Today fisheries officers confiscated over 200 undersized conch and about 66 out of season lobster from a number of high end resorts. Fisheries officers conducted a countrywide operation focusing on marquee resorts on San Pedro, Placencia and Caye Caulker.
Fisheries officers say when big name brand resorts are involved in this kind of black market trade, it undermines the country's fishery resources. We spoke with the Supervisor of the Enforcement Unit at the Fisheries Department this evening and he discussed the significance of the bust.
Michael Sabal, Supervisor, Enforcement Unit Fisheries
"What is happening, we would like the general public to know that the Fisheries Department is continuing its vigilant in protecting the resources at sea, especially illegal sea food products and making sure that everybody is complying with the Belize Fisheries regulation and it's so sad to say that some well-established hotels and resorts are fueling the black market of these products and with that in mind, we are very vigilant in getting things done. When it comes to the conch, the conch has a weight which is supposed to be 3 ounces or more if its market clean and it should be 2.75 ounces if its fillet. So whenever we don't have the weight, its illegal sea food products and it's an offence."
Those big resorts are Warugumma, The Reef Restaurant and Resort, Caribbean Villas and Banana Beach - all located in San Pedro, Popeyes Restaurant and resort in Caye Caulker, Mangoes and Mayan King on Maya Beach and Turtle Inn in Placencia. The department plans to prosecute these resorts to the full length of the law.
We are told that a prominent former public official turned fisherman is known to facilitate this area of the black market.