Spiny Lobster Smuggling

*/ Spiny Lobster. Courtesy of NOAA.
US v. David Henson McNab et al., 324 F.3d 1266, amended and superseded on rehearing by 331 F.3d 1228 (11th Cir. 2003), cert. denied, 540 U.S. 1177 (2004)

Thousands of lobster tails packed in a shipping container.Four members of a smuggling ring were prosecuted for harvesting, possessing, or transporting into the U.S. spiny lobster, in violation of U.S. and Honduran law.

A Honduran national, David Henson McNab, engaged in an intentional, sophisticated and systematic plundering of the valuable lobster fishery resource of Honduras for at least five years.  His fleet of lobster boats, the largest in Honduras, indiscriminately harvested every lobster they found, regardless of size or reproductive status.  Lobsters as small (young) as 2 ounces as well as eggbearing females were taken.  Marine biologists have found that the Honduran lobster stocks are part of the source, due to the prevailing currents and unusual lobster life cycle, of the lobster stocks that support the lobster fishery off Florida.  Thus, McNab’s pillaging of this resource directly affected not just Honduras stocks, but also U.S. stocks and U.S. markets.  His operations were conducted at the ultimate expense not only of the resource but also all those who depend upon it; every other lobster fisherman, both Honduran and U.S., as well as those employed in the processing and distribution of lobster, were affected.  

McNab was sentenced to 97 months imprisonment along with two confederates who each received 97 months imprisonment and a fourth who got 24 months.

Supporting Documents Summary of the case (PDF)

Portable Document Format files (PDF) may be viewed with a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader.

In the News
November 3, 2000
Four Involved in Lobster Harvesting & Distribution Found Guilty in Illegal Import Scheme
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal jury in Mobile, Alabama, has found four individuals guilty of multiple felony counts related to the illegal harvest and importation of Caribbean spiny lobster tails, the Justice Department announced today.
May 31, 2000
Four Indicted in Conspiracy to Smuggle Lobsters into U.S.
WASHINGTON -- A federal grand jury in Mobile, Ala., has returned an indictment charging four individuals with smuggling into the United States numerous shipments of lobster that were harvested in violation of Honduran laws. The defendants, David Henson McNab of Honduras, Robert D. Blandford and Abner J. Schoenwetter of Florida, and Dianne H. Huang of New Jersey, also are charged with conspiracy.

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Updated April 13, 2015

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