BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - They proudly stood beside a 711 pound blue fin tuna in June when the trophy fish was first hauled in. Two months later, two Boynton Beach anglers aren't saying much about the federal charges filed against them for the big catch.
"He brought it in and transferred it to someone else to be sold, and that person was charged as a non-permitted dealer," said Jeff Rodanski, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
NOAA charged Boynton Beach locals Dr. David Fidel and Mikylo Senkowicz with the illegal catch. Investigators say Fidel caught the fish out of season, and Senkwicz tried to sell it.
"They should've known. There is information and regulations, they should've known," said Rodanski.
Ellen Peel represents various fish conservation groups in South Florida. She says regulations on when you can fish for blue fin tuna are in place for a reason.
"Blue fin have been over-fished since 1982, so this is a conservation and management issue. If there's no fish for anglers and commercial fisherman, the industry will take a hit and be out of business," said Peel.
The charges are not criminal. Both men face $12,000 to $15,000 fines.
Attempts to reach Fidel and Senkowicz Tuesday were unsuccessful. Each has 30 days to decide whether to pay the fine, or fight the charges in court.