Enforcement agents with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries arrested a 74-year-old commercial fisherman in Bayou Des Allemands on Monday for allegedly taking undersized catfish and then attempting to conceal them during an inspection.
According to a press release, Leon Fonseca was observed actively fishing trotlines about 2:30 p.m., but before agents could make contact with him, he allegedly attempted to discard blue catfish that were less than the minimum size of 12 inches.
Agents were able to retrieve multiple dead fish from the water, and by adding up those fish and the ones still on the vessel, determined undersized catfish made up almost 15 percent of his total catch, the release states.
Commercial fishermen may have an incidental take of undersized blue catfish not to exceed 5 percent of their total blue catfish catch. Agents seized 64 pounds of catfish and sold them to the highest bidder, according to the release.
Taking or possessing undersized commercial catfish carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail. Intentional concealment of fish brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail, the release states.