Clammers Arrested After Coast Guard Rescue

New York – Two men were arrested by the Southold Town Police Department and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for illegal clamming after the Coast Guard towed their distressed vessel to the New Suffolk Shipyard & Cutchogue Harbor Marina, New Suffolk, N.Y., at about 11 a.m. today.

The two crewmembers from the commercial clamming boat were charged with clamming illegally in uncertified waters, illegal methods of harvesting and obstruction of governmental administration after $500 worth of illegal clams were found onboard their boat.

“Illegally clamming has serious consequences,” said New York DEC’s Capt. Timothy Huss, a Chief Environmental Conservation Officer for the region. “These charges are misdemeanors and can lead to arrest and fines up to $5,000 if the price of the catch is $500 or more.”

The Southold Town Police Department was observing the clamming boat from shore at about 10 a.m. today. When the Southold Police Officers questioned the suspects the clammers fled. The Southold Police Department immediately notified Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound and the New York DEC. Shortly after the clammers motored away their boat became disabled.

A Coast Guard Station Shinnecock rescue boat crew reported to Sector Long Island Sound that they came upon a disabled vessel and Sector Long Island Sound recognized the vessel description as matching the suspects’ vessel. Sector Long Island Sound alerted the Southold Police Department and New York DEC to meet the suspects and the Station Shinnecock boat crew at the New Suffolk Shipyard & Cutchogue Harbor Marina.

The Southold Police Department and DEC boarded the clamming boat, inspected the catch, and then arrested the two clammers.

“Illegally harvesting our nation’s natural resources is a very serious matter, one we don’t take lightly and neither do our partners in law enforcement,” said Coast Guard Cmdr. Robert McKenna, the Chief of Response for Sector Long Island Sound. “We will continue to work diligently with our local partners to protect our natural resources and hold accountable those who fish illegally.”

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