Three Criminal Cases Against Eastern Carolina Fish Dealers

Three criminal cases against fish house owners in Eastern Carolina have now been wrapped up, according to the N.C. Marine Patrol in Morehead City.

The patrol reports Donald Gilgo of Coastal Seafood in the Carteret County town of Sea Level, William Warren of Fresh Ketch in the Pamlico County town of Grantsboro and Floyd Cuthrell of S&S Seafood in the Beaufort County town of Aurora were all found guilty in their county courts of not recording fish on a trip ticket. The patrol reports the three were ordered to pay replacement costs to the N.C. Marine Fisheries Conservation Fund for a grand total of $9,671.50.

According to a news release, "the cases began in October 2009 when Marine Patrol officers received information that a fish dealer in Carteret County was possibly buying large amounts of red drum from local fishermen and not recording the transactions as required by state law.

At the time, state fishing rules allowed fishermen to harvest and sell only seven red drum per day, and the weight of the red drum could not exceed the weight of other fish, like flounder and mullet, in the catch.

In response, officers examined trip tickets from 31 fish houses statewide that deal in red drum and compared them with their sales receipts for the period from June 2009 to October 2009. Fish dealers in North Carolina are required to report every fish they buy from a fisherman on a trip ticket."

"We found that at three of the fish houses there was a major discrepancy between what was reported on trip tickets and what was sold,” said Lt. Harold Knudsen, with the Marine Patrol’s Central District.

The release goes on to report Warren was charged "with 16 violations and Cuthrell with eight violations of fisheries laws. In court, all the charges were consolidated into one charge each of failure to record each transaction at the time of landing on a form provided by the Division of Marine Fisheries.

Cuthrell pleaded no contest April 15 in Beaufort County District Court.

He received a suspended sentence and was ordered to pay $971.50 in replacement cost to the Marine Fisheries Conservation Fund for 670 pounds of unreported red drum in addition to fines and court costs. He was also ordered to turn in a trip ticket for the unrecorded fish.

Warren pleaded guilty April 30 in Pamlico County District Court. He received a suspended sentence and was ordered to pay $1,450 in replacement cost to the Marine Fisheries Conservation Fund for 1,000 pounds of unreported red drum in addition to fines and court costs. He was also ordered to turn in a trip ticket for the unrecorded fish.

Gilgo pleaded guilty June 28 in Carteret County District Court. He received a suspended sentence and was ordered to pay $7,250 in replacement cost to the Marine Fisheries Conservation Fund for 5,000 pounds of unreported red drum. Fines and court costs were remitted.

He was also ordered to turn in a trip ticket for the unrecorded fish.

The 6,670 pounds of fish that was not recorded as a result of these violations will be deducted from the 2010-2011 red drum commercial cap."

