Local News

May 1, 2013 6:10 PM by Caroline Flores - cflores@kristv.com

Illegal Fishing in the Laguna Madre

CORPUS CHRISTI - The Laguna Madre is a hot spot for both commercial and recreational fisherman. But there is one way of fishing both groups find appalling, using gill nets to catch fish. The volleyball type net has diamond shaped holes and when fish swim into it their gills get caught, giving it the name gill net. This net is also known to ruin boats.

"It does more than be detrimental to fish. It's detrimental to birds as well. The diving ducks and sea birds and stuff. They get caught in it. I've seen all kinds of things caught in those nets," said Capitan Joey Farah.

It's illegal to use a gill net and 46 year old James Vannoy was arrested at Billings Dock for reportedly doing this just last week. Texas Parks and Wildlife says it was watching him for about 2 months and on April 23rd officials were able to catch him in the act. Park and Wildlife Game Wardens were out that night with night vision goggles. So they were able to watch Vannoy. That way when he went back to the dock with all of those illegally caught fish they were able to arrest him.

Vannoy is accused of using this gill net to catch 110 pounds of Black Drum in a spot fisherman call Dead Man's Hole, north of the JFK Causeway. Fisherman I spoke with say if the accusations are true, Vannoy deserves to be punished to the full extent.

"They outlawed it for a reason. You know, so, it's not right. It hurts us, it hurts the recreational fisherman badly," said Fisherman Jimmy Harmon.

This isn't the first time Vannoy has been accused of illegally catching fish. According to on-line court documents, he was found guilty of a similar charge in 2007. Back then he was sentenced to 60 days in jail.

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