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Expensive shopping cart!


DTro

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Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are normally confined to waterways, so conservation officers (COs) with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) were surprised when they recently discovered a full-blown infestation in a parking lot.

CO candidate Jen Mueller and CO field training officer Kipp Duncan of Duluth were on patrol in Two Harbors when they made the discovery.

“We pulled into a parking lot and inside the bed of a pickup truck we saw a shopping cart completely covered with zebra mussels,” said Mueller.

The owner of the truck, Bruce A. Hinsverk, 51, of Wahpeton, N.D., told the officers he was on vacation and saw the shopping cart next to two dumpsters near Lake Superior. He planned to drive up the North Shore to Grand Marais before returning to North Dakota with the shopping cart.

“He thought it was unique to have a cart with mussels attached and that it would make a nice addition to his business,” Mueller said, "so he placed it in his truck. He did not know it was illegal to transport invasive species.”

The officers took photographs of the cart before removing it and placing it in a DNR storage facility.

Hinsverk was cited for unlawfully possessing or transporting a prohibited invasive species other than aquatic macrophyte. He was given instructions on how to appeal or pay the $500 fine.

While securing the infested cart, the officers noticed that some zebra mussels were still alive. They drove to an area near the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center in Duluth harbor where Hinsverk said he had found the cart. There they discovered zebra mussels on the ground next to the two dumpsters. Lake Superior is infested with zebra mussels. It’s unknown how the shopping cart made its way from the lake to near the dumpsters.

A nonnative invasive species, zebra mussels pose serious ecological and economic threats to Minnesota’s lakes and streams. Heavy infestations can kill native mussels, impact fish populations, interfere with recreation, and increase costs for industry, including power and water supply facilities. Native to Eastern Europe and Western Russia, zebra mussels were first discovered in Minnesota in 1989 in the Duluth harbor. They subsequently have spread to dozens of Minnesota’s inland lakes.

Minnesota law prohibits the possession or transport of any prohibited invasive species in Minnesota. Conservation officers and peace officers may stop and inspect motorists pulling boats or other marine equipment upon a “reasonable belief” that prohibited invasive species are present. Prohibited invasive species include zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil, curly-leaf pondweed, silver and bighead carp, ruffe, round goby and sea lamprey.

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$500 for this violation is B$. The laws are so new that cover the transport of evasive species that I don't see how law enforcement can expect an understanding by the general public. Fisherman should know, but we have been the target of some extensive marketing about the requirement of the new laws. How in hell can they expect some tourist from the Dakotas to have any idea that what he was doing was against the law. How about giving the guy some credit for removing a piece of garbage from the lake? If I were the judge I would take that ticket and tear it up and I hope that happens. This guy should have been given some education, a warning and been sent on his way.

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$500 for this violation is B$. The laws are so new that cover the transport of evasive species that I don't see how law enforcement can expect an understanding by the general public. Fisherman should know, but we have been the target of some extensive marketing about the requirement of the new laws. How in hell can they expect some tourist from the Dakotas to have any idea that what he was doing was against the law. How about giving the guy some credit for removing a piece of garbage from the lake? If I were the judge I would take that ticket and tear it up and I hope that happens. This guy should have been given some education, a warning and been sent on his way.

These laws have been on the books for as long as I can remember. They are not new, what is new is the ways they enforce them and a few minor plug and transport rules that don't apply to this case. And as a matter of fact North Dakota (and almost every other state for that matter[maybe all by now]) has similar laws, so saying he was a tourist is beyond ridiculous. Also, if you are traveling to a different state or country, don't you make it a point to check certain laws if you will be doing something that could possibly be illegal? Saying you're a tourist won't/shouldn't get you out of a speeding ticket, why should it get you out of any other ticket?

From ND's .gov website....

NorthDakota.png

And if you'd like to read more

From my 2010 MN DNR Reg's book (The oldest one I could find at home) I had a 1999 floating around here somewhere, but think I finally threw that out, but I know it had this printed in it also.

