Fisherman facing numerous saltwater fish charges
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Media contact: Joy Hill, 352-258-3426
A Palm Coast fisherman is facing numerous federal charges relating to taking saltwater fish during a recent outing with friends in the Atlantic Ocean off the Flagler County coast.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Officer Ben Boots cited Thuy Nguyen (DOB 05/06/67) of 45 Bruning Lane, Palm Coast, for possession of red snapper in federal waters (a prohibited species), possession of undersized gag grouper in federal waters, possession of black sea bass, gag grouper and vermilion snapper during closed season in federal waters, and failure to maintain fish in whole condition.
On Feb. 2, Boots was patrolling offshore when he spotted Nguyen’s 22-foot Seabird with several people aboard fishing approximately 16 miles east of the Matanzas Inlet. As the officer pulled up to the boat to conduct a boating safety and fisheries inspection, Nguyen, who owns and operates the 1976 vessel, started throwing fish overboard. Boots quickly pulled up behind the boat and used a net to retrieve all the fish Nguyen had discarded. There were five red snapper, one gag grouper, one black sea bass and one vermilion snapper.
After getting the fish onto his patrol boat, Boots pulled alongside Nguyen’s vessel and completed his inspections. Including the fish he pulled from the water, Boots found onboard Nguyen’s boat a total of 18 red snapper, four gag grouper, three vermilion snapper and two black sea bass. All were illegal to possess. There were six other people aboard the vessel, but nobody could remember who caught which fish, so Nguyen told Boots that since he was the captain and owner of the vessel he would take responsibility.
Nguyen will be prosecuted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of General Counsel – Enforcement Section. FWC officers are cross-deputized to enforce federal fish and wildlife laws as part of a joint enforcement agreement with NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement.