A father and son from Carteret County have been arrested for illegal fishing activity in inland waters in Craven County.
Ronald Cahoon, 65, and Joshua Cahoon, 38, both of Beaufort, were arrested by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission following a Nov. 26 report of illegal gill netting, according to Wildlife Officer Kyle Van Althuis, who led the investigation.
The pair’s boat was seized and the 89 spotted sea trout and the two mullet they caught were given to a community food bank.
Authorities received a late evening report of suspicious activity in the Hancock Creek area east of Havelock, prompting a coordinated response by the Wildlife Resources Commission and the Craven County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries.
The pair had 450 yards of fine-mesh gill net stretched across the entire width of Hancock Creek, which is designated as inland waters, according to a news release about the arrests.
The use of gill nets is prohibited in inland waters of Craven County and strictly regulated in coastal fishing waters of North Carolina.
Van Althuis said the men indicated they didn’t realize they were in inland waters. Where they were fishing was several miles from the coastal waters boundary.
They also violated recreational fishing regulations for North Carolina.
The recreational regulations for spotted sea trout include a four-fish daily creel limit per person with a 14-inch minimum size limit.
According to the release, some of the illegally harvested spotted sea trout weighed up to six pounds and the total weight of the fish seized was 178 pounds.
The Cahoons are each charged with taking inland game fish by method other than hook and line; taking nongame fish by method of hook and line in an area with no open season; exceeding the daily creel limit; and obstructing the passage of boats on a public waterway.
They were taken before a magistrate and released under a $500 bond each. Their court date has been scheduled for Jan. 7.
Van Althuis led the investigation and was assisted by fellow wildlife officers Ryan Taylor and Michael Gunn and deputy Carmell Locklear with the Craven County Sheriff’s Office.