Tonight, the Fisheries Department is in possession 2,000 dollars’ worth of out of season lobsters, undersized conch, and illegally harvested fish fillet. They intercepted these fisheries products on a commercial vessel yesterday, and the captain and crew are now facing criminal charges.
Their vessel has been confiscated by the Fisheries Department, and it will not be released until June 10, the earliest, when the matter goes to court.
Today, a member of the Fisheries Department, allowed us to view the cache, and he briefed us about the status of those products:
Hampton Gamboa – Member, Fisheries Department
"Yesterday which was the fourteenth of May - we got some information that a vessel was harvesting lobsters in the southern portion of Tobacco Caye range and South Water caye marine reserve. This vessel came into Belize City harbor yesterday morning right about 9:00a.m and there was a quick response by fisheries personnel both in vessel and in vehicle - and we were able to board this sailboat. It was a commercial fishing vessel/sailboat and upon searching the vessel we found lobsters; which after we went through them we confiscated the fishing vessel and all the tackles on board therefore this crew member won't be able to go out and do fishing until after the 10th. Once you are fined in the court and charged in the court - because if you go and plead not guilty then you'll have an arraignment for a further court date and the vessel will remain in our possession until the matter is finished in the court and found guilty or charged."
According to Gamboa, the captain and crew are facing $10,000 in fines for, an estimated $2,000 in profit.