Eight Charged With Illegally Harvesting and Selling Striped Bass
Two More Indicted in Largest Ever Investigation into Illegal Commercial Fishing in the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River
According to the criminal informations, the individuals and corporation have been charged with violating the Lacey Act, which is a federal law that prohibits individuals or corporations from creating false records for fish or wildlife, and from transporting, selling, or buying fish and wildlife harvested illegally. Specifically, the informations allege that the commercial fishermen transported and sold striped bass, knowing that they had falsely recorded on their permit allocation cards the numbers and weight of the striped bass they caught and failed to accurately record the times when the fish were actually harvested.
Individuals charged include:
Thomas L. Crowder Jr.of Leonardtown, Md.
John W. Deanof Scotland, Md.
Charles Quadeof Churchtown, Md.
Thomas L. Hallockof Catharpin, Va.
Keith A. Collinsof Deale, Md.
Robert Moore Sr.of Falls Church, Va.
Robert Moore Jr.of Ashburn, Va.
The company charged is Cannon Seafood Inc., located in
In early spring each year, wild coastal striped bass (Morone saxatilis), known regionally as rockfish, enter the estuary or river where they were born to spawn, and then return to ocean waters to live, migrating along the coastline. Fish spawned from the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem contribute the greatest number of striped bass to the Atlantic coastal fishery, and the commercial fishery for Atlantic coastal striped bass is based primarily on migrations of fish born in the Chesapeake Bay area. Striped bass do not die after spawning. They may live up to 30 years and reach 50 pounds or more. The population of coastal Atlantic striped bass depends heavily upon the capability of older, larger, female striped bass to successfully reproduce.
A criminal information and indictment are not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by criminal information or indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
The Lacey Act carries a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment and a fine of up to
The charges are a result of the investigation by an interstate task force formed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Maryland Natural Resources Police and the Virginia Marine Police, Special Investigative Unit in 2003. The task force conducted undercover purchases and sales of striped bass in 2003, engaged in covert observation of commercial fishing operations in the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River area, and conducted detailed analysis of area striped bass catch reporting and commercial business sales records from 2003 through 2007. The investigation is continuing, and charges against others are possible.
These cases are being prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney
SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice