Palm Beach Co. commercial fisherman in Brevard Co. fined $50,000
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Media contact: Lesli Bales-Sherrod (NOAA), 301-427-2300; or
Joy Hill (FWC), 352-258-3426
A commercial king mackerel fisherman was recently fined more
than $50,000 for multiple violations of the federal
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation Management Act. The fines
came as a result of a vessel inspection in Port Canaveral (Brevard
County) by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
(FWC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Late last month NOAA issued David Sanderson (DOB 08/24/67),
15258 86 Way, North West Palm Beach, two federal fines totaling
$51,975 for three counts of harvesting king mackerel in excess of
the commercial trip limit, and two counts of making false
statements to law enforcement officers.
Sanderson owns the commercial fishing vessel Stapleton. On Dec.
23, 2009, NOAA agents and FWC officers working a joint
federal-state fisheries detail boarded the Stapleton to inspect the
vessel's catch. FWC officers Corey Bridwell and Justin Morgan, and
NOAA Special Agent Mark Fields discovered a hidden compartment on
the vessel that contained more king mackerel than is allowed by
federal law. King mackerel are commonly called kingfish.
Sanderson has 30 days to request a hearing before a federal
administrative law judge.
"This type of illegal activity has a serious impact on the
livelihood of other commercial fishermen, as well as the
sustainability of the king mackerel commercial fishery," said
Fields, who is from NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement, Southeast
"For example, if a commercial vessel such as the
Stapleton harvests 10 kingfish over the trip limit, at a commercial
value of $2 per pound, that would be taking 100 pounds of the quota
and $200 away from the other king mackerel fishermen on every trip.
If it fished for one week and exceeded the limit by10 every day,
the vessel would be pocketing an additional $1,400 a week and
taking an extra 700 pounds of the quota away from the other
NOAA Agent Fields documented the
vessel-harvesting overages on three separate occasions and said
federal fishery rules are in place to protect commercial fishermen
and the fish populations.
From Nov. 1 through March 31, the commercial
trip limit for king mackerel south of the Flagler/Volusia County
line and north of the Miami-Dade/Monroe County line is 50 fish per
day, until Feb. 1. After Feb. 1, trip limits may increase to 75
fish per day, if 75 percent of the quota has not been reached.
NOAA Fisheries' Office of Law Enforcement, through numerous
joint enforcement agreements, has federally deputized
fish-and-wildlife and environmental law enforcement officers in 23
coastal states and territories, including Florida, to enforce
federal fisheries regulations.