BOSTON (WWLP) – According to the Massachusetts Environmental Police, nearly 1,500 hunting violations occur each year. A new law aims to stop those from happening. The law, An Act Further Regulating the Enforcement of Illegal Hunting Practices, was signed by the governor in August.

Examples of poaching in Massachusetts include when violators kill protected species, kill animals out of season or illegally take sea life. This is not only harmful to the animal population, but to the livelihood of local fishermen.

“People are out there fishing with live bait where they’re not supposed to be, it’s much easier to catch fish with live bait and they’re keeping fish they’re not supposed to be. We think that this would just add another layer of protection,” said Michael Vito from Trout Unlimited Massachusetts.

The new law enhances certain penalties for illegal hunting including fines up to $15,000 and imprisonment up to five years. It also requires the borders of wildlife sanctuaries to be clearly marked for the public, and establishes increased penalties for illegal commercialization for the sale of deer, moose, bear and other species.

The law brings Massachusetts into the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact as well. This will prevent known fishing and hunting violators from other states from obtaining licenses in Massachusetts. Massachusetts is the last state in the nation to join the Wildlife Violator Compact.