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Thread: Busted

  1. #1
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    Default Busted

    3 arrested after illegal fishing investigation on SC coast. How they were caught.

    BY KARL PUCKETT
    AUGUST 14, 2021 11:16 AM

    They allegedly fished at night, then sold their undersized flounder to a food truck and restaurants in Bluffton and Hilton Head. What they did not know is that officers with the Department of Natural Resources were watching.

    In the early morning hours of July 10, at Alljoy Boat Landing in Bluffton, SCDNR officers arrested three men in connection with the illegal harvest and sale of flounder and other finfish, including tripletail, sheepshead and red drum.

    Forty-two fish were seized, including thirty-three undersized flounder.

    South Carolina laws prohibit commercial fishermen from keeping and harvesting fish under a certain size. And the arrests come as the state beefs up fishing rules in an effort to protect declining flounder populations.

    The SCDNR says the three men were taking fish by gigging at night, which is a common method of fishing for flounder.

    In addition, three people tied to two restaurants and a food truck that purchased the illegal and undersized fish have been charged. Some of the restaurants specifically requested undersized flounder, so that the fish would better “fit on a plate” when prepared whole, SCDNR officers learned.

    “SCDNR views the illegal harvesting and commercialization of our state’s resources as a violation against all South Carolina residents,” said the agency’s Deputy Director for Law Enforcement, Col. Chisolm Frampton.

    The arrests and charges followed a three-month investigation that began in April, the SCDNR announced Friday.

    The goal was to “disrupt the illegal take and sale of adulterated flounder and other finfish in South Carolina so that legal flounder gigging can be preserved for future generations,” SCDNR First Sgt. for Beaufort County, Adam Henderson, said in a statement.

    Arrested at the landing were James Wooten, 33, Dawson Loper, 21, both of Bluffton, and David Festerman, 32, of Griffen, Ga.



    Six individuals have been charges following an investigation into illegal harvesting and sale of flounder and other species of fish in Beaufort County. SCDNR
    The arrests followed weeks of intensive surveillance, the SCDNR said. Festerman was assisting the two men on the night of the arrests, the agency said.

    Wooten faces 21 counts of harvesting undersized flounder; 21 counts of harvesting over the limit of flounder; one count of harvesting undersized tripletail; nine counts of selling fish with no commercial wholesale dealer’s license; two counts of having no commercial fishing license; and a boating equipment-related charge and two charges of driving under suspension.

    Loper was cited for six counts of undersized flounder; one count each of over-the limit of flounder and undersized tripletail; and one count each of improper display of commercial decal on boat, no outboard motor decal, and insufficient PFDs on board.

    Festerman was charged with four counts of having undersized flounder and one count of having no saltwater fishing license.

    Under South Carolina law, individuals who knowingly purchase seafood from an unlicensed source can also be charged.



    Fish seized in Bluffton that the SCDNR says were harvested and sold illegally. SCDNR
    Evidence implicated staff at Hudson’s Seafood House and ELA’s on the Water restaurants on Hilton Head Island, and the Maiz Taqueria Food Truck in Bluffton, the SCDNR said.

    Maiz Taqueria owner Isaac Jimenez was cited for one count each of unlawful purchase of saltwater fisheries product, having no proper bill of lading and having no wholesale dealer’s license. Earl Nightingale Jr., the owner of ELA’s, was charged with two counts of unlawful purchase of saltwater fisheries products. Hudson’s Chef Eric Seaglund was charged with one count of unlawful purchase of a saltwater fishery product, and one count each of possessing undersized tripletail and undersized flounder.

    FLOUNDER POPULATIONS DECLINING
    Flounder populations along the East Coast, including in South Carolina waters, have seen marked declines recently, the SCDNR said.

    Earlier this year, state lawmakers, at the urging of SCDNR fisheries biologists, passed more stringent regulations for flounder taken in state waters, limiting the number caught by any method, to 5 per person, per day (or 10 per boat) and increasing the minimum legal size for “keeper” fish to 16 inches.

    Those stricter harvest limits for flounder went into effect July 1. Even under the previous limit of a minimum of 15 inches, many of the flounder that the men were charged with in this case would have been considered undersized, the SCDNR said.

    “It’s a critical time for our flounder population, and curtailing this type of activity is essential for the recovery of this species,” said Lt. Andrew Godowns, SCDNR’s Law Enforcement supervisor for the coastal region south of Charleston.

