Two men cited for crab trap violations in Calcasieu Parish

Blue crabs. (SOURCE: MGN Online / WikiCommons / WPOPP)
Blue crabs. (SOURCE: MGN Online / WikiCommons / WPOPP)

CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - Two men have been cited by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) for violating crab trap laws in Calcasieu Parish.

Wayne Erny, 35, of Lake Charles, and Eric L. Linden, 33, of Grand Lake, are both accused of theft and destruction of legal crab traps, violating crab escape ring requirements, using traps without the required markings and harvesting commercial fish without a commercial gear license. Linden was also cited with selling fish to a consumer without a license.

The citations stem from a complaint from a crab fisherman on Black Bayou that some of his equipment was stolen. During the course of the investigation, LDWF agents discovered the fisherman's crab traps near Fred's Lounge on Black Bayou. The traps had the victim's license number on them, but different corks and lines had been added to the traps. There were also several unmarked traps at the location. The victim positively identified his traps when brought to the location.

Erny was located by LDWF agents on August 14. He admitted to stealing the traps, cutting the lines and corks, using traps without tag numbers of escape rings and running the traps for commercial use without a license.

Linden was located on August 19. He admitted to stealing crab traps, cutting the lines and corks of the stolen traps, and using traps without tag numbers and escape rings.

Neither of the suspects has a commercial gear license. Agents have seized 22 crab traps and Linden's vessel.

According to a news release from the LDWF, "Violating crab escape ring requirements, destroying legal crab traps and using crab traps without the required markings brings a fine up to $950 and 120 days in jail for each offense.  Taking commercial fish without a commercial gear license and selling fish to a consumer without a fresh products license carries a fine up to $500 and 90 days in jail.  Theft brings a $500 to $1,000 and up to six months in jail."

Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Stuart Guillory, Senior Agent Anthony Verret and Senior Agent Sean Moreau.

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