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Authorities confiscate gill nets

The Alabama Marine Resources Division has confiscated three commercial gill nets being fished in Alabama waters by two men from Mississippi.

—Authorities confiscated the nets early Tuesday morning in Grand Bay after a stakeout operation.

They were confiscated the same day the Alabama House Agriculture Committee approved a bill that seeks to ban commercial gill nets from state waters. That bill would allow recreational nets to continue using nets up to 300 feet long.

Marine Resources officials say a 300-foot recreational net was confiscated Sunday morning on Dauphin Island after the man using it, Francis Crenshaw of Irvington, was caught cleaning speckled trout on a beach. Recreational gill netters are not allowed to keep speckled trout or redfish in Alabama.

The nets confiscated in Grand Bay were each 1,200 feet long, and worth more than $1,000 apiece. Both Mississippi men have commercial Alabama out-of-state gillnet licenses.

Marine Resources officials say one of the men fishing the nets, Billy Stork, has been caught violating gillnet laws several times before and has six points against his license.

The other fisherman, Larry Ryan Junior, had no prior points on his license.

The netters were ticketed for fishing more than one gill net at a time and leaving them unattended. Marine Resources Captain Chris Blankenship says the men had flounder, sheephead, black drum and croakers on board.