Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agents cited two men in connection with the recent theft of crab traps on Black Bayou in Calcasieu Parish.
Nicholas Wayne Erny, 35 of Lake Charles and Eric L. Linden, 33, of Grand Lake, are accused of theft, destroying legal crab traps, violating crab escape ring requirements, using crab traps without required markings and taking commercial fish without a commercial gear license, according to a press release.
Additionally, Linden was cited for selling fish to a consumer without a fresh products license, the release states.
A crab fisherman contacted agents about missing trips which were eventually discovered at another location on Bayou Black with the fisherman’s license number. The corks and lines on the traps had been changed, according to the release.
Agents said he admitted to stealing the traps, cutting the lines and corks, using traps without tag numbers and escape rings, and said that he had run the traps with Linden for commercial use, according to the LDWF release.
On Aug. 19, agents contacted Linden and said he also admitted to stealing the traps, cutting the lines and using them without tag numbers and escape rings, the release states.
Neither man possessed a commercial gear license, and agents seized 22 traps along with Linden’s boat in the investigation.
Violating crab escape ring requirements, destroying legal crab traps and using crab traps without the required markings brings a fine up to $950 and 120 days in jail for each offense. Taking commercial fish without a commercial gear license and selling fish to a consumer without a fresh products license carries a fine up to $500 and 90 days in jail. Theft brings a $500 to $1,000 and up to six months in jail, according to the release.