OYSTER FISHERMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO LACEY ACT VIOLATION

Release Date: 01/22/2007

On Jan. 3, 2007, John Jurisich, a Texas commercial oyster fisherman, was sentenced on a single count misdemeanor violation of the Lacey Act by U.S. District Court Judge Eldon E. Fallon, Eastern District of Louisiana after pleading guilty on the same count on Sept. 27, 2006.


Jurisich was harvesting oysters and acting as a selling agent for Blue Gulf Seafood Inc. from Aug. 22, 2000, through Aug. 31, 2004, while using fraudulently obtained Louisiana residential commercial fishing licenses.  The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division has estimated that Jurisich harvested about 19,914 sacks of Louisiana oysters with an approximate wholesale value of $381,353.  This wholesale value was calculated by using the average shipping and sales receipts for sacks of oysters from 2003, which came to $19.15 per sack. 
The investigation revealed a pattern of behavior by Jurisich whereby he utilized a false and fraudulent Louisiana address in order to obtain resident Louisiana commercial fishing licenses.


Jurisich was sentenced to pay a fine of $6,000, pay $4,925 restitution to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation to be used exclusively for oyster fisheries law enforcement purposes, pay $25 for a special assessment fee and serve five years of active probation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Greenfield prosecuted the case.


The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division Oyster Strike Force, Region 8 agents, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agents participated in the investigation.


For more information, contact Lt. Col. Keith LaCaze at 225-765-2988 or klacaze@wlf.louisiana.gov.
2007-023