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A search for a missing canoer ended with the person being found and cited for an illegal fish catch.

Robert Victor Vignaud, a Homosassa 66-year-old, was reported lost July 18, 2020, in waters near Ozello, where a severe storm was blowing his canoe toward the Gulf of Mexico, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) on Sept. 10 and 11. 

A Citrus County Sheriff’s Office helicopter pilot later located Vignaud, and led FWC Division of Law Enforcement officers to rescue him. 

Officers brought Vignaud, who refused to be treated, to a boat ramp, where they found him carrying two undersized redfish and three undersized spotted seatrout.

FWC cited Vignaud with a second-degree misdemeanor for possessing more than one redfish, and gave him several written warnings.

Vignaud could either pay his $318 fine or appear for his arraignment hearing on Oct. 23, court records show.

FWC introduces new method to report gopher tortoise sightings

FWC launched a new application to use with any device to report a sick, injured or dead gopher tortoise and help provide biologists with reliable data.

Gopher Tortoise (File)

A gopher tortoise

Visit myfwc.com/GopherTortoise and click on the “Report Gopher Tortoise Sightings” tab to access the program and its interactive map featuring user-submitted photos from across Florida. 

Known as a keystone and protected species, the gopher tortoise and its burrows help provide refuge for roughly 350 native animals, including the indigo snake, burrowing owl and gopher frog.

Contact Chronicle reporter Buster Thompson at 352-564-2916 or bthompson@chronicleonline.com.