court.