Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited two men for alleged commercial fishing violations on May 15 in the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Agents cited Nghia Van, 53, and Trang Le, 46, both of Boothville La, for violating federal shrimp permit regulations, turtle excluder device regulations and the Endangered Species Act. Van was also cited for violation of the Marine Mammal Act.
Agents were on patrol in the Gulf of Mexico when they made contact with both subjects who were actively shrimping in the Exclusive Economic Zone south of Terrebonne Parish without possessing a federal shrimp permit.
Upon further investigation, agents found an endangered and deceased loggerhead sea turtle onboard the shrimping vessel. During questioning, the subjects admitted to dragging their nets continuously for about two hours. Regulations require skimming vessels to pick their nets up after 55 minutes in lieu of using turtle excluder devices.
Agents followed the vessel into port and seized 1,626 pounds of shrimp. A search was then conducted on the vessel and two dolphin skulls were found onboard the vessel.
The case has been referred to NOAA Office of Law Enforcement for prosecution.