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Mar 3, 2016

5 Fishermen Charged for Over One Thousand Undersized Conch

There’s another bust to report tonight and it involves conch. The Fisheries Department seized a large quantity of illegally harvested seafood, following a search conducted on a vessel south of Belize City on Wednesday.  Five fishermen have been arrested as a result of the bust.  They were found in possession of over one thousand undersized conchs and will be facing charges for that offense.  The continued pillaging of fish stock and other marine resources is being met with fines and penalties; however, a severe lack of manpower at sea has the Fisheries Department strapped for enforcement.  Hampton Gamboa told the media earlier today that the prohibited activity is depleting the conch population.

 

Hampton Gamboa

Hampton Gamboa, Supervisor, Conservation Compliance Unit

“Yesterday morning at about 10:50 thereabout, fisheries officers conducting patrols from Belize City here to Emily, Caye Glory, Long Caye and farther south, came across a sailboat near Alligator Head Caye, south of Belize City and while searching the vessel, a sailboat, they observed a number of parcels of undersized or what appears to be undersized conch.  So the officers on the patrol started to do a check of individuals by weighing them and with the first bag that they sorted out, the entire bag was undersized.  Hence, officers continued with their inspection of the vessel and came across more parcels and they ended up detaining five fishermen for one thousand, forty individual conch.”

 

Reporter

“Now sir, talk to us about the size of these conchs because it looks like some of them are so juvenile that it seems completely unreasonable to even catch them.”

 

Hampton Gamboa

“Yes sir, on the average almost everyone of them ranges between one point seven and two point four, the entire one thousand and forty.  So they’re very small conchs.  Most of them, at least about eighty percent of them are filleted conchs, as you can see there.  The remainder, twenty percent, is market clean conchs, whereby they’ve been removed from the shell and their guts have been removed.  They still have on their skin as normally purchased locally, you know.”

 

Reporter

“Who all are going to be facing charges for this and what exactly?”

 

Hampton Gamboa

“Well they will be facing charges of possession of undersized conch and the five individuals they have their own quantity that they have to answer to.  Some of them are answering to quantities of two hundred and odd each, one hundred and ninety-odd each and so on, right.  So that’s the charge that will be levied on all five individuals.”

 

Reporter

“What sort of impact does this have on the environment when such juvenile fisheries are being taken out of the sea?”

 

Hampton Gamboa

“Well, as with everything when it comes to marine products, from a research and scientific standpoint once you eliminate all your juveniles, or a majority of your juveniles are being targeted, as what it would appear to a certain extent here then it means then that we are dwindling the conch population significantly because we are harvesting off all the juveniles which haven’t had a chance to be a part of the breeding stock for the conch, which until they reach maturity they will be a part of the breeding stock to help replenish the conch population for our country.”

 

On Wednesday, a trio of Honduran nationals was arraigned in the magistrate’s court for fishing illegally in Belizean waters.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “5 Fishermen Charged for Over One Thousand Undersized Conch”

  1. Sonamimammi says:

    put dem inna Jail for a long long time!

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