1,556 lbs. of red grouper from a No-Take Dry Tortugas zone?

And... The commercial vessel is owned by a Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management council member.


A Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council member and commercial fishing boat owner defended his crew members who were convicted last week for taking fish from one of the most protected areas in the Lower Keys.

"They absolutely will remain the subcontractors on my boat," said Martin Fisher, the chairman of two advisory panels with the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council -- the Reef Fish Advisory Panel and the Coastal Migratory Pelagics panel. "They're positions are no way in jeopardy."

As part of a plea agreement, the captain of Fisher's vessel the Sundancer, James Michael-Milas Redden, 43, and his mate, James Evan Mooneyham, 48, were both adjudicated guilty on Jan. 6 of fishing in a sanctuary preservation area, and possession or harvesting of fish in a protected area, said Monroe County Assistant State Attorney Anna Hubicki.

County Judge Peary Fowler sentenced both men each to 30 days in county jail and ordered them to pay $1,000 in fines that will go to wildlife conservation funds. Both will also serve 12 months probation upon their release.

The $5,000 that came from the sale of the 1,556 pounds of mostly red grouper, assorted other groupers and snapper confiscated from the Sundancer will go to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Hubicki said.

The Sundancer is a 38-foot boat homeported in Tarpon Springs.

Both charges are second-degree misdemeanors, each punishable by a maximum of up to 60 days in jail and $500 in fines.

The men were fishing in a no-take, protected area just north of the Dry Tortugas National Park.

"They were basically fishing in a zoo," Hubicki said.

Replies

  • Baja280Baja280 Posts: 440 Deckhand
    And us recreational guys are the problem right?? BS
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  • GT FishGT Fish Posts: 9,448 Officer
    Slap on the finger.
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  • reel stamasreel stamas Posts: 6,153 Admiral
    WTH/F/S ? That's BS... The Guy should lose his Boat & all his Commercial Permits FOREVER !!!
    There should be NO Commercial Fishing for any fish species considered 'Over-fished' , 'Undergoing Overfishing' or Subject to Recreational Seasons, Limits, or Closures... Game Fish Status IS the Answer !!!
  • Baja280Baja280 Posts: 440 Deckhand
    I second that reel stamas, a $1000 fine!??? that is a crock of s***
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  • INTREPID377INTREPID377 Posts: 3,732 Captain
    The SAFMC AP's are loaded with commercial guys that are there for no reason other than protect their interests. It seems rather inappropriate for this guy to hold on to his positions.
  • bonebone Posts: 1,100 Officer
    BS
  • Reel MullarkeyReel Mullarkey Posts: 1,837 Captain
    All I can say is join the RFA! (Recreational fishing alliance)

    We keep getting screwed as recreational fishermen while the guys making all the rule own boats **** our resources.
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  • Permit RatPermit Rat Posts: 2,283 Captain
    Baja280 wrote: »
    I second that reel stamas, a $1000 fine!??? that is a crock of s***

    I was gonna say!!! Sign me up! ....m/l $10,000 worth of grouper and a $1000 fine seems like a pretty profitable trip, if you ask me! Then you have to wonder how many trips they made before they were caught........Cha-****!
    .......Rick
  • ShallowSaltShallowSalt Posts: 195 Officer
    Permit Rat wrote: »
    I was gonna say!!! Sign me up! ....m/l $10,000 worth of grouper and a $1000 fine seems like a pretty profitable trip, if you ask me! Then you have to wonder how many trips they made before they were caught........Cha-****!

    They said the $5000 they made on the sale of the confiscated fish went to the FWC. But yeah that doesn't say anything about possible previous trips.
  • conchydongconchydong Pompano BeachPosts: 4,240 Captain
    The vessel should have a VMS and it is doubtful that they fished there before or they would have been caught before. They tried to pull a fast one when they thought the Govt. was "shut down" and got caught. The fine is ridiculously low though. There have been larger penalties for people taking a few barely short crawfish. Shame on them.

    “Everyone behaves badly--given the chance.”
    ― Ernest Hemingway

  • HooganHoogan Posts: 537 Officer
    About Martin Fisher stating: that Redden has been running the Sundancer for 11 years and on the next page saying: "I'm sure they did'nt know they were fishing on a No-Take zone"
  • AMPEDAMPED Posts: 603 Officer
    Seems like a strange outcome for such a major offense.
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  • HawkboatHawkboat Posts: 1,030 Officer
    I can believe anything now a days...who ya know is the name of the game!
    Capt Bill
  • Shameful, disgusting cheating fish rapists. Good thing the "judge" put them in jail. The grouper will have 30 days to rest before they will be back out there doing it again. A panel of local commercial fisherman should be the jury and see if there is a different outcome
  • RedTomRedTom Posts: 138 Officer
    should sink their boat
  • VeikxVeikx Posts: 611 Officer
    Yet there was a sting operation for charters who were not using circle hooks and were fined in the $20-40,000. That makes a whole lot of sense, they vented and released fish. Just did not abide by the circle hook law.
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  • HawkboatHawkboat Posts: 1,030 Officer
    Veikx wrote: »
    Yet there was a sting operation for charters who were not using circle hooks and were fined in the $20-40,000. That makes a whole lot of sense, they vented and released fish. Just did not abide by the circle hook law.

    Up by us?
    Capt Bill
  • VeikxVeikx Posts: 611 Officer
    Yes, a few other captains were also busted for not having the proper permits. Undercover fwc officers went for a days fishing, and then at the end of the day, flashed badges.
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  • HawkboatHawkboat Posts: 1,030 Officer
    Nothing in the S/W forum about it. This happened a few years ago also, not circles but permits
    Capt Bill
  • HooganHoogan Posts: 537 Officer
    Shameful, disgusting cheating fish rapists. Good thing the "judge" put them in jail. The grouper will have 30 days to rest before they will be back out there doing it again. A panel of local commercial fisherman should be the jury and see if there is a different outcome

    The owner of the commercial vessel found guilty, The Sundancer is Martin Fisher, chairman of two advisory boards of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. Sort of the same scenario of a judge owning a pill mill in Broward county. LOL

    Funny thing... Martin Fisher says he has no intention of letting go either the captain or the mate involved in this...
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