make WWAY your homepage  Become a fan on facebook  Follow us on twitter  Receive RSS Newsfeeds  MEMBERS: Register | Login

Man found guilty for undersized flounder

READ MORE: Man found guitly for undersized flounder
flounder300.jpg
A Pender County jury had to decide the case of the undersized flounder on Thursday. James Jones, a commercial fisherman for twenty-five years, was on trial for catching an undersized flounder. The case goes back to august when Jones was spotted gigging a fish. A marine patrolman asked him to measure the fish, and found it was 13-and-a-half inches, half an inch too short to keep under state regulations. "When it's an ignorant law, you need to stand up to it," Jones said. Jones said he had no intention of keeping the fish and tossed it back. While the officer first issued Jones with a warning, he upped it to a full fledged citation after learning Jones had a previous undersized fish charge from 2006. "The principal behind it is, the rules have to be applied and the rules have to be enforced. I could have easily dismissed this charge, but I would be telling the wildlife officer don't do your job,” said Assistant District Attorney Joseph Bowman. "I've got no problem with it being 14 inches but they have got to give us some leeway,” Jones said. Even with bigger fish to fry in the court system, some say this trail was worth it. "It was a small case, it wasn't earth shattering, but I think it's important if someone does have a view and they feel like they have been wronged then they should have a chance to express that,” said juror Nicholas Herring. “A lot of people would say that it was a waste of the courts time to go over a case involving a fish but you got to think about North Carolina and it's resources and they need to be protected,” added fellow juror David Lorenz. In the end, maybe justice prevailed for the fish. The jury deliberated for a half hour to find Jones guilty of possession of an undersized flounder. Cases like this don't usually go to trial. The assistant DA said he offered Jones a deal to pay the fines for a lesser charge, but Jones refused saying he did nothing wrong. Now, Jones will have to serve 12 months of unsupervised probation, pay over $400 in fines and court costs, and could potentially have his fishing license suspended.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

»

Expensive flounder

Wow! TAX DOLLARS hard at work I am sure of it....

my guess is that the officer

my guess is that the officer who wrote the ticket, did as many of them do in my area (swansboro), which is to lie in wait in the area with no navigation lights on & sneek up on mr. jones only to suddenly cut on all nav lights & then shine a spotlight in his face. this people is against the law. just because he is a law inforcement officer does not give him the right to navigate in ANY waters of north carolina without his navigation lights on. if this happens to you, do as i did. look on the back of your nc fishing license and there you will find an 800 number in which you can report violations..... use it! after reporting an afficer in the swansboro area twice for this violation, he was temporarily pulled from the area. he now uses his nav lights when patroling this area.

Laws are laws???

If laws are laws then all of you people that drive 56 miles per hour in a 55MPH zone should indeed be put in jail. All of you people that FLY by my house going over the 35MPH zone should be given the maximum penalty. GET A LIFE. It was a half an inch short. Just like one mile over the speed limit. "A law is a law.." You're so close minded!

I got a ticket in Texas 66

I got a ticket in Texas 66 in a 65 mph.......cost me 141 dollars. A law is a law no matter who it inconveniences

Fines and Marine Fisheries & Undersized Flounder

I wanted to comment on this Artical, (Fri), about this issue of undersized Flounder.. Reading the Artical, You have here a COMMERICAL Fisherman of 25 years.. Point is this, He, (Mr. Jones), pays fees of excess of 200.00+ for the PRIVLEGE of Commerical fishing. After 25 years of "Gigging" for Flounder or other operations He is engaged in, as a Commerical, He can right well "guessemate" the length of a flounder easy. Second, He was "gigging" and released the Flounder. You can bet it was DEAD when released..(Thus, the "final" reason for the ticket to be upgraded, I'm betting). Also, as there are not many Commerical Fishermen left in this state, they are for the most part, personaly known by DMF enforcement,on a Man to man basis usually, which brings up the question, Is this fellow a "bad apple"? going into closed areas, or skriting the Laws often?Known to break the Laws but hasn't been caught "red-handed" yet? Which would bring the IRE of DMF personal quickly. Our Laws by DMF are NO Laughing matter, they were brought about to ensure that OUR PUBLIC resources are not "raped" by Commerical or "Rec.", Fishermen, "just to make a living". It's a PULIC Resource folks, it belongs to YOU, the people of NC. Remember this, when you take you Son or Daughter on our sounds and oceans Fishing or crabbing, and think, where are the Finfish and Shellfish? Whom Caught them all? Flounder at this point, are a DEPLETED resource, as the fish cannot start breeding until 14+ inches. A half inch is a BIG difference. Leeway for a Half-Inch, what will be next? One inch, or Two? Laws are Laws, even though most of you commenting May not be on the water often enough, Laws on Our Sounds and Oceans are Just the SAME as if you were on Land driving, and get caught speeding, you get a ticket.. Go too one of our Local piers or Surf Fish, catch a "undersized" Flounder, Drum, Trout, and expect to pay a fine of 160.00+ for that fish. Laws are Laws, whether on Land/Water/ or Air,Even If you & I agree with them or not, they are there for a reason.... Take a Kid Fishing.... I digress. Signed, a Ex-Commerical Fisherman..

