A father and son fishing team are facing misdemeanor illegal commercialization charges after New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) caught them violating summer flounder trip limits when their boat returned to port in Southampton late last month, the agency announced today.
Two ECOs boarded the FV Mary Elizabeth, a 60-foot
Stern trawler, when it returned to port on December 22 at the Southampton town
dock in Shinnecock Inlet. During their inspection, officers examined the Fishing
Vessel Trip Report (FVTR) which reported 210 pounds of summer flounder, the
current legal limit.
However, further inspection and weighing of catch on the
deck and in the hold found six hundred pounds of summer flounder, approximately
398 pounds over the legal limit.
"New York State's proud commercial fishing tradition goes back hundreds of
years," DEC Regional Director Peter A. Scully said. "It is regrettable when a
few bad actors tarnish the reputation of a sound and admirable profession. We
are very fortunate to have a police force which works tirelessly to prevent
these individuals from taking advantage of our natural resources."
Facing charges are John Berglin, 56 of Hampton Bays, the vessel's owner and
operator, and his son, Scott, 25, also of Hampton Bays. Both men were released
on a field appearance ticket with an arraignment date of February 11 in
Southampton Town Justice Court. The misdemeanor commercialization charge carries
a potential maximum penalty of $5,000 and a year in jail.
After charging the men, ECOs took possession of the 398 pound sushi grade
quality summer flounder and donated it to the Lighthouse Mission in
Individuals who observe illegal environmental activities on Long Island are
encouraged to call DEC's Division of Law Enforcement at (631) 444-0250 on
weekdays during business hours, and the Environmental Conservation Officers
Hotline 1-844-DEC-ECOS at all other times to report those activities.
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