A commercial boating captain and his crew pled guilty to illegally spearfishing in the Block Island Sound, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Captain Christopher Miller, of Montauk, pleaded guilty to the commercialization of fish, shellfish, crustaceans and wildlife, a class A misdemeanor. According to officials, Miller was sentenced to 210 hours of community service and must pay a penalty of $15,000.
Crew members Erik A. Oberg, also of Montauk, and Mica Marder of East Hampton, must complete 140 hours of community service within a year and pay a fine of $500 each after having pled guilty to violations of the Environmental Conservation law for the illegal commercialization of fish.
A warrant has been issued for Peter J. Correale of New Canaan, Conn., who is abroad and will be charged upon his return.
“New York State’s proud fishing tradition goes back hundreds of years,” said Department of Environmental Conservation Regional Director Peter A. Scully. “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 and ensure they are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
According to Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs), during a routine patrol they observed three divers holding spear guns while boarding Sea Spearit, a fishing vessel at Valiant Rock. After boarding the vessel, the officers found both tagged and untagged striped bass in coolers, all of which had visible spear wounds around their gills.
New York State Environmental Conservation Law forbids the fishing of striped bass by spear for commercial purposes due in part to the dwindling population of the fish. After confiscating the fish and bringing them to the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s Office, it was determined that the unlawfully harvested bass weighed 926.5 pounds, with a value of $4,632.
Anyone with information concerning illegal activities are encouraged to call DEC’s Environmental Conservation Officers at (631) 444-0250 during business hours or 1-877-457-5680 or 1-800-TIPP-DEC at all other times.