Small fish

People the issue here is a undersized fish was caught and killed. If you have never stabbed a fish before the chances of it living are near zero. He had already been caught for this before so obviously he does it all the time. If the fish is in question DONT stab it and it wont be an issue. He has been doing this for years and KNEW that fish was to small when he killed it. These fish help keep up our economy.They are over fished and that is the reason the size limit is now what it is. I have seen in my lifetime on the water that old school commercial fisherman break the rules all the time because they dont bother to investigate why the rules are in place. Its a common feeling that the water is mine because they spend so much time out there. They dont and the courts proved it. Congrats for the DA for following through.

I just visited a place

I just visited a place oversees and the shrimp were about the size of quarters. They did not have laws governing the size and could catch them as small as they wanted. The shrimp will not reach maturity, which means they will not reproduce. So what he threw it back. He was "gigging" flounder, which means it was stabbed with a pole or some other means. Most likely the fish was mortally wounded. Gigging is an indiscriminant way to harvest flounder. This sends a clear message to commercial fisherman and protects our marine resources.

inspecter clouseau

It's amazing a wildlife officer discovers a flounder 1/2" undersize, but no one can find a public boatramp with all of these items: A. Paved parking lot B. Enough parking C. Wash down area D. Fish cleaning area E. Enough ramps for plenty of access. That $15 salt water fishing license sure got us something. A brand new pair of amazing underwater x-ray glasses for the wildlife officers.

inspector clouseau

give me a break. You spend more money at a movie with the wife or girlfriend with popcorn than you do for a whole year's worth of fishing pleasure. Where else can you find that kind of deal. The man knew what he was doing, had done it before and was caught. If you support him, you support all those who think of only "me" when fishing (or hunting)and not the future generations who love fishing and would love to catch a nice flounder to eat. You think fishing license are a bad deal, PLEASE still buy a license to help future generations and you stay at home

This

is the biggest waste of our money I have ever seen. That wildlife officer must be proud. "Honey I caught a big time criminal today." And after his wife hears what its about she has the right to leave him for a man with a REAL job.. Im sorry but this is just stupid.

Y'all just don't get it...

All of North Carolina's natural resources need to be protected. When they are gone, they will be gone for good. Commercial fisherman have decimated the fish and shellfish populations in this area over the last 50 years. These laws are in place to assure future generations will not have to Google 'Flounder' just to see what one look like. Can you say 'C O N S E R V A T I O N?' Get with the program or pay the consequences later.

protecting fish & shellfish

not only should they worry aqbout a 1/2 inch short flounder, they should worry about all of those 1 & 2 inch oysters that have been taken off the oyster rocks this year,.There are barley any seeds left on the rocks.They should inforce all those people that are getting 5 bushel of oysters each day and are peddling them on the side with no dealers license,or no trip tickets to show they have a market where they are selling them.When a person goes everyday and comes out with 5 bushels each day and there is no trip tickets being sent in on them that plainly tells you they are peddling without a dealers license, because as hard of work as that is you are not just giving away 5 bushels a day for nothing and no one is eating that many oysters a week.in brunswick county this season there has been so much illegal pedding of oysters some of the markets only let their oyster men get to work 1 day a week, how do you think you can feed your family with only one day pay.I have seen some of these illegal people through whole clusters in basket the size of a basket ball,,That is not the legal way to get oysters.the marine fishiers need to crack down on this illegal size of oysters and illegal pedding,It is not fair to the people that has to buy license and keep up with reports and paper work when the illegal crew just buys a $35.00 license and gets to peddle for free.I the marine fishiers start catching some of these people,so it would help the hard honest working people..concerned commercial fisherman

Congrats to the arresting officer and jury

Those of you who think this is trivial need to think again. Our fisheries are of major importance, and violations have long been ignored in our court system. The man was in violation, and he had a history. He is also the one who asked for a jury trial. He got it, and he lost. In America, we call this justice.

It may seem petty and a

It may seem petty and a waste of time. For those of you who don't know about flounder gigging - you go around at night, using bright lights to find flounder sitting on the bottom. You then stab them in the head with a spear and kill them. If the fish is borderline in size - you don't spear it. It's that simple. This fisherman knew that the fish was undersized and didn't care - and he obviously showed a lot of deference for the law. When it comes to fishing, many of our coastal counties (and i live in one) are LAWLESS. Many folks purposely break each and every law they can - and it is one of the reasons that our populations of fish are suffering. I am glad they took him to court - something needs to be done other than silly "slap on the wrist" fines.

