Two men pleaded guilty to violations of the Magnuson-Stevens Conservation and Management Act involving illegal finning and over the limit of sharks, according to a press release from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
Ricky Nguyen, 37, of Buras, and Hung Anh Tiet, 29, of Dallas, Texas, pled guilty in a case that originated in April of 2012 when enforcement agents stopped the vessel “Lady Lyanna” in Tiger Pass in Venice.
Shark finning is the illegal practice of removing a shark’s fins — which are the most profitable part of the shark — and then discarding the rest of the shark’s body overboard, the release states.
Agents found 11 whole sharks located on the deck, as well as a hidden compartment in the bow of the vessel that contained 12 sacks filled with 2,073 shark fins, according to the release. The bodies of the associated sharks were not found on the vessel.
The 2,073 individual fins represented a total of 518 sharks possessed by the two fishermen, bringing the total number of sharks possessed to 529. The daily commercial limit for sharks in Louisiana is 33 per vessel, which placed the two men 496 sharks over their daily limit, the release states.
The pair were ordered to pay a fine to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration totaling $45,000. The men also were placed on two years of probation, during which time they agreed not to transfer any of their federal shark directed permits. They also further agreed that if they are determined to be in violation of any provision of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act during the two-year period, they will surrender all of their federal shark directed permits for a period of nine months, the release states.
Finally, the men had their Louisiana state shark permits and set line licenses revoked for life, according to the release.