The Truth about Fines / Poaching - Putting Rumors to Rest!

SkoolzOutSkoolzOut Posts: 80 Greenhorn
Can someone please fill me in on what the actual fines / penalties are for keeping fish, lobster etc. that are out of season / slot etc. I am not a poacher. I possess a sportsman's gold hunting and fishing license and strictly follow regulations at all times. I released a beautiful 31.5 inch snook yesterday, and the folks I was with asked me about the season closure, and what would happen if I violated the regs and I had to be honest and admit that I didn't know exactly what the punishment was. I would like to have had a more educated response than "you'd get in trouble." I've heard everything from a slap on the wrist to GW taking your boat.

Does anyone know for sure what the specific, current penalties are? Just to be more informed... A link to the documented specific regs / penalties would solidify the response.

Thanks!

Replies

  • anejo22anejo22 Posts: 1,511 Officer
    fines for short or out of season lobster are 500 a pop,when it comes to fish either out of season ,out of slot or over limit the judge can impose what ever he wants its a misdemeanor up to a year in jail, revoking licences, fines.FWC can at the time of them doing there investigation can take your boat ,the truck you used to tow the boat,all your gear,your catch ,and you.It is a criminal offence.I do not have it in fromt of me but in excess they can also be felonys.guy in the keys a few years back jacking lobster traps got a long vacation in a florida prison.Or the fwc could let you go.
  • SkoolzOutSkoolzOut Posts: 80 Greenhorn
    anejo22 wrote: »
    fines for short or out of season lobster are 500 a pop,when it comes to fish either out of season ,out of slot or over limit the judge can impose what ever he wants its a misdemeanor up to a year in jail, revoking licences, fines.FWC can at the time of them doing there investigation can take your boat ,the truck you used to tow the boat,all your gear,your catch ,and you.It is a criminal offence.I do not have it in fromt of me but in excess they can also be felonys.guy in the keys a few years back jacking lobster traps got a long vacation in a florida prison.Or the fwc could let you go.

    Anejo22 - thank you for your response but this seems like the same dock talk I've been hearing for years. A high price on the fine, that someone has had their boats taken, been to jail, it's up to GW etc. While I appreciate your contribution, I'd love some specifics on exactly what the punishments are.
  • anejo22anejo22 Posts: 1,511 Officer
    this may help its off fwc page

    Illegally harvesting Florida's most important sport fish is serious business, as a woman and two men in Brevard County found out recently. They are each facing numerous misdemeanor charges for snook and red drum violations after Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Officer Kris Culver watched them catch and put the fish in their car at Sebastian Inlet during the night of Jan. 6.

    Fernando Pantoja (DOB 05/02/80), of Okeechobee; Kenneth William Weber (DOB 10/09/64), of Vero Beach; and Gloria Lynn Melton (DOB 04/01/64) of Melbourne are each charged with possession of snook out of season, illegal method for harvesting snook (cast net), over-the-bag-limit of snook, possession of undersized red drum, and over-the-bag-limit of red drum. The number of illegal fish totaled 26 red drum, four snook and one black drum. Culver donated them to a local charitable organization.

    In addition to being subject to the base penalties, which are second-degree misdemeanors and carry maximum penalties of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine per count, the alleged violators are also subject to enhanced penalties for major violations. This designation upgrades the penalties to first-degree misdemeanors, which carry a maximum of a year in jail and a $1,000 fine per count, and additional fines of a maximum of $100 per snook.

    The suspects are scheduled to appear before a judge at the Melbourne Courthouse at 9 a.m. on Feb. 18.

    "Many people enjoy fishing onshore at Sebastian Inlet. Unfortunately, some people don't follow the rules, which not only is bad news for them when we catch them, it is also stealing from ethical anglers who fish legally," said Culver.

    If you know of illegal fishing, hunting, wildlife or boating activity, please report it to the FWC through the agency's Wildlife Alert Hotline. The number is 888-404-3922 and is open 24 hours, seven days a week. Callers may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward if their information leads to an arrest.
  • anejo22anejo22 Posts: 1,511 Officer
    Daniel Webster and Garret Taynai, of the X-Stream charterboat out of New Smyrna Beach, paid $20,000 in federal fines for a recent illegal lobster harvest.



    “The owner [Webster] and operator [Taynai] both violated the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation Management Act by exceeding bag limits of lobster, wringing and spearing lobster, possessing egg-bearing lobster and possessing undersize lobster,” said NOAA Officer Richard Chesler.



    Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers boarded and inspected the X-Stream fishing vessel on Sept. 14 in the Intracoastal Waterway near New Smyrna Beach. The boat and crew were returning from a dive trip 28 miles east of Ponce Inlet. The FWC officers found 42 legal spiny lobsters and reef fish in a cooler. Officers also discovered a bucket full of 20 wrung lobster tails. Eggs had been scraped off three of the tails, one tail was speared and one was short of the legal size limit—all violations. In addition, the vessel had 20 lobsters over the legal limit.









    Because the lobsters were taken farther than nine miles offshore, FWC and NOAA officials agreed to federal prosecution. As part of the penalties, Webster and Taynai are prohibited from operating their charter fishing business for 30 days.

    Tahts a 1000 bucks a tail
  • EyesonuEyesonu Posts: 55 Deckhand
    Op,
    Fish violations are 2nd degree misdemeanors. Fines are up to 500$ and up to 60 days in jail. Equipment used in the commission of the crime can be seized and used as evidence. A lot of discretion is used by officers and judges. A lot of times if it is your first offense they will withhold adjudication and make you pay a fine plus court costs. If you don't know, let it go!


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
  • PoppopPoppop Posts: 181 Deckhand
    I've lived in Florida for a year, and so far havn't had an issue but the regs are pretty hard to remember when you only fish two days a month. I usually check on what I'm going to be fishing for before every trip. My best bet is to take a picture home and let the fish go.

    Poppop
  • Ron@.38 Special[email protected] Special Posts: 6,854 Admiral
    help on regs if you have a smart phone. I am on East Coast so I have the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council app on my phone. It updates every time you turn it on and has link to state regs. honestly unless you fish for the same fish every week, I don't know how you would do it without the app.
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