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Poachers Sentenced In Oregon After Illegally Catching Sturgeon

Poachers Sentenced In Oregon After Illegally Catching Sturgeon

Three men were ordered to pay substantial fines, with one serving jail time, following the illegal fishing of five sturgeons , including one giant white sturgeon, in Scappoose Bay in March 2022.

Fishermen in Oregon can catch and release sturgeon, but because the population is growing slowly, they cannot take one home for a meal, according to a press release from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Julio Duran of Salem admitted to catching an 80-year-old sturgeon, which is of breeding age, the report states. Jose Plascencia of Dayton, and Axel Guell of St. Helens also admitted to their involvement.

The department reports fishermen in Scappoose Bay told troopers they saw people capturing a sturgeon but not releasing it.

After monitoring the area for days, troopers approached the three men, who said they hadn’t caught any fish. But when troopers pulled up their lines, they found four sturgeons, and a fifth sturgeon on the boat. All five were alive and successfully returned to the bay.

Trooper Scott Bernardi and Senior Trooper Justin Morgan, both of the St. Helens office, found the suspects.

The juvenile fishermen who made the report received $500 each as part of the Turn In Poachers Reward Program, the press release states.

Duran was the only one to serve time; 20 days in the Columbia County Jail, after pleading guilty in December. He was ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and $500 to the Turn In Poachers TIP reward program, and his fishing license was suspended for three years. He forfeited the fishing rods and equipment used during the crime.

Plascencia pleaded guilty in September 2022 and was given the option of serving 10 days in a Columbia County work crew or performing 80 hours of community service and 24 months of bench probation. Additionally, he was ordered to pay restitution of $750 and face a three-year suspension from fishing.

Guell pleaded guilty in September 2022 to angling without a resident license, and was ordered to pay $500 in restitution, serve 24 months bench probation, and was suspended from fishing for three years.

If you know of or suspect crimes against fish wildlife or habitat, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife asks people to contact 1-800-452-7888 or [email protected].

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