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MOREHEAD CITY – A recent court judgment will put nearly $14,000 into the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Conservation Fund.

A Pamlico County District Court Judge awarded the money to the state as restitution for illegally caught flounder. James B. Jones, captain of the fishing vessel Lady Deborah, pleaded no contest March 30 to a charge of landing more than a 10,000-pound trip limit of flounder.

Jones received a sentence of 12 months probation and was ordered to pay $13,857.50 to the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources in addition to $110 in court costs. The amount has already been paid, according to court records.

Crewmembers Ponce D. Ham Jr. and Ponce D. Ham III both pleaded guilty to the same charge. They were ordered to pay $110 in court costs and a $75 fine.

The fishermen were cited Feb. 16 after Marine Patrol Officers Bryan Spain and Robert Lyon found 21,086 pounds of flounder on board the 85-foot trawler during a routine compliance check in the Oriental area.

The catch was more than double the allowable flounder trip limit of 10,000 pounds per day per vessel that was in effect at the time. The officers seized the fish and cited the four fishermen on board.

The case against the fourth fisherman is still pending.

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, contact Marine Patrol Capt. Steve Anthony at (252) 726-7021 or (800) 682-2632.
 

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Not sure the fine fit the crime as it's pretty obvious this wasnt a "oop's I didnt know" kind of mistake! Over twice the legal limit (21K + lb's)!!!

Seem's like the penalty would've been more stringent (i.e. suspended Capt's liscense, loss of vessel or something along those lines), but the law is at work. Wow, not only the Capt fined but the crew as well... guess the ol' sayin goes, if somethin aint right.. and nobody say's anything...
 

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I'm glad to see something was done. And they lost the catch also. Would have like to have seen more in the way of punishment but it's a start. The big thing is that they got no money for that day's fishing.
 

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10k Lbs. a day?? No wonder its so hard to find good fish!! geesh..
 
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