Two Arrested for Gillnet Violations

FWC arrests 2, seizes hundreds of pounds of illegally caught pompano and other fish.

Illegal gillnets, like this one photographed by Indian Riverkeeper volunteers, indiscriminately kill all fish that get entangled. (Pictured is not the gillnet that was apprehended by the FWC in mid-March.)

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) arrested two men for using illegal gillnets in state waters off St. Lucie and Martin counties. The morning of March 10, officers confiscated a gillnet in excess of 500 square feet and approximately 500 pounds of fish, which were mostly pompano.

FWC aviation officers recorded the men setting and retrieving the gillnet, which is illegal to use in state waters. They returned to the Jensen Beach Causeway boat ramp in Martin County with their illegal catch, where FWC officers were waiting to take them into custody.

David Black (DOB 10/16/62) of Sebastian and Wayne Black (DOB 02/29/68) of Fort Pierce are facing felony and misdemeanor charges. The men were booked into the Martin County jail. David Black also had a felony warrant on an unrelated charge. Further charges may be pending.

“These nets don’t discriminate and they can be very damaging to our natural resources,” said FWC Maj. Jeff Hubert, regional commander. “By disregarding Florida’s gillnet rules, these men are depleting the resource and future opportunities for legitimate commercial fishermen.”

By catching intentional violators, the FWC seeks to restore balance in the competition for the resource, and supports law-abiding, honest commercial and recreational fishers, recreational hunters and business owners.

  • Billie McMellon

    I love going to the beach and fishing for Pompano. I caught one on Saturday, March 10th that was about 1-1/2 lbs. Love to fish them, love to cook them, love to eat them. But I give them a fighting chance. The two men who operated this net should be facing serious and I mean serious charges! I wish I hadn't seen this article because it really sickens me!

  • CedarKey redfisher

    Kudos to the FWC!!! Maybe with afew more arrests like this for illegal poaching, will give the "recreational Fisherman" a chance…

  • Karl Wickstrom

    These arrests were made because of a letter to the FWC head in Tallahassee. It's crucial that more sportsmen make the calls and send the messages. Not a lot gets done otherwise.

  • William Bear Tumlin

    I cant wait for it to be LEGAL to fish with a REALLY HUGE gillnet again. You Rec fishermen make it sound bad and come up with some dumb reasons to have it outlawed. when you throw your damaged monofilament over board and your spent bee cans and bottles stealing crabs out of commercial crabbers traps and then cut the buoys. oh and what about all that meat you all waste from the fish you all catch. I have seen 1/3 of most fish you all catch wasted. Net fishermen are more conservative and responsible than you know. were the two men wrong for breaking the law, sure they were. Also, it is stupid to say “they are going to catch all the fish”. Well maybe they will and at least all the fish want die from all you rec fishers polluting the water. Don’t say you all don’t I have seen it. And by the way to the guy who said you give them a fighting chance, umm fish are not that smart so for you to trick them with a piece of bait or artificial lure, that’s not really a fighting chance. the fish is doing his natural thing by eating it and you tricked him, duh!