IMG_20120929_072347.jpg

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I dont know if I totally agree with the last post.

This guy could be a non angler/boater. He may not have known about Zebra mussells from the stand point of any transportlaws. We on this site are obviosuly tuned in to the fact. However, depending on where he is at in ND, not a lot of lakes there. He could have just been minding his own business, saw a cart that was sitting by the trash and was just going to be thrown away and thought it looked cool to bring home (different strokes for different folks...). If he was traveling to another another state or country as you mentioned and needed to check laws to make sure he wasnt doing anything illegal - I doubt he was going to check into the laws on what would happen if he came upon a discarded shopping cart with Zebra Mussells on it. If he did...he sure would be doing more research than I would have done. smile

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I am wondering if this training officer and tag along just wrote out the ticket or they radioed in and were told to. On the face of it, would not think the "nodak bubbles" had intent to break the law. Unless he was the "nodak rickey", and knowing he was in violation, he probably would have made some kind of attempt to conceal it. No ....ignorance is not an excuse ....but is understandable. Could easily see some kids playing along the shores, find some cool looking "barnacled" piece of junk and doing the same thing....do they deserve a 500 dollar hit as well? As, mentioned in the crayfish thread...the feds, state, and shipping companies know where millions upon millions are coming from and nothing is done to stop it while we are absurdly left to pay the price for containment and enforcement.......

edit... no, I an not saying to shut down international shipping; unless we want to live in a bubble, the invasives are just going to be part of life. Sure, I suppose steps should be made to try to curtail it, but common sense should also be used trying to stop something that really can't be stopped. Outside of using this as this dude as an example, do not see how tagging him 5 hundo is going to curtail it, much less spending the money and time for the CO's, courts, administration, ect......

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The more I think about this anytime anyone removes a rock, a piece of driftwood, etc from any Minnesota lake we run the risk of picking up something with an invasive species attached and open ourselves up to a possible fine. I guess every citizen in MN or anyone who visits better study up on the appearance of all identified evasives if they might visit a lake or other body of water.

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I dont know if I totally agree with the last post.

This guy could be a non angler/boater. He may not have known about Zebra mussells from the stand point of any transportlaws. We on this site are obviosuly tuned in to the fact. However, depending on where he is at in ND, not a lot of lakes there. He could have just been minding his own business, saw a cart that was sitting by the trash and was just going to be thrown away and thought it looked cool to bring home (different strokes for different folks...). If he was traveling to another another state or country as you mentioned and needed to check laws to make sure he wasnt doing anything illegal - I doubt he was going to check into the laws on what would happen if he came upon a discarded shopping cart with Zebra Mussells on it. If he did...he sure would be doing more research than I would have done. smile

+1

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+2

While I'm as against the spread of invasive species as anyone else (compared to those who are FOR the spread of them, of course), this penalty seems unnecessarily draconian. As pushbutton said, the fact that the guy made no attempt to hide the shopping cart (which, if the photos I've seen are of the actual cart, actually looks kinda cool), seems to imply that he was ignorant of the law. Yes, (here comes a cliche) ignorance is no excuse, but I'd've given the fella a break. But, as with anything in this world, what I think doesn't really matter. smile

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Ignorance is absolutely no excuse, a law is a law. Imagine what would happen if ignorance could be claimed for everything. "I didn't know the speed limit officer" "I didn't see that stop sign", ignorance didn't work for Amy Senser and it shouldn't work here. I do agree $500 is a little steep, but you've got to make examples of people to make an impact and teach others.

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You know when you travel to Kentucky you are required to stop your motorcar and shut off the engine any time you encounter a horse on or near a roadway. You are required to remain there until the horse is out of sight. Penalty for this is the same as any moving violation on KY highways. Fines for infractions of this severity are about $200.00 depending on the municipality. Ignorance of this law will not be tolerated and not an excuse for not abiding by the laws of the State of Kentucky. So fellow FM'ers, you are so warned about this law.

