DEP Confiscates Boat,
Suspends Permit of Clammer
The clammer was hiding clams he harvested from restricted
(03/37) TRENTON - The Department
of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife
has charged an Ocean County man with possession of nearly
700 clams from polluted waters that were likely destined
The DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife
immediately suspended the clamming permit of Gary D. Bankes,
33, of Brick Township for one year. The DEP also issued
summonses to confiscate Bankes' harvesting gear, his boat
and his motor.
Bankes harvested hard clams Saturday from
special-restricted waters in the Manasquan River, selling
a portion of his clams to a depuration plant, but keeping
the remainder for himself.
When a Fish and Wildlife marine enforcement
officer inspect Bankes' boat to make sure he had unloaded
his entire harvest, the officer found 697 clams hidden in
a cold box and in baskets covered with clothing.
"These untreated clams were destined
for market, where they would have put the health of unsuspecting
consumers at risk," said DEP Commissioner Bradley M.
Campbell. "We will not tolerate the abuse of the depuration
program, which allows our baymen to harvest and safely market
clams from restricted waters."
Special restricted waters often have high
levels of fecal coliform, so clams from these areas must
be treated at a depuration plant to remove any bacterial
contamination before being sold to the public.
Under a pending law Gov. James E. McGreevey
signed Jan. 27, penalties for improper harvest of shellfish
will double or triple, depending on the offense. Because
this is Bankes fourth offense, he would be facing a 10-year
permit suspension if the law were in effect now.