Man Possessed Too Many Sharks Amid Rise in Sightings: Officials

A man from Louisiana was recently arrested after officials discovered that he was in possession of too many sharks, as well as an undersized shark and illegal narcotics.

In a press release, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said that a man from the city of Houma was arrested on July 26 "in Terrebonne Parish."

The man was identified as 44-year-old Anouda Lirette and officials said he was arrested "for possession of suspected methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, possession of over the limit of sharks and possession of an undersized shark, and intentional concealment of wildlife."

The arrest comes amid an increased number of shark sightings across several different parts of the U.S.

Shark
A Louisiana man was recently arrested for possessing an undersized shark as well as drugs and drug paraphernalia. Above, a shark is seen in an aquarium during the International Animal Fair in Istanbul, 02 April 2005. MUSTAFA OZER/AFP/Getty

According to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Lirette was first noticed by agents as they were patrolling the Oyster Bayou. Agents then made contact with Lirette and conducted a compliance check after they noticed him throwing a shark overboard his boat. During the compliance check, agents discovered that he was in possession of the undersized shark, as well as the drugs and drug paraphernalia.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries states that residents are permitted to catch several different sharks in the state including, "Atlantic sharpnose and bonnethead sharks," "Small coastal, large coastal, and pelagic sharks," and "shortfin mako." However, residents are only permitted to catch a limited quantity of these sharks. For Atlantic sharpnose and bonnethead sharks, the state has a limit of "One per person per day in aggregate," while the other sharks listed above are limited to "One per vessel per trip in aggregate."

There is also a length restriction on many of the sharks that Louisiana residents are permitted to catch.

A spokesperson for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries told Newsweek that Lirette was in possession of just one too many sharks.

"Possession of methamphetamine brings up to a $5,000 fine and two years in jail. Possession of drug paraphernalia carries up to a $300 fine and 15 days in jail. Possession of over the limit of sharks and undersized sharks brings up to a $350 fine for each offense," the press release said.

Earlier this week, officials in Massachusetts reported a rise in shark sightings off the Cape Cod coast. Boston 25 news reported that there were 17 Great White shark sightings.

Researchers have explained the phenomenon of shark sightings as a confluence of two seasons: tourist season and shark season. As the weather warms in June, sharks routinely become more prevalent in places like Cape Cod. Summer weather also coincides with tourist seasons in most coastal areas. With more sharks in the water and more people visiting beaches, the number of sightings increases significantly.

"Just know that large sharks are here...They're a constant presence from June to the fall," Atlantic White Shark Conservancy scientist Megan Winton told Boston 25 news.

On Wednesday, the ocean research organization, Ocearch, said that a 13-foot Great White Shark was spotted near South Carolina's coast.