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  • by drew Location: pamlico on Aug 31, 2010 at 04:01 PM
    this is to all of the people who think commercial fisherman catch and kill everything they see me myself am a commerical fisherman and we have never gone over limit or broke laws but the yankess and tree huggers neeed to get the facts straight or just go back where they came from becuase the goverment and marine fisheries has basicsly taken my living from me and i am only 20 so no future in what my family has done for years and years so what to do now when i see 20-30 boats at one boat ramp the rec. fisherman catch way many more fish than we catch
  • by John LoGelfo Location: Bath, NC on Aug 13, 2010 at 07:39 AM
    You can argue all you want on the side of the fishermen and on the side of the fishery, it's plain and simple, Redfish are the state fish, they are a very protected and treasured fish by the anglers and marine biologists who inhabit this area. Restrictions are placed on certain species for a reason. Man has a way of depeleting resources and annihilating species, the rules we place on ourselves are simply there as a system of checks and balances. I run a small restaurant here in Beaufort County which thrives in the summer months off of our seafood menu. I frequently get requests for Redfish, My answer is " I don't sell Redfish and do not support the sale of harvesting them, but I have 10 other seafood dishes to choose from." Fishermen do have to make ends meet and pay their bills I understand that, But there are "plenty of OTHER fish in the sea".
  • by Sam Location: Kitty Hawk on Aug 6, 2010 at 12:49 PM
    To No Fish Limit, I see what you are saying there about them needing the chance to grow. I'll agree there. There are those few that's still try to get more and more and they don't realize that one day the seafood here could run out. I understand you have to have some regulations, but the government here does still go overboard. Don't get me wrong, cause I want there to be good fresh seafood for future milleniums to come out of the waters of Eastern North Carolina, and even Eastern Virginia as well. as far as the demand, with it being higher, it causes seafood to be more expensive. To concerned, you can blame the people up in Wake County for most of that pollution that comes in the Neuse River that then comes all the way down to New Bern and Oriental, messing things up for the seafood industry. As far as the Pamlico-Tar, it's not quite as bad off as the Neuse I think. Around the Albemarle and Currituck Sounds, and offshore there is usually clean water and great fishing.
  • by No Fish Limit Location: Greenville on Aug 6, 2010 at 04:59 AM
    Chris in Plymouth, right now you can not put a gill net in the water from Friday morning to Sunday night and they have to be out of the water 1 hour after sun rise. This will help alot as it takes the recreational net fisherman out, but it still leaves the commercial guys in during the work week. All nets need to be out of our rivers. Once the fish hits the Pamlico sound, Bouge Sound area they should be fair game. Shrimp and crab trawlers are tearing up the bottom of our rivers and killing off our small undersized fish/craps/shrimp. These are the fisheries that needs protection. Keep the trawlers out in the sounds and the population of all those will increase. No one is for cutting our the commercial fisherman as my family grew up on fishing the Neuse/Pamlico rivers/sound. They talked all the time back then that it was beginning to be over fished. I want local seafood but smart enough to know if we don't get the trawlers/nets out of our rivers/creeks we won't have any.
  • by concerned Location: pamlico on Aug 5, 2010 at 07:09 PM
    these businesses have to make a living to.. comercial fisherman just try to make ends meet. If you want tainted seafood out of asia and china go ahead. i want mine right from here, the pamlico and neuse river are so polluted nothing has a chance to grow successful. tawlers help take the silt off the bottom and make new growth for little shrimp, fish and crabs to eat. trawlers and gill nets clean the bottom this is all a food chain so you mess it up there will be one dominant species
  • by JA Location: plymou on Aug 5, 2010 at 06:11 PM
    u kill fish everythime u pull one out and throw it in ur cooler dont u? if u cut the nets out of fishing then u dont get the fresh seafood at ur local stores and restruant. jus let the men fish and do their jobs. everyone makes mistakes.
  • by Chris Location: Vanceboro, NC on Aug 5, 2010 at 04:57 PM
    Stop all the gill nets set in out river and there will be fish for all to catch, N.C. is the only state left on the east coast that lets people still set these fisk killing nets. Chris
  • by GOOD Location: NC on Aug 5, 2010 at 02:50 PM
    There is such a thing as overfishing. Anyone understand that or are you too busy pulling the conspiracy theory that the government wants to take over everything. I grew up on the Albemarle Sound. When I was younger you could fish out there all day and catch as much fish as you wanted. You could also catch plenty of crabs. Now, the boats just as someone said in a previous post line up and suck the waters dry. At some point you need to use that thick noggin up top and realize without some regulation in place for the amounts you can catch or sell, at some point, you're going to have nothing to catch or sell because it's all going to be gone. 30 years ago the demand for seafood was nowhere near close to what it is today. Now just about every restaurant around has some kind of seafood on its menu. Stop playing that stupid politics game of government this and government that and realize this..... you want seafood from eastern NC waters, or do you want it to come straight from Asia?
  • by Steve Location: Kill Devil Hills on Aug 5, 2010 at 01:54 PM
    Now those guys have been to school. When they purchase fish and do not fill out a ticket, they will keep better records and not report the sale in their totals for the day.
  • by wow on Aug 5, 2010 at 01:45 PM
    Whata know....bad ass criminals not reporting slimy fish. Our wonderful government won't be happy until there is no one left of make a living off the land. No cattle farmers, pig farmers, fishermen, corn, wheat, cotton.... You name it. Soon ALL our food and goods will come from CHINA, tainted, to kill off the rich AMERICANS
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