Enforcement agents with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries cited two Avoyelles Parish men for taking gamefish illegally after they allegedly witnessed them offloading fish caught in gill nets in an area of Old River near Vick, according to a news release.
Donnyel W. Lapraririe, 60, and Phillip W. Lapraririe, 33, both of Effie, were cited on Jan. 26 for taking gamefish illegally, illegal possession of gamefish, illegal net mesh size, taking commercial fish without a commercial license and gear license, and failing to tag or mark their nets, the release states.
Phillip Lapraririe was also cited for failing to comply with PFD requirements, improper running lights and possessing an expired boat registration, the release states.
Agents were working an area of Old River where they had received reports of illegal gill-netting when they allegedly found the men picking up nets out of the water and putting them into their vessel before daylight, according to the release.
They watched as the men allegedly offloaded the nets at the bank, the release states. Agents made contact with the men, who did not possess the required commercial fishing licenses. Also, their net mesh size was 2 inches, the release states.
Agents learned the men possessed 13 freezer bags each containing 10 gutted, scaled and headless crappie. The men admitted to catching the frozen crappie with the same nets, according to the release.
In the nets on Thursday, agents found 13 largemouth bass, 44 crappie, seven bullhead catfish, five gar, one bowfin, two carp and 11 shad. The fish were seized and donated to a local charity, the release states.
It is illegal to fish commercially with a gill net that has a mesh size smaller than 3 inches in the freshwater areas of the state, and to take game fish with a commercial gill net.
Illegal possession of game fish, taking game fish illegally and using illegal mesh size each carries a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail. Taking commercial fish without a commercial fishing license and gear license, and failing to tag nets each brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail. Failing to comply with PFD requirements, improper vessel running lights and possessing an expired boat registration each bring up to a $50 fine and 15 days in jail, the release states.
The men may also face civil restitution totaling $1,109 for the replacement value of the illegally taken fish.