State’s specially trained canine detects illegal possession of fish along Housatonic River

A canine with special training in detecting fish demonstrated the value of its new skills last Friday on the Housatonic River, leading to charges for fishing violations against two men who were out on the river in Milford.

A Labrador retriever named Saydee that just completed training in the detection of illegally caught fish was used by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s (DEEP) environmental conservation (EnCon) police to find two striped bass the men allegedly had caught that did not meet minimum length requirements.

Fishing compliance check

EnCon officers saw the two seen fishing on the Housatonic River on the evening of May 8, and stopped to conduct a fishing compliance check.

The men said they had not caught any fish, but the officers dispatched Saydee to search the shoreline and the dog indicated a “find” on a black trash bag tucked in a rocky embankment, according to a DEEP press release.

Two men cited by officers

An inspection of the bag revealed two striped bass that measured only 15 inches and 19 inches in length, the DEEP said. State regulations limit the possession of striped bass to one fish per angler at a minimum length of 28 inches in an effort to protect the resource.

Ronaldo Oliviera, 30, of Bridgeport, was issued a misdemeanor summons for possession of short striped bass and was also cited for fishing without a license. He was released on a promise to appear May 21 in state Superior Court in Milford.

Eber Macario, 60, also of Bridgeport, was issued an infraction for fishing without a license, which carries a fine of $87.

Receive special training

Saydee is one of three canines from the EnCon K-9 unit that received special training in fish detection to assist in the detection of fishing violations.

The canines have been trained to detect certain species of sport fish that are commonly caught in Connecticut, such as trout and striped bass. They have been taught how to search vessels, under rocks, along shorelines, and other places illegally taken fish could be hidden.