On Sept. 9, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) agents cited three men for alleged commercial tuna violations in Plaquemines Parish.
While on a Joint Enforcement Agreement (JEA) patrol in conjunction with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service, LDWF agents made contact with James A. Gerakines, 41, and Charles Updegraff, 52, both of Chalmette, and Perry Menesses, 58, of St. Bernard. The men were on the commercial fishing vessel “Jasmine” in the area of Tiger Pass located in Venice.
During a federal fish inspection the men were found to be in possession of numerous skipjack and yellowfin tuna. After a lengthy investigation agents determined that Gerakines intended to sell the tuna upon return to Venice.
When the investigation was completed agents determined no federal commercial highly migratory species (HMS) permit was on board or issued for the vessel in question or captain and of the eight yellowfin tuna on board six were under the minimum size limit of 27 inches.
All three men were charged with failing to comply with taking or possessing tuna without the required commercial HMS permit and taking or possessing under sized yellowfin tuna. Each of the two charges carries up to a $350 fine and 60 days in jail.
Additionally the men face civil restitution charges for the illegally taken tuna totaling $1,290.20. Agents seized a total of 285 pounds of tuna and donated it to a local homeless shelter.
Agents participating in the case are Sgts. Adam Young and Villere Reggio.
For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or firstname.lastname@example.org.