A Caye Caulker businessman appeared in Magistrate’s Court on Friday September 23rd after being found in possession of undersized lobsters. Businessman Roger Martinez, was arraigned in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court where he was charge dwith one count of possession of undersized lobsters.
It is alleged that on September 8th, Martinez was found in possession of 17 undersized lobsters. 11 of which weighed less than four ounces and 6 undersized lobsters whose length did not exceed 3 inches.
Martinez who was unrepresented appeared in Court #6 before Magistrate Dorothy Flowers where he wasted no time and pleaded guilty to the offence.
Magistrate Flowers imposed a non-custodial sentence on Martinez and fined him $350.00 plus a $5.00 cost of court. He also had to pay an additional $340.00, as the Fisheries Act orders anyone found in possession of undersized lobsters to pay an additional fine of $20 per lobster. He has until November 31st of this year to pay the two fines. In default to the $350.00 fine, he will serve 3 months imprisonment and in default of the $340 fine, the court will order distress.
Distress means that any valuables he may possesses will be sold to compensate the cost owed to the court in default of payment by November 30th.
According to Fisheries Official, Calman Hall, on September 8th, at about 8:00 p.m., Fisheries Personnel, Hampton Gamboa, Sherwin Perrera and Hector Cunningham were conducting restaurant checks on Caye Caulker Village when they visited Jelly Rogers Grill to search for illegal fisheries products. During the search, the officers found a red dish pan that had in some lobster tails suspected to be undersized. They weighed them in Martinez’s presence and were found to be undersized. Further checks of the kitchen led the officers to a black plastic bag that contained some whole lobsters which were also found to be undersized. The Guardian