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Ignorance is absolutely no excuse, a law is a law. Imagine what would happen if ignorance could be claimed for everything. "I didn't know the speed limit officer" "I didn't see that stop sign", ignorance didn't work for Amy Senser and it shouldn't work here. I do agree $500 is a little steep, but you've got to make examples of people to make an impact and teach others.

Are you kidding CAMAN? Do you know every law in every state? He might not even be a fisherman. He didn't even pull the thing out of the water, he picked it up next to a couple of dumpsters. I'm sure he read through the dumpster diving handbook, and it probably didn't mention anything about invasive aquatic species. I don't know why you think he should know about all of the laws that are documented in the FISHING handbook if he wasn't FISHING.

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Thats my point.

We on this thread are completely ingrained to the laws regarding invasive species. Its a part of our lives here.

This guy may not have stepped in a fishing boat in his life.

Hes from ND, probably not a lot of talk regarding invasive species in ND.

To compare this to a speeding violation isnt comparing apples to apples.

Speed limits are a commonality between any state, city or for that matter country to country.

The issue of invasive species isnt going to be in the public eye/ear as much in certain states like Wyoming, SD or ND. Not to say they shouldnt know about it or realize the importance...its just not a top story in those communities.

If this story would have ended with "and they counseled the man and educated him regarding the importance of not transportating invasive species and sent him on his way"...wouldnt that have created more good will and positive publicity regarding this topic?

In any case, I stand by my original post.

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Last year I caught a boat anchor on Minnetonka trolling for muskies that was covered with zebra mussels. thought I had a monster on the line! I managed to reel it in (It was a smaller chene style anchor).

I had no intention of ever using it, but I threw it in the boat and brought it home. To me it was another piece of garbage I pulled out of the lake that needed to be thrown away.

I didn't even think about the fact I was "transporting" an AIS. Actually, now that I think about it, it is still sitting next to my garage.

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I was a prosecutor in Saint Paul for many years. Two things.

First the maximum fine is $1,000 for a misdemeanor, $300 for a petty misdemeanor. https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=609.02

Certain violations are included in the "payables list", a list of what the fines are for a large number of violations. The list for DNR violations can be found at http://www.mncourts.gov/?page=1774 and then by clicking on the DNR section. Typically you can simply go to a violations bureau and write a check for something on the payables list.

I did that and I found that transporting an aquatic macrophyte has a fine of $50 plus a surcharge of $75. I'm not sure but I suspect that zebra mussles are macrophytes.

Secondly, in the multiple thousands of cases that I prosecuted I NEVER had a case where someone had to pay the maximum fine. Never.

So I think the CO was wrong about the fine and I am pretty sure that the ND guy won't be writing a check for $500.

I've been retired for 6 years and so maybe I am out of date and wrong. If someone has better info please share it.

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I would agree that the fine was a bit excessive but, if they make some exceptions for whatever, where does that stop?

So, they let him go and now they have set a presedent that they are some ways that one cannot be fined. Nice mess now as a whole new bunch of situations will arise.

It's a tough call for sure but how many exceptions does one make to let someone go for not knowing the laws?

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Harvey you make a great point that I pretty much agree with, but the laws and enforcement rules have been so confusing that law enforcement doesn't even have a clear understanding about how to enforce AIS rules.

First stickers were required, then stickers were not required. This summer I encountered, on two different occasions, DNR enforcement officers patrolling the ramp I was using. One told me that I had to put the plug in the boat as the last thing I did before the boat hit the water, and the other said it was OK to put it in while waiting in line that the law applied to the transport of the boat. So what the heck am I or anyone else supposed to do?

Now I hear I have to take an internet test to comply with AIS rules, but some Twin Cities legislator later stated that those rules are far from being cast in stone and need refining. When the requirements for compliance get ironed out, then I think its time to levy fines. I think that when the next MN legislative session starts in 2013 our representative are going to get an ear-full from the fishing community.

There is nothing wrong for a period of public education and warnings before the hammer comes down.

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