VICTORIA, Texas (CN) – A federal jury convicted the owner of a fish farm of killing 90 brown pelicans, which are protected by federal law. The man didn’t want the pelicans to eat his fish.
The jury convicted Khanh Vu and Seaside Aquaculture, a fish farm in Palacios, after a 2-day trial and 3½ hours of deliberation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Vu and Seaside were indicted in April on one count of killing migratory nongame birds, in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Vu and his employees were accused of killing about 90 brown pelicans, Pelecanus occidentalis.
Acting on a top from a former contract worker, federal and state agent searched the fish farm with a warrant and found “approximately 90 brown pelicans, 17 great blue herons, five great egrets, four black-crowned night herons, four turkey vultures, two osprey, two gulls and one scaup,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
The statement added: “Seaside’s employees denied shooting any birds; however, owner Vu admitted to shooting six pelicans to prevent them from eating his fish. At trial, the defense unsuccessfully attempted to convince the jury that the birds had died as a result of running into power lines.”
Vu faces a fine of up to $15,000 and 6 months in prison. U.S. District Judge John Rainey will sentence him on Nov. 7. Vu is free on bond.