Tangier waterman pleads guilty to Lacy Act violation

March 19, 2024
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Chesapeake Bay Hard Crabs Blue Crabs

By Linda Cicoira

A Tangier waterman pleaded guilty In U.S. District Court in Norfolk Friday to violating the federal Lacy Act by transporting and selling over-the-limit amounts of blue crabs to a buyer in Crisfield, Md.

In a plea agreement, 44-year-old James Warren Eskridge admitted to one charge. Court records stated that a second count was dismissed in exchange for the plea. Sentencing was set for July 17.

The agreement did not include a sentence recommendation. The maximum penalty is five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Hertrich Chevy of Pocomoke Buy 3 Tires Get One Free

According to information submitted by the prosecutor, Eskridge sold more than the 27-bushel limit to the buyer on 16 occasions. The amounts ranged from 32 and 59 bushels. Eskridge and two of his mates were seen unloading the excess amount from the fishing vessel Rebecca Jean II three times in April 2023.

    The prosecutor said blue crab harvesting limit laws are especially strict because the blue crab is the most valuable fishery in the Chesapeake Bay.

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