CCA Florida would like to commend the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) and their officers in another job well done. In one of the latest cases three of their officers Chris Holleman, Sandy Blackburn and Tim Sweat out of Nassau County worked together to catch two men that were illegally taking redfish. These and other FWC Officers are always working hard to conserve and protect the resource and CCA is very appreciative for the added protection they bring to the coastal areas. For more on this case please see the FWC press release below.
Florida Fish and Wildlife
33 gigged redfish result in fines, jail time for violators
Possession of 33 gigged redfish recently resulted in fines and jail time for two Fernandina Beach men.
George Bartchlette (DOB 07/16/39) and Ronald Waters (DOB 09/25/65) were caught by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers with 33 redfish taken by illegal method.
FWC officers Chris Holleman, Sandy Blackburn and Tim Sweat worked the case.
“Officer Blackburn let me know a boat was headed my way,” said Holleman, who had been on patrol at Holly Point boat ramp in Nassau County. “I could hear the vessel’s engine running as they neared in the Nassau River. When they got inside Christopher Creek, they shut down the engine. I could hear the men walking in the marsh approximately 25 yards from the ramp just before they paddled into the ramp.”
The officers walked into the marsh and discovered two laundry baskets with 33 redfish. All the fish had punctures consistent with gig marks. There were 19 undersize redfish between 14.25 inches and 17.75 inches, one oversize redfish (29.5 inches) and 13 slot-size redfish.
“We seized the gigs and lights. The case went to the state’s attorney and we obtained arrest warrants for Bartchlette and Waters,” Holleman said.
Bartchlette was charged with over the bag limit, possession of undersize and oversize fish and illegal take because the fish had been gigged. Waters was charged with illegal take of two fish.
Both men were recently adjudicated guilty in Nassau County.
Waters was fined $1,003.
Bartchlette was fined $4,150 and sentenced to 30 days in jail. His seized equipment was forfeited to the FWC. In addition, Bartchlette received a $90 fine foroperating a vessel with no navigational lights.
“This was a great resource case,” said FWC Lt. Clint Thompson, patrol supervisor for Duval and Nassau counties. “The officers involved did an outstanding job.
“I’d also like to thank Nassau County Prosecutor Johnna Lessard, who did an outstanding job in prosecuting this case,” Thompson said.
For Immediate Release Contacts: Alex Conant / Brooke Sammon
Thursday, February 28, 2013 (202) 224-3041
SENATOR RUBIO ASKS FOR REVIEW OF STOCK ASSESSMENTS TO PROTECT FISHERIES AND FISHING COMMUNITIES IN GULF
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and senators from Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and North Carolina today sent a letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office requesting a review of how the Department of Commerce conducts stock assessments in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic. The stock assessments conducted by the National Marine Fisheries Service are critical in maintaining the vitality of the fisheries, the fishing communities, and related industries in Florida and the region.
“Stock assessments are the foundation of sound fishery management,” said Rubio. “It is vital that, as we work to preserve the waters and resources surrounding Florida and other states, we base our management decisions on sound science. The report we’ve requested today will shed light on the decision-making process within the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and will help us to determine the best path forward so that we can ensure the economic livelihood of the fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic and the industries that depend on them.”
Rubio is Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard. The letter is signed by Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), David Vitter (R-LA), Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Kay Hagan (D-NC) and can be viewed by clicking here.
WHAT INDUSTRY EXPERTS ARE SAYING:
“Fishing organizations in the southeast, both commercial and recreational, salute Senator Marco Rubio for leading the effort to require the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) to provide the basic science needed for honest stock assessments,” said Bob Jones, Executive Director of Southeastern Fisheries Association. “The numbers of fish calculated in the federal waters through stock assessments are critical in determining quotas, seasons, allowable gear, bycatch and all aspects pertaining to the commercial and recreational harvest of seafood. The fishing and tourism industry dependent on fresh local seafood thanks all the Senators who are working to improve the management of our sustainable marine resources.”
“As Chairman of the Data Collection Committee at the Gulf Council, I see first-hand how our lack of updated fisheries data strikes at the heart of our ability to make sound management decisions that protect both our natural resources AND our fishermen,” said Harlon Pearce, member of the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council. “We need to get to the bottom of where our data collection resources are being spent and this full GAO investigation is a great step in the right direction.”
“Robust biological and socioeconomic data are critical to the management of our nation’s fisheries,” said Gordon Robertson, vice president of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA). “Unfortunately this information has been lacking for many important fisheries, particularly those in the southeast. ASA is grateful that Senator Rubio understands the need for improved science to drive management and is working towards that end.”
“Sound science matters,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation. “Senator Rubio’s leadership brings focus to the critical need for science-based management of America’s marine fishery resources.”
FACTS ABOUT THE FISHING INDUSTRY: