In September 2005, U.S. prosecutors brought criminal charges against Antonio Vidal Pego and the Uruguayan company, Fadilur, for trying to bring Chilean sea bass into Miami without the proper documentation. Although this case may have lacked the pizzazz necessary to inspire a Law & Order episode, it was, in fact, a very big deal. This indictment was the first ever for the illegal importation and sale of Chilean sea bass and yesterday was another groundbreaker, with the first ever guilty pleas for pirate fishing (coming from Vidal and Fadilur).
Vidal is now on probation for four years and has to pay a fine of $400k. He also agreed to have no further involvement in the Chilean seabass business and gave the feds the right to essentially look at his businesses at will and to waive extradition so they can bring him back in if he violates probation. And Fadilur? Well, they agreed to shut down their business altogether.
Chilean sea bass - aka Patagonian toothfish - went from unknown, to the must-have fish to taboo, in just a matter of decades. As its popularity grew, commercial fishermen quickly drove down populations and drove up the price on your menu. Many modern-day pirates continue to ignore Chilean sea bass regulations to score big bucks for the pricey fish.
Hopefully, this case will encourage illegal fishermen to layoff the sea bass (and other protected species).
- CEO Note: President Obama Designates Largest Marine Reserve in the World Posted Fri, October 17, 2014
- Deep Sea Sharks in Northeast Atlantic Still at Risk from Overexploitation, Warns Group Posted Tue, October 14, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: Federal Agencies Called Out on Ocean Acidification Inaction, Steller Sea Lions May Have a New Predator, and More Posted Thu, October 16, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: Seven Sharks Illegally Caught in Costa Rica National Park, Dolphins Cross-Breeding in UK Waters, and More Posted Mon, October 13, 2014
- Oceana Magazine, Dr. Pauly Column: How Do We Know How Many Fish There Are in The Sea? Posted Fri, October 17, 2014