NOAA Fisheries Seeks
$85,000 in Fines and
240-Day Fishing Suspension
NMFS Northeast Region
N E W SGloucester, Mass. – A New York fisherman faces an $85,000 fine and a 240-day fishing suspension stemming from multiple charges of submitting false and inaccurate reports on his fishing activities in 1996.
NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service alleges that David E. Aripotch, a Montauk man who owns and operates the fishing vessel Corey & Leah, under-reported landings of summer flounder and other fish in April, May, June and July of 1996. The allegedly false and inaccurate reporting was detected when the vessel's trip reports were compared with records from fish dealers who bought fish from Aripotch. On one report, it is alleged that the vessel owner reported landing 200 pounds of summer flounder while the dealer reported buying more than 1,300 pounds of summer flounder from the vessel owner.
"Owners and operators who file false trip reports undermine the effort to manage fish stocks," according to Mitch MacDonald, the NOAA enforcement attorney on the case.
The allegations and the proposed fine and suspension were issued July 7. The owner/operator named in the action has 30 days from that date to respond and may ask for a hearing before an administrative law judge. The alleged offenses are civil, not criminal. The initial finding may also be appealed to the NOAA Administrator and through the federal district courts.
NOAA is the federal agency that conducts research and carries out public policy concerning the nation's atmosphere and oceans. NOAA Fisheries carries out this mission focusing on living marine resources. The investigation was conducted by NOAA Fisheries special agents.