FL: Fisherman facing numerous saltwater fish charges

A Palm Coast fisherman is facing numerous federal charges
relating to taking saltwater fish during a recent outing with
friends in the Atlantic Ocean off the Flagler County coast.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Officer Ben
Boots cited Thuy Nguyen (DOB 05/06/67) of 45 Bruning Lane, Palm
Coast, for possession of red snapper in federal waters (a
prohibited species), possession of undersized gag grouper in
federal waters, possession of black sea bass, gag grouper and
vermilion snapper during closed season in federal waters, and
failure to maintain fish in whole condition.

On Feb. 2, Boots was patrolling offshore when he spotted Nguyen’s
22-foot Seabird with several people aboard fishing approximately 16
miles east of the Matanzas Inlet. As the officer pulled up to the
boat to conduct a boating safety and fisheries inspection, Nguyen,
who owns and operates the 1976 vessel, started throwing fish
overboard. Boots quickly pulled up behind the boat and used a net
to retrieve all the fish Nguyen had discarded. There were five red
snapper, one gag grouper, one black sea bass and one vermilion

After getting the fish onto his patrol boat, Boots pulled alongside
Nguyen’s vessel and completed his inspections. Including the fish
he pulled from the water, Boots found onboard Nguyen’s boat a total
of 18 red snapper, four gag grouper, three vermilion snapper and
two black sea bass. All were illegal to possess. There were six
other people aboard the vessel, but nobody could remember who
caught which fish, so Nguyen told Boots that since he was the
captain and owner of the vessel he would take responsibility.

Nguyen will be prosecuted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration’s (NOAA) Office of General Counsel – Enforcement
Section. FWC officers are cross-deputized to enforce federal fish
and wildlife laws as part of a joint enforcement agreement with
NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement.


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