Babylon, NY - November 4, 2013 - A Babylon pizzeria owner was served misdemeanor charges Sunday after he was caught by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) with 60 pounds of striped bass that he was illegally selling in his restaurant.
According to Captain Timothy Huss, on October 16, 2013, State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) ECOs began investigating an anonymous tip stating a village of Babylon resident and pizzeria owner was illegally selling striped bass. ECOs set up surveillance at the business of Mr. Frank Genovas to determine any validity to the tip. That evening, ECOs observed an employee at the pizzeria, Franchesco's Pizzeria in Babylon, bringing a large striped bass into the restaurant from the back lot. ECOs proceeded to conduct an inspection of the restaurant and located three untagged striped bass in a cooler and 23 pounds of fillets in portion sizes located in a separate cooler. ECOs interviewed Mr. Genovas and employees regarding the origins of the fish and also noted the night's special entrée was locally caught bass.
A total of 60 pounds of untagged striped bass worth more than $600 were seized by the ECOs and donated to Long Island Cares Charity.
"DEC establishes fishing limits and fish food laws to protect fish populations and ensure the food people are consuming is safe and sustainable," said DEC Region 1 Regional Director Peter A. Scully. "When individuals overfish their recreational limit, they not only deplete the fishing stock, but take advantage of those commercial fishermen who play by the rules."
Mr. Frank Genovas, 53, of Babylon was cited for four misdemeanor level commercialization charges including:
- Possessing untagged striped bass;
- Taking striped bass without a commercial striped bass permit;
- Failing to have a food fish license; and
- Possessing striped bass fillets in a retail establishment without maintaining the associated fish carcass.
Each charge carries a penalty of up to $5,000 and/or up to one year in jail.
Mr. Genovas is scheduled to appear at the 1st District Court in Islip on Dec. 11, 2013.
All persons taking striped bass commercially are required to possess a commercial fishing license. Licensees are issued a limited number of tags and are required to file harvest reports for each fishing trip. This system allows DEC to account for the number of fish taken commercially and properly manage the species which has been threatened by low population numbers in the past.
Individuals spotting illegal activities are encouraged to call DEC's Environmental Conservation Police at (631) 444-0250during business hours, and 1-877-457-5680 or 1-800-TIPP-DEC at all other times to report suspected illegal activities.