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Date of Issue: June 18, 2008

State arrests two for illegal fishing

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Ron Baker, 27
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Daniel P. Gilliland, 28

Florida Fish and Wildlife officers arrested two men for illegally fishing in the waters at about 11:30 p.m. June 9 near Coquina Beach.

Christopher Ron Baker, 27, of Apollo Beach, and Daniel P. Gilliland, 28, of Bradenton, face multiple charges in connection with the incident: use of a gill net in state water, failure to transit gill net, possession of an unmarked gill net and no saltwater products license. Use of a gill net in state water is classified as a third-degree felony. The other charges are classified as second-degree misdemeanors.

Use of a gill net has been illegal in Florida since 1995.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officer Louis Hinds was “contacted about a vessel off of Bradenton Beach that appeared to be pulling in a net,” according to a probable cause affidavit filed at the courthouse in Bradenton.

Two other FWC officers, Grant Burton and Will Widener, stopped the vessel and, according to the report, “retrieved the net from the water. The vessel was taken to the [nearby] dock and both subjects were charged.”

Hinds said the vessel had left the Cortez area heading south and that he later saw the boat about 100 yards from the beach.

Baker and Gilliland were taken to Manatee County jail late June 9. They posted bail through Big Johnson Bail Bonds June 11.

Both men are scheduled for arraignment hearings on July 25 in Manatee County Circuit Court before Judge Janette Dunnigan.

The arrests come weeks after FWC officers arrested two other men - Luther T. Sasser, 22, of Anna Maria, and Travis Ackroyd, 21, of Ruskin - for allegedly using a gill net to collect about 600 pounds of mullet in Perico Bayou east of Anna Maria Island.

Sasser and Ackroyd face charges of using a monofilament net, failure to transit a gill net to federal waters, possession of an unmarked net and simultaneous possession of mullet and a monofilament net.

Sasser and Ackroyd are scheduled for arraignment hearings July 11 before Judge Debra Johnes Riva.