L.D.W.F. Agents Discover Illegal Seafood Shipments in Orleans Parish
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited a Jefferson Parish wholesale seafood dealer on May 12 for allegedly possessing unreported, farm-raised game fish and undocumented blue crabs at a New Orleans seafood processing facility.
Agents arrived at the seafood processing facility to perform an inspection, when a man, identified as Charles Flanders, 38, of Gretna, was seen backing a refrigerated truck up to the loading dock. During the inspection, agents observed various seafood containers in Flanders’ vehicle, including shrimp, blue crabs, grouper, and farm-raised red drum.
After a records inspection of Flanders’ load, agents found that the red drum and grouper had been purchased by Flanders from Mexico, and that he transported the fish into Louisiana via Florida. The investigation revealed that Flanders had failed to notify LDWF prior to entering Louisiana. In addition, he was not in possession of any records involving the origin of the blue crabs. A follow-up investigation showed that the crabs were purchased in Venice, and scheduled to be sold at New Orleans fish house.
A total of 162 pounds of blue crabs were seized and sold for a total of $324.00 and a total of 1,321 pounds of red drum were seized and sold for $3,236.45. The disposition of these funds will be determined pending trial.
Flanders was cited with a state violation of failure to maintain records on the blue crabs. The penalty for this offense is a fine of $250 to $500 or jail for not more than 90 days or both plus court costs. In addition, federal violations are pending for violating interstate and foreign commerce regulations involving the Lacy Act, which can carry a penalty of up to $10,000.
Red drum are classified as a game fish according to Louisiana law. Prior to each shipment into the state of any saltwater farm-raised game fish, the buyer or handler of such shipment must notify the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries of its pending arrival, the amount of fish, the origin and destination of the shipment, and the grower’s name and fish farmer’s license number.
Flanders had allegedly purchased other game fish from Mexico on a previous occasion and transported them into Louisiana for sale. Further investigation found that at the time of the previous transaction, he was not the holder of a valid Louisiana wholesale/retail dealer’s license, required to buy and/or sell fish within the state. Flanders also failed to report this shipment to LDWF.
LDWF agents involved in the case were Sr. Agents Jason Russo and Mike Garrity, Lt. Edward Skena, and Sgt. Bryan Marie.
For more information: contact Captain Stephen McManus at
504-280-1593 or smcmanus [at] wlf [dot] louisiana [dot] gov.