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June 05, 2013

Former Captain Sentenced for Illegal Striper Fishing

The Virginia man has to pay fines and will lose his captain's license for life.

Charterboat captain William W. Lowery will spend 30 days in jail for "trafficking in illegally harvested striped bass," reports the Associated Press. William W. Lowery, IV, 44, of Tappahannock, Va., was sentenced for violations to the Lacey Act. 

The former charterboat captain admitted on January 15, 2010 that he took a charter fishing trip into the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to fish for striped bass, knowing that it was illegal to fish for striped bass outside state waters. 

When Lowery’s boat, the Anna Lynn was approached by law enforcement, Lowery made a run for it. But the Anna Lynn was caught, and law enforcement officers found a plastic trash barrel with 13 striped bass floating in the water near the fishing vessel. The trash barrel had been thrown overboard from the Anna Lynn during the pursuit. 

After serving his sentence, Lowery will be placed on supervised release for one year, during which time he is prohibited from any charter fishing activity. Lowery must pay a $5,000 fine, pay $1,300 in restitution to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the illegally-harvested striped bass, and must surrender his captain’s license for life.

This case was investigated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Fisheries Office for Law Enforcement, and the Virginia Marine Police.