It may seem petty and a

It may seem petty and a waste of time. For those of you who don't know about flounder gigging - you go around at night, using bright lights to find flounder sitting on the bottom. You then stab them in the head with a spear and kill them. If the fish is borderline in size - you don't spear it. It's that simple. This fisherman knew that the fish was undersized and didn't care - and he obviously showed a lot of deference for the law. When it comes to fishing, many of our coastal counties (and i live in one) are LAWLESS. Many folks purposely break each and every law they can - and it is one of the reasons that our populations of fish are suffering. I am glad they took him to court - something needs to be done other than silly "slap on the wrist" fines.

Obey your GOVERNMENT!

"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty." -Thomas Jefferson We're slipping into that government state where they control us. It's time to be scared people. Time for a revolution.

"But to go to trial? I guess

"But to go to trial? I guess those who feel the trial may have been worth it are not being affected by the recession. I feel bad for the jurors. They are missing a days pay over this, the 12.00 they get for jury duty doesnt suffice" The beef here is the chintzy 12 bucks a day. The guy had every right afforded to citizens of the country to force the issue to trial, regardless of his reasons.

Gigging Ruling

Job well done. The wildlife officer, judge and jury should be commended for upholding the law. If you're not sure whether the fish is legal, you don't stick (kill) it. Gigging should be outlawed, or at the very least, the creel limit decreased to less than 5 per day. Our flounder population is not in good shape.

Hold on now, some of the

Hold on now, some of the blame for costing the system has to go to the defendant too. He got a jury trial for a misdemeanor, which means that he had already been convicted in District Court and appealled the case to Superior Court. And for those that think the officer should not have written the ticket...the people that complain about law enforcement officers not doing their job are, many times, the same ones who complain when they do, in this case. What a thankless job, officers are darned if they do and darned if they don't. One of the only professions where complaints are made when the employee actually does the job.

Flounder trial

This is really ridiculous. Why don't they start writing citations to all the people & companies who trash up our beaches & waterways, ie: billions of cigarette butts. The companies who pollute the waters, the boaters who drink while driving. The list can go on & on. I've watched way too many people at Carolina Beach for years just drop their trash where they want but never given a ticket. What about the CB Chamber that pollutes with their fireworks show leaving exploded cardboard & pieces of wire on the beach & clean "someday", go on a Friday morning after the Thursday night show (or even that night) & just see how much trash ends up on the beach & dragged out to sea. I would think this would be more important then a man throwing back a fish that was a 1/2 inch too short, he was just doing what he was supposed to do.

undersized Flounder

Perhaps some other commenters missed where he had been caught before for the same thing.How many times has he not been caught. Southern Flounder are overfished and not recovering. A gigged Flounder thrown back is a dead Flounder. Responsible people that gig don't chance it on marginal fish.The guy should lose his license for a year.

Please understand

PLEASE understand why the law is in place before you respond. This cannot be "its good for one person ,but not another" law. It has to apply to EVERYONE! Someone made the comment that the man may have needed to feed his family. However, if you understood why the law was in place. You would know that it is because of over fishing. A lot more people would be without dinner on the table if it weren't for laws such as this.

Nice. When he refused to pay

Nice. When he refused to pay the fine they should have just suspended his fishing lisense then. But to go to trial? I guess those who feel the trial may have been worth it are not being affected by the recession. I feel bad for the jurors. They are missing a days pay over this, the 12.00 they get for jury duty doesnt suffice. Were in a recession, I think this could have been handled differently. And who knows the fisherman may have needed that flounder to feed his family.

If he needed the fish to

If he needed the fish to feed his family I doubt he would have chosen the jury trial, and the day in court. DUH...

This has to be one of the

This has to be one of the dumbest things I have ever read. A fish that he THREW back? What a waste of time and money......

Sure he threw it back......

but I doubt it lived. It says he gigged it, not caught it with a hook. Look, I love flounder fishing, but laws are laws. If it looks close to 14" then don't gig it. Was the case a waste of time and money? Yes. Good thing Mr. Jones was found guilty so he had to foot the bill. He should have klnown better than to fight the ticket. Tape measures don't lie.

dead fish

Yeah, he threw it back but it was gigged. Meaning it was speared through its body, its head if he had good aim. Fish died. 1/2 inch is not much to calculate from above water. Too close to call. Guy should of just paid the officer on the spot and left it at that.

this is the most stupid

this is the most stupid ridiculous waste of tax payer money i have ever heard!! ONLY IN PENDER COUNTY!!! my God, i think i will send this to one of the late night shows...pender county will be the laughing stock of the US!!! why didnt you send the poor guy to jail,too- at the taxpayers expense? do you guys really have nothing better to do than prosecute and take to trial something like this???????

The man charged CHOSE to go

The man charged CHOSE to go to trial. The state and Pender County had no choice. The man had a history of violations and he was charged again. Perhaps you don't care about our fisheries, but at least direct your anger towards the person responsible.

SERIOUSLY?????????

what a waste of time and money. i feel sorry for this poor guy.