FWC charges 2 commercial fishermen with felony gill-netting
Friday, March 25, 2011
Media contact: Gabriella B. Ferraro, 772-215-9459
Two Fort Pierce commercial fishermen, a father and son, are
facing felony gill-netting charges after officers with the Florida
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) caught them fishing
with a large entanglement net, which is illegal.
Dalton C. Thomas (DOB 03/27/94) of Fort Pierce was booked into
the St. Lucie County Jail. His father, Steven M. Thomas (DOB
02/03/69) of Fort Pierce was taken to a local hospital after
complaining of medical issues during the arrest. A warrant will be
issued for his arrest upon release from the hospital. The elder
Thomas has prior resource violations.
The men also face misdemeanor charges relating to fish entangled
in the net. The net had approximately 150 pounds of fish, including
pompano, shark, sheepshead and ladyfish.
On Tuesday night, FWC officers observed a suspicious vessel in
the North Fork of the St. Lucie River, in Port St. Lucie. They
watched as the two men set a gill net.
"These nets don't discriminate; they can entangle any species
and are very damaging to our resources," said FWC Maj. Jeff Hubert,
regional commander. "We hope this sends a message to the fishing
community that we are out there, protecting the state's marine
The FWC seized the fish, the gill net and the fishermen's boat.
Most of the fish were sold to a local fish house. The boat and the
net have been retained for evidence.