April 29, 2011
SEASIDE AQUACULTURE AND OWNER INDICTED FOR KILLING PROTECTED SPECIES
(CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas) – Seaside Aquaculture Inc., a fish farm located in Palacios, Texas, and its owner Khan Vu have been indicted by a federal grand jury for illegally killing approximately 90 brown pelicans, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
The indictment, returned Wednesday, April 27, 2011, alleges that Vu and Seaside Aquaculture Inc. did knowingly kill migratory nongame birds, that is, approximately 90 Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis) without being permitted to do so from on or about Feb. 1, 2010, until on or about Feb. 1, 2011, in violation of The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA).
The MBTA provides protection for Migratory Birds. The MBTA prohibits, unless permitted by regulations, to "pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, attempt to take, capture or kill, possess, offer for sale, sell, offer to purchase, purchase, deliver for shipment, ship, cause to be shipped, deliver for transportation, transport, cause to be transported, carry, or cause to be carried by any means whatever, receive for shipment, transportation or carriage, or export, at any time, or in any manner, any migratory bird, included in the terms of this Convention . . . for the protection of migratory birds . . . or any part, nest, or egg of any such bird." These rules attempt to maintain an equitable balance between protection and preservation of migratory birds and recreational opportunities afforded through sport hunting. The brown pelican is a non-game migratory bird as defined in Title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 10.23.
Vu voluntarily surrendered this morning and has made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Brian Owsley in Corpus Christi and was ordered released upon posting $50,000 bond. A summons has issued directing a representative of the corporation, Seaside Aquaculture, appear for arraignment on May 9, 2011. Vu faces a fine of not more than $15,000 or a maximum six-month prison term or both. Seaside Aquaculture Inc. faces a similar fine.
The case was investigated by agents from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Hugo R. Martinez.
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