Wildlife Officers Charge Several for Harvesting Illegal Oysters - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Wildlife Officers Charge Several for Harvesting Illegal Oysters

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Officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission charged several people and returned more than 30 bags of illegally harvested oysters to Apalachicola Bay.

According to reports from the FWC, officers stopped a boat in the Two Mile Channel area of Apalachicola Bay on January 13th with three individuals aboard. Officers found nine untagged and unshaded bags of oysters.

During their investigation, the individuals on the boat said that they had illegally harvested the oysters from the summer bars in Apalachicola Bay south of Long Bridge after sunset.

The three, Angela N. Cooper, Jonathan E. Cooper and Charles L. Fasbenner were charged with possession of untagged bags of oysters, harvesting oysters between sunset and sunrise, fail to deliver shellfish directly to the dealer and sale of unlawfully landed products.

On the same day, officers were on foot patrol and observed a vehicle that appeared to have several more bags of oysters. Two individuals were hiding near the vehicle, Lorne H. Hicks Jr. and Kevin M. Schoelles.

During an inspection of th vehicle, the two admitted to catching the oysters late in the evening and bringing them into Two Mile channel and hiding them. Officers found 22 bags of untagged oysters and five more bags in the vessel they were using.

Schoelles was given citations for fail to deliver shellfish directly to a certified dealer, untagged bags of oysters, unculled oysters and harvesting oysters conditionally approved during a closure.

All the oysters were photographed for evidence and returned alive to the water.

The investigation is continuing.

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