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Not Just the Fisherman... and not just the East Coast

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NORTH BAY FISH COMPANY ADMITS TO FALSE STATEMENTS

03/02/05 9:35 PST

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN)

 

A Santa Rosa fish dealership and its president have pleaded guilty in federal court in San Francisco to making false statements to a regulatory agency about the amount of groundfish they bought from fishermen.

 

North Coast Fisheries Inc. and company President Michael Lucas, 40, of Santa Rosa, entered the pleas on Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer.

 

The company pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the Pacific Fishery Management Council and Lucas pleaded guilty to aiding in the offense.

 

The council, established under a federal law, is made up of federal, state and local officials and private citizens. It sets limits on the amount a fishing vessel may catch of certain species, in order to ensure that stocks along the West Coast are not over-fished.

 

State and federal laws require that fish dealerships such as North Coast Fisheries submit statements of fish purchases. The information aids the council in setting limits and helps the National Marine Fisheries Service in enforcing them. Groundfish include rockfish, sablefish, petrale sole and lingcod.

 

Lucas and the company are due to be sentenced by Breyer on May 25. Lucas faces a possible maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The company could be fined up to $500,000.

 

A former manager of the company, Peter Pomilia, previously pleaded guilty to a count of submitting false information and is to be sentenced by Breyer on May 11.

 

U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan said, "Our environmental agencies depend on accurate records to estimate future catch limits and maintain healthy fisheries. If fishing-industry companies and chief executives make false statements, it harms our fisheries and puts honest fishermen at a disadvantage."

 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

Two points here... those fines... I wonder what percentage 500,000 grand is of the company's net profit? Enough to make it worth doing it again?

 

Also, rockfish was closed to rec anglers last year... because of overfishing.

 

Hmmmmmmm.

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Nice they got him, and it will make others think about it for a while. Problem being those are all Max time and fines which usually get lowballed in court rolleyes.gif

 

Be curious to see what happens confused.gif

 

 

Wes... HappyWave.gif

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500K is probly a small percentage at best.

 

What is the possibility of Anglers grouping togethor and sueing these companies? The season was closed to anglers, but these guys are still out raping. Couldnt party boats and tackle shops sue?

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Lucas faces a possible maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The company could be fined up to $500,000.

 

Let's play a game - let's try to guess what the actual sentence/fines will be smile.gif

 

I'm gonna guess 0-6 months and $10,000 fine for Lucas. And the company $15,000. Oh...and I'm also gonna guess that the actual sentencing date won't end up being in May, 2005. My guess is this gets postponed and delayed until the end of 2006 at the earliest.

 

Whomever said crime doesn't pay didn't have the money for a good defense team cwm13.gif

 

TimS

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And five will get ya 10 they suspend all the fines and jail time once the guilty parties cross their hearts and hope to die and promise never to do it again.

 

 

At least until next year mad.gif

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Two points here... those fines... I wonder what percentage 500,000 grand is of the company's net profit? Enough to make it worth doing it again?

 

According to D&B, North Coast Fisheries is a $13M per year company employing 35. I'd say that would be a significant deterrent. I doubt they'll get fined anywhere near that though.

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