OVERBAGGING STEELHEAD TROUT COSTS LORAIN MAN NEARLY $700
Poaching case is first since new wildlife restitution laws went into effect
AKRON, OH – Anastacio Felix, 66, of Lorain, was convicted this week of overbagging steelhead trout, according to the ODNR Division of Wildlife. The conviction cost him $394 in fines and court costs, as well as $300 in restitution for the illegally harvested fish.
State wildlife officers Rick Louttit and Jason Warren arrested Felix on March 15, after receiving complaints regarding an alleged poacher in the Avon Lake area. Following surveillance activities the day before, Louttit and Warren, while posing as fishermen, were able to garner more information from the poacher. Felix admitted to keeping six steelhead over the limit during the two-day period, which led to the arrest. The daily bag limit is two fish.
On Tuesday, Avon Lake Municipal Court Judge Darrel A. Bilancini found Felix guilty of several wildlife violations and ordered him to pay the fines and restitution.
“This case is particularly interesting because it is the first one since new restitution values took effect in Ohio,” commented Doug Miller, law enforcement supervisor for the Division of Wildlife. “New legislation recently raised the value of all illegally taken wildlife - and steelhead are no exception.”
The new legislation reflects the present-day value of Ohio's wildlife, which can range anywhere from $20 to nearly $2,500, depending on criteria and weighting factors. Trophy deer are an exception; their value can range much higher.
The new restitution schedule stems from legislation (HB238) passed by the Ohio General Assembly last year. House Bill 238 revised provisions governing the restitution value of wild animals that are unlawfully held, taken, bought, sold or possessed. It is the first revision since 1994 and establishes a progressive formula that reflects the current status and scarcity of various species.
Seven categories of value make up the new scoring criteria: recreational, aesthetic, educational, state-list designation, economics, recruitment, and population dynamics. The new restitution values of wild animals taken illegally result from the total score for each of the seven criteria. The criteria total is then multiplied by the weighting factor of species population status. An animal that is considered abundant has a lower weighting factor than does an endangered species.
The Division of Wildlife encourages anyone who is aware of a possible violation of wildlife laws to call the Turn In a Poacher (TIP) line at 1-800-POACHER. Callers can remain anonymous. SUBMIT A TIP