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Date of Issue: March 25, 2009

Man sentenced in gill netting case

A second man arrested last summer and accused of illegal fishing has pleaded no contest in the Florida Fish and Wildlife case.

Christopher Ron Baker, 28, of Ruskin, pleaded no contest to one count of carriage of a gill net across Florida waters, possession of an unmarked entanglement net, harvesting saltwater products without a license and use of a gill net in state waters. Florida voters approved a constitutional ban on gill nets in state waters in November 1994.

The state agreed not to pursue a second charge of illegal use of a gill net in state waters.

Manatee County Circuit Court Judge Gilbert A. Smith Jr. sentenced Baker to 30 days in jail with credit for time already served, as well as 18 months probation and 50 hours of community service.

Florida Fish and Wildlife law enforcement officers arrested Baker and Daniel P. Gilliland on a night last June near Coquina Beach after the two men were seen leaving the Cortez area in a boat.

The FWC said Baker and Gilliland were in possession of a net that contained four sharks, 10 pompano, two sheepshead, two mangrove snapper, one spotted sea trout, two whiting and 58 lady fish.

Gilliland previously pleaded no contest to the charge and was sentenced to probation for one year, with credit for the time he spent in the Manatee County jail. He was ordered to do 25 hours of community service.

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