By Bob Katzen
The House and Senate approved and sent to Gov. Baker a measure that would regulate poaching—the illegal hunting that harms or kills wildlife including fish, birds, mammals and endangered or threatened species. Other provisions elevate the fines and penalties for poaching; align Massachusetts poaching regulations with other states; and bring Massachusetts into the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, which helps states to work together to prevent illegal hunting across state lines.
Supporters said that it has been close to 100 years since many of the commonwealth’s anti-poaching laws were last updated and noted the absence of action on these laws has resulted in weak, outdated penalties that are just a slap on the wrist. “This legislation finally brings our laws, fines and penalties in line with other states,” said sponsor Sen. Michael Moore (D-Millbury). “It also brings Massachusetts into the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, a nationwide law enforcement network that allows our wildlife protection agencies to share information about poachers with other states. With the passage of this legislation, Massachusetts is making it clear that we will no longer be a safe haven for those who wish to do harm to our wildlife, marine life and ecosystems.”