Two Virginia Beach, Va., fishermen were arrested Saturday by Norfolk FBI agents on a U.S. charge that they conspired to hire a killer for $10,000 to murder an Ocean City fisherman.

The Ocean City man was scheduled to present court testimony against the two fishermen who were accused of stealing crab traps worth $1,500, FBI officials said.

Wilbur Dwayne Wiseman, 44, captain of the 80-foot crab boat Yankee Clipper, and the boat's first mate, Richard Brookshire, 33, were arrested near Exmore, Va., and held at the Virginia Beach jail without bail.

Wiseman and Brookshire earlier were charged with stealing crab pots and a crab string from an Ocean City crab boat, the Jackpot, captained by James Farlow. The theft alleged occured between July 4 and July 7 in the Atlantic Ocean 65 miles east of the Maryland and Virginia coasts.

The murder-for-hire conspiracy allegedly grew out of Farlow's intention to testify against the two Virginia fishermen, FBI officials said.

Authorities said the incidents signal a growing dispute over fishing rights on the high seas between Virginia and Maryland fishermen. "It's happening quite frequently," said one FBI official who declined to be identified.

"One boat drops lines and pots and leaves them for a few days, then another boat comes along and steals them."