Warren Fisherman Sentenced for Polluted Water Fishing
Francisco Pacheco gets three years probation for taking quahogs from the closed Palmer River.
A local fisherman must serve three three years of probation and surrender his commercial fishing license for one year after pleading guilty to taking shellfish from polluted waters.
Francisco P. Pacheco, 61, of Warren, pled guilty last week to charges of fishing in polluted waters and taking shellfish at night, in violation of Department of Environmental Management laws, the DEM announced.
Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Procaccini suspended Pacheco's commercial fishing license issued for one year, and imposed a three-year suspended sentence, plus probation. In addition, Judge Procaccini ordered Pacheco to serve 400 hours of community service.
Environmental police officers from DEM’s Division of Law Enforcement arrested Pacheco on Aug. 18, 2011, after they received information that Pacheco was using his small wooden work boat to dig shellfish at night from the Palmer River, according to a DEM release. Officers watched Pacheco’s boat over several days and saw Pacheco shellfishing in the Palmer River in the area of New Industrial Way in Warren. The officers arrested Pacheco when he returned on his boat to a dock near the Wharf Tavern in Warren. Offciers seized more than five bushels of quahogs, along with Pacheco’s boat and equipment.
The Palmer River has a history of water quality issues dating back to 1947, according to Joseph Migliore of DEM’s Division of Water Resources. The river has been closed shellfishing since 1996. Since shellfish filter water for food, any bacteria, virus or contaminants in the water would be concentrated and remain in the shellfish, potentially making consumers sick and even causing death in the young, elderly or those individuals with weak immune systems or pre-existing health conditions.