Commercial fisherman, Dan Tran Nguyen, 64, of Boothville, who also owns the Miss Karyn, settled a civil assessment with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Southeast Region on Aug. 15, 2007, in New Orleans.
Nguyen settled his assessment before Administrative Law Judge Thomas E. P. McElligott. An assessment of $165,000 was made for the violation of shark finning that occurred on Sept. 18, 2006. Shark finning is the illegal practice of taking a shark at sea, removing and retaining the fins and then returning the shark carcass to the water.
Nguyen's settlement requires him to pay 75 percent of the assessed value or $123,750 over a three-year period plus interest. The assessment must be paid by monthly payments.
His settlement also includes a 170 day permit sanction starting Oct. 1, 2007, and four years probation with conditions that he not violate any laws pertaining to federally controlled fisheries or that he does not miss any monthly payments. Nguyen is also now required to operate a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) when fishing.
While working under a Joint Enforcement Agreement between the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office (NOAA) for Law Enforcement, LDWF agents observed Nguyen offload fins disproportionate to and in excess of his allowed trip limit of 4,000 pounds on Sept. 18, 2006. Nguyen was observed secretly offloading fins from the Miss Karyn just after midnight. He then transported the fins to his residence where agents stopped him. The agents were able to determine that Nguyen had taken a total of 1,234 sharks at sea but landed only 219 carcasses, less than 18 percent. He retained fins from all of the sharks and discarded 1,015 carcasses back to the water.
Handling the case for NOAA was Attorney Cynthia S. Fenyk and National Marine Fisheries Service Special Agent Steve Campbell. LDWF Region 8 agents participating in the case were Lt. Robert Martin, Sgts. Scot Keller and Eddie Skena, Senior Agents Roy Pier, Villere Reggio III, Jason Gernados, and Jason Russo, and Agent Derek Sampey. LDWF Special Investigations Unit agents included Lt. Jay Diez and Senior Agent Buck Hampton.
For more information, contact Lt. Col. Keith LaCaze at 225-765-2988 or firstname.lastname@example.org.