Belle Chasse Man Cited for Commercial Red Snapper Violations
Published 4:45 pm Tuesday, February 7, 2023
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited a Belle Chasse man for alleged commercial fishing violations on Feb. 6.
LDWF agents cited Christopher Ricouard, 41, of Belle Chasse, for five counts of failing to maintain records, five counts of failing to report commercial fish data, and two federal counts of failing to comply with individual fishing quota (IFQ) regulations pertaining to red snapper.
LDWF agents began investigating Ricouard’s red snapper landings after stopping him in Empire on Dec. 7, 2022. Agents found that he landed commercial red snapper without the proper allocation in his IFQ account, without trip tickets, and no landing number issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) accepting that the landing amount was removed from his allocation.
After further investigation, LDWF agents along with NOAA law enforcement officers found an additional four trips and a total of 896 pounds of unreported red snapper without trip tickets. Ricouard had already been cited twice before this case so this makes it Ricouard’s seventh offense for not filing the proper records pertaining to commercial fish.
Each offense for failing to maintain records and failing to report commercial fish data carries up to a $1,000 fine and 120 days in jail. In addition to any other penalty, for a second or subsequent violation of the aforementioned charges, the penalty imposed may include revocation of the permit or license under which the violation occurred for the period for which it was issued and barring the issuance of another permit or license for that same period.
Ricouard will also be assessed civil restitution totaling $1,572.12 for the replacement value of the illegally possessed red snapper.
All federal cases are filed with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for prosecution in Federal Court. Further prosecution from NOAA’s Division of Law Enforcement for federal reef fish regulations is pending.
Agents participating in this case are Lt. Adam Young, Sgt. Thomas Wolf, Corporal Austin Landry and Senior Agent Shea Schexnaydre.