Gloucester Lobsterman fined $10K for illegal landings in plea deal – Apology to ‘entire fleet’ delivered in courtroom

The Gloucester lobsterman accused of landing 183 illegal lobsters last November pleaded guilty to 20 of the counts, and was fined $10,000. All other charges against him were dismissed under a plea agreement announced Friday in Gloucester District Court. James A. Santapaola Jr., 40, of 16 Forest St., stood quietly before Judge Richard Mori, responding only with a “Yes, sir,” and “No, sir” when asked if he understood the impact of his guilty pleas and whether he had been coerced by anyone into making them. The pleas, fine and dismissals all came through joint recommendations negotiated by Santapaola’s lawyer, Liam O’Connell, assistant district attorney Aimee Conway, and Massachusetts Environmental Police, which had filed the charges at Capt. Joe & Sons Inc. on East Main Street last fall. While Santapaola did not speak, and left the courtroom without making any comment afterward, O’Connell read into the court record a letter in which his client said he was “humbled and humiliated” by the incident. Read the story and apology letter here 08:03