Suspended sentence for fish collector in underwater attack


A fish collector in Hawaii who ripped the regulator from the mouth of an anti-aquarium activist has been given a six-month deferred sentence.

Collector Jay Lovell pleaded no contest to second-degree terroristic threatening. He will avoid jail if he stays out of trouble and the incident may also be removed from his record after one year. But he must obtain an anger management assessment as part of the agreement reached between prosectors and Lovell's defence, reports West Hawaii Today.

The incident happened last May when Rene Umberger and a number of other divers were filming Lovell harvesting fish for the aquarium trade off the Kona coast in Hawaii. Video footage showed Lovell swimming towards the camera before the regulator was ripped from Umberger's mouth, leaving her without air. The video received a great deal of attention at the time.

Umberger predicted that fish collecting in Hawaii waters will come to a halt in the future.

"It’s only a matter of time before the trade in Yellow tang ends," she said after the proceedings.

Jay Lovell's brother, James, with whom he works as a fish collector, told West Hawaii Today that aquarium fishermen had been unjustly harassed for years. "We’re having zero impact," he said. "The stocks are the same as they were when we started in the 1970s. We’re all aware that if the resource were being depleted our livelihoods would be destroyed."\

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