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Mar 15, 2016

Another Fisheries Bust in Belize City

A fisherman, who claims he was provided with four hundred and forty-four undersized conchs for free, will end up paying thousands of dollars. Thirty-two year old, Raymond Myers was busted by the Gang Suppression Unit this morning on behalf of the Fisheries Department.  Myers was taken to court by the Fisheries Department for the offense of possession of undersized market cleaned conch which weighed less than three ounces and pleaded guilty. Magistrate Carlon Mendoza imposed a fine of two hundred dollars for the offense and a minimum fine of twenty dollars for each undersized conch which means he will pay a total of eight thousand and eight hundred and eighty dollars before July twenty-ninth.    The police provide details of the bust.

 

Calman Hall, Acting Prosecutor, Fisheries Department

“Early this morning about seven-thirty thereabout, a group of GSU members went at 34A West Collet Canal where they did a search on an apartment and they found an icebox with what was suspected to be undersize conch. They came here to the fisheries department where they passed that suspected undersize conch to Mister Elvis Williams where he did his procedure, took an ounce scale and took each of those suspected undersize product, weighed them and found that they were under three ounces because these are market cleaned conch.”

 

Duane Moody

“How much was seized?”

 

Calman Hall

Calman Hall

“After he had weighed them, he count them individual which amounted to four hundred and forty-four individuals. One Raymond Myers was charged; he went to court this morning after the process had been dealt with. He went to court this morning and in court he was fined two hundred dollars for the offense. But there’s an additional fine which can go from between twenty to thirty dollars per fish. And the magistrate fined him twenty dollars per fish which was eight thousand eight hundred and eighty.”

 

Duane Moody

“Now sir is Mister Raymond known to the fisheries department as a fisherman, or someone that would be in possession of fishery products?”

 

Calman Hall

“As far as I’m here and I’ve been here for over thirteen years and this is the first time that I’ve had an encounter with Mister Myers there. We have four different ways how you can verify if the conch is undersized which goes from the shell to where it is filleted. In shell it has to be over seven inches and when it is just taken out of that shell, it is considered unprocessed conchs and it should have seven ounces. After it has been taken out of that shell in that unprocessed state, then they do a partial process to that conch which is called market clean and that should be three ounces. When that has been done, there is another process which is called fully processed which every knows it as fillet which should be two point seven-five ounces.”

 

Raymond Myers

Duane Moody

“So how can we as regular Belizeans purchasing this conch be careful when we do that? Because it doesn’t matter whether we didn’t go out and fished it; if we have it in our possession, it is an offense.”

 

Calman Hall

“That’s right Mister Moody, if you are an ordinary Belizean and doesn’t know about the law and you go and you buy this thing from someone who knows it, when the fisheries officer comes and meet you, you are the one who is in possession and that is the way how the law is set up. I would like to advice anyone who love to purchase these products to try to ask whosoever they are buying it from to weigh it on an ounce scale. Majority of the time, these people have an ounce scale where they can show you that it is illegal or legal size product that they are selling.”

 

Myers has had a previous run-in with the law. In 2014, he beat a murder charge for the fatal stabbing of Francis Figueroa during an altercation just outside the Conch Shell Bay area in Belize City.

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