A father and son fishing team are facing misdemeanor illegal commercialization charges after New York State Department of Environmental Conservation police officers caught them violating summer flounder trip limits when their boat returned to port in Hampton Bays late last month, according to the DEC.
Two officers boarded the FV Mary Elizabeth, a 60-foot Stern trawler, when it returned to port on December 22 at the Southampton town dock in Shinnecock Inlet. During their inspection, officers examined the Fishing Vessel Trip Report, which reported 210 pounds of summer flounder, the current legal limit. However, further inspection and weighing of catch on the deck and in the hold found 600 pounds of summer flounder-also known as fluke—approximately 398 pounds over the legal limit.
“New York State’s proud commercial fishing tradition goes back hundreds of years,” DEC regional director Peter A. Scully said. “It is regrettable when a few bad actors tarnish the reputation of a sound and admirable profession. We are very fortunate to have a police force which works tirelessly to prevent these individuals from taking advantage of our natural resources.”
Facing charges are John Berglin, 56, of Hampton Bays, the vessel’s owner and operator, and his son, Scott Berglin, 25, also of Hampton Bays. Both men were released on a field appearance ticket with an arraignment date of February 11 in Southampton Town Justice Court. The misdemeanor commercialization charge carries a potential maximum penalty of $5,000 and a year in jail.
After charging the men, officers took possession of the 398 pounds of sushi-grade summer flounder and donated it to the Lighthouse Mission in Bellport.