Crab grab nets federal conviction

A Tangier man pleaded guilty today to overharvesting Chesapeake Blue Crabs in Virginia waters and selling them in Maryland in violation of the Lacey Act. According to court documents, between March 20, 2023, to April 20, 2023, James Warren Eskridge, 45, exceeded the maximum harvest and sale of blue crabs to a seafood buyer on 16 occasions. Chesapeake Blue Crabs are the most valuable fishery in the Chesapeake Bay and, as such, those fishing blue crabs are subject to strict limits by law. At the time of Eskridge’s violations, Virginia permitted licensed commercial crabbers to harvest up to 27 bushels of blue crab per day, regardless of the number of licenses crabbers present on a single vessel. Eskridge operated the fishing vessel Rebecca Jean II with two mates out of Tangier Island, Virginia. On April 11, 2023, law enforcement observed Eskridge and his mates offload 60 bushels – more than double the Virginia limit – in Crisfield, Maryland. On April 11, 2023, Eskridge and his mates returned to Crisfield and offloaded 56 bushels. On April 13, 2023, they returned again and offloaded 58 bushels more. more, >>click to read<< 16:36

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