Fish Poachers
Michigan DNR

Michigan DNR Busts Two Men for Poaching Hundreds of Panfish and Perch

Two Michigan men could lose fishing privileges for taking hundreds of perch and panfish.

With spring here, many anglers are hitting the water and taking advantage of the beautiful weather to get a tasty fish dinner. Unfortunately, it seems the poachers are now also out causing havoc. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has announced the arraignment of two Huron County men for going grossly over the limit on walleye, perch, and panfish.

Now, two of those alleged poachers are facing thousands of dollars in fines and restitution. According to a Michigan DNR press release, the wildlife agency began investigating 68-year-old Stanley Garbacz Jr, of Caseville and 53-year-old Bruce Warren of Pigeon on May 10 after receiving a call on the anti-poaching tip line that Garbacz was way over the limit.

Conservation Officer Josh Wright was assisted in the investigation by Huron County Sheriff's Deputy Joshua Loss. The officers were in for quite the surprise when they arrived to find a staggering 170 perch in the process of being filleted.

Garbacz and Warren had allegedly caught all the fish earlier that day. Michigan's daily possession limit is only 25. However, there were more fish in Garbacz's house stored in multiple freezers. The officers pulled 85 bags of fish in total putting him even further over the limit.

Michigan allows possession of two days of additional limit on fish with a total possession limit of 24 walleyes, 75 panfish, and 75 perch. However, once all the tallying was done, the officers found Garbacz was over the limit on perch by 393, 245 on panfish, and 35 walleyes.

Garbacz and Warren both surrendered to authorities and were arraigned this week in Huron County District Court. Garbacz was hit with two over the limit charges for possession of perch and walleye and was ordered to pay $7,930 in restitution. Warren got one charge for being over the limit for perch and was ordered to pay $600 in restitution. Both will face a future court appearance and will have to pay additional court fines. They could also potentially lose fishing privileges from this case.

It seems the DNR wants to make an example of this case as a warning to others who may feel tempted to go over the legal limits on fish.

"Fish rules and regulations are in place to maintain a healthy natural resource," DNR Lt. Dave Shaw said in the press release. "Taking over limits by one or more individuals can impact the harvestable population and which could potentially reduce fish species for future generations."

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