- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 24, 2017

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) - Two commercial fishermen have pleaded guilty to illegally harvesting striped bass off North Carolina.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says 53-year-old Ellis Gibbs of Engelhard and 43-year-old Dwayne Hopkins of Belhaven caught Atlantic striped bass in protected federal waters in 2009.

Both men pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Wilmington.

Gibbs was captain of the Lady Samaira and Hopkins was captain of the Lady Carolyn.

A news release says Gibbs harvested more than 9,000 pounds of striped bass worth $72,000 and sold his catch to a seafood dealer in Engelhard.

Hopkins caught more than 7,000 pounds of fish worth $35,000 and sold them to a dealer in Wanchese.

The fish were caught between to 200 miles offshore.

The men are to be sentenced April 24.

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