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Tangier Island man gets 1 year for overharvesting oysters

August 22, 2019

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — A waterman from Tangier Island has been sentenced to a year in prison for overharvesting oysters.

Forty-four-year-old Gregory Parks pleaded guilty earlier this year in federal court in Norfolk to harvesting 38 bushels of oysters in excess of daily limits while working between January and March of 2015. The illegal oysters had a value between $15,000 and $40,000. State law restricts commercial fisherman to eight bushels a day to protect oysters from overharvesting.

Parks falsified records to hide the overharvesting.

The sentence issued Thursday was in line with what prosecutors requested. Defense attorneys had asked for probation.

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia G. Zachary Terwilliger said in a statement that protecting the oyster is critical to the state’s economy and to the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

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