Heavy Fine and Jail Sentence for Washington State Fish Broker

Written by on May 13, 2009 in Other News, Policy & Ocean Law
Pacific Halibut

Pacific Halibut Credit: NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) Office of Law Enforcement announced this week that a Washington state man, Kevin D. Steele, has been fined $160,000 and sentenced to 30 days in jail for intentionally mislabeling 136,000 pounds of turbot from China as much higher priced U.S.  halibut.  This is one of the strongest sentences ever imposed for this type of violation.

Kevin D. Steele sold almost all of the fish to retail outlets and restaurants in Utah and Texas, where many people are unfamiliar with halibut, making this fraud especially noteworthy.

“False labeling is theft, plain and simple,” said Vicki Nomura, special agent in charge of NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement in the northwest region.  

Steele pleaded guilty last November to federal felony charges and misdemeanor violations, and was sentenced April 24.  In addition to the fine and imprisonment, Steele will be placed under court supervision for five years. 

Read the complete story at:  http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2009/20090511_seafood.html

Camouflaged Pacific Halibut - Credit: Magnus Kjaergaard

Camouflaged Pacific Halibut - Credit: Magnus Kjaergaard

 Copyright ©  2009 by Marine Science Today, a publication of OceanLines LLC

About the Author

About the Author: Celia is Director of Business Operations for OceanLines LLC and is a frequent contributor to both OceanLines and Marine Science Today. She is a certified diver and her favorite topic is marine biology, especially stories about whales. .

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