Texas Wardens Break Up Illegal Seafood Ring

Photo by Penn Waggener/flickr.com

With so much turmoil surrounding fisheries management in the Gulf of Mexico, Texas game wardens have announced a potentially huge bust of fishermen plundering important recreational species in the Gulf.

The Galveston County Daily News reports that Houston chef, Bruce Molzan, 59, has been charged with multiple misdemeanors involving the purchase and sale of illegally captured fish through his Houston-area businesses. These charges are related to Molzan’s alleged involvement with an illegal seafood network of about a dozen unlicensed commercial anglers that has provided tons of illegally caught fish to his businesses. Illegally caught species include such important game fish as red snapper, tuna, amberjack, grouper, and redfish.

Officials believe the illegal seafood ring has been operating since 2013, according to the Daily News report. A break in the case came in April 2016, when the U.S. Coast Guard stopped a commercial fishing boat near Freeport, Texas with 1,900 pounds of red snapper alleged to have been illegally harvested off Freeport and Galveston. Game wardens have written more than 200 Class C misdemeanor citations in relation to the case. Two Freeport recreational anglers have been charged with felonies.

Molzan owns Ruggles Black restaurant on Kirby Drive in Houston.

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