A Babylon Village business owner faces several misdemeanor charges for selling illegal striped bass out of his restaurant.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation accused Francesco's Italian Restaurant owner Frank Genovas, 53, of Babylon Village, with illegally selling over 60 pounds of striped bass out of his restaurant.
The DEC conducted an investigation following an anonymous tip made in mid-October.
While performing surveillance at the restaurant, Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) observed an employee at the restaurant bringing a large striped bass into the restaurant from the back lot. The ECOs reportedly inspected the restaurant immediately after and found three untagged striped bass in a cooler and 23 pounds of fillets in portion sizes located in a separate cooler.
The ECOs then interviewed Genovas and his employees concerning the origins of the "locally caught bass" before seizing a total of 60 pounds of bass, worth over $600. The fish were donated to the Long Island Cares charity.
“DEC establishes fishing limits and fish food laws to protect fish populations and ensure the food people are consuming is safe and sustainable,” said DEC Region 1 Regional Director Peter Scully in a statement. “When individuals overfish their recreational limit, they not only deplete the fishing stock, but take advantage of those commercial fishermen who play by the rules.”
Genovas was charged with four misdemeanor commercial charges, including possessing untagged striped bass, taking striped bass without a commercial striped bass permit, failing to have a food fish license and possessing striped bass fillets in a retail establishment without maintaining the associated fish carcass.
Each charge carries a penalty of up to $5,000 or one year in jail.
Genovas is scheduled to appear at the First District Court in Central Islip on December 11.