Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents cited three men for alleged shrimping violations on July 20 in Terrebonne Parish.
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.
Agents received complaints during the past two weeks about a vessel illegally catching shrimp in Bayou Little Calliou. Agents responding to the complaints were on patrol around 1 a.m. on July 20 and observed Blanchard and Gilling unloading shrimp from the vessel.
Agents made contact with the subjects and asked to see their required licenses. 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.
Agents found the subjects in possession of 628 pounds of dead shrimp at the time of the stop. Agents learned that McDuff 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 the live bait permit. Agents found that the subjects were well over the allotted two gallons of dead shrimp allowed to be possessed by a live bait vessel. Agents seized and sold the 628 pounds of shrimp.
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.
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.
Agents involved in the case are Senior Agent Dean Aucoin and Senior Agent Norman Deroche.