Fort Myers man charged with harvesting tarpon

A Fort Myers man was charged with harvesting a Tarpon without a valid tag and for violating several other state requirements for harvesting the fish.

Deputy Seth Hopp was at the south end of the Seven Mile Bridge Saturday, 4th Nov at 1:40 p.m. when he saw 21 year old Michael Morse fishing. As he approached, Morse began to quickly pack his belongings as if to leave.

Deputy Hopp asked to see his catch. In his cooler, Deputy Hopp found an amberjack and a mangrove snapper on top. He also saw another fish under a bag of ice which turned out to be a tarpon. In order to harvest tarpon, a fisherman has to have a tarpon tag, must be “in pursuit of a world record” and the tag must be immediately attached to the lower jaw of the tarpon once it is killed.

When he confronted Morse about it, Morse told him he did have a tag. Deputy Hopp told him it was obvious from the size of the tarpon he was not “in pursuit of a world record” because the fish was relatively small. In addition the fish did not have a tag attached to it’s jaw. Further investigation revealed Morse did have a tag, but it was expired in December of 2016.

Morse received a citation for his violations. He was released and will be required to appear in court for his crime.