The captain of a Montauk fishing vessel pleaded guilty last month to a single misdemeanor charge of illegally harvesting striped bass worth over $250. Christopher L. Miller, 44, the captain of Sea Spearit, which docks at the West Lake Marina, had been indicted by a grand jury on April 2 and was facing multiple charges, including a felony for harvesting over $1,000 worth of the protected fish. After pleading guilty to the single charge on May 22 before Acting Supreme Court Justice Fernando M. Camacho, in Central Islip, the additional charges were dismissed. Mr. Miller was fined $15,000 and sentenced to 210 hours of community service, to be completed by May 22, 2015.
Mr. Miller and three other men had been arrested following an incident on Aug. 21 when enforcement officers from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation saw three men come out of the water in the area of Valiant Rock in Block Island Sound with spear guns. Boarding the boat, they found more than 926 pounds of striped bass in coolers, of which only some were tagged. According to the D.E.C., the fish had been killed by spears shot into their gills, which is illegal. Their value was said to be $4,632.
Two of Mr. Miller’s companions pleaded guilty earlier this year to the single charge, also in the courtroom of Justice Camacho. Mica Marder, 33, of East Hampton and Erik A. Oberg, 67, of Montauk were each fined $500 and sentenced to 140 hours of community service. The third man, Peter Correale, left the country shortly after the event, according to the D.E.C. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.