A Highlands County, Florida, man faces eight felony conservation counts after unmarked state marine patrol officers say they saw him raiding commercial spiny lobster traps in the Florida Keys.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers say they observed James William Goughler, 43, and his father, James Larry Goughler, age not given, in dive gear being towed by a boat off Long Key around 5:30 p.m. Friday.
As the boat neared commercial lobster trap buoys, the men would let go of the rope and dive, FWC Officer Thomas Tafoya wrote in his report.
The officers watched the men dive on a total of five traps, according to the report.
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The FWC officers, who were in an unmarked boat, pulled up to the side of the boat towing the Goughlers.
“I could clearly see both divers directly above a commercial lobster trap,” Tafoya wrote.
The younger Goughler, who could not be reached for comment, admitted to taking lobsters from two of the traps and physically inspecting a total of six traps, according to the report.
It’s not clear if the older Goughler and the people on the boat are facing charges. The younger Goughler was booked on a total of eight felony counts of handling commercial lobster traps without the owner’s consent.
He was released from jail Saturday afternoon after posting a $40,000 bond.