TRAWLER OWNER, CAPTAIN CHARGED WITH ILLEGAL HARVESTING
OF SUMMER FLOUNDER AND BLACK SEA BASS
(11/P15) TRENTON - The Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish and Wildlife has issued summonses charging the owner and the captain of a commercial fishing trawler with illegally harvesting thousands of pounds of flounder and black sea bass.
The trawler Atlantic Queen harvested nearly 2,400 pounds of summer flounder and more than 1,200 pounds of black sea bass in excess of state limits.
“Our coastal waters support rich and diverse commercial fisheries, but it is imperative that everyone - from captains and owners of ocean-going commercial vessels to the individual angler casting a line from the beach or a pleasure boat - obey the regulations that are in place to protect these resources,” said Division of Fish and Wildlife Capt. Mark Chicketano. “This was a significant violation of those regulations.”
The owner of the trawler is Alda Gentile, 53, of Speonk, N.Y. The captain is William Jeffery Stanley, 44, of Brick.
Gentile and Stanley were each charged with landing summer flounder and sea bass without valid permits, harvesting both species in excess of 10 percent of total weight of species brought to the dock, failing to notify the Division of Fish and Wildlife that it was fishing for these species, and harvesting summer flounder during a closed season.
The owner and captain could face penalties up to $21,000 each.
Conservation officers boarded the Atlantic Queen shortly after midnight on Jan. 25 after noticing that it appeared to be overloaded with summer flounder and black sea bass. The vessel had just docked in Point Pleasant Beach after returning from a 10-day fishing trip.
Under the direction of the officers, the crew unloaded the fish onto the dock, where they were weighed. Although the vessel did have appropriate federal fisheries permits for these species, it did not have the appropriate state licenses for either of the species landed. The permits are necessary to land the fish in New Jersey.
As a result, the vessel was only legally permitted to land a maximum of 200 pounds of summer flounder. It had actually landed 2,397 pounds of this fish. The vessel was also only legally permitted to harvest 100 pounds of black sea bass. It had harvested 1,208 pounds of this fish.
Regulations allow for a small portion of these two fish species to be brought to the dock. This averts wasting of fish that are incidentally caught in the harvesting of other species.
The Division of Fish and Wildlife sold the fish to a licensed dealer so they would not go to waste and is holding the proceeds of the sale pending adjudication of the case in Point Pleasant Borough Municipal Court.