VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - Five charter fishing boat captains have been indicted on charges of selling illegally harvested Striped Bass, a violation of the Lacey Act.
The Lacey Act makes it illegal for anyone to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire or purchase any fish and wildlife taken in violation of any law or regulation.
"In 1984, Congress passed the Atlantic Striped Bass Conservation Act, recognizing that ‘Atlantic striped bass are of historic commercial and recreational importance and economic benefit to Atlantic coastal States and to the Nation,' and that it ‘is in the national interest to implement effective procedures and measures to provide for effective inter-jurisdictional conservation and management of this species.'" a release from the DOJ said.
According to the Department of Justice, Jeffery S. Adams, Raymond Carroll Webb, David Dwayne Scott, William W. "Duby" Lowery, IV and Nolan L. Agner, who all work out of Rudee Inlet in Virginia Beach, face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine per count individually. Any corporations indicted face a $500,000 fine per count.
They also face forfeiture of fishing vessels used during the commission of the crimes.
Adams and his corporation Adams Fishing Adventures are charged with conspiracy, trafficking in illegally harvested Striped Bass in violation of the Lacey Act and making false statements to law enforcement officers. The DOJ says Adams and his corporation sold charter fishing trips to harvest Striped Bass illegally from the Exclusive Economic Zone from March 2009 to February 2011.
According to the DOJ, Adams and others would puncture the air bladder of the fish and would toss them overboard if contacted by law enforcement. Adams also reportedly made false statements to law enforcement officials about where he was harvesting Striped Bass.
Webb and his corporation Peake Enterprises, Ltd. are charged with trafficking in illegally harvested Striped Bass and destruction of evidence in connection to a trip in February 2011.
Scott is charged with trafficking in illegally harvested Striped Bass and destruction of evidence in connection to a trip in February 2009.
Lowery is charged with trafficking in illegally harvested Striped Bass and destruction of evidence in connection to a trip in January 2010.
Agner and his corporation Agner, Inc. are charged with trafficking in illegally harvested Striped Bass in connection to a trip in January 2011.
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