NOAA 2002-R154
Contact: Gordon Helm
NOAA News Releases 2002
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The NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) Office for Law Enforcement (OLE) and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission’s Virginia Marine Police - Special Investigative Unit led a joint criminal investigation that discovered Ronney Reid and his crew illegally caught and landed over 13,000 pounds of greater amberjack in violation of Virginia law. On Nov. 26, Reid, of Virginia Beach, Va., pled guilty to violating the Lacey Act.

Acting on a complaint, Special Agents Logan Gregory, NOAA Fisheries Office for Law Enforcement - Northeast Division and John Croft, Virginia Marine Police - Special Investigative Unit, uncovered four fishing trips between July 17 and Aug. 19, 2001 in which overages of greater amberjack were caught and eventually sold to several seafood companies in North Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi and Canada. Virginia law allows greater amberjack fishers to land a maximum of two fish per person, per trip.

According to documents obtained during the investigation, two Virginia dealers handled or purchased the fish from the vessel(s) under Reid’s control and within 24 hours of landing the catch was shipped out of state.

“It’s as if the fish never existed, stated special agent Gregory. “None of these fish were ever reported as being landed or purchased from a fishing vessel to either state or federal fisheries managers.”

The Lacey Act was imposed because the illegally caught fish were then sold in interstate commerce. The Lacey Act prohibits fish or wildlife entering into interstate commerce that is possessed or taken in violation of federal, state, Native America tribal and/or foreign laws.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Krask of U.S. Attorney’s Office in Norfolk, Va.

The NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation’s living marine resources through scientific research, management, enforcement, and the conservation of marine mammals and other protected marine species and their habitat.

To learn more about NOAA Fisheries and the Lacey Act, please visit: