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MOREHEAD CITY – A recent court judgment has added more than $8,500 to the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Conservation Fund.

Carteret County District Court Judge Cheryl Spencer awarded the money to the state July 31 as restitution for illegally sold bluefin tuna. Walter James Harmstead Jr., 39, of 139 Sunnysail Dr., Manteo, pleaded guilty to a charge of commercial fishing without holding a standard commercial fishing license and received a prayer for judgment for eight months.

Harmstead was cited Dec. 11 after Marine Patrol officers David Morris and Carter Witten checked records of landings at a Morehead City marina. The officers found Harmstead had sold four tunas under someone else’s commercial fishing license, without legal permission to do so.

The fish were seized and sold to a federal tuna dealer for $8,590.25. The amount was awarded to the Conservation Fund.

The Conservation Fund is administered by the Marine Fisheries Commission and used for such purposes as educating the public about the importance of marine and estuarine conservation management.

For more information on these cases, contact Marine Patrol Capt. Steve Anthony at (252) 726-7021 or (800) 682-2632.
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