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#07-277 September 24, 2007

DNR makes red drum case in Charleston County

Recent resource cases made by Law Enforcement officers have involved the catch of illegally sized saltwater fish.

A notable case, in particular, involved S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) law enforcement officers Ben Duncan and Huger McClellan charging two individuals with oversized, undersized and over the limit catches of red drum in the Wando River. The fishermen also received tickets for conspiracy to violate Chapter 5 of the Marine Fisheries Code of Laws of South Carolina.

After conducting a routine safety inspection to ensure the fishermen were legally compliant with all appropriate safety gear, the officers found them in violation of the recently enacted finfish laws and without possession of vessel registration. Duncan and McClellan stressed the importance of abiding by the new saltwater fish limits, going over the specific size limits for each of the species’ regulations.
The same anglers were found later in the afternoon along the same stretch of the Wando River, with additional illegally sized fish in their cooler. These anglers were clearly not ignorant of the new legislative fisheries laws that went into effect earlier during the summer, Duncan said.

"The anglers were keeping everything they caught, including over- and undersized fish. We had noRed drum choice but to cite them on this rather large mistake," Duncan said. Duncan and McClellan issued seven tickets for oversized red drum, two tickets for undersized red drum and five tickets for over the limit possession of red drum. Current regulations for red drum include a bag limit of three per person per day, and a size limit of 15 inches total length or greater, and equal to or less than 23 inches total length maximum. The anglers in violation also received tickets for conspiracy to violate the Chapter 5 laws. Restitution for each fish was granted to DNR.

The new fisheries law went into effect June 15 of this year, and includes changes as well as new regulations on several saltwater species, including black drum, weakfish, hardhead and gafftopsail saltwater catfish, red drum, spotted seatrout, flounder, black seabass, and dolphin. For a complete listing of this information, refer to the saltwater section in DNR’s Rules and Regulations booklet.

Report violations of saltwater recreational and commercial fishing laws by calling the toll-free Coast Watch hotline number (1-800-922-5431), which was developed to help citizens report violations of saltwater recreational and commercial fishing laws.

DNR protects and manages South Carolina’s natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state’s natural resources and its people.

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