BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division cited two men for alleged commercial fishing violations in Avoyelles Parish on Jan. 26.
Agents say they cited Donnyel W. Lapraririe, 60, and Phillip W. Lapraririe, 33, both from Effie, for taking game fish illegally, illegal possession of gamefish, illegal net mesh size, taking commercial fish without a commercial license and gear license, and failing to tag/mark their nets. Phillip Lapraririe was also cited for failing to comply with personal flotation device (PFD) requirements, improper running lights and possessing an expired boat registration.
Agents were working an area of Old River in Vick where they had recurring reports of illegal gill netting activity when they reported they found the men picking up nets out of the water and putting them into their vessel before daylight. Agents then say they saw the men offload the nets at the bank.
Agents made contact with the men and found they did not possess the required commercial fishing licenses and that the net mesh size was two inches.
After further investigation, agents also learned that the men possessed 13 freezer bags in a house freezer with each bag containing 10 gutted, scaled and headless crappie. Investigators say the men admitted to catching the frozen crappie with the same nets.
In the nets, agents found 13 largemouth bass, 44 crappie, seven bullhead catfish, five gar, one bowfin, two carp and 11 shad. Agents seized the fish and donated them to a local charity.
It is illegal to fish commercially with a gill net that has a mesh size smaller than three inches in the freshwater areas of the state and to take game fish with a commercial gill net.
Illegal possession of game fish, taking game fish illegally and using illegal mesh size each carries a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail. Taking commercial fish without a commercial fishing license and gear license, and failing to tag nets each brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.
Failing to comply with PFD requirements, improper vessel running lights and possessing an expired boat registration each bring up to a $50 fine and 15 days in jail.
The men may also face civil restitution totaling $1,109 for the replacement value of the illegally taken fish.