Fisherman Faces Year in Jail for Harming Humpback Whale

Fishing nets often inadvertantly become entangled around whales, and while that is a crime under the Endangered Species Act, hardly anyone ever faces charges. But one unlucky fisherman has been caught in the act.

Robert J. Eldridge Jr. faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine if convicted of three felony charges.


The district attorney says he “did knowingly and unlawfully take a marine mammal, to wit, a humpback whale in waters under the jurisdiction of the United States by acts of pursuit, torment, and annoyance which had the potential to injure said marine mammal in the wild.”

Fishing nets are a leading cause of death for whales and other sealife. Ghost nets, which are discarded nets left drifting at sea, have been recovered with hundreds of skeletons of various marine life.

It’s unclear what evidence they have against Eldridge, but he said that he is innocent. Apparently nets can be identified and traced back to fishermen, which could be the case here.

Photo Credit: El Cap’n on Flickr under Creative Commons license.

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