Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited four subjects for alleged fishing violations in Plaquemines Parish on Aug. 14.
Agents cited Junior F. Rivas, 34, Neptaly D. Rodriguez, 52, of West Memphis, Ark., Marvin Cruz, 41, of New Orleans, and Jose Cruz, 50, of Kenner, for intentional concealment of illegal fish, failing to comply with recreational offshore landing permit (ROLP) requirements, possessing over the limit of red snapper, and possessing undersized red snapper. Rivas, Rodriguez and Cruz were also cited for fishing without basic fishing and saltwater fishing licenses.
Agents were on a Joint Enforcement Agreement patrol with the National Oceanic and Atmospehric Administration (NOAA) when they made contact with the subjects in the Empire Channel returning from an offshore fishing trip.
During the inspection, agents found two ice bags hidden in the vessel. The ice bags contained 18 red snapper under the minimum 16-inch size limit. Agents also found that Rivas and Rodriguez did not possess non-resident fishing licenses and that Jose Cruz did not possess resident fishing licenses. None of the men obtained the free LDWF ROLP.
Intentional concealment of illegal fish brings up to a $950 fine and 120 days in jail. Fishing without a basic non-resident license, fishing without a non-resident saltwater license, possessing over the limit of red snapper, and possessing undersized red snapper carries up to a $350 fine for each offense. Failing to comply with ROLP permit requirements and fishing without a resident basic fishing and saltwater fishing licence brings up to a $50 fine for each offense.
These charges will be filed and forwarded to District Attorney Charles Ballay for prosecution.
Agents seized 18 red snapper, three mangrove snapper, two spanish mackerel, two pompano, one blue fish, four gafftopsail catfish, and 14 spadefish.
The men may also face $575 in civil restitution for the replacement value of the illegally taken fish.
Agents participating in the case are Lt. Adam Young and Sgt. Villere Reggio.