VMRC enforces maximum habitual offender poaching penalties

comm-bull-jan14The Virginia Marine Resources Commission flexed new muscle last month when it stripped a Hampton waterman of his commercial fishing license for five years for poaching oysters and levied a $10,000 civil penalty. It marks the first time commissioners enforced maximum poaching penalties that took effect July 1, 2015. Until then, the maximum was a two-year loss of license with no civil penalty. The new law targets repeat offenders who commit egregious violations of state code, said VMRC Commissioner John Bull. And it can be applied only after convictions in criminal court. While Bull and fellow board members believe the new penalties better fit the crime, not everyone agrees. J.C. Hudgins, a Mathews County waterman and treasurer of the Virginia Watermen’s Association, “I think everybody feels like a habitual offender like that needs to have something done — needs to have some restrictions or some penalties put on him,” Hudgins said. “But, phew, that’s a rough one there. … Five years, that’s a long time.” Read the story here 09:55

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