News Releases

Naples man charged with possessing 68 undersized grouper

News Release

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Media contact: Gabriella B. Ferraro, 772-215-9459

A Naples fisherman is facing 69 charges after law enforcement officers discovered a large illegal catch in his boat Sunday.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers patrolling off Gordon's Pass in Collier County Sunday stopped a boat that was returning to shore. The captain initially advised officers he did not have any fish on board. 

Officers boarded the boat and conducted a fisheries inspection. They found 75 red grouper in a fish box onboard, and determined 68 were undersized. 

The captain, David J. Starrett (DOB 11/05/62) of Naples, was charged with 68 counts of possession of undersized grouper and one count of possessing over the allowable limit - all misdemeanors. He was booked into the Collier County jail, where he remains on $34,500 bond. Red grouper must be 20 inches in length or larger to possess. The possession limit for red grouper is two.

"The laws are in place to protect the fishery," said FWC Maj. Alfredo Escanio. "We enforce the laws to help ensure sustainability of the resource."

The fish were seized by the FWC and entered into evidence.

FWC Facts:
When operating a monohull boat less than 20 feet long, do not exceed the maximum weight, persons or horsepower capacity displayed on the manufacturer's capacity plate.

Learn More at AskFWC