Enforcement agents with the Lousiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries cited three men for alleged shrimping violation last week in Bayou Little Caillou in Terrebonne Parish.
According to a press release, agents cited David Blanchard, 35, and his deckhand Ellis Gilling, 35, both from Chauvin, for taking commercial fish without a commercial license, failing to comply with bait dealer permit regulations and using skimmers in a closed season.
Agents also cited Kenneth McDuff, 59, of Chauvin, for allowing unlicensed fisherman to use a vessel license and gear license, and failing to comply with bait dealer permit regulations, the release states.
Acting on complaints, agents on patrol around 1 a.m. on July 20 allegedly observed Blanchard and Gilling unloading shrimp from a vessel. Blanchard provided agents with a bait dealer permit for No Wait Live Bait LLC and a commercial gear license and a vessel license belonging to the owner of the vessel, who was McDuff. Agents also learned that neither Gilling nor Blanchard possessed a commercial fishing license, the release states.
Further investigation revealed that McDuff allegedly gave Blanchard his commercial vessel license and gear license for his vessel for him to fish for live bait shrimp. It was also found that McDuff did not have Blanchard nor Gilling listed as a commercial fisherman under that live bait permit, the release states.
Agents found that the subjects were allegedly well over the allotted two gallons of dead shrimp allowed to be possessed by a live bait vessel, and seized and sold 628 pounds of dead shrimp, according to the release.
Taking commercial fish without a commercial fishing license, allowing unlicensed fishermen to use a commercial vessel license and allowing unlicensed fishermen to use commercial gear licenses carries a fine of $250 to $500 and up to 90 days in jail for each offense. Using skimmers in a closed season and failing to comply with bait dealer permit regulations brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail for each offense and forfeiture of anything seized, the release states.
In addition for the first conviction of shrimping during the closed season, the court may revoke or suspend the violator's trawl, skimmer, or butterfly gear licenses for one year from the date of the conviction. During such revocation or suspension, the violator may be present on a vessel harvesting or possessing shrimp or possessing a trawl, skimmer, or butterfly net only if the vessel is equipped with and employs an operating vessel monitoring system which is accessible to LDWF. The violator may also have to perform 40 hours of community service, according to the release.