Jerry Nix Jr. of Memphis, Tennessee, formally from Shell Knob, was indicted last week by a federal grand jury for harvesting the eggs from paddlefish caught in Table Rock Lake through the use of illegal nets. The eggs(called roe) were processed and turned into caviar and then sold to a Tennessee company.
A federal grand jury in Springfield handed down a seven-count indictment which states that Nix and a co-conspirator transported and sold the paddlefish eggs which is in violation of state and federal laws. The co-conspirator has not been indicted.
The paddlefish were caught using commercial fishing nets called "gill nets." The fish swimming into the nets are trapped by their gills becoming entangled in the mesh. Nix would remove the paddlefish and then cut the underbelly of the fish open to remove the eggs. The eggs were processed at his home and sold to a company in Tennessee that processes and sells caviar. Nix told the company that he was lawfully obtaining the caviar in Arkansas.
Nix and his co-conspirator were in possession of 78 lbs. of unprocessed paddlefish roe and 91lbs. of processed roe when they were apprehended by Missouri Department of Conservation. The case will be prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Steven M. Mohlhenrich.