Conservation Officer badgeCONTACT:
Lt. Michael Eastman: 603-868-1095 or 603-271-3361
Major Kevin Jordan: 603-271-3128
Jane Vachon: 603-271-3211
May 3, 2013

Elver Poachers Arrested in Hampton Falls, NH

CONCORD, N.H. – Two Maine brothers were arrested this morning (Friday, May 3, 2013) in Hampton Falls, N.H., for illegally harvesting young eels (called "glass eels" or "elvers") in a New Hampshire coastal river.

New Hampshire Fish and Game Law Enforcement received information at approximately 5:00 a.m. that two individuals were dipping glass eels in the Hampton Falls River near Route 1 in Hampton Falls, N.H.

N.H. Fish and Game Conservation Officers responded to the scene and found the men leaving the site in possession of illegal glass eels. While being handcuffed, Matthew Kinney, age 29, of Bremen, Maine, resisted. He struck an officer and was pepper-sprayed, then fell into the Hampton Falls River and fled into the nearby marshland. The second man, Justin Kinney, age 35, of Mt. Vernon, Maine, also fled, but was taken back into custody a short time later.

A search commenced for Matthew Kinney, involving Conservation Officers; N.H. State Police; police from the towns of Seabrook, Hampton Falls, and Kensington; K-9 teams from Fish and Game and N.H. State Police; and a N.H. State Police helicopter.

The State Police tracking dog led searchers to Matthew Kinney's location in a rented room in the Hampton Falls Inn. He was taken into custody at 9:15 a.m.

Matthew Kinney has been charged with assaulting a police officer, disobeying a Conservation Officer, resisting arrest, taking American eels less than 6 inches in length, and taking American eels without a harvest permit. Cash bail was set for him at $5,000.

The second man, Justin Kinney has been charged with disobeying a Conservation Officer, hindering apprehension, providing false information to an officer, taking American eels less than 6 inches in length, and taking American eels without a harvest permit. Cash bail was set for him at $2,500.

If cash bail is not posted, the men will be held at the Rockingham House of Corrections until their arraignment on Monday, May 6, 2013, in Seabrook District Court.

A number of incidents of poaching migrating young eels have occurred in the region as the price they bring on foreign markets has escalated.  "It is a violation of the law to harvest these young eels in New Hampshire," said Conservation Officer Lt. Michael Eastman of the N.H. Fish and Game Department.  "As this incident shows, we are aggressively enforcing that law, and perpetrators will face significant consequences."

No further information is available at this time.

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