Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division Agents cited an Alabama man for alleged commercial fishing violations in Plaquemines Parish on March 17.
Agents cited James R. Owens, 53, of Sumerdale, Alabama, for fishing without a commercial gear license and using shrimp trawls exceeding the size requirements in offshore Louisiana territorial waters.
Agents were on a Joint Enforcement Agreement (JEA) patrol in the Gulf of Mexico inspecting shrimp vessels for Turtle Excluder Device (TED) regulations. They boarded a vessel captained by Owens and found he did not possess commercial gear licenses for each of the four trawls he was actively using.
Agents also observed that Owens was using four trawls totaling 228 feet when he was only allowed to use 130 feet in Louisiana state territorial waters. The nets Owens was using were also found to be out of compliance for TED regulations.
The vessel was escorted to Grand Isle where 6,455 pounds of shrimp were seized and offloaded and sold to the highest bidder.
Fishing without a commercial gear license carries a $250 to $500 for each piece of unlicensed gear and up to 90 days in jail. Using trawls exceeding size requirements in offshore Louisiana territorial waters brings up to a $950 fine and 120 days in jail. Violations of the states TED requirements carries a civil penalty of up to $500 for each TED not in compliance.
Agents participating in the case are Corporal Thomas Forehand, Senior Agent Austin Landry, Sgt. Villere Reggio, Sgt. Gerald Sander, Sgt. Stephen Rhoades, Sgt. Thomas Wolf, Corporal Norman Deroche and Senior Agent Jonathan Boudreaux and Senor Agent Shea Schexnaydre.
The case will be forwarded to District Attorney Charles Ballay for prosecution.