A 38-year-old man in upstate New York was convicted for illegally trafficking and selling sandbar sharks, which are a protected species, according to prosecutors.
Attorney General Letitia James and Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos announced Friday that Joshua Seguine will be sentenced Sept. 12.
The Dutchess County man pleaded guilty to Illegal Commercialization of Fish, Shellfish, Crustaceans, and Wildlife for the illegal possession with intent to sell seven Sandbar Sharks, a protected species under New York law.
According to the felony complaint, Seguine came to the attention of DEC Law Enforcement in July 2017, after he was found in possession of five undersized sharks in the back of his truck in Georgia. According to authorities, Seguine admitted that he was transporting the sharks to New York State, where he intended to sell them, and that he possessed additional live sharks at his house in New York.
Subsequently, investigators discovered that Seguine was conducting business under the name Aquatic Apex Life LLC, which had offered sharks for sale as recently as June 29, 2017, on the website MonsterFishKeepers.com.
DEC police obtained a warrant to search Seguine’s house in LaGrangeville. DEC officers, accompanied by biologists from the Long Island Aquarium located in Riverhead, New York, and the Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium located in Coney Island, discovered an above-ground 18-foot pool at Seguine’s house that contained seven live sharks, prosecutors say.
The sharks were identified as sandbar sharks, the possession of which is prohibited by New York law without a special license. The cost to legally acquire a sandbar shark is approximately $11,500, according to authorities.
The search also uncovered two dead leopard sharks, one dead hammerhead shark, and the snout of a smalltooth sawfish, an endangered species, prosecutors say.
Biologists eventually transferred the sharks to Long Island Aquarium after tagging them and making sure they were OK.
The sharks were then moved to the New York Aquarium on Coney Island, where they are on display as part of the “Ocean Wonders: Sharks!” exhibit.