Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited four men in two separate incidents for allegedly shrimping in closed state waters and other violations during the month of February.
Agents cited Vu Che, 35, and Hoang Nguyen, 50, from both Houma, and Vu Son, 36, of Abbeville, on Feb. 19 for allegedly trawling in state waters during a closed season and using oversized trawls. Agents patrolling the Gulf of Mexico near Mound Point in Iberia Parish allegedly observed their vessel trawling inside the three-mile line. Through plotting, the boats position was determined to be approximately one mile inside the states three-mile line in closed state waters. A total of 39,614 pounds of shrimp were seized and sold for $43,514.85. In addition, four shrimp trawls were seized in connection with the violations. The proceeds from the shrimp sale and trawls will be held until the disposition of the case.
Albert Galtier, 49, of Erath was cited on Feb. 16 in Vermilion Parish for allegedly shrimping in state waters during a closed season and for allegedly taking commercial fish without a commercial fishermans license. Agents allegedly observed Galtier using skimmer nets inside the states three-mile line in the Gulf of Mexico southwest of Marsh Island. Agents plotted Galtier's position and determined him to be approximately one mile inside the three-mile line in closed state waters. The tail contents were returned to the water, and Galtier was not holding any catch aboard at the time of the stop.
The cases were made in an area of state outside waters closed by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) on Jan. 5, 2006. The closure area includes that portion of state waters south of the inside/outside shrimp line as described in LA R.S. 56:495, from the west shore of Freshwater Bayou to the east shore of the Atchafalaya River Ship Channel at Eugene Island. All inside waters are currently closed except Breton and Chandeleur Sounds in Zone 1.
The violations of shrimping in state waters during the closed season and using oversized trawls are both Class 4 offenses for which the penalty for each count is a fine of $400 to $950, or jail time up to 120 days, or both plus court costs.
Taking commercial fish without a commercial license is a Class 3 offense for which the penalty is a fine of $250 to $500, or jail time up to 90 days, or both plus court costs. These penalties include the forfeiture to the LWFC of anything seized in connection with the offense.
In addition, upon a first offense conviction for closed season shrimping, the court may revoke or suspend the violators gear license for one year from the date of conviction. During the suspension or revocation, the violator may be aboard a vessel harvesting or possessing shrimp or shrimp gear only if the vessel is equipped with an approved vessel monitoring system. He may also be required to perform community service.
Agents participating in the case were Lt. Bobby Buatt, Senior Agent Keith Delahoussaye, Senior Agents Gene Viator and Layne Picard and Agent Justin Sonnier.
EDITORS: For more information, contact Lt. Col. K. LaCaze at 225-765-2987 or firstname.lastname@example.org.