A charter boat owner-operator recently pleaded guilty in a Cape May County municipal court to possessing closed season marine finfish, state officials announced.
The fisherman, who officials did not identify, was charged in March with possession of 77 fish and mutilating each because filleting at sea of all fish species with a size limit, or any species of finfish, is prohibited, according to a New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife release.
The guilty plea in Sea Isle City Municipal Cost came with fines totaling $3,000, the release said.
State wildlife conservation officers discovered 154 black sea bass, tautog, and scup fillets hidden in a compartment after boarding the Sea Isle City-based vessel to conduct a routine inspection, according to the release.
The vessel’s owner-operator told the officers that those on board had only caught bergalls, an unmanaged marine finfish species.
State conservation officers charged an Atlantic County angler late last year with keeping dozens of undersized fish over a daily catch limit.
Last month, the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council has set new regulations for catching fluke and sea bass. Read more here.