Associated Press News Release
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) -- A Florida fisherman has been sentenced to 15 months in federal prison after operating his vessel in a closed part of the Gulf of Mexico.
Prosecutors said Wednesday that 29-year-old Thomas Zachary Breeding of Panama City pleaded guilty earlier to charges of obstruction of justice and making false statements to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Breeding was accused of illegally fishing in an area known as The Edges that is closed to commercial fishing from Jan. 1 to April 30 each year to protect spawning gag grouper.
Authorities say Breeding falsely claimed he was fishing the closed area because his GPS device was inaccurate. Breeding later admitted in court that he altered the GPS so he could claim he strayed into the prohibited area by accident.