Update: The couple is actually from Hermiston, not Prineville. ODFW updated their information late Thursday and we adjusted our story accordingly.
A Hermiston couple has been sentenced to pay $1,200 in restitution money after illegally selling recreationally caught crab on the commercial market, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Oregon State Police began an investigation after receiving a tip about crab advertised for sale on Facebook. After following the lead, investigators found that Gerald and Shawna Wilson of Hermiston were selling live and cooked crab via social media.
The couple listed the crab as free of charge, but suggested a donation of $11 per pound, which was an effort to skirt marine fisheries laws, according to police. At least eleven people purchased the crab through Facebook or social media, according to Lincoln County District Attorney Kenneth Park.
Park prosecuted the case in May 2021 and charged the Wilsons for criminal negligence. The Wilsons also have to pay $100 each to the Turn in Poachers (TIP) Line fund and they’re both prohibited from obtaining a fishing or shellfish license for three years.
Park said it’s important for consumers to know where their seafood is coming from.
“If you see it online, and it is not a commercial operation, you are probably looking at illegal crab,” Park said.