Poaching Violations for 13 bushels of oysters nets two watermen $527.00 fine each
In Queen Anne’s County on November 18, 2014, NRP officer Brandon Davis charged two watermen with multiple oyster violations as they attempted to check their catch at a Kent Island seafood dealer.
Christopher Shannon Lewis, 42, of 14388 Cedar Lane, Greensboro, Md., and Henry Paul Saia, 18, of the same address in Greensboro, appeared in Queen Anne’s District Court on Jan. 7. Lewis was fined $527.50 in a plea deal with Queen Anne’s County States Attorney Lance Richardson. Richardson put seven other charges on the Stet Docket. Saia was fined the same amount. The approximate wholesale price that seafood dealers would have paid Lewis at the time he was cited was about $40 per bushel, which is about the same amount of the fine for each man. The plea deal did not involve any jail time.
NRP Officers were conducting inspections at Harris Seafood Co. in Grasonville when 24 bushels of oysters arrived by truck shortly after 4 p.m. They noticed that 13 bushels were untagged, as required by regulation, and the tags on 11 bushels were improperly filled out.
Lewis was issued eight citations for possessing untagged oysters and one warning for failing to display his tidal fish license number on his truck. Saia was issued five citations for possessing untagged oysters and one warning for having one bushel of oysters in which 7 percent were smaller than the minimum size of 3 inches.
The 13 bushels of oysters were returned to state waters.
- Lewis was cited on Feb. 18, 1999 by NRP Officer R. Bowman for an illegal catch of oysters and in Dorchester County District Court on April 19, 1999 he was put on probation before judgment and fined $80.
- Cited on Jan. 16, 1998 by NRP Officer Wayne L. Engel for oystering in a hand tong area only and pleaded guilty on March 16, 1998 and was fined $190.
- Cited on June 10, 1997 by NRP Officer Daniel Garvin for harvesting clams within 150 of an oyster bar. In a plea deal in Queen Anne’s County District Court on Aug. 13, 1997, he entered a guilty plea and was fined $100.
- Saia has no prior criminal record or citations for poaching or other infractions issued by the NRP.