    Citizens with information to report about any type of wildlife or fisheries-related violation are encouraged to contact the SCDNR’s Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-922-5431 or via the SCDNR TIPS app. You do not have to reveal your identity.

    https://www.islandpacket.com/news/lo...253490659.html

  2. #2
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    Told y’all that dumb ass gigging needs to be banned.

  3. #3
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    Not good.
    Either write things worth reading, or do things worth writing.

  4. #4
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    I think it was ECU Pirate that told us gigging was not a major issue.

    For those of us that know how damn well easy it is to come in at 2am with fish….. this bust is a joke.
    Be proactive about improving public waterfowl habitat in South Carolina. It's not going to happen by itself, and our help is needed. We have the potential to winter thousands of waterfowl on public grounds if we fight for it.

  5. #5
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    All went down two docks up river. Was awesome to see it stop!!
    you aint did a dawg gon thang until ya STAND UP IN IT!- Theodis Ealey


    Quote Originally Posted by Rebel Yell View Post
    The older I get, the more anal retentive I get.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by fro View Post
    All went down two docks up river. Was awesome to see it stop!!
    Yep.
    Glad they stopped them
    They have done it for years

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by BOGSTER View Post
    I think it was ECU Pirate that told us gigging was not a major issue.

    For those of us that know how damn well easy it is to come in at 2am with fish….. this bust is a joke.
    I don't see it that way.
    This is such good riddance.
    I know what you're thinking but the number of bad apples like this are not the norm.
    It's amazing how many fish these guys were actually killing.....quite astounding actually.
    \"I never saw a wild thing feel sorry for itself. A small bird will drop dead frozen from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.\" <br />D.H. LAWRENCE

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jarrett80 View Post
    Yep.
    Glad they stopped them
    They have done it for years
    So people knew about this going on for years and no dime was dropped? Anyway, I would be curious about what penalties they get if convicted, how many wrist slaps before being turned out to continue

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank1 View Post
    So people knew about this going on for years and no dime was dropped? Anyway, I would be curious about what penalties they get if convicted, how many wrist slaps before being turned out to continue
    if they were turned in, it was probably by their competition.
    A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank1 View Post
    So people knew about this going on for years and no dime was dropped?
    This. Fuck those greedy assholes. Fuck the restaurants that bought from them. And fuck anyone who ever eats at one of those restaurants again.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by gtownhunter View Post
    This. Fuck those greedy assholes. Fuck the restaurants that bought from them. And fuck anyone who ever eats at one of those restaurants again.
    I stopped ordering flounder anywhere.
    Either write things worth reading, or do things worth writing.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BOGSTER View Post
    I think it was ECU Pirate that told us gigging was not a major issue.

    For those of us that know how damn well easy it is to come in at 2am with fish….. this bust is a joke.
    You can’t preach resource conservation out one side of your mouth and then complain about a bust to punish people abusing the resource out the other without coming off as an asshole. Pick a side and stick to it.
    "Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him better take a closer look at the American Indian" - Henry Ford

  13. #13
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    They should have documented the transfer of fish to the food truck and then followed it to the restaurants and then busted the whole bunch. They caught and kept the 3 "little fish" and let the big one's go.
    "We have become so open minded that our brains have fallen out"

  14. #14
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    Another bust.

    Sent from my moto z4 using Tapatalk

  15. #15
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    Lol her posing with the doe.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by loud1 View Post
    Lol her posing with the doe.
    Yeah I don’t get DNR everywhere seemingly posing with an illegal catch or kill etc. so stupid. I don’t see sheriff’s dept posing with arrested criminals or dead bodies. We should just leave that to the military to intimidate the terrorists.
    \"We say grace and we say maam, if you ain\'t into that, we don\'t give a damn.\" HW Jr.

  17. #17
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    that's a she?
    Ugh. Stupid people piss me off.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Palmetto Duck View Post
    Yeah I don’t get DNR everywhere seemingly posing with an illegal catch or kill etc. so stupid. I don’t see sheriff’s dept posing with arrested criminals or dead bodies. We should just leave that to the military to intimidate the terrorists.
    You've never seen them suck their necks into their chest and pose over some seized cash or an ounce of weed before?!?!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn View Post
    You've never seen them suck their necks into their chest and pose over some seized cash or an ounce of weed before?!?!
    On the regular....
    \"I never saw a wild thing feel sorry for itself. A small bird will drop dead frozen from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.\" <br />D.H. LAWRENCE

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn View Post
    You've never seen them suck their necks into their chest and pose over some seized cash or an ounce of weed before?!?!
    Yeah you’re right. Stupid still.
    \"We say grace and we say maam, if you ain\'t into that, we don\'t give a damn.\" HW